Episode 18 – No Regrets
Jemma’s old Hydra lab partner doles out Cal’s serum Hyde serum to May to take down Mace.
The Framework claimed its second victim, befitting Mace, The Patriot, with a heroic ending. In the same act, his decision also helped May realize that Hydra is indeed bad and help out Daisy, who will get to brandish her Quake powers again.
And, oh my goodness, Agent Antoine Triplett, it is so wonderful to see you. C’mon girl, we missed BJ Britt since his character’s own heroic demise in season two. Trip, freed from a Hydra enlightenment camp, had been spying on Hydra laboratory operations, and snuck footage of the messed up things happening with his grandad’s Howling Commando gear. But that wasn’t the only nostalgic nod to SHIELD history, we also see Agent May get juiced up with Cal’s Hyde serum to try and take down Mace.
No Regrets also introduced a character who has been looming over the storyline for quite some time: Fitz’ father. In the new narrative, it appears Fitz was raised primarily by his father, and not his mother. The relationship between Fitz and his father gives off an icy feeling – there are no emotions just ambition and the displacement of noble legacy.
This episode continued to twist the knife in the collective guts of viewers. At the Playground, Jemma meets Framework Mack and his daughter Hope, and spars with Ward and Mace with what is real. Mace brings about his memories of having his loved ones die in his arms and how that has very much hurt him. The statement leaves with Jemma, who later in the episode volunteers herself to go on a mission to spare Mack from being separated from his daughter. Mack and Hope were the perfect Dad/Daughter duo. He presented himself as a doting hands-on father, and mentioned that he was all she had. Ward makes a comment to Jemma saying if they weren’t real, would she have cared.
Daisy interactions with Radcliffe were also interesting. Stuck in a cell that’s next to Radcliffe’s, Daisy is able to pull information from Radcliffe. It isn’t very hard given the fact that Radcliffe is technically dead and has nothing else to lose, but he does extol the backdoor information. He also adds that the narratives in the Framework could have been easily as changed by something as a sentence. This is after Aida/Ophelia/Madame Hydra dangles the prospect of a happy life with Lincoln in front of Daisy. It certainly is tempting and Daisy seems to side with ensuring the lives of her teammates and coworkers trump the happiness of hers.
This episode also continued the socio-political commentary that’s been threaded in the last few. While last week we got a line of Fitz saying, ‘make our society great again,’ this week he adds the chilling, ‘nevertheless, she persisted.’ There was also diatribe about fake news and facts and the rejection of history and scientific data to sway minds. While the commentary is accepted, the direct references hit the nail a little too hard, and the message becomes weakened with the constant insistence.
Mace’s sacrifice was befitting of a superhero. While Coulson’s death in the Avengers galvanized the team, Mace’s death may work in similar ways. It sure did help on awakening May. Not only that, but May had a body camera on her, recording that Hydra had fired on its own building which they knew was occupied by children. This video could have shockwaves throughout the Framework universe.
Aida/Ophelia/Madame Hydra continued to be an enigma this week, and it may still be undeterminable whether or not she has proper emotions or is mimicking them. The verdict leans after this episode to actually having them, as seen by her reaction to disconnecting Mace’s dead body from the Framework. Her prime directive by Radcliffe was to protect these people, and she still believes that having them in the Framework accomplishes just this. In this sense, she would have failed and we could be seeing her own guilt, disappointment, and quite frankly, her own regrets.
Despite the warm-hearted reunion of Trip and plot ground coverage, something felt like it was missing this episode compared to the others in the arc. There was some action, but the episode lagged in urgency that seemed so present in the previous installments. There are four more episode left in the season, and with the show still in renewal limbo, it needs to bring the punch.
Mace's gallant sacrifice