Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, Episode 19, "All the Madame's Men" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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You know, I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to watch this show when it first airs, considering my struggles the last two weeks!  In fact, when the episode first started, I half expected the TV to spontaneously combust just to make it a trifecta of missing episodes.  Fortunately, however, the television remained intact, the satellite was unaffected by the weather, and I did not receive any last-minute hospital calls, so my Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.-watching experience was uninterrupted.

And what an experience it was!  There are a lot of things that this series has been doing well with the Framework pod of episodes, and they are on full display in this episode.  There are some less-successful elements as well, but as a whole it is a very enjoyable episode.


  • I am glad they finally revealed AIDA’s endgame.  Up until this point, that has been the weakest element of the pod:  we didn’t know what AIDA was trying to accomplish by keeping everyone docile in the Framework.  Now we do.
  • For as much as I enjoy Tripp’s “roll with the punches” reaction to Simmons’ Framework reveal, I think Ward is my favorite back-from-the-dead character, especially since everyone is getting an opportunity to reconcile with him.  After Daisy returned and was distant toward him, I was expecting Ward to betray them, but I am glad he continued to stay with them.
    • I liked the way they worked in that in the Framework, Ward was recruited by Victoria Hand instead of John Garrett
  • Daisy shooting AIDA out the window was pretty awesome
  • Bakshi is a nice callback
  • Mace’s death is handled very well in this episode as all the characters are working through it
  • I like Alistair Fitz a little better in this episode, particularly after the scene with Radcliffe


  • While I understand that May was able to remember things by muscle memory in the Framework (based on the episode where she was fighting her way through it repeatedly), it is still awfully convenient for her to remember Coulson based on tying his tie.  And it is somewhat out of character (even for a May with less Bahrain-related trauma) for her to discuss that déjà-vu with Coulson.
  • Ivanov’s role in this episode seemed to primarily involve reminding the audience that there’s still a real world out there.  I suspect that he’s going to be a little less than thrilled when AIDA doesn’t give him a new body, though, so maybe that will be interesting.

Things to Look for:

  • I fully expect AIDA to betray Ivanov
  • What’s going to happen if/when Fitz gets to the real world and sees his own body strapped to the machine?
  • The TV broadcast had a very Star Wars Rebels feel to it: the whole time I was expecting a Hydra quinjet to blow the studio up

The Framework pod of episodes has been a great opportunity to explore characters like Ward in new and different ways, shedding new light on them.  That is certainly on display in this episode, particularly when Ward volunteers to stay behind and protect the studio to keep the broadcast going.  To be honest, the only real problems I see in this episode came from trying to do too much with the premise.  Hopefully they will continue their hot streak with the final 3 episodes of the season.  And hopefully Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will receive a renewal for season 5.  This series isn’t getting stale any time soon!

What did you think of this episode?  Who is your favorite Framework character?  Let me know in the comments!

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