Thursday, April 20, 2017

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, Episode 17, "Identity and Change" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Well, it took quite a while (and didn’t want to cooperate with me) but I finally managed to watch last week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  And it was certainly worth the wait.  There are a lot of things going on inside the Framework, and a lot of our favorite characters’ personalities are being explored in new and different ways.  There are a lot of fun moments in the episode, but there are also a lot of serious things going on, as well.


  • Coulson is basically Neo… but he’s actually crazy
    • Interesting that Coulson’s TAHITI experience allows him to remember fragments of the real world
  • Mack and his daughter are adorable.  Mack’s fear of Hydra makes me wonder if he was S.H.I.E.L.D. before the Cambridge incident and Hydra uprising, but it appears as though he is just an innocent citizen.
  • I like this new version of Ward
    • Simmons’ mistrust of Ward is very natural given their history
  • AIDA is trying to keep Fitz from seeing Simmons’ picture, but shows him anyways.  Fitz has no reaction to seeing Simmons except vow to eliminate her.
  • I like what they are doing with Mace—and he’s an Inhuman
    • Mace gets to be the leader of men and hero that he always dreamed of being
    • Billy Koenig gave him the location of the Playground
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. is protecting potential Inhumans
  • Radcliffe is quite amusing with his confusion at seeing Ward
    • Radcliffe and AIDA’s conversation is quite illuminating
    • AIDA has been manipulating the program the whole time.  AIDA is coming into her own in this episode.
  • AIDA and Radcliffe fighting over Fitz’s soul was a fascinating scene, especially tied with Simmons coming to terms with this new Fitz
  • Mack joining up to make things right with Hope shows his nobility


  • Why are they at Mack’s house looking for Simmons?  Having seen further, I understand why, but that brings up a lot more questions.
  • Wait, so Fitz knows about the real world, and Project Looking Glass is about seeing into the real world?
  • May used Mack against Daisy:  why?  Does May know about the real world?  Or is it just AIDA and Fitz?
  • This is a really dark turn for Fitz, considering that he was the moral center of the series for 3½ years.  I’m not sure how I feel about it just yet.

Things to Watch For:

  • The pass code is very Captain America: The First Avenger
  • What’s up with AIDA?  Is Madame Hydra not actually AIDA but something created by the Darkhold?
  • The comic book connections are very strong with the Framework:
    • AIDA is basically Kobik, the anthropomorphized Cosmic Cube that flipped Steve Rogers to Hydra
    • Fitz is basically Steve Rogers, who has gone from one of the major forces of good in the series to the ostensible leader of Hydra—and it appears from this episode that this is his true self (see Secret Empire #0)
    • Simmons feels like a play on Layla from the House of M storyline, in that she is the one who knows what the world should be like
    • Mack reminds me a lot of Peter Parker from both House of M and the “Renew Your Vows” tie-in to Secret Wars:  he is not a hero because he has a family and is focusing on protecting his daughter, but he is called back into the fight because his daughter brings out his inner nobility

This was one of the most shocking episodes so far, and I am very excited to see where the show is heading, particularly with Fitz and May, who have been affected the most by the Framework.  I will watch this week’s episode and review it tomorrow, so watch for that some time in the afternoon.

What was your favorite part of this episode?  Do you think some of these characters can be redeemed?  Let me know in the comments!

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