[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ahead.]
Previously on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daisy and Simmons continued their mission to free their colleagues from Dr. Holden Radcliffe’s digital hell, the Framework. With Daisy captured and facing torture from the reigning HYDRA, Simmons is continuing to work with the newly self-aware Coulson and the Frameworks’s version of S.H.I.E.L.D. – now a rebel group operating from the shadows.
Leading the resistance is real-world S.H.I.E.L.D. director, Jeffrey Mace – otherwise known as the Patriot. In the Framework, Mace is every bit the courageous hero he pretends to be in reality but he remains unaware that the world he currently inhabits is an entirely fictional construction. On the other hand, Daisy and Simmons have managed to convince their friend and leader Phil Coulson that the Framework world isn’t real and have enlisted his aid – even if he is struggling to keep up, due to him being a teacher rather than a spy.
In a new trailer for tonight’s episode – ‘No Regrets’ – Coulson and Mace are continuing to fight side by side and are seemingly on the hunt for the captured Daisy (known in the Framework under her previous moniker, Skye). After halting a bus full of HYDRA agents, the duo manage to take out their enemies but come up empty-handed in the search for their friend, finding only what appear to be HYDRA-branded body bags.
The scene can be assumed as a red herring, with Daisy highly unlikely to die in the middle of a season, if at all. It is also currently unclear as to whether Jeffrey Mace is genuinely Inhuman in the Framework or whether he is using enhancement serum like in the real world. The scene is also a highly interesting example of reversed roles. In the real world, Coulson is usually the combat expert, whereas Mace is virtually a civilian and useless without his juice. In the Framework however, Coulson has forgotten his secret agent skills and relies on Mace to do the heavy lifting.
This is just one example of the many unique scenarios Agents of SH.I.E.L.D.‘s Framework arc has been allowed to explore and the resulting episodes have been very well received critically. The show is also continuing to introduce more and more familiar departed faces, with the recent reveal that Bakshi would be making his debut Framework appearance in next week’s offering.
With that said, the story surely can’t have much more mileage in it, given that most of what happens in the Framework is of very little consequence to the outside world. The real threat is actually AIDA and her new pet, the Superior but this cannot be truly dealt with while the S.H.I.E.L.D. team are trapped inside the Framework; meaning that although the arc has been highly entertaining, it hasn’t done much to develop the show’s overall narrative.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues with ‘No Regrets’ April 18th on ABC.