Picking up immediately after last week’sAgents of SHIELD," Fitz and Simmons are trying to deal with the fact that Life Model Decoys have replaced their friends and infiltrated the base. When anyone can be an LMD though, Fitz and Simmons might not be who they say they are either. The LMD arc heads toward an end in “Self Control” as the spring finale.

De Caestecker and Henstridge deserve all the awards

Any time Fitz and Simmons have huge moments in an episode, we’ve got to take note.

Really, even when they have small moments in an episode, we’ve got to take note. Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge are such emotional power houses on the show that any time they have a scene like the ones we see tonight - freaking out about their situation, that one of them is an LMD, and the subsequent stabbing - I’m reminded how underutilized they are on “Agents of SHIELD.”

I’m definitely an advocate of reminding viewers that this is an ensemble show and everyone gets their moment in an episode, but when you have two actors who can effortlessly rip the audience’s collective hearts out, why wouldn’t you make good use of them on a regular basis?

They are magic on screen together. It’s a shame that their scenes together so far this season have been fleeting reminders that they’re dating because Jed Whedon (who co-runs the show with wife Maurissa Tancharoen) wrote and directed a knockout of a sequence for them in tonight’s episode. It was emotional, arresting, and downright heartbreaking. And that’s not to knock Chloe Bennet, who also has a brilliant performance in “Self Control.”

The LMD twist

As it turns out, when four LMDs were detected in last week’s episode, they weren’t all in one place.

Daisy wasn’t an LMD, though she did run into a room full of Daisy-bots in “Self Control,” which was certainly creepy enough on its own. Instead, it was Mack, Coulson, Mace, and Fitz who were replaced, leaving the two women on their own against all of their closest friends. It’s a twist a lot of the audience wouldn’t see coming, especially with Fitz as the one person on the show most equipped to go up against Radcliffe and Aida.

Jemma and Daisy team up

It’s about time these two got to reunite for some “bad girl shenanigans.” Okay, so maybe they aren’t actually being bad girls this time around, but it seems like Jemma and Daisy only get to team up once or twice a season. We saw them unite, albeit reluctantly, during the Ghost Rider arc, but the two haven’t had a lot of one-on-one time in this story arc. It’s nice to see a couple of the female characters kicking butt and taking names, even as things don’t exactly go the way they planned.

Into the framework

When Jemma and Daisy can’t think of a way to track down where their loved ones are (physically), they make the decision to enter the framework and “wake them up." But what’s in the framework? A few callbacks to season one for Daisy a la Ward and a gravestone for Jemma, while Fitz appears to be with someone new, Coulson is teaching, Mack has his old life back, and May is in charge of a Hydra base. What? The biggest question is: what does this mean for Jemma?

What is the third arc?

The LMD arc of the season was supposed to be put to rest with “Self Control,” but it seems like not everything is all tied up. With the entire main cast in the framework, their minds tied to the same machine keeping the bodies alive while LMDs are out in the world, the LMD arc still has to find its way to conclude. With that in mind, what comes next for the show? An alternate reality. Could we be heading for the “Agents of SHIELD” version of “The Matrix?”

The verdict and what’s next

That was one fast paced and intense episode. A solid directorial debut for Jed Whedon with a show that felt like a horror movie at times and a feminist action flick at others. Amazing.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

We’re in for a long break between the second and third arcs of this season’s “Agents of SHIELD” episodes. The series returns with all new episodes in April.

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