AGENTS OF SHIELD: “What If…” {Roundtable}

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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.> opened up the last arc of this season with a look into The Framework, even if that means that up is down and south is north.

Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Daisy (Chloe Bennet) are trying to free every other agent from The Framework, but it doesn’t seem to be as easy as they first imagined. Madame Hydra (Mallory Jansen) is ruling over this world with an iron fist, and a quicker whit than Jemma imagined.

Jenna has her Buffy moment and Skye is confused within the first act. How does this make you feel about the Framework after we were first introduced?

Rueben: That world seems SO real and even convincing; but it was also hard to see a world where Hydra is in power. That was more unsettling than anything.

Karen: The Framwork is amazingly intricate, and we have to assume that the Darkhold Tome is responsible for that. AIDA could only do so much with only her Radcliffe programming. I think Jemma needs to get on the adaptation train much quicker if she wants to fly under the radar. At least Daisy “got with the program” enough to fit in and not get noticed.

Roz: I think the idea of The Framework got much scarier when we see what world AIDA created, especially with where and how its chosen to recreate the world we know.

Nadia’s brother makes a return. How do you feel about potentially seeing dead characters return in this arc?

Rueben: To a degree it’s hard to watch (especially where Ward is concerned, but more on that below). I have to wonder which deceased character we will see next. Could we see Tripp or May’s husband (without his powers)? Who else will they throw at us?

Karen: I’m cool with it. He’s not dead though. He got re-mummified. His sister is dead though, and Ward is definitely dead. 🙂

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “What If…” – Hail the New World Order! Daisy and Simmons uncover secrets and lies in a world gone mad. With Hydra in control, they are our only hope to save everyone, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” TUESDAY, APRIL 4 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jennifer Clasen)

Roz: I don’t mind looking at old characters again, but I think it could get old, rather quickly.

Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) lecture to his student is horrifying. Yes/ Hell Yes! Beyond that, so you want escapist TV getting too political?

Rueben: Hell, Yes! It was troubling, scary and horrifying. I don’t like anything becoming political – honestly, I prefer being in a bubble where none of that is discussed – and I want that, even more so, in my favorite shows. But, given the story arc right now, it’s going to be hard not to have it turn political.

Karen: TV’s been political forever. Again, I’m okay with it as long as it’s entertaining. Captain America has been fighting Nazi’s since day one as well, so the fact that the theme pops up here isn’t surprising. Hydra’s origins just happen to coincide with something that seems politically charged, so that’s how it goes.

Roz: For the first part, yes, his speech was more than horrifying. To the second, I think the climate makes everything seem political when it isn’t, but it helps to see that frustration isn’t just limited to my small part of the world.

Hydra isn’t made of Nazis anymore. Oy! I want more of that kid! Do you? Do you think he’s meant to be us in this arc?

Rueben: I don’t buy that part at all. They are totally still Nazis; I can’t see that every changing, not even in the framework. I think it will be interesting to see how that kid might be able to help Daisy and Jemma. They definitely need all the help they can get.

Karen: Oh, it so is. Coulson is just spouting the “company” line. Anybody that’s part of the resistance is looking at Hydra from our perspective, but I think Daisy and Jemma are our “eyes” in this arc. And maybe even Ward.

Roz: I think that kid is a good way into the show for us now, if we can’t trust what Jemma and Daisy to be completely objective.

Holy forking shirt balls Ward (Brent Dalton)! Discuss.

Rueben: It was startling at first to see him alive; and then unsettling how comfortable he was working at Hydra; but then the twist that he’s potentially the good guy this time around. Holy sh*t!! My mind will be reeling over that for quite some time.

Karen: DOES THIS MEAN I GET GOOD WARD BACK?! Because yes please. I’m definitely on board with that.

Roz: Ward started to grate on me by the end, so I’m nervous about him being back and what role he can play in getting out of the Framework.

And damn Daisy and Jenna can’t get out and AIDA is now the Director of Hydra. Why do this?

Rueben: She’s controlling everything about the framework so I guess it stands to reason that she’d implant herself as the Director in the framework – the be all, end all, right? I just hope that they can come up with a way to break free.

Karen: Of course she reprogrammed it, it would’ve been a pretty short arc if they could get in and out. They’re going to have to gather their team from within, and therein lies the rub. It looks like they’ve managed to rouse Coulson, and that means they target team member number two. May will be the last to be converted, since she’s the most entrenched. And we all know how formidable she can be when she’s your enemy. Then they’ll have to go up against AIDA to get back out, and we’ll see how they overcome the tech part of that equation.

Roz: I appreciate a roadblock in the plan for Jemma and Daisy, but I think there were enough problems without removing the backdoor to get them back to the world we all know.

Aida and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker). What is she doing to everyone to keep her plan in place? Is there serious work in the Framework or is something else at play?

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “What If…” – Hail the New World Order! Daisy and Simmons uncover secrets and lies in a world gone mad. With Hydra in control, they are our only hope to save everyone, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” TUESDAY, APRIL 4 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jennifer Clasen)

Rueben: Given the reaction we witnessed at Wonder Con (the audience was none too pleased about that kiss – gross!) there is so much more going on than her just creating the framework for Radcliffe. I just can’t figure out what her end game is. As for what she’s doing to all of them, they didn’t appear to be physical harmed where they were being held, but that doesn’t mean anything. They could be in mental anguish. It’s hard for me to speculate, as I’m having a hard enough time wrapping my head around what we’ve seen so far just in the return episode. ARGH is all I can say right now.

Karen: Well, Fitz is probably the easiest right now because he doesn’t have the grounding presence of Jemma to lean on. Plus he has a mission and the constant control of AIDA to keep him in line. May has been there the longest, and has the reality of her “failed” mission that drives her. Coulson really had nothing to keep him tethered, and we saw that in the way he’d been gathering clippings that reminded him of his real life. We’ll probably get to Mack next – and Ward will be our inside man.

Roz: As Rueben said, the audience (myself included) was not pleased with this kiss, but I suppose if AIDA, or Madam Hydra, is running the show, she has to work her way into the life of all of the team. I like Karen’s idea that without Jemma, Fitz is just more malleable in his social life, even if he’s much more ruthless with his science. If the idea of Madam Hydra is to keep all the subjects close to observe, she might be on the right track, but that doesn’t explain why we didn’t see Mack in the episode.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 10PM/9PM Central on ABC.

Roz lives in the Los Angeles area, and has been a long time California girl. Despite her better judgment, she enjoys shows about the shallow sides of her home city, but will also find time to watch iZombie, Jane the Virgin, and much more. With a love of history, she also watches anything that is grounded in real life, including Victoria and black-ish. Having worked with children, she also follows shows she knows they watch (reminding her of those days of yore for her in the process). Contact her at


  1. Mike

    April 7, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Hey, 1st, I have to let you know there’s an unclosed anchor tag in the 1st paragraph after “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” which is making the top few discussions into one big link, and it’s a little distracting.

    Good discussion about the episode. One thing nobody really mentioned is the real world. Granted not much happened there this episode, but I think future episodes will have more real world stuff happening. In particular the Ivanov disembodied head controlled robot. But I’m not sure how that will really play into it.

    • Roz

      April 7, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      I just went through to fix that odd tag (something happened in a copy and paste) but it might take a bit to go through.