[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ahead.]
Ahead of tonight's episode, a new clip from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings back a long-dead foe. One of the most exciting prospects of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s final arc of the season has been the ability to explore past storylines and revive characters who have long since perished on the show. While the Framework has introduced a few news faces, like AIDA's take on Madame Hydra, it's mostly been about the parallel lives of our heroes. With just one change made in their past, we've seen the dire effects the agent's decisions can have on the world and their personal lives.
For one, Coulson has led a much simpler life outside of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fitz, meanwhile, is also a very different man without the organization and with Fitz's father in his life, proving that nurture can surmount nature. The whole conceit has allowed the actors to sink their teeth into new aspects of their characters and has provided the show with a fitting cap for its stellar fourth season. All told, things are looking positive for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5, meaning the Framework could survive in some way even after our protagonists exit it.
It's not all friendly faces, however. ABC have release a clip for tonight's episode, 'All the Madame's Men', which teases the return of Sunil Bakshi. Last we saw the Hydra higher-up, he was being accidentally dispatched by Simmons in her quest to kill Ward. With Jemma visibly disgusted by the presence of Grant in the Framework, she'll likely be pretty unhappy to see Bakshi as well. In the Framework, he seems to be Hydra's leading mouthpiece, spinning news to brainwash the masses. A fitting role, as he helped Daniel Whitehall to do the same thing, albeit more literally, back when he was alive.
The clip also picks up after last week's cliffhanger, with Daisy once again erupting from her Terrigenesis cocoon and gaining her powers. Of course, the last time that happened Trip ended up dead. Now Trip is back, which will make things even more bittersweet when the Framework is left behind. The returned friends and family, like Trip and Mack's daughter Hope, will likely lead us to a melancholy season 4 finale.
And it's not just the ghosts of the past that will make it a sad day when the Agents return to the real world. Once there, they'll learn that Mace's sacrifice last week carried over into reality, and that The Patriot is truly gone. Even though our heroes will surely be triumphant in the end, it will be at great emotional cost.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues tonight with ‘All the Madame’s Men’ at 10pm on ABC.