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[S4E16] A Virtual World

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD returned after a six-week break. In the last episode, Aida, a Life Model Decoy succeeded in replacing the top agents within SHIELD. They were replaced by LMDs and are trapped inside the Framework--a super-advanced virtual reality world. A small group of agents--including Daisy, Simmons, and Yo Yo--managed to escape. Daisy and Simmons entered the Framework in order to locate their teammates. The episode ended with a glimpse into a shocking upside-down world with Hydra in power.

[S4E16] A Virtual World

In this world, Daisy is still going by "Skye" and they are both agents of Hydra. She and Ward have been together for several years, and her Framework version just asked him to move in the night before. Apparently he told her the time wasn't right and he needed some space. He also said, "There are things about me you wouldn't like if you knew." These are the exact words he said in Season 1, Episode 19.

When they arrive at the Triskelion (last seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier), it is now Hydra's main headquarters. Daisy managed to get onto her computer at her work station to look up some friends. Lincoln died during testing, and Simmons died at the SHIELD Academy from a contamination. Before she can diver further into the file, May demanded she get into the briefing. Daisy is relieved to see her, but May had no idea the entire world is wrong.

In the briefing, May put Skye and Ward on the task to get answers from an Inhuman they've detained. It turned out to be Vijay Nadeer using a false name. In the real world, Vijay was killed by his sister--the senator--because she despised anything alien and was working with The Superior. In the Framework, Vijay managed to get a false Hydra-issued ID--which meant there's a mole inside Hydra.

Coulson lectures his class about the evil of Inhumans. He mentioned the "Cambridge Incident" in which an Inhuman girl from Bahrain was rescued and taken there. This was the same child May was forced to kill in the real world. The child killed an untold number of people which allowed Hydra to use this and declare a war against Inhumans.

Later in his office, he pulled out an old file with newspaper clippings related to key moments in the real world. He also had several sheets of paper with "It's a wonderful place" written over and over.

Fitz is referred to as The Doctor here. He's the second in command of Hydra and developed a way to painfully test potential Inhumans without them going through the Terrigenesis process. After barking orders at May, he visited Madame Hydra, who turned out to be Aida. Aida is naturally in charge of the world in the Framework. She became aware there were some subversives and disabled their escape. Fitz wanted to deal with them himself, passionately stating he wanted to protect everything they've built as well as Aida. If the world wasn't freaky enough, Fitz and Aida kiss.

The show is loosely following the idea behind the What If? comics. The characters are all leading different lives from the result of one event happening differently. A lot of detail was put into fleshing out the world including the changes to the Triskelion and all the propaganda posters seen throughout. Seeing alternate versions of characters may not be a new concept, but it's fascinating to see the actors take on the changes. With most of the Framework characters pretty much all taking opposite allegiances, it shouldn't be a surprise to see this version of Grant Ward only has good intentions. It's a way to redeem the character and provide awkward and confusing moments for Daisy and Simmons. Because they're trapped in the Framework now, they'll need all the help they can get.

That being said, it was just another example of how well the writers mapped this season out and, despite the initial shock, it slotted into the bonkers storyline rather seamlessly. It has, however, left the Legends without the character now, as her desperation to save Nate took her out of the temporal zone, which ultimately led to this virtual time-remnant disappearing from existence.

It has been nearly two months since the last original episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But after weeks of anticipation, the wait is nearly over. When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday night, we will see a world unlike any we have seen in Marvel shows or films to date: one where reality is controlled by Hydra.

Still, Simmons was not alone after all, as it turned out that Daisy had also not been replaced with an LMD. After fighting their way through the robotic versions of their friends and teammates, the pair decide that the only way to save Coulson, May, Mack and Fitz is to hack into the Framework. Once inside, they will realize that the world that Radcliffe and Aida created is drastically different from reality.

In episode 16 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., fans will get to see what a world controlled by Hydra looks like. While there may be no Red Skull or Baron Strucker to lead up the evil organization, there will be another familiar name from the comics: Madame Hydra.

In the Framework, Madame Hydra, who is also known as Viper in the comics, will be played by Mallory Jansen, the same actress who plays Aida in the real world (of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Entertainment Weekly recently spoke with executive producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, who explained the reasoning behind introducing Madame Hydra.

Todd Chrisley and his family have the basic tech necessities like phones, of course, but they have some fun luxuries like a virtual reality headset and exercise equipment. Although the family is grateful for these, there have been several occasions over the years where technology is less of a blessing on the Chrisley household and more of a curse.

Clark Gregg reprises his role as Coulson from the film series, starring alongside the returning series regulars Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, and Henry Simmons. They are joined by John Hannah who was promoted from his recurring guest role in the third season. The fourth season was ordered in March 2016, with production taking place from that July until the following April. Due to its broadcast schedule, the season was split into three "pods": Ghost Rider for the first eight episodes, featuring recurring guest star Gabriel Luna as the supernatural Robbie Reyes / Ghost Rider and exploring mysticism in the MCU alongside the film Doctor Strange (2016); LMD, referring to the new Life Model Decoy program, for the next seven episodes which focus on recurring guest star Mallory Jansen as the LMD Aida; and Agents of Hydra for the final seven episodes, partly set in a "what if" virtual reality that allowed the return of former series regular Brett Dalton as Grant Ward. The season is also affected by the events of the film Captain America: Civil War (2016), and continues storylines established in the canceled series Agent Carter.

Following the third season's dealing with the themes of Captain America: Civil War, such as the opposing reactions to the Inhumans, Whedon said that the question of "How do you deal with a war with powered people at that level, a government level?" was one that they wanted to answer in the fourth season.[58] Tancharoen called the Inhumans "a permanent part of our universe now", with Whedon adding, "we have a quick-fire way of introducing people with powers. It gives us a lot of leeway in our world, and it lets us explore the metaphors of what it is like to be different. We will never close that chapter."[59] With the Inhumans film being removed from Marvel Studios' release schedule, the series had "a little more freedom" and were "able to do a little bit more" with the species, including the potential of introducing some of the "classic" Inhumans,[60] though the series would focus less on Inhumans than the third season which saw "a real significant Inhuman agenda story".[61] It was not intended to be a spin-off of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.[62] On the evolution of S.H.I.E.L.D. to featuring so many powered characters, Whedon said "the dynamic in the world has changed. There was one person with powers, and then by The Avengers there were maybe six total ... now they're much more prevalent, so there's reaction from the public based on that."[27]

The third pod of the season "ties together [the season] thematically",[70] taking the characters into the virtual world of the Framework, where their lives are different from the real world. This explores "what if" scenarios for many of the characters by showing who they may have been if a major regret of their life was changed,[81] hence the pod's title, Agents of Hydra.[68] This continues the season's focus on the nature of identity and reality, having "payoff[s] to all the reflection[s] on the past" such as Mack's tragic loss of his daughter and Fitz's troubled relationship with his father. Bennet called the pod "very relevant. It's definitely a theme that I think has been kind of hopping around in pop culture at the moment. But it's kind of like a fun Marvel take on that. For all those people who wished to see these characters in a different light, this is going to be the time for that to happen."[70] Whedon felt that this storyline would not be interesting early in a series, but is rewarding after spending "80-plus episodes with these characters".[81]

Whedon said they replaced S.H.I.E.L.D. with Hydra in the Framework to show "that this world was not what was intended, and what really symbolizes the opposite of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the ultimate evil in our world is Hydra. It's more about our people than it is about the organization itself this time around."[81] It was noted that "the bad guy [Hydra] is in charge and Inhumans are being hunted" could be taken as a commentary on the political climate under the Presidency of Donald Trump. On approaching this subject, Tancharoen said that there was no nervousness in the writer's room, and Whedon said that the similarities to Trump's America was simply an attempt to "paint the reality where, what if the world just turned upside down?" The pod sees Hydra based out of the Triskelion, a S.H.I.E.L.D. building that was destroyed by Hydra previously in the MCU. It also features the return of the character Grant Ward to the series, with Whedon explaining, "We figured when you get dropped into an alternate reality, what better way to show that it might not be everything you imagined than the return of one of our most loved and most hated characters."[67] 041b061a72


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