Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: What If...
April 5, 2017 5:10 PM - Season 4, Episode 16 - Subscribe

Daisy and Simmons uncover secrets and lies in a world gone mad. With Hydra in control, they are our only hope to save everyone.

Ghost Rider delved into Marvel's mystical nature. L.M.D. featured its mechanical side. Now Agents of Hydra brings them both together.

Now that Aida has trapped most of the SHIELD team in the Framework, Daisy and Simmons have gone inside to rescue the team. But what they find is a world turned inside out, with everyone's loyalties changed, history altered, and personalities distinctly different from the real world. Like the dark period of "It's a Wonderful Life" or the funkiest issues of Marvel's What If comic, we find out what it means for the agents to live without their deepest regret, starting with May not killing the little inhuman girl in Bahrain.

May is a cold commander in Hydra, Fitz a soulless Mengele experimenting on inhumans, Coulson a brainwashed teacher, and they're all working for Aida in the guise of Madame Hydra. Simmons is (walking) dead, and Daisy Skye is having relationship and trust issues with her boyfriend Ward. When they discover their backdoor out of the Framework is locked, they have to work from within to defeat Aida, starting with a visit to a magical place.

A.V. Club: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. turns the world inside out, in the best possible way

io9: Agents of SHIELD Has the Most Chilling Version of Hydra—One That Feels Eerily Real
posted by GhostintheMachine (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wow, nice return after March Madness. This was a blast of an episode from start to finish for me. Not sure how long the show's creative team has been planning on creating a timely totalitarian vision of the world, but it's completely unashamed to go full tilt on this one. I enjoyed most of the Ghost Rider arc, and L.M.D. eventually improved after a questionable opening, but this one promises to be the real winner this season - and we haven't even met Mack, Mace, and Radcliffe inside yet. Bringing back Ward was worth it for the snappy exchanges after the twist, with Jemma and Daisy getting in some great shots.

A few weak spots - the rebel student was bizarre, and I couldn't understand why Jemma could never find soap or even a damp cloth - but they seem minor compared to the rest of the setup. A standout episode.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:28 PM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was way behind on this show this year, but having a cold this week means I've had time to binge on it on my DVR and catch up. I plowed through 11 episodes in two days starting with where I left off last year with Ghost Rider's origin episode all the way up to last night's show and, let me tell you, it's a wild, fast-moving ride when seen all at once. Going all the way from Ghost Rider to "Agents of HYDRA" on the title card made me wonder if I'd taken too much NyQuil and was having fever dreams.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:34 PM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's a shame that this show spent three seasons driving off its natural fan base, because this season has been really good.

Fitz as evil doctor with the Hilter youth haircut give me the same sort of vibe as when Doogie Howser turned into a psychic space Gestapo agent in Starship Troopers.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:41 PM on April 5, 2017 [6 favorites]

Yeah, this was absolutely great. So much better than I was expecting, especially how things went so wrong.

Plus, hey, they got Brett Dalton another guest spot. Ha.
posted by mordax at 7:10 PM on April 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

This was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to seeing if they manage to do anything interesting with regards to dealing with what are essentially a lot of AIs walking around. If Ward is a sort of good person here, how do you break it to him that he's a sim? Convince him to perhaps work against his interests and get you out if your subsequent actions might be to destroy his own universe - turn off the matrix?
posted by phearlez at 8:13 AM on April 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm assuming they'll just ignore that ethical nightmare even as they emphasize the completeness of the lives of the sim's inhabitants. It's already upsetting me. I sat there thinking about this from their perspective -- if someone came to our world and told us that it's a simulation and that once they get their friend out, they're going to, you know, end the entire universe. And they're the good guys. Uh-huh.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:00 AM on April 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

it's a simulation and that once they get their friend out, they're going to, you know, end the entire universe.

Can I interest you in a membership in the SPCKT, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Koopa Troopas?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:26 AM on April 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ivan Fyodorovich, never play a computer game, like, ever.
posted by Pendragon at 11:06 AM on April 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was sorta surprised how long Jemma kept looking half dead - I sorta expected that she picked up some zombie-style powers in the Framework to balance out Daisy's loss of powers.
posted by Kyol at 6:21 PM on April 6, 2017

Anyone want to place bets as to whether Good!Ward comes back as an LMD?
posted by rednikki at 10:25 PM on April 6, 2017

Anyone want to place bets as to whether Good!Ward comes back as an LMD?

Ooh, that's just asking for trouble next season, isn't it? "Why is everyone so suspicious of me? I don't understand. What do you mean I betrayed the team? I would never do that. Never do that. Betray. Betray. [static, garbled speech]. Would never. I love you, Skye. Daisy. Skye. Would never. DESTROY DESTROY DESTROY."

Coulson: "OK, whose turn is it to kill him this time?"
posted by Servo5678 at 6:22 AM on April 7, 2017 [6 favorites]

Have you tried turning him off and on again?
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:58 PM on April 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

Why didn't they shower before going to work? That's kinda gross.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 2:31 PM on April 9, 2017

I wonder if Jemma has zombie powers.
posted by kittensofthenight at 6:13 PM on April 11, 2017

And thats why her skin tone and wounds aren't healing etc.?
posted by kittensofthenight at 6:15 PM on April 11, 2017

That was an excellent episode. Pretty disturbing to realize this dystopia all started from May's not killing someone. Also, fuck are Fitz and Coulson disturbing.

Why is Jemma dead here if they planned to put her into the simulation? Still not clear there.

Ward as a mole GOOD guy? Fuuuuuuuuck that's also disturbing, though also a bit heartening. I wonder if we fix his deepest regret, he's not an asshole...though then again, isn't he dead and not in the sim as himself?

(The soap comment just made me laugh since I started the next episode.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:13 PM on July 4, 2017

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