SPOILERS for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ahead
For those who didn’t think there was a way Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could merge its Inhuman and LMD arcs into one plot, last night’s episode of the series proved that everything has been building towards a unified conclusion to season 4. And while a renewal is looking more and more likely, the final arc of this season has certainly felt like a way for the show to bring all of their stories to a head and provide the series with a swan song.
Since the tag at the end of last season, AIDA has been built up as a central part of the show moving forward. From an Easter egg to the big bad of this past year, both the character and actor Mallory Jansen have grown exponentially. While Eli, Radcliffe, and the Superior have seemed to be the big threats at various points in the season, they’ve all served as stepping stones in the origin of AIDA. And while her killer android and Madame Hydra phases were certainly problematic for the heroes of the show, her emergence as an Inhuman-powered living being this week puts her previous incarnations to shame.
More Than Inhuman
As soon as we were given a glimpse inside the Framework, it was clear that something major had changed. With Hydra in control, Inhumans were being hunted and rounded up to become the subjects of grisly experiments. Given the role Inhumans played in the origin of Hydra, however, there always seemed to be some narrative dissonance. Once it was revealed that AIDA was running the show as Madame Hydra, though, things started to become clear. Whether as an act of revenge against SHIELD or simply a result of the decisions the agents made, Hydra’s power stemmed from the threat May failed to stop. From there, it makes sense that the Inhumans would be used as a scapegoat and that the sect of the organization that worshipped them would be left behind in favor of Ophelia and Fitz’s grand scheme.
Dubbed Project Looking Glass, the weeks slowly revealed that Ophelia and Fitz were building a machine that would allow the former to cross back over to the real world and finally inhabit a flesh and blood body. By doing so, Ophelia/AIDA would be free of the restraints placed on her by Radcliffe and could finally feel emotions. What no one knew until the end of last week’s episode, however, is that AIDA’s new body was more than human.
The specifics of AIDA’s new body haven’t been made clear, but the machine that built it and her newly acquired abilities stem from the knowledge within the Darkhold. We’ve previously seen Eli conjure matter seemingly out of thin air, so the construction of a carbon lifeform like a human body is hardly out of the wheelhouse of the mystical book. By adding in AIDA’s consciousness and what she’s learned from the Darkhold, her threat level was already high. Unfortunately for the agents, all of her experiments on Inhumans led to something else.
It seems that the studies she was conducting on Inhumans was about understanding their genetic code and learning how their powers are grafted onto human DNA. By doing so, she was clearly able to tweak her new body to possess a variety of these skills. The full list won’t be revealed until her confrontation with the agents and Ghost Rider next week, but so far we’ve seen her display three fairly powerful abilities.