I really enjoy Agents of SHIELD. It’s a show that’s been able to reinvent itself with every season — sometimes every half-season — while still feeling like part of an overall whole. But I’m really not loving this Framework story line. It definitely has its moments, some of which were on display this week, but in the grand scheme, I just don’t see it working for me.
Don’t get me wrong, everybody is acting their little hearts out and it sure is nice to see characters like Trip and Bakshi and even a good-guy Grant Ward again. But I can’t shake the knowledge that — for the most part — none of it’s real.
I was going to make this post last week, but then Mace died in The Framework and thus in the real world, and it’s just really hard to talk about the lack of consequences when somebody’s been killed off. And what a death it was, too. Kudos to Jason O’Mara.
Then this week happened, and for every awesome moment — May and Daisy’s breakout, Coulson’s broadcast exposing Hydra — there was another that just made me grimace.
It seems like the show is working really hard to set things up for Fitz to have a moral crisis when everyone is out of The Framework. “Oh, no! I did evil things in there! Let me angst and push away everyone who cares about me!” Never mind that Framework Fitz isn’t really Fitz. It’s Fitz rewritten specifically to be that way. But unless Agents of SHIELD just goes all-out crazy and has Evil Fitz escape the Framework and become a real boy that Good Fitz and SHIELD have to fight, I fear we’re definitely in for an angst fest about how somewhere in Fitz lies the capacity to be evil. Hell, even if Real and Framework Fitz happens, we’ll still probably get that, albeit blessedly shorter than if it doesn’t.
I’m also imagining where things could go with AIDA’s device and trying to pinpoint how I feel about those options. Obviously, there’s a part of me that thinks it’s going to come into play regarding Fitz, and my assumption is that Framework Fitz’s escape will create two FItzes, one of which needs destroyed. There’s also the possibility of Real Fitz waking up as Framework Fitz and needing saved/reminded who he is. I hope that doesn’t happen. The angst would be unbearable.
But once you assume an evil Fitz could come out of the Framework, it opens the door for the others, too. Could Mack’s daughter become real? What about Trip? What about Ward? Honestly, right up until the last few minutes of this episode, I was certain that this was going to be the way Agents of SHIELD keeps Brett Dalton around forever. And there’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind that. Trip was great. I’ve never not liked Ward, and the chance to see a truly good Ward working in the world again is intriguing.
But it would also feel like a giant cheat. I do think that part of what makes the Framework story work for me, when it does, is that it’s an opportunity to revisit these characters without necessarily nuking their history. But that’s also what makes The Framework so frustrating as a multi-episode arc! It doesn’t matter, except for when it does matter.
* When I first wrote it, it was kind of a lark “oh, this could happen!” sort of thing, but now I’ve kind of convinced myself that Framework Fitz will escape into the real world. If Agents of SHIELD gets a season five, this will be at least half of it. I’m not sure what that means for Real World Fitz. Regardless, I don’t think AIDA or Russian Guy will be of any consequence once he does. They’re both probably toast, and brace yourself for wailing and gnashing of teeth over how AIDA’s been fridged so Framework Fitz would have motivation to destroy the world.
* Like Fitz, Mack’s daughter Hope will get out of the Framework. I just can’t imagine the show being so cruel as to give Mack a life and memories of having a daughter only to snatch her away. This can be the one good thing that comes out of all the mess. (Actually, I can imagine it being that cruel; this is a Whedon family show after all, but I hope it doesn’t go that way.)
* Somehow, all the constructs who remain in The Framework will be able to continue their lives, building a better non-Hydra world while neither being threatened by our world nor being a threat to our world, and it will 100 percent remind me of that Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where s sentient Holodeck Moriarty was shunted off to a separate program that he thinks is real life and will supply him with a lifetime of adventures.
So, what does everyone else think will happen?
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