TV ReviewsAgents of SHIELD Season 4 Episode 21: The Return Review

Keith NoakesMay 9, 2017

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

Synopsis: Coulson and the team’s victory in the Framework is short-lived, as an even deadlier enemy looms against them all. (IMDB)

Writers: Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon

Director: Kevin Tancharoen

Rating: TV-PG

Running Time: 45mins

The team may be out of the framework but they are still dealing with the consequences of their other lives while readjusting to their lives in the real world. This has added a considerable amount of depth to the characters and the altered dynamic has been compelling to watch and looks to linger on for the rest of the season and perhaps in the next (the show hasn’t been renewed yet but is likely to be).

Now that they all have woken up, they have to deal with their current predicaments. First there was Coulson and May (and Mack still in the framework) on the Russian oil rig. May had a lot of catching up to do, being the framework for so long, and her set of scenes with Coulson where he filled her in on what was happening, especially with the LMD of her, these were fun to watch because of their amazing chemistry.

They wanted to get out but they couldn’t with Mack still hooked into the framework. To get control, they would have to take the base over themselves. Not only did they have to contend with that but they also had to contend with a small army of Supreme LMDs (controlled by his real severed head hiding somewhere on the rig) concocting some unclear evil plan.

Daisy, Simmons, and the agents on the zephyr had to not get shot down so they had to restore power so they can defend themselves. Daisy explained to Yo-Yo why Mack didn’t want to come back because of Hope. Yo-Yo was upset that he picked Hope over her. She wanted to hook herself up to the framework but Daisy stopped her. She eventually hooked herself up to it anyway. We also learned that the zephyr never landed since it was unsafe to do so. Talbot had been investigating the explosion at Shield headquarters and they didn’t know who to trust.

Aida had taken Fitz to some beach. Aida was just getting used to an onrush of human emotions. Fitz was upset at Aida for what she did to him, how she manipulated him but she denied any wrongdoing since she had no choice, that was how Radcliffe had programmed her. She wanted choice and her first choice was him. Aida wanted them to start a life together but he couldn’t help but to think about his friends. Fitz tried to appeal to her new human side to try and save them. She tried to convince the Supreme to spare the Shield agents but she no longer was in control of him.

As the rest of the team arrived, the base was filling up with water and about to explode. Luckily Aida arrived just in time (with Fitz) to save Mack. Not knowing if they can be trusted, Aida and Fitz were tranquilized and put in the containment module. The team arrived at the Shield base that was now in ruins. They had to decide what to do with Aida but they were done with killing. Deciding what to do with Fitz was a little harder. Simmons was afraid he was still who he was in the framework.

The best scene had to be between Aida and Fitz in the containment module. She was coming to terms with where she was now and what she did. Fitz thought they would forgive her but not him. Simmons was watching all of it and was getting emotional. Fitz was coming to terms with what he did, that he was just like Ward. He was getting emotional, thinking that his relationship with Simmons was over.

Aida now understood the feeling Fitz had for Simmons and it quickly imploded when he said that he only had feelings for Simmons. Aida went crazy because after all the stuff she did for him, that was how she got repaid. Also Talbot showed up at the base for little reason. Aida showed off some of her new powers while escaping from the containment module. This was followed by a very powerful moment when Simmons went to console a weeping Fitz.

A visibly shaken Aida returned to the oil rig to plot her revenge with the Supreme. His plan was to use the Darkhold to build a new world but it wasn’t good enough as she wanted them to suffer. She wanted him to make her feel something so she destroyed one of his bodies.

As Talbot’s team was leaving the base, the portal device turned on and Ghost Rider came out. The last shot was Yo-Yo waking up in the framework in a precarious situation.

Overall, this was another great episode that helped to reset the scene in the real world after being gone for so long. It gave us great character moments that were both funny and emotional. It also featured amazing performances by Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, and especially Mallory Jansen as Aida. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, she has been a revelation this season, showing her acting ability playing different characters with such nuance and a range of emotion. She was captivating to watch but I fear that we won’t see her for much longer with the season finale coming next week.

Score: 9/10

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