Thursday, April 6, 2017

Agents of HYDRA - What If...

Everything old is new again. Whether or not anyone wants it, whether or not the character ever worked, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to push Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). And guess what? He's a traitor in any reality. In the show's return from hiatus, Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) wake up in the computer-reality of the Framework and begin searching for their friends who don't realize the lives they are living are lies. Jemma wakes up having to dig her way out of her own grave. Daisy wakes up in Grant Ward's bed. It's hard to gauge which woman has a harder time assimilating to this brave new world.

S.H.I.E.L.D. is gone. Hydra is in power. Still called Skye, Daisy is Ward's partner in Hydra hunting and eliminating Inhumans. May (Ming-Na Wen) is... well, still May. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) is Hydra's head scientist, with questionable taste in women. And Coulson (Clark Gregg) is a teacher spreading the Hydra propaganda line to his students. It takes the entire episode but the pair of interlopers are able to finally to force one of their friends to remember. With Aida (Mallory Jansen) blocking their escape, Daisy and Jemma will have to work even harder to reach the other members of their team and turn them against the fake world if they have any chance of escape.

The episode provides an interesting set-up. For a single episode it works pretty well, although Coulson's refusing to believe the truth does get old only pretty fast. I'm not sure I'm ready to see the same scenes repeated with the other brainwashed members of S.H.I.E.L.D. There are a couple of troubling loopholes however, the biggest being Grant Ward. Since he is a computer program, a piece of the Framework, why would he help Skye and Jemma avoid Hydra? Isn't he designed to do Aida's will? Wouldn't she know everything the pair is doing through his eyes? And now that Daisy and Skye are trapped within the Framework, can't Aida simply reboot things (as she did over and over with May) to make the pair more compliant within the world she has fashioned? For that matter, why would one of Coulson's students be anti-Hydra? It serves the purpose of the episode (although him simply giving his car to a complete stranger is laughably dumb), but seems to fly in the face of what Aida would design the Framework. While curious to see this play-out, I'm hesitant to believe the show can sustain the storyline for an extended period.

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