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April 04 2017

(SPOILER) Discuss Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4x16 "What if...". Welcome back! The episode was written by DJ Doyle and directed by Oz Scott.

Hi everybody!

Pretty fast-paced with some nice little callbacks though I do have some questions about the setup of The Framework now...

Side note: This is like the 4th show I know this season with some type of reality warp. Strange.
Ignoring the Canadian... 😁
Blame Canada eh?
Didn't think I was going to make it, but made it home in time!
I do hope they explain why Aida chose this for the framework...
Buffy Lives.
It does have a Buffy vibe to it.
Well that was Buffyesque...
For a secret agent, Daisy is awfully slow to adapt...
Daisy's not in the real world. That may have something to do with it.
But seriously, why is Hydra in charge in the framework? Does anyone have a clue?
This is "Mirror, Mirror."
I'm not sure which VJ is in a worse spot right now...
As for why Hydra won I have a theory, wait to after...
How is Jemma a better spy than Daisy?! Haha.
It sounds like Elizabeth Henstridge is sick. Could be part of the waking from the dead thing, but her voice is raspy the way Faith's and Buffy's were when Eliza Dushku and SMG came down with colds.
Man Simmons just gets f----d no matter what.
Well I hate this world.
Wait. If Hydra won does that mean Bucky is still the Winter Soldier?
Fitz should always be evil.
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
EH is really knocking out of the park in this episode.
Dark Fitz and Darker May. Bad Mr. Feeny Coulson.
So this entire world exists because May's biggest regret was the Bahrain op and with that undone everything else happened like this? But May knew what that girl was capable of. Even alt-May wouldn't have put that girl in a public school... What was the date of the Bahrain thing? I wonder if they ever even found Captain America, of if they did but didn't thaw him out. (Sorry, don't mean to keep circling to Cap, but kind of can't not.)
Felix Blake, Lola, The Six String Quartet and Obsessive Writing. Lots of little callbacks!
1) I'm going with "The Darkhold was created by Hydra."

2) How I wish I thought we'd see more Bill Paxton!
May got to spare the girl like she wanted. They didn't know Katja was so unstable and when she got loose, SHIELD took the fall. Framework May must not have known about her true powers.

As for why/how Hydra won...I have a theory but wait.
Ward is gonna be SHIELD. Cool!
Will someone just please give EH all the awards,
EH wins this episode.
I bet Ward is actually the Hydra agent helping Inhumans. Hahahahaha.

But, framework May is built on real May since Aida and Radcliffe had access to May's memories. So both May's would know about that girl's powers and not put her in the public, at least not right away. Even pre-Inhuman SHIELD kept "enhanced" people, uh, quarantined, from everyone else. (Like the people in Season, oh god, two? with Daisy's father helping to set them free.) I'm just saying, there's a leap in logic that I'm just not capable of making with the backstory to explain this Hydra Happy Zone.
OK, this turn makes me giggle though.
They are able to mind warp everyone to Aida's will. She could have easily suppressed May's knowledge. If May knew she would have killed her again, to spare her like she wanted she'd need to have that erased.
But why would Aida give a damn? Her and Radcliff were trying to create a "paradise" for people.
Hello, Madame Hydra.
May's 'paradise' includes not killing the kid. To not kill the kid she'd need to not know what a monster she was. This caused the Cambridge Incident. As for the rest, give me a moment...
Didn't see the Ward twist coming.
Oh, tears....!!!
OK, I understand the idea that May's memories were changed so that she could save the girl and not know she was a monster. After that, there is no need for that girl to actually exist as she was. Take away May's pain of having to kill the girl. Why then have the girl then kill a bunch of other people? That makes it May's new greatest pain. Seems counter to the point of the framework. Unless Aida only changed it all just as Daisy and Jemma were jumping in.
Paxton! Now I'm crying.
Yeah Coulson!

Next week's episode looks like it's going to kick some ass. I was hoping they wouldn't give us 7 episodes of the good guys on the run.
Really like tonight's episode.Also liked the twist with Ward basically being the inverse of how we was in reality.
Oh hilarious. Now Radcliff is the good guy? Hahahahaha.
Coulson's biggest impact on the world was sacrificing himself to Loki so The Avengers would learn to cooperate. If he was never an agent then they either lost or didn't win The Battle of New York as smoothly. This alteration combined with May's mistake in sparing Katja turned the public opinion on SHIELD and weakened them to the point Hydra won TWS. Katja's path was only altered so May didn't kill her, not her whole personality. Also this gave Aida an attack dog for Hydra still, instead of her just being happy with Andrew. Skye was picked up by Hydra and Inhuman hatred spread. She fell for Ward who turned on Hydra to protect her because she's Inhuman. May and Fitz got absorbed into Hydra. Aida made him a top scientist/boy toy who seems to have followed in his father's cold footsteps.

Simmons' obit portrays her death as a SHIELD Academy lab accident and says her family hopes she died helping others. She was killed off before SHIELD was shamed.

Framework Coulson is able to resist this to a degree because his mind has fought against altered memories before.

What I'm unclear on is when did Aida alter Daisy and Simmons' lives? Putting her with Ward and killing Simmons sound like punishments, but why have Ward betray the Hydra that Aida runs by having him love Skye so much?
Totally called Aida being with Fitz a month ago! I want a cookie!

Aw, Bill Paxton. :(
Lots of Hydra infused goodness in that episode.
Hmm, I wonder what happened to Andrew.
Aida doesn't know that Daisy and Simmons are in the Framework, so I'm not sure where Daisy's identity as a Hydra agent came from. Does the programming adapt on the fly to unplanned variables, such as unauthorized intruders? And does the Madame Hydra version of Aida have Aida's knowledge and realize that she's in a virtual reality?
I don't think she can program people's actions. Just their memories. They then behave based on what they remember. I think this May probably hates herself for bringing the little girl back and for all the deaths it caused, so she threw herself completely into Hydra & their anti Inhuman stance. Coulson mentioned The Incident, which is what they call the Battle of New York, right? So that still happened, but if Hydra was a stronger presence, I doubt Captain America was thawed out and able to join that fight. Or as said, it didn't go as smooth and he died in New York before Hydra took over. (Poor Bucky.) As for Jemma and Daisy, I do think Aida changed their stories just as they entered the framework. Not sure why she'd chose to put Ward in or take Lincoln out. She knows nothing of them.... ok, I'm getting myself confused now. Because it's all speculation & I could go in circles.
AndrewCrossett, but didn't she tell Fitz that she removed their exit, meaning she knows they're there.
Well, it's all based off a magic book, so who knows.

Seriously, give EH a damn Emmy.
I got the impression she knows they're there. Maybe she's like the DM of f----d up Hydra world?

I think The Incident is referring to the girl killing people in Cambridge. I'm not sure the battle of ny would even of happened since it relies on stuff that happens in Thor that COulson was a part of.
Coulson's Incident was what Katja did in Cambridge that swayed the public against Inhumans.

Aida and Madame Hydra are connected as Madame Hydra blocked Daisy and Jemma's exit so she'd have gotten Aida to recode things in the real world to keep them trapped.
Gah that was so amazing I want to run around in circles
I have to admit I liked this episode way more than I was expecting to.
It's possible that Aida programmed the Framework world to not include The Avengers (not even Thor), so Thor wouldn't have attracted Loki to Earth and Loki wouldn't have brought the Chitauri to New York...so no first Avengers film, no Incident (or The Incident is now Inhuman Katja's killing of all those students, which...doesn't exactly add up ? Why would Katja perform a mass killing ? Why would she break her potential puppets ? Her power was to control people).

Aida couldn't know about Thanos and his pursuit of the Infinity Stones, either, so none of that programmed into the Framework. No alien invasions, period.

Any weirdness that doesn't make sense could just be interpreted as Aida's craftsmanship being shoddy. She only has eight captured and/or scanned people's REAL memories and life experiences to base all this off of, in addition to the entire internet and the knowledge it contains, along with whatever the Darkhold revealed to her. But in terms of extremely-accurate-to-real-life behaviours, she's basing it all off of Coulson, May, Fitz, Mac, Agnes, Radcliffe, and Ivanov. Their view of the world. Along with whatever edits she made (she could have simply lied to Radcliffe about only changing ONE thing/removing ONE regret to make each person happy).

They also might have tapped into an alternate reality of sorts/Aida may have created an alternate timeline that actually exists when she made the Framework...because magic book and all. Lotta folks have suggested that possibility.

This is a lot of fun, but are we really gonna spend the majority of the remainder of the season in the virtual reality ? Hmmm...

I'm sad that they didn't get Bill Paxton back to play Garrett (or did they?). Still more episodes for other surprise guest stars, though. Cameos galore -- I want 'em ! Let's have it. Skye's dad, Jiaying, Quinn...who else ? Other Inhumans we know, since this fake world is focused on them ? Any other old characters folks would like to see ?

Audrey would be nice. Amy Acker. :)

Did the most clearly-seen body that Jemma looked down on in the grave appear to have a robotic face plate and eye on one side of its face ? Could've sworn that was Mike Peterson/Deathlok.
Now THAT was an entertaining episode - nice twists, some terrific acting turns, and suitably creepy yet giddy. Really like the idea that it appears they'll keep this moving with identities already revealed and more to come.

As to how this all "works" I'm not sure it does, but when the show hits high points like these I'm not sure I care.
One of the big hero moments of this arc could be if they decide to have Framework-Daisy go through Terrigenesis again.

Throw in Vijay while you're at it and, once the group realizes his power of being able to adapt and seemingly not die every time he suffers an apparently fatal wound...and I would hope that the team takes that knowledge out of the Framework with them and goes and rescues the real guy from the ocean. New team member for Season 5.

[ edited by Kris on 2017-04-05 04:51 ]
I'm guessing that the way they are handling Coulson is that after the BoNY he was invalided out with a new set of memories.
JDL, I love that. LMD-Coulson told LMD-May that he'd be happier if he never became a SHIELD agent and that the real him was happy in The Framework, but a TAHITI'd Phil in The Framework fulfills that as well.

I guess Aida wouldn't have bothered with having that one culty section of Hydra (lead by Malick) fulfill their goals by bringing Hive to Earth. That wouldn't result in a happy world for any of the human characters, nor for any Inhumans (they'd be under Hive's thrall and a slave race as a result).

[ edited by Kris on 2017-04-05 04:56 ]
That was such a great episode! Anybody get Civil War comic vibes off of the plot point change of the Framework? Powered person kills kids, people demand registration and/or elimination--or at least, people want government/Hydra to take care of it. Obviously it's not play-by-play and isn't the main story in the pod and varies a bit, but looking back I was interested to sorta see some parallels between the two.
Does anyone else think the writers are trying to say that this is what America has become under Trump even if they are just going with the standard fascist Hydra/Nazi angle?
I hate to get political, but this seems a bit political. I would have to LOL if they show Trump on hydra tv as president and it is a surprise to Daisy and Simmons.
These episodes were all written and probably filmed before the election, so any political commentary is probably general rather than specific.
There was not one moment of that episode I did not enjoy. Also major Buffy flashbacks when Jemma dug herself out. So did the Cambridge incident happen before Tony Stark became Iron Man? I'm curious to know what happened to the MCU movie characters.
The fact that Tahiti is a thing for Coulson in the Framework seems to indicate that in this reality he WAS formerly a SHIELD agent who was killed and brought back to life, but apparently with altered memories. But in that case, it's odd that the Hydra people didn't seem to recognize his name... they mentioned him as having called in the report of a subversive.

But who knows if the Avengers or any of the movie events ever happened here?
Coulson only knows Tahiti because it altered his memories in the real world so his subconscious was fighting the Framework. Framework Phil was never an agent at all.
Daisy with May and to some extent Fitz and Jemma with Phil took way longer than they should have to realize they weren't going to talk these people back into their real selves. And Jemma seems rather dense; Ward identifies himself as Resistance, actually shoots one or two cops, and she's still all "What's happening? What's happening?"
Well, she did wake up dead, and pod 2's finale only happened in series time like..a day ago?
Completely off topic but I was channel flipping and saw Clark Gregg on "Will & Grace" dude does not age!
Whedon actors do not age.
Good episode, lots of twists and some good acting moments. But all this action is still happening inside a virtual reality... I do hope there's more to the rest of the season than fighting to rescue their friends from the Matrix. Aida originally cooked up conflict within that reality in order to keep realworld-May docile; presumably the Hydra/Resistance conflict serves a similar purpose for Fitz and Coulson. And she installed her own avatar as Hydra director so that she could maintain control over its operation from within and without. Lots of ripe opportunities in all of that to spin some neat yarns, but they still all take place inside the Framework, and if the characters' "real lives" are going to matter to the greater MCU in any way, I hope this is just a quick diversion.
@Jayne's Hat: Same thoughts went through my head. Lots of shows are making veiled commentary about current events - more than I've seen before. I'm kind of digging it.
@tomg: I really don't understand that argument against watching a virtual reality/AU story - that 'it's not real'. What does that even mean? It's not like the show is otherwise about real people and events.

On the contrary, I'm far more interested in the AU of the Framework than in another day of fighting boring Watchdogs and lame villains like the Superior. This is really interesting, and allows a lot of character exploration: who these people are, why they are who they are, who they can be if the circumstances are somewhat changed, what capacity for good or evil each person has, how any change can make all the difference and set a person on a different path. And how the world can change so much that certain shocking things, like an authoritarian police state that controls everyone and persecutes certain minorities deemed as dangerous, can become new normalcy.

I also don't care if the characters "matter of greater MCU" (it's pretty clear that AoS does not matter to the movies and the Netflix shows ). I care about the characters all by themselves.

The idea that "it won't matter because it wasn't real" also is something I disagree with. Even when they get out of the Framework, they will remember everything, who they were, what they did, and what they saw others do in that other life. The emotional consequences are going to be there. I don't see how they couldn't, but I'm glad that the writers and cast members have explicitly said that in Wondercon interviews. Whether those experiences will bring something positive and help some of them deal with certain things, or whether they will be emotionally devastating, is something we will see. For instance, Coulson may end up appreciating the path he has chosen in real life, so this can be a really good thing for him, but on the other hand, Mack will have to lose his daughter all over again, while Fitz will remember the evil things he did in the Framework, and Jemma will have to deal with remembering that version of the man she loves. I'm pretty sure the latter will be pretty difficult to live with. And in some cases, I really don't know what the final takeaway will be, e.g. how meeting this different version of Ward will affect Daisy and what it will ultimately make her feel.

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2017-04-06 19:40 ]
I need to beat my own drum a bit and give kudos to myself. I called the May/Bahrain thing over a month ago. And it seemed I was the only one, everyone else was only focusing on how Coulson being a civilian changed things. Yay, me. ;)
http://travllingbunny.tumblr.com/post/157739151028/theory-on-how-spoiler-from-agents-of-shield-came

@javelina
I would have no interest in some type of evil conspiracy thing where Hydra orchestrated everything and Aida programmed people to be evil meat puppets.
That would be very uninteresting. On the other hand, a story about an AU where people and the world in general turned completely differently just because of a few changes, where we get to explore characters in a new way, is a really interesting story to tell.

@NYPinTA: Aida doesn't have people in the Framework do anything, aside from changing a few things to fix their "greatest regrets". The rest is just people acting as they would in those circumstances, as real people. It's not some kind of AU fanfic she's writing where she decides what would happen every step of the way (which she wouldn't know how to do anyway, since she is not human and doesn't fully understand human emotions).

She is a robot. Her programming is to protect the Framework. My guess is that this is why she is inserting an avatar of herself in the Framework as Madame Hydra.* She doesn't care if the Resistance destroys Hydra, but Daisy and Jemma are trying to destroy the Framework. That's why they are the enemies and she needs to deal with them.

* Well, that, and she also wanted to experience human emotions and to hook up with Fitz.

@Dusk: Again, she is not controlling everything. She did not "put" Daisy with Ward. Daisy (Skye) was with Ward in this reality as a butterfly effect of the changes made. Ward never betrayed her, he was never a double agent on her team (since Coulson never died and was never resurrected), and she was never loyal to SHIELD - but may have been recruited by another agent for SHIELD/Hydra. And Ward is doing the things he's doing because he's acting as the real Ward would act under those circumstances. It's the butterfly effect, people are still themselves, just changed due to different circumstances. They are not virtual puppets.

@Kris: According to what Jed Whedon said in an interview after 4.15, Darkhold gave Aida the ability to make a perfect duplicate of the real world, with just a few changes to fix "regrets" to make people happy. (That was the idea. Obviously, it didn't work out so well - this May is even more tortured than the real May was over Bahrain.) So it's not just based on their memories, it's a full blown alternative universe, and its people are as similar to the real world people as virtual simulations can be, I guess.

I really hope they at least mention Andrew and explain what happened to him and his marriage to May in this reality.

What amuses me the most about the audience reactions is how everyone is saying that Ward is so different, but he's really exactly the same guy - well, maybe not later seasons Ward, who got increasingly more unhinged, but a happier version of season 1 Ward (he's been in a long-term romantic relationship for a few years and isn't avoiding emotional attachments, doesn't even have to as Hydra is out in the open). It's just his allegiance that's different. In the real world, he joined Hydra just because of loyalty to his father figure, Garrett, and did everything to win his approval and to save his life. In the Framework, he probably started off the same, getting recruited by Garrett, but Garrett is probably dead (he never got the formula to save his life, since Coulson never died and wasn't resurrected), and Ward is in a relationship with Skye, and chooses to join the Resistance just because he wants to protect his girlfriend, after finding out she's an Inhuman. He's still making choices based on loyalty to specific people rather than organizations or ideologies. And we still don't know whether he has any better moral views than the real life Ward, for instance, whether he is still "end justifies the means" kind of guy and whether he appreciates that people's lives in general have value, beyond the people he cares about. So far there's been nothing to show that he's any different in that regard. But now he's on the side of the good guys, so fans are feeling OK about loving him, because he's technically "not real" and not the real life Ward, and does not have the history of betraying the team.

Something in this episode I have a problem with is that they don't explain how Jemma can wake up and be alive in a dead body. They were clearly making an homage to Buffy, but Buffy had Willow to resurrect her with magic. Also, how long has Jemma been dead? Shouldn't she be more decomposed, if it happened years ago?

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2017-04-06 20:19 ]
Also, I don't think it's been mentioned, but it seems that everyone who thought Fitz' regret was about his father is right. Fitz mentioned his father, and from the context it's obvious he had a relationship with him he did not have in real life, where his father abandoned him early in life: he said something like "My father always said, there has to be trust so there could be betrayal". So, his father was probably a bad influence and taught him not to be open and trusting with people.

It's good to know that Daisy's line is misleading, and that, in fact, it's not all about just which love interest Fitz is with.
"Are Hydra all Nazis?"
"Every last one of them. And don't you let anyone forget it."

This is hilariously rogue, given that Marvel proper is getting the comics industry to LARP as those self-same Nazis two months from now as a stupid publicity stunt.

[ edited by b!X on 2017-04-06 20:48 ]
@biX: That line works much better as DJ Doyle throwing shade at the current Marvel comics writers, than as something that actually works in the context of the show's own portrayal(s) of MCU version(s) of or Hydra (there are so many different versions of Hydra since the show can't keep their goals, ideology or origins consistent from season to season).
@TieTravellingBunny: Aida has enough control over things to have Fitz romancing a version of her and seems adamant he not know Simmons is still around. In her own twisted way she cares about the team and the Framework was created to give them happy lives. May's backfired and Coulson couldn't fully assimilate his mind but Fitz, Agnes (and we can infer Mack, Mace and Radcliffe) seem pretty content to begin with. Fitz falling for Madame Hydra is distinctly not a butterfly effect as LMDs of Aida's level wouldn't have been invented in this world. Aida inserted herself as a boss so she'd have virtual eyes along with her real-life robotic ones.

Daisy and Jemma were never scanned but Aida would know the team's history and that Daisy would hate Ward. If Aida is able to close the exit and brainwash Fitz into being with her, whose to say she didn't have Simmons die and put Daisy with Ward after they escaped the LMDS? Even if she wants Fitz for herself, Daisy's avatar should have been set to be with Lincoln, if the original intent to keep the team happy was still at play. Aida must have changed it; the only thing that doesn't make sense is Ward betraying Aida's side for her; unless Aida plans on using that to kill both women which would kill their real bodies as well.
@tomg: I really don't understand that argument against watching a virtual reality/AU story - that 'it's not real'. What does that even mean? It's not like the show is otherwise about real people and events.

many, many words excised for brevity


Given that the argument you've imputed to me is not one that I have offered, I'm not about to try to explain your own strawman to you.

To wax pedantic: there are two relevant "realities" within the obviously-very-unrealistic world that is depicted in the TV show... the universe that was originally an offshoot of the MCU and, within that universe, a virtual reality that is referred to as the Framework.

IMO, if the rest of the current season tells stories that focus primarily on the Framework and the characters' actions both within and in relation to that Framework, I am likely to judge those stories as dramatically insufficient. Ultimately, the action needs to revert to the MCU offshoot, and the consequences of actions regarding the Framework need to have some sort of quick impact on that encompassing "reality" before moving on to any concluding storyline(s) for the remainder of the season.

Your views may vary.
@Dusk: She never scanned Daisy's brain, so she wouldn't have even begun to fix her "greatest regret".

And why would Aida think it's a good idea to deliberately put Daisy with someone she hates? She wants the people in the Framework to be happy and complacent. It's directly against her intentions and programming.

Plus, she wouldn't have even had time, since they hacked in and immediately found themselves in their avatars that had already been there and that Daisy and Jemma had located. Aida may be a lot of things, but she's not able to predict the future.

Maybe she would have wanted to remove Jemma anyway to make room for her avatar's relationship with Fitz, but she had absolutely no reason to deliberately put Daisy with Ward. The only thing that makes sense is that she's with Ward as a result of other changes, and it's actually one of the most easily explainable changes in the Framework - since without their history of his personal betrayal of her/the team, and without her ever been recruited into SHIELD by Coulson, she would have no reason to start hating Ward.

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2017-04-06 23:19 ]
@TimeTravellingBunny: She knows the team's history and that Daisy abandoned the team for months after Lincoln's death. She would know she hates Ward. Even if something other then Lincoln is Daisy's biggest regret, under the original happy intent her avatar shouldn't be with Ward. However Aida has shown glimpses of her own agency like taking Agnes' necklace. The Darkhold may have warped her and either way she has sole control of the Framework now so she can build and input as she wishes.

Aida knows Daisy and Simmons got away and would know they'd come for the others, if not physically then virtually. It's been a bit of time since they escaped to pick up Elena and treat their wounds. Aida could have made an alterations in that time, she altered things so they are mentally tapped there now. I doubt the original intent of the Framework was to put Simmons in the grave; it must have been altered.
@Dusk: Aida probably does not make any changes to the Framework until she scans the brains and sees what the 'biggest regret' is. She sure isn't keeping track to see if everyone's happy, since May clearly isn't. Aida is also an android and doesn't have the greatest grasp over human emotions, in addition to the fact that she barely interacted with anyone other than Radcliffe, Fitz and a little bit of time she spent around May. She probably wouldn't even know how anyone feels about Ward - why would she? Did they even talk about him? They mentioned him only once this season. And not when she was around. Most of the time she was around Radcliffe, and he never even met Ward. And Daisy returned to the team pretty late, so I don't know if she even had any interactions with Aida. Even if anyone was talking about Daisy's problems, they would be talking about Lincoln and Hive, not about how she felt about Ward when he betrayed them 3 years ago when he was her almost-boyfriend.

And your scenario of Aida finding out about Daisy and Simmons and then deliberately deciding to put Daisy with Ward still doesn't explain why she would do that and how that would supposedly help Aida in any way. If anything, in that case she should have given her Lincoln back, to tempt her into staying into the Framework and not trying to destroy it. I don't see the logic of Aida going "oh, Daisy is coming to the Framework to destroy it. I know what I'll do, I'll make this guy she hates her boyfriend! Now that will really stop her plans!"...How?

It just seems you're making all sorts of convoluted mental gymnastics to try to argue for the idea that Daisy being with Ward in the Framework reality is something Aida deliberately did, even though she had no reason at all to do it, instead of going for the far more obvious and simpler explanation that makes a lot more sense as well.
@TimeTravellingBunny Aida knew of Fitz's fallen friends when she first met him and explained her purpose in trying to prevent more loss as a shield; "Lincoln Campbell, Andrew Garner, Antoine Tripplet." The latter of whom died a full season before Radcliffe was introduced. On top of that her brain scan for the other LMDS gave her full access to May and therefore the others memories later on. While not everything she would know many things about Daisy and Jemma from the others minds.

Like I said putting her with Ward is a flaw...but only because Ward seems to be working against Hydra because of 'Skye.' Taking away her powers and sticking her with arguably the person she hates most in the world would be a punishment. She and Jemma only got away because of Ward which I said comments ago is unclear.

The 'butterfly effect' explanation is wrong or at least partially incorrect. As I said Aida wouldn't be Madame Hydra in that scenario. You seem opposed to the idea that Aida can make alterations to the Framework despite the fact that she built it and now has sole control of it; I have stated why I believe she can in multiple ways with evidence to support so. If you find it convoluted then that is your perception.

She at minimum overrode the exit plan that Jemma created, therefore *altered* it's functionality. I highly doubt she's sitting on her metal hands regarding Jemma and Daisy once she became aware they escaped the LMDs.
@Dusk: She made just a few alterations. There is certainly no reason for her to make a bunch of changes that make no sense. I can see why she inserted herself into the Framework, but again, why would she want to "punish" Daisy? What purpose would that serve? How would that help Aida protect the Framework? If anything, she would want to do all to make her as happy and complacent as possible and make her want to stay in the Framework.

I don't see how the butterfly effect explanation is wrong, when this is how most of the things we see in the Framework came to be. Aida isn't making up everything that happens. You just seem reluctant to the idea that Ward and 'Skye' could have ended up together in these circumstances, when this really seems one of the easiest things to explain (as opposed to, say, Fitz being so evil). Why is Skye/Daisy working for Hydra, BTW? Is that also a "punishment"? She certainly isn't happy to find out that she's working for Hydra. If her avatar, who has none of her history with SHIELD, Hydra, Coulson and Ward from the real world, is working for Hydra in this reality, I don't see how dating Ward is more of a stretch, especially since that was something she once very much wanted to do until she found out he was Hydra and was double-crossing the team... The former would clearly not be an issue for her avatar in the Framework (since she's also working for Hydra), while the latter never happened in this reality.

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2017-04-07 03:33 ]
This all assumes Aida has direct control over Madame Hydra, and not that Madam Hydra is something programed in/some sort of thing from the Darkhold.
I wondered about zombie-Jemma's "body" as well, but figured she had either been a very recent kill who Hydra agents dumped and barely buried in the same mass grave as all those other SHIELD agents (seriously, no one else saw Deathlok/Mike in there?), which explains why she wasn't all rotted but doesn't explain how the real person uploading into their avatar would jumpstart the virtual corpse...or real-Jemma uploading into her avatar revitalized it a bit.

Nice touch that her throat was sore/she had trouble speaking, at least (she should have smelled really bad as well, though).

As fun as this is, we're probably not meant to overthink it and I seriously doubt the writers will give us all the answers we're hoping for about The Framework in the few episodes left. There're bigger things to explore. I'd settle for just the imaginary scenario answer of what happened to Andrew Garner, a few of the other majors (Rosalind? Trip ? Whoa, if Trip appears...that'd be something), and maybe toss in references to the big movie characters.

Big bonus points if they can get Cobie Smulders or Samuel L. Jackson to appear. Or even Saffron Burrows ("Victoria Hand" -- it'd be immensely satisfying formme if SHE got to shoot Ward in the Framework) or...

...Bobbie and Hunter ? :)

I'm guessing Season 4's completed shooting by now, but...anyone know any rumours ? Invisi-text it, I'm willing to be spoiled for once. Just the guest cast stuff.

[ edited by Kris on 2017-04-07 03:58 ]
TimeTravellingBunny, as a partial reply to one of your earlier questions--an episode in a VR universe within the series' own (yes, of course, fictional) universe is psychologically very different from a regular episode because of the unpredictability factor. In the Framework, every aspect of every situation and every action of every character reflects on "what are the rules of this place?" and "what's the implied back story here?". The biggest risk is to assume that anything or anyone that looks familiar will be what or who we think.

As viewers we're like Jemma and Daisy (or, um, Skye), doing improv for the sake of survival. We take the shocks and play along the best we can, and there are stumbles. The only difference between us as viewers and them as characters is that we aren't physically at risk the way they are.

So I agree that the distinction isn't reality vs. fantasy; it's fantasy on both sides. But our own assumption as viewers that we know what can and can't happen in a show is a fantasy, too. Calling it a "willing suspension of disbelief" doesn't quite say it--this type of episode forces the characters (and vicariously, ourselves) into a continual, active sorting out of how the given reality works, and adapting to what's "normal" in it. But adapting only in part, because you still want to be someone particular in that world, and not just a reflection of it.
I think Jemma was killed in the Framework at the same time as the SHIELD Academy massacre, when Hydra seized control. That would have been back when she was still a cadet... and Fitz would have been too, if he was ever in SHIELD in this reality. Jemma's current body is just a digital avatar created on the spot and located, as a default, at her last known location within the framework. Like when a video game character respawns at the same spot it was killed.
To respond to the questions about Andrew, wasn't the newspaper clipping in Coulson's odd stuff file about a "Winslow doctor" concerning Andrew? That he was hailed or killed by Hydra as a major subversive element?
@BlueEyedBrigadier: I don't think Andrew ever had anything to do with Winslow. The news clippings was a reference to Cal - not that it was about Cal (it wasn't), but that it reminded Coulson of something he knew from his real life, because "Winslow" was the surname Cal got after having his memories changed.

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