Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is preparing to leave the Framework behind and will do so by bringing in a bigger enemy for the finale. The third pod of season 4 has positioned Daisy and Simmons as the focal point as they try to convince the rest of their team the world actually designed by an artificial intelligence. They've had mixed results in persuading the team so far, leaving Coulson as their lone recruit to this point.
The difficulty in convincing others is heightened by the threat of Hydra within the Framework as well as Aida's knowledge of its inner workings, making it impossible for them to leave. Next week's episode will see the team running against the clock to escape, but thanks to the episode's title, the team's return seems imminent.
ABC released the synopsis and title for episode 21, 'The Return', that teases the team makes it back to the real world. It appears the victory of their exit from the Framework will be short-lived as another threat awaits the agents in the real world.
"In the exciting penultimate episode leading into next week’s season finale, Coulson and the team’s victory in the Framework is short-lived, as an even deadlier enemy looms against them all, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” TUESDAY, MAY 9 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network.
It is unlikely that the show is set to introduce another new villain right as the season is about to end, so the new enemy may simply be a new version of Aida. While defeating her in the Framework may allow them to escape, it could be too late if she is successful in finishing Project Looking Glass.
With the series jumping back into the real world, it may do so without some key players. It is possible that a couple of agents will be reluctant to leave the Framework (specifically Mack), but S.H.I.E.L.D. may help ease that transition by bringing back a few familiar faces. Yo-Yo is set to return for the first time since this pod began, but Adrian Pasdar is also scheduled to return as Glenn Talbot.
This episode will most likely lay a lot of groundwork for the season finale, which is why it may not come as a surprise that showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon wrote this episode and gave directing duties to Marvel TV favorite Kevin Tancharoen. The writer-producers have the difficult task of getting the series and its characters ready for the season finale, and exiting the Framework while also encountering a new villain should do the trick.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues Tuesday May 2 with ‘Farewell, Cruel World!’ at 10pm on ABC.