'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' S4E19: All the Madame's Men & S4E20: Farewell, Cruel World!

★ ★ ★ ★

Agents of Hydra is, by far, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s greatest triumph in terms of consistency over the course of a season arc. Since Ghost Rider, the transitions from that season into the L.M.D. arc and into this one flowed almost seamlessly and, unlike previous seasons, is far removed from the action of the MCU films. S.H.I.E.L.D. gave itself a much needed soft reboot after the events of Civil War and is doing all the better for it.

And yeah, Ophelia (AIDA) can freaking teleport now. So that's an awesome tidbit to throw into the mix. With Ophelia's plan complete, it was almost interesting to see how quickly one could forget that she has all of the knowledge of the Darkhold within her memory and how much she'll be able to use that to her advantage. Now that the science-fiction arc is coming to a close, does this hint that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to dive into a more mystical side of the Marvel Universe? It was introduced for the mere purpose of presenting Ghost Rider and the Darkhold, but hopefully it'll take a turn back into that rather unexplored realm of the MCU. The reveal that Ophelia could teleport was a perfect twist to end the episode with, not only because she was human "again" but because she's capable of using the Darkhold knowledge without the side effects of having used the book.

Agents of SHIELD: S4E20

The only flaw of the season is the same one this "other world" type of story arc always tends to have: the characters can never seem to separate the real selves from the fake ones. Simmons' insistence that Fitz is good is accurate if she were, you know, not in the Framework. I was half hoping that Fitz wouldn't wake up as his normal self and be overcome by his Framework personality, but the idea of having to deal with the consequences of his actions as his evil self and having killed so many people will be interesting to see played around with later on. So far, Fitz is the only character of the group who is having to suffer the psychological consequences of the Framework, which is why I hope that Mack makes it out of there. Otherwise it's a rehash of his brain damage from Ward's actions a couple of seasons back.

Along with that, there's going to be another leadership-vying-for-power storyline in S.H.I.E.L.D. now that Mace is gone. Hopefully now they'll drag Maria Hill into the mix?

I really hope Mack makes it out of the Framework for the mere sake of keeping around the show's only living black man instead of pulling a Trip and replacing him next time around. If he doesn't make it out of the Framework, does everyone realize that S.H.I.E.L.D. placed its only two black characters in the same place as dead people?

A lot of the next couple of episodes are going to be a surprise every which way because the series has such ample opportunity to do so. The show hasn't had this open of an ending since it released the terrigen into the ocean. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been on top of its game for the past couple of seasons, so hopefully this win streak of theirs will continue for a little while longer.

Just as a side note, could we please people-print Grant Ward back in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

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