Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, Episode 16, "What If..." REVIEW (SPOILERS)

Image Courtesy

So Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back. And it is pretty much insane! This is certainly shaping up to be the craziest pod of episodes that we’ve seen from this series. Nothing is as it seems, the characters are all different than we remember, and some of the sides have completely changed. Hydra won over S.H.I.E.L.D., so Hail the New World Order!


  • I appreciated their decision not to hold off on telling us what had happened to Simmons. They also wasted no time in revealing how a lot of the changes from the Framework had played out.
  • They do a really good job of demonstrating how dystopian the Framework is. We are led to believe that it will be a form of paradise, but it really isn’t. In fact, the Framework proves that we cannot necessarily make our lives better by doing things differently. May saved the girl (Katya?), but the girl then turned around and murdered a number of her classmates, leading to Hydra’s rise.
  • I’m not sure if I was surprised by the reveal that Ward was working with the Inhuman Resistance. On the one hand, in the real world he was a double agent, so making him a double agent in the Framework makes sense. On the other hand, he was Hydra in the real world, so it would also have made sense for him to remain Hydra. But what this does demonstrate is that Ward’s loyalty to Skye/Daisy was far more powerful than his loyalty to Hydra (but anyone could see that in season 2!). Is this going to redeem Ward’s character in the eyes of fans?
  • The revelation that Fitz is the “Doctor” in charge of Hydra (under Aida’s “Madame Hydra,” with whom he is in a relationship) was pretty wild; I wish they hadn’t revealed that in the press lead-up to the episode’s airing.
  • Coulson’s arc in this episode is very Neo: He subconsciously knows that there is something wrong, and is giving his brain clues that it isn’t real, but can’t really put things together until Daisy. And the fact that the episode ends with him saying “Daisy” is rather clever.


  • There were a few places where the balance felt off between the soundtrack and the dialogue, which made it difficult to hear what Fitz was saying. I generally avoid saying these kinds of things because I always wonder if it is an issue on my end.
  • They still haven’t explained what Fitz’s big regret is that Aida corrected? Was his great regret the fact that he never knew his father? We know so little about his history that the options are extremely limited, and his regret over his father was mentioned quite recently, both of which make it the most likely option. In fact, looking back at the season, I can see how Mack, Fitz, and Coulson all had their “big regrets” thrown into episodes this season so that this arc could work. I’m not sure if I should be upset about that or whether I should appreciate how well they were able to integrate Fitz’s “daddy issues” into the narrative.

Things to Look for:

  • In the teaser for next episode, it looks like Mace is going to be one of the few people who actually benefit from the Framework, since he gets to really be a hero. Will that—as compared to his real-world life of posing as an Inhuman—affect his willingness to fight against the Framework and escape?
  • I am really curious to see what other characters they are going to bring in as part of the Framework. Might Jiaying be a leader of the Resistance?
  • How much of the Framework will they remember when they (inevitably) escape to the real world and defeat Aida? If they can remember all the Inhumans they meet in the Framework (and they have the Inhuman gene in real life), that would give them a huge advantage going into next season.

What was your favorite part of this episode? Who do you think Fitz’s father really is (since I think that’s going to be significant)? How do you think they will escape the Framework? Let me know in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment