After Jemma figured out just where AIDA planned on putting her evil plans into action in the real world last week, she and Daisy are desperate to get their team out of the Framework and stop AIDA. Daisy knows where Radcliffe’s exit is, but in “Agents of SHIELD,” nothing is ever as easy as someone plans. The team encounters an unexpected roadblock as the clock ticks down in “Farewell, Cruel World!”

The pacing is torture

We discover that Daisy and Jemma have been in the Framework for ten days now. That’s a lot longer than it seems they’ve been in there since their events have been so condensed all season.

With AIDA knowing where the SHIELD quinjet is and Jemma knowing where AIDA is, the whole episode is like one giant countdown clock. This episode might be their final hours in the Framework, but it feels like days instead.

This episode compacts a lot of Framework events into one go: Simmons finally going after Fitz, Alistair Fitz getting a bullet, May learning about another reality, saying goodbye to Trip, AIDA going through the looking glass, everyone converging at the exit point, and Radcliffe proving he isn’t totally evil. It’s one thing after another, cramming what could have been laid out gradually over the last few episodes into one very tense episode. It makes you wonder just what’s going to happen in the last two episodes of the season since this episode feels so much like a finale.

Do we have to say goodbye to Trip?

I’m not sad to see Alistair Fitz go, but Trip is a whole other story. BJ Britt remains a breath of fresh air during a dramatic storyline, just like he was in seasons one and two. The show needs someone a little more laid back in its ranks. I’m definitely sad to see Trip remain in the Framework.

Seeing Daisy reunite with him, and then encourage him to be the new Patriot, is a nice way to end our time with him. If the writers ever decide to bring any other minds out of the Framework, my vote is still for Trip (or maybe the adorable Hope), but I’m glad the writers allowed us to revisit him in this arc.

Iain de Caestecker continues to impress

He gets to run the full gamut in “Farewell, Cruel World!” Not only do we get this vindictive and dark Doctor that we’ve grown to know in the Framework, but we get to see the anger that informs him as he threatens Holden Radcliffe and sets out after Jemma.

De Caestecker doesn’t go cold this time, letting the passion that Fitz has in the real world become a part of the Doctor as he tells Jemma she is nothing to him and points a gun at her head in retaliation for the death of his father. That rage is completely flipped when we see Fitz back in the real world and realizing all of the horrible things he’s done.

The horror and sadness, just on the edge of panic, that de Caestecker plays with is exquisite.

Confusion comes next as we see just how deep the memories of the Framework go for him as he walks right over to Ophelia, blocking her from the team. It’s heartbreaking for the Fitzsimmons fans.

Of course, this emotional performance is cut off thanks to the in-the-flesh Ophelia teleporting (is Ophelia an Inhuman now?) Fitz to who knows where - because we needed a cliffhanger, and another reason for Fitz and Simmons to be apart, right? When do we cut this couple some slack? At one point does the emotional roller coaster stop being fun for fans and become a death drop? The writers have to give them a reprieve by the end of the season or fans might not be willing to take much more.

The verdict and what’s next

Possibly the best of the Framework episodes so far, even if that ending is heart-wrenching for fans of FitzSimmons, “Farewell, Cruel World!” did not hold back. The pacing is dialed up to 11 along with the emotional hits and the plot movement. I would have been happier in this arc if it was all like this.

4.5 out of 5 stars

In next week’s “The Return,” the team might be out of the Framework, but that doesn’t mean they can celebrate a victory. They still have an enemy on the outside of it to deal with.