SPOILERS for those not caught up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ahead
More so than any year before, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 has been broken up into three distinctive "pods" - as they're called by those close to the show. After dispatching the ancient Inhuman Hive at the end of season 3, with Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell) sacrificing himself to do so, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned with a focus on introducing Robbie Reyes aka Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna). Then after a midseason hiatus, season 4 came back with a bigger emphasis on Dr. Holden Radcliffe's (John Hannah) Life Model Decoys, particularly Aida (Mallory Jansen) and the digital reality he was creating called the Framework.
In the most recent episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., 'Self Control', the show went out with a bang before another hiatus, setting up a third pod that features an alternate reality ruled by Hydra - and one in which Brett Dalton returns as Grant Ward, the former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent/Hydra operative. Now, a new poster for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. further teases the third pod of season 4.
ET Online released the new poster, featuring the core cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Daisy Johnson aka Quake (Chloe Bennet), Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), Leo Fitz (Iain de Caestecker), Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), and Alphonso "Mack" MacKenzie (Henry Simmons). The cast is standing in front of the green Hydra logo with the tagline, "Hail the New World Order" - a riff on the "Hail Hydra" motto of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's villainous organization. Take a look at the poster:
We got our first glimpse inside Radcliffe's alternate reality in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Framework cliffhanger at the end of 'Self Control'. The scenes offered little insight into each team member's life within the world, with May the only one confirmed to be a Hydra agent (though Daisy and Ward likely are as well). Back in reality however, things seemed rather grim with LMD versions of Coulson, Mack, Fitz, and Director Jeffrey Mace (Jason O'Mara) having taken control of S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. Daisy and Simmons were able to escape with the help of LMD-May setting off a massive explosion, but not before discovering a room full of LMD versions of Daisy. So what happened to them? Executive producer Jed Whedon told EW:
"When we come back, we’ll see how big of an explosion it really was. ... The idea was May sacrifices herself to try to put an end to what they’re doing."
Of course, it's likely much of the episodes will take place inside the Framework when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns considering how much focus was placed on this digital reality in the final moments of 'Self Control' - plus this new poster places further emphasis on the Hydra-ruled world. That said, if Daisy and Simmons' mission is successful, they'll awake in the real world having learned where Aida is holding their friends. So, the events at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ will be addressed eventually. Still, those fans are likely looking forward to all the storytelling opportunities afforded by an alternate reality in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., especially with other fan-favorite characters potentially returning.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 continues Tuesday April 4 at 10pm on ABC.