Daisy finds herself at the mercy of the Framework version of Fitz while Mace and Coulson team up to find a familiar face for “#Agents of SHIELD” fans. Meanwhile, Jemma isn’t doing a great job at getting through to her old team members, though Coulson might have better luck.
Fitz has daddy issues
Iain de Caestecker continues to be creepy perfection as this evil version of Fitz in the Framework. As AIDA explains to Daisy, she fixed on regret in everyone’s life to take away their pain, and while it seems like she might have really tweaked more than just one in some cases, it looks like fan speculation was right on the money that Fitz’s regret has something to do with his father.
The only indication we’ve got about Fitz’s father so far on the show is that he thought his son wasn’t all that special. In the Framework though, they appear to at least be on speaking terms, and both deep in Hydra to boot.
Radcliffe is pretty certain that there’s no going back from this version of Fitz, but Daisy wants to believe that he’s still in there. We see bits and pieces of the real Fitz as he practically cows to his father, who we get confirmation knows nothing about science and was abusive during Fitz’s childhood. The real Fitz has to be in there somewhere, right? Even him deciding to drop a bomb on a building full of teenagers isn’t going to make me buy that there’s no way to get the real Fitz back. After all, he hasn’t interacted up close and personal with Jemma yet.
In what might have been the most anticipated Framework appearance, #BJ Britt returns as Agent Triplett! Fans have lamented his untimely death and searched for loopholes since the writers killed him off in season two.
It’s such a treat to see him again. And even better? He’s not so changed in the Framework, he's still the grandson of a Howling Commando who uses old-school spy gear, still going up against Hydra, and still a ray of sunshine.
His appearance wasn’t publicly announced before the episode, so I hope we’ll be seeing him more in this story arc. In fact, I’d love if his consciousness found its way out of the Framework and into a real world Life Model Decoy. Fans have speculated that Ward might get that gift, but Trip would be the real treat. Brett Dalton has already had the chance to play four different characters on the show.
Is Mace a goner?
Jemma has been very clear that if you die in the Framework, you die in the real world, so Mace, sacrificing himself to save everyone else, might just have been our first casualty. Interestingly, if his regret was that he wasn’t actually a hero in the real world when he didn’t save anyone during the bombing events in “Captain America: Civil War,” it’s his death, not the world AIDA created, that “fixes” that regret.
Could that be a loophole for him considering AIDA’s parameters? Or did Mace go out like a hero? We do see AIDA watching him flatline.
Snap out of it, May
When Coulson and May come face to face for the first time in the Framework, it’s while the Patriot is saving them all. May is supposed to confirm the death of the SHIELD director, but it’s Coulson who tells her to snap out of it and help them. It’s a quick moment, but there’s a change in the demeanor of both actors that signals what’s next - May might be waking up.
The next time we see her, she’s giving Daisy access to a terrigen crystal so awaken her Inhuman abilities. That sure seems like May knows that Daisy is the ace in the hole for a team of SHIELD agents who want out of the Framework. But is this really May waking up, or is this just May fed up with Hydra lying to her? We’ll have to see.
Those Easter eggs
Coulson quips that Ward makes him itch at one point, likening the sensation to “hives,” Hive was the Inhuman who took over Ward's dead body. It’s a funny line that the audience will understand, but we get so many more shout outs as well.
The serum May gets from Hydra is the one Daisy’s father used to become Mr. Hyde, and the one augmented to make Mace’s super soldier serum in the real world. The doctor who gave it to her? Jemma’s old lab partner when she was undercover at Hydra in season two.
Continuing the Captain America parallels, Mace reveals that he’s from Brooklyn just like Steve Rogers. He and Coulson also get to take on Hydra and load people onto “the bus,” and the rehab center uses the real world version of Hydra’s brainwashing.
The verdict and what’s next
“#No Regrets” gets points for bringing back BJ Britt, but the episode was also full of so many fun callbacks while still building the emotional stakes. So far, the biggest emotional pull still seems to come from Mack’s relationship with his daughter, though I’m sensing a big Fitz/Simmons reunion in the audience’s future.
4 out of 5 stars.
In next week’s “All The Madame’s Men,” Daisy finds herself a new ally while Coulson tries to rally the SHIELD troops in the wake of Mace’s death.