There is a lot of emotions that make us human. We spend lifetimes trying to figure them all out. In “The Return”, Aida (or as she now calls herself Ophelia) goes through these emotions of being a newly formed human being. Unfortunately for her, she goes through the one emotion that hurts us the most: Heartbreak.
A quick note about Mallory Jensen’s performance this whole season and how fantastic it has been. Through the season, she has had to play multiple different versions of her character and each time she has delivered above and beyond expectations. Her Madame Hydra got me so mad, I was cheering for Daisy and Simmons to kick her ass in previous episodes! To elicit that kind of reaction from a audience takes a very talented actor and Agents of SHIELD was lucky to have one this season with Mallory Jensen.
The agents might be out of the framework but the trouble for them has only just ramped up on Agents of SHIELD. Thankfully, a old ally has returned to help them out. But first let’s start out with a little bit of Philinda shall we?
The episode starts out with Coulson and May reacting to Ophelia’s new Inhuman powers. This is quickly interrupted by the Superior’s robotic butt. A quick shuffle and we get the return of Coulson’s wrist shield! It does a nice job of slicing Ivanov’s face off but then of course there’s several more of him waiting for them. It’s never easy for our team is it? May and Coulson barricade themselves in a room and start talking about what happened with LMD May.
Here’s where things get awkward: May wants to know what happened with her robot and Coulson is stammering to get away from this conversation. Phil fell hard for LMD May and he wants that same thing with May (I think). Coulson opened up to LMD Melinda so much and they shared not just a drink, but a kiss too. Phil saw that he could have a relationship with May thanks to those moments. Now though, Melinda knows none of this and in typical man fashion, Coulson chickens out of telling her about that part. (She does mention the drinking of their special bottle which Melinda isn’t a fan of. Just wait till she finds out about the kiss!)
Meanwhile, on the Quinjet, the other part of the team narrowly avoids a kamizaze pilot sent by the Superior thanks to a little Simmons/Yo-Yo magic. Yo-Yo then confronts Daisy on why Mack did not get out of the Framework. Here highlights one of the things I love about Yo-Yo: her stubbornness and her love for Mack. She basically tells Daisy she should have broke his legs to drag him out but once Daisy mentions Hope, Mack’s little girl, Yo-Yo understands why he stayed. Thing about Yo-Yo is that while she may accept it, that doesn’t mean she going to still not going in there and drag her man back to the real world. This revelation by Daisy has only delayed that.
A REAL HUMAN BEING
As for Ophelia and Fitz, her little transport drops them off in some beach where Ophelia is feeling all her human sensations for the first time. Fitz, on the other hand, is still trying to get his bearings on what happening. We get more of this when Ophelia transports them to a house very similar to the one we saw Dr. Radcliffe had. This is going to be their new home but Fitz, our Fitz is finally waking up. He asks her if she has any empathy for what she has done, any remorse. Ophelia responds that she was programmed to help Radcliffe, the agents and to her slowly realizing horror – The Superior.
After some convincing by Fitz to her newly formed humanity, Ophelia transports back to the sub and tries to convince the Superior to call off the attack. In my heart, I believe Ophelia is trying to do the right thing, for a change but for the wrong reason. The scenes feel like she is only doing it because Fitz’s asked her too instead of it being something she wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong, the panic of what she knows she has cause was real. Just would the newly human Ophelia gone to rescue them if not for Fitz?
Ophelia’s plead fails to convince Ivanov and he sends some missiles to destroy to destroy the rig. So Ivanov and his many, many clones escape in the sub as Coulson, May fight to get to the top. Luckily this is just when the Quinjet arrives (funny how that’s always the case?) Mack though is still stuck at the bottom of the rig until Ophelia is able to save him and transport Mack. Fitz and herself onto the plane.
This leads to possibly my favorite moment of the episode as Jemma Freaking Simmons shoots Ophelia and then Fitz with a Icer. It was one of those moments I cheered a little just because with all the crap Simmons went through in the framework because of AIDA, it was nice to see her get a little bit of revenge on her. As for Jemma shooting Fitz, the best OTPs have shot at each other every once in a while.
The team return back to their destroyed base as we see the aftermath of LMD May sacrificing herself in “Self Control”. Having Coulson and May who weren’t there see it with their eyes just enforces how much this season has changed SHIELD now. Now without a base, a fractured team and once again wanted by the law. Yes our old “friend” General Talbot shows up again with a messload of troops ready to arrest SHIELD or as he calls them “The robots”.
Now we get to the best scene of the episode as Fitz and Ophelia are in the containment module. Fitz’s is racked with emotion now that he has had time to think about all the stuff he has done in the framework world. He even compares himself to Grant Ward. (No honey. At least not real world Grant.)
While Fitz is tormenting himself with what he did in the framework, Simmons is watching on a tablet what is happening. My FITZSIMMONS heart was in a million pieces as Jemma and Leo were both crying. My tears flowed just as Jemma’s did when Fitz talked about how he also thought he killed the love Simmons had for him with what he did. Jemma’s tears say otherwise in my opinion. Ophelia sees this as the opportunity to win Leo’s heart but as she just about to move in, Fitz once again states that he only has room in his heart for one woman : Jemma.
Yes!! FitzSimmons, biatch! Also the gasp Jemma makes as he says this brings up all the feels.
Throughout the episode, we’ve seen Ophelia go through different emotions. Joy, happiness, worry, fear but the one constant emotion has been love. Love for Fitz. Except now she has found out that love is not reciprocated by Fitz. No amount of framework manipulation will change his real feelings for Jemma. Mallory Jensen’s delivery of “what?” is chilling and lets you know some bad shit is about to go down As you can expect , Ophelia doesn’t take the news good. She goes into a rage and only Fitz’s quick thinking and a few other agents save him from Ophelia’s wrath at that moment.
As Fitz and the agents try to run away , Fitz tries to warn them about something. It is kind of big : Besides the Darkhold power, Ophelia also now has the inhuman power Lincoln had. Also she can takes many, many bullets in close range as poor Agent Davis found out. (Shoutout to Agent Piper for saving Fitz’s butt. Give her a promotion ASAP).
With this new info and Talbot and his men finally trusting Coulson (with a little assist/threat from Daisy), the team books it out of there. However, Ophelia is no longer there but with the Superior in his sub. What happens next is a combination of hate sex/violent rage as a make-out session between the two leads to Ophelia repeated slashing and slashing his face. Granted, it only ends up being another clone (How many are there??) but still it gives us another glimpse of the emotion that now dominates Ophelia’s body now: ANGER. Hell Hath No Fury like a woman who was once a android and now has inhuman powers scorned.
We also get a lovely Fitzsimmons moment as Fitz is inconsolable in the module. He sees Jemma pass by and like he said earlier, he can’t bear to look at her in the eyes. He feels unworthy of her now and thinks he has killed the love she has for him. After a few agonizing seconds of standing at the doorway, Jemma enters the room. As soon as she puts her hand on Fitz, the tears start flowing from Leo. From both of them as this starts the first small, tiny step towards healing again. I believed FitzSimmons could survive all of AIDA’s framework trauma as long as their love for each other remains. This episode showed me that while it is wounded and in need of some serious healing, the love between Jemma and Fitz’s still is there.
A WELCOMED RETURN
But the episode doesn’t quite end there as we go back to the destroyed SHIELD base and Talbot and his men looking for traces of Ophelia. Just as they leave, some familiar machinery kicks up and out pops the Spirit of Vengeance himself, The Ghost Rider! We haven’t seen Robbie Reyes since the end of the first pod of the season and he is a much welcomed sight back. I grew to like Robbie as the Ghost Rider arc moved along earlier this season and especially the bond he had formed with Daisy.
So the united team is now against a Very Powerful and Angry Ophelia and her numerous The Superior clones. Ghost Rider’s return adds a nice bit of spice to the finale next week as we still don’t know as of this review if this is just a season or series finale. All we know right now is that a magnificent season 4 is looking like it will go out with a big bang!
- As for Yo-Yo during all the Ophelia madness, she snuck herself in the framework to go rescue Mack. In the end tag, we see she awakens to see herself strapped to a gurney. I wish Yo-Yo all the luck getting Mack back as the team needs all the big hitters it can get.
- Will we get one last appearance from either Trip or Ward in the framework as Yo-Yo goes to get Mack?
- During the fight scenes, I want to know how many times Henry Simmons laughed and ruined the take trying to stay asleep.
- When Ophelia was talking about what she was feeling, my mind went to Mallory’s role in Galavant and this song
- May seemed pretty pissed that Coulson and LMD May opened the bottle. Just wanted to point that out.
- It was cool to see characters like Agent Piper get more to do these last few episodes. Hope she can survive the upcoming battle and not get red-shirted by Ophelia or the Superior.
- Talbot mentions they found Jeffrey Mace’s body and it had been destroyed. Damn you AIDA for that. Damn you.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on ABC.