Last week’sAgents of SHIELD” saw May slip Daisy a Terrigen crystal, activating her Inhuman abilities. This week, May and Daisy team up, though this isn’t exactly the May we’re used to. Meanwhile, Jemma and Trip do a little recon, and Coulson tries to find his place in the resistance while Ward goes looking for Daisy. A familiar face, gone since season two, also surfaces in the framework in “All The Madame’s Men.”

Vintage team-ups

Even though not everyone in the episode is awake to their true selves, we still get some fun team-ups that call back the early days of the show.

In addition to Daisy and May fighting their way out of the Triskelion (and reminding us of late season one/early season two), we also see Jemma and Trip go on their mission. The duo also was paired up during another big Hydra storyline - all they had was each other at the Hub when SHIELD fell, and Hydra took over in season one.

Jemma figures out AIDA’s plan

As predicted, AIDA wants to go all Pinocchio and be a real, live girl, just like Eli Morrow created matter out of nothing. While Jemma determines just where AIDA is using Darkhold instructions to build her “looking glass,” it turns out she’s not building it inside the Framework, but outside of it. It does beg the question of why Fitz is working so hard on it inside the Framework, though it would make sense if a doorway had to be activated in both places for Madame Hydra and AIDA to end up in the real world as a real person.

Interestingly, Jemma figures it out while rambling to a very confused Trip. Even though Trip is a construct of the Framework, he believes what she’s saying, even if he doesn’t understand it. Why does he believe her when no one else in the Framework other than Coulson has? Who knows? Maybe Trip will be lucky enough for his Framework consciousness to make it out.

More daddy issues

Disappointingly, Radcliffe reveals that Alistair Fitz is nothing more than a piece of code meant to placate Leopold Fitz. It would have been a much more interesting twist if Radcliffe and AIDA had actually stuck Alistair in the Framework as well since they knew each other. This does make it appear as though Fitz’s big regret is the relationship with his father, though really, he was better off without him.

Coulson for the win

With Coulson as the one person who has flashes of his previous life, we all knew he’d be in a unique position, but he’s slotting into his leadership role so easily, it’s like he never actually believed in the Framework at all. It’s Coulson who gets Mack to trust May when she and Daisy need assistance. It’s Coulson who comes up with a compromise when Ward and Daisy want different things. It’s Coulson who gives the inspiring speech and shows the world that he’s still an agent of SHIELD.

Those Easter eggs

During Bakshi’s news reports, a few Easter eggs appear in the crawl at the bottom of the screen. In addition to a glimpse of Bill Paxton’s character, there are also mentions of Daniel Whitehall and the Malick family, who had major hands in Hydra in season three.

There are likely more; see if you can catch them!

Victoria Hand gets a shout out as the woman who recruited Ward for SHIELD in the Framework. It’s a nice twist on his origin story since she was the first SHIELD agent we saw him kill in cold blood, revealing him as a traitor in season one. Bonus: as Ward tells the story, Coulson places a hand on his chest in a familiar position; you might remember him crushing it and killing him in season three.

There are also plenty of real-world political references in the episode, but I’m sure you can pick them out.

The verdict and what’s next

This episode had a lot of fun moments, but I still can’t wait to get out of the Framework and into the fight in the real world.

3.5 out of 5 stars

In next week’s “Farewell, Cruel World!” Daisy and Simmons are racing against the clock to get everyone they care about out of the Framework once and for all.