Agents of SHIELD Season 4 Episode 16: What If… Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

I hate long layoffs. After airing it’s best episode of the series, we have to wait just over a month for the next episode. The framework presents an interesting new direction for the show, placing characters in different positions. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

Synopsis: Daisy and Simmons uncover secrets and lies in a world gone mad. With Hydra in control, they are our only hope to save everyone. (IMDB)

Writer: Daniel J. Doyle

Director: Oz Scott

Rating: TV-PG

Running Time: 45mins

The last episode ended with Daisy waking up to a strange man in her bed that kind of looked like Ward and now it is confirmed. She received a mysterious text message telling her to wake him up. Daisy was both confused and scared considering and tried to use her powers against him but she didn’t have any. This version of Ward was different, there did not appear to be anything sinister going on as he was more of the guy he was before he turned into an evil double-agent. He was confused by Daisy’s (Skye in the framework) behavior since they have apparently been living a life together.

She and Ward were Hydra agents tasked to hunt Inhumans. Once they arrived at the triskelion, which was now Hydra headquarters, Daisy looked up Lincoln and Jemma in her computer. Lincoln died during some sort of testing and Jemma died along with 200 other SHIELD agents at the academy. She is then greeted by May who is in charge at Hydra. May didn’t recognize the real Daisy and needed her in a briefing.

Hydra was hunting Vijay who they believed was funneling terrigen to resistance groups. May wanted Skye and Ward to interrogate him. She reluctantly interrogated him. May was impatiently watching outside. Skye got another mysterious text saying that they expected more than this. He used a fake name but Skye knew his real name and pressed him on his fake ID that someone from within Hydra made for him. As he was about to reveal whoever made the ID for him, Ward knocked him out.

May stepped in and as soon as Vijay mentioned Bahrain, she pulled a gun on him. In the framework, May didn’t kill the little Inhuman girl in Bahrain. The girl was then brought back to the States which led to an incident known as The Cambridge incident which led to the crackdown on Inhumans. I assume that there will be more details about it in the upcoming episodes but that was partly how May became who she was and why Hydra was in control. Skye convinced May of Vijay’s value and didn’t kill him. She wanted him taken to someone called “The Doctor”. Skye tried to save him but he just tried to get away.

Jemma was obviously not dead since we saw her climb out of the grave we saw at the end of the episode. The grave was a mass grave of the 200 agents that died at the SHIELD academy. There she learned that SHIELD fell. She then ran into a good samaritan who let her into her car. She was fascinated by how real and complex the framework world was. Her ride ended when they got near an Inhuman checkpoint. Hydra was able to develop test for Inhuman DNA but this checkpoint was just checking IDs. Jemma obviously didn’t have hers so when she pulled out her SHIELD ID, the woman got scared and asked Jemma to exit the car.

She eventually wandered into a coffee shop where she managed to steal a set of car keys and a jacket before she was interrupted by a pair of Hydra agents. She went along with them until she managed to dispose of them and steal their car. She then went to her and Daisy’s meeting place but she didn’t show up so she took their extraction beacon and left a message for Daisy. With the Hydra computer, Jemma found Coulson and learned that he was a teacher.

Coulson appears to be a history teacher and mentions the Cambridge incident to his class. It was a major turning point. He was inspired by the reaction to the crisis and how Hydra took charge. Inhumans were not magical creatures. Hydra brought everyone together putting the will of the state over the individual. When a student called them out for coming from Nazis, but he called it propaganda. Another student, the friend of the student who asked the question, was then pulled out for tests.

Jemma visited Coulson but he didn’t remember her. She tried to convince him that his memories were fake but he didn’t believe it, thinking it was just a test of his loyalty to Hydra. She saw a dancing hula girl on a shelf and tried to remind him of Tahiti since he has had his mind erased before. She pled to him to remember but he just got frustrated and asked her to leave. She vowed to not give up on him. He then reported her to Hydra. The questioning student tagged her car, thinking she was with Hydra, but he gave her his car when she convinced him otherwise.

We then learned that “The Doctor” is Fitz. The testing was done on a machine used to test Inhuman powers but it looked more like torture. Skye tried to tell him that it was wrong but Fitz didn’t see them as humans. Fitz was also in charge of May. May alerted him of a subversive that was obviously Jemma. Ward tired to stop Skye on the way to Jemma but she wanted space.

Coulson went through some notes and saw a Tahiti postcard which seemed to trigger something within him. Skye met up with Jemma and they shared what they found. Ward found them. He wanted to know what was going on and if they were with the resistance. Apparently he was, playing against type. He helped them escape Hydra and led them to a safe house.

At the safe house, they figure out what’s going on with the others. Daisy thinks she should get out and regroup but their extraction beacon doesn’t seem to work. This was because of the Hydra director, Aida, who knew about the mole within Hydra and that Daisy and Jemma were in the framework. She reprogrammed their exit and didn’t want Fitz to see their surveillance on Jemma and alerting him of her presence. They then kissed, implying some sort of romantic involvement. (Update: I guess that makes Aida Madame Hydra, apparently)

The episode ended with Daisy in the back of Coulson’s car, trying to get to him to remember her and he managed to remember her name.

Overall, this was another great, well-acted episode and a great start to this new story arc within the framework. It was definitely fun to watch these actors play against type in these new roles. I am interested in this new resistance vs. Hydra subplot and I am curious to see how it all plays out and what is Aida’s master plan?

Score: 9.5/10

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