Episode 21 – The Return
Guess who’s back? Back again. Ghost Rider’s back, tell a friend!
Kudos to Eminem for helping us usher in this review of the penultimate episode, The Return. Of course, we knew as early as last week Robbie Reyes was returning to the show, but it was great to see him re-enter the Agents of SHIELD universe.
And the agents will surely need his help as Aida is having an adult-sized toddler tantrum with an arsenal of dangerous powers. We’ve seen her use her Gordon teleportation powers to whisk Fitz away, and now we have seen her use Lincoln’s electrical powers as well as a healing ability (Jiaying?). Thrown into this rage by rejection and the inability to understand other’s choices, such as Fitz swatting down her advances, Aida is feeling the full force of negative emotions. For most of the episode she had delighted in the positives – happiness, love and compassion. Actress Mallory Jansen has done a superb job this season crafting the several iterations of Aida, Ophelia, Madame Hydra and now the flesh and bone version of Aida. Anton Ivanov, The Russian, was right to call her a baby, as her emotions are nascent and not fully developed.
Circling back to Aida and her obsession with Fitz, it was appropriate for the show to expose the manipulation Aida used on him. It was a missed opportunity of the show when they handled Ward’s storyline back in season one (Ward was the product of abuse and was also coerced into non-consensual relations with Lorelai), but this turn around they pointed it out, examined why manipulation is wrong, and put the victim, in this case Fitz, on a path where he can heal.
The Fitzsimmons connection at the end of the episode was also a tear jerking moment. There’s a lot for them to work out with their relationship moving forward, but it looks like the Aida bump has been bulldozed.
The episode brought out some new troubles for the team, or rather, old troubles that are new again. SHIELD has once again been labeled a terrorist organization by Talbot who had been investigating Mace’s murder and the collapse of the Playground. He backs off of them after Daisy’s threat, but the team is left scrambling, trying to figure out how to avoid Aida and take her out.
The show also revisited a theme they touched upon in the beginning of the season, where Daisy had been after Ghost Rider asking him why he gets to judge who lives and who dies.This is echoed with Yo-Yo suggesting the team chops Aida’s head off and being answered that they can’t just do that. With Ghost Rider’s return the show is likely going to explore this more.
It was great to see the team back in the real world, with May kicking ass and Coulson pulling a cool holographic shield move to slice the face off a Russian bot. This episode may have been filmed after Ming-na Wen’s leg injury,
There still appears to be a lot left to be covered in the final episode of season four. With Ghost Rider back, Talbot trying to discredit SHIELD, Aida and Anton Ivanov working on their world order, and, Yo-Yo entering the Framework to save Mack, the season finale looks to be a real kicker.
Yay real world!
A lot of build up for next week