Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Read at your own risk!
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ended the LMD pod with a bang, basically replacing everyone with Life Model Decoys, sending the real versions into the Framework and bringing back a very familiar face in the process.
During Tuesday’s episode, viewers basically could not trust anyone on the team since most had been replaced with Life Model Decoy versions of themselves. The LMDs now in charge, including Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Mack (Henry Simmons), basically tried to separate Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) so they could scan them and turn them into LMDs as well. But it turns out, one of them has already been turned into an LMD, tearing their relationship apart as both are unsure of who it is. Ultimately, it’s Fitz who has been turned — Jemma and Daisy are the only two who are still human, forced to battle their way out together.
But that’s not their only problem. When Aida figures out that the biggest threat to the framework is actually Radcliffe — much in the same way Ultron realized humans were the greatest threat to this planet — she slits his wrists, meaning the robots have really taken over.
Realizing the only way to save their team is to go into the framework, Daisy and Simmons are surprisingly aided by LMD May (Ming-Na Wen), who realizes the dangers of the robots like herself taking over and decides to blow up the base, killing all of them — well, maybe all of them. (Check this week’s Spoiler Room for more on that.)
Daisy and Simmons head into the framework, where we see Daisy is reunited with her boyfriend — no, not Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), but Ward (Brett Dalton)! (That’s right, Ward is back! Check out exclusive video here.) Meanwhile, Coulson is a teacher; May is at the still-standing Triskelion, which now belongs to Hydra; Mack still has his child; Fitz is apparently rich and has a woman on his arm, but it’s not Simmons. That’s because Simmons is dead! Whaaaat?!
To top it all off, Aida has turned Anton into an LMD protector of the framework while his bodiless head lies encased in glass. Has he become MODOK?! EW turned to executive producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen to get the scoop:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is now Agents of Hydra! Tell me about what this new world looks like. Is this basically if Hydra had succeeded?
JED WHEDON: One can—
MAURISSA TANCHAROEN: —glean that—
WHEDON: —from what you see. Yeah, I think it’s a little bit of a “what if” world, so we’ll be asking those questions about the nature of their reality and also with our people.
How much time are you spending in the Framework versus seeing actual reality? Are we seeing both?
WHEDON: We’ll spend some time there. You will see both. How much time, we’ll leave up to you to discover, but we’ll be spending some time there for sure.
In the Framework, the bad guy is in charge and Inhumans are being hunted and are hated. Is this a commentary on Trump?
WHEDON: No comment on possible commentary.
TANCHAROEN: There’s absolutely no reason to be timely.
Was there any nervousness in the writers’ room about doing this?
WHEDON: We’re just trying to paint an alternate reality where—
TANCHAROEN: Not that there’s any similarities to the current reality that we’re living in whatsoever.
WHEDON: We’re trying to just paint the reality where, what if the world just turned upside down?
TANCHAROEN: We’ve definitely found ourselves in a world we don’t want to live in.
All things considered, you would think the Framework would be paradise, but this is so much worse.
WHEDON: We’ll see, it might be paradise to some people.
Anton’s head is in a glass case. Has Anton become MODOK?
WHEDON: Well, no, we can’t really say what he is. He’s definitely his own creature, but we can’t comment really as to if he’s based on a Marvel character or not.
If I were to ask if his head goes in a particular part of his new synthetic body, what would you guys say?
WHEDON: We would say no. He’s remote controlling the body with a head because Aida wants to make sure that his humanness remains intact.
Is Brett Dalton really returning to S.H.I.E.L.D.?
TANCHAROEN: Yes, he is!
WHEDON: We figured when you get dropped into an alternate reality, what better way to show that it might not be everything you imagined than the return of one of our most loved and most hated characters. Also, we wanted to have Brett back. We missed him.
How will Daisy feel about Ward’s return? Considering their past, it doesn’t seem like she’ll be happy.
WHEDON: We could look back at their history and see if that tracks with what’s happened in the past, but that sounds about right.
Is Daisy fully aware that she’s basically piloting an avatar versus actually being part of this world?
WHEDON: You can infer that when she mentions to Lincoln that she comes into it aware of who she is for real.
Before entering the Framework, Simmons says if you die in the Framework, you die in real life. So what does it mean that Simmons is dead in the Framework?
TANCHAROEN: You’ll just have to see!
Is there anything you can tease of who Fitz is with? He looks like he’s a rich playboy here.
WHEDON: We can tease nothing. You’ll have to just use those images and your imagination as your keys.
Can you say anything of what we’re going to see of other characters like Coulson, Mack, and May?
TANCHAROEN: We see glimpses of what their lives are in the Framework. That’s what we’re leaving you with over our however-many-week break until we come back. Once we come back, you’ll be thrown right into what their lives are in the Framework.
WHEDON: Aida says very clearly when she put them in that she repaired one regret for each of them, so we’ll see how that plays out.
Wouldn’t it be difficult to fit everybody into one world in which she’s fixed one regret? Does that mess up the Framework at all?
TANCHAROEN: That’s an interesting question.
Especially if people have conflicting regrets…
WHEDON: Clearly there was some ripple effect, because of the big Hydra symbol on the intact Triskelion, so yes, it seems there was a ripple effect to some of the changes they made.
[Editor’s note: This could explain Simmons’ predicament. We’re now fully expecting this.]
Aida’s realization echoed Ultron’s. Did you mean to mirror Age of Ultron in that sense?
WHEDON: Aida has a very specific thing that she’s programmed to do. All she’s trying to do is exercise that program to the best of her ability. She has very specific prime directives in protecting the Framework and in protecting Radcliffe and making sure no one is harmed, but to also mimic human behavior. We’ve seen that start to become her prime focus, in a way.
Downloading one’s consciousness into a construct feels like what The 100 did last year. Did you guys know about that story line before planning yours?
TANCHAROEN: No. I mean, we’d like to see it!
WHEDON: There’s so many shows, and a lot of them are playing in similar areas, so all we can do is try to tell our story in a way that feels fresh and specific to our characters —
TANCHAROEN: —and unique to our show.
Is Radcliffe really dead?
WHEDON: We’ll see. He expressed to Aida that his body didn’t matter to him, so it might be irrelevant whether or not his body is alive if he’s alive in the Framework.
Radcliffe also recently brought up Fitz’s dad. Will we get to see more info on Fitz’s father?
WHEDON: Again, we can’t really comment about what happens in the Framework without spoiling, but we’ve learned a little bit about a lot of our people this year—
I feel like you just spoiled what’s in the Framework, because I only asked if we were going to see him…
TANCHAROEN: [Laughs] Tricky, tricky!
Have all the other LMDs really been destroyed after LMD May blew up the base?
WHEDON: We’ll see, but the idea was to put that chapter behind us.
Are there other LMDs that we’ve not quite realized yet outside the Framework?
WHEDON: No comment.
Why so many versions of Daisy?
WHEDON: Their mission was to take out all the Inhumans face-to-face at once without them being able to warn each other. If a Daisy shows up to all of their locations to warmly greet them, it’s a way to strike them all at once. As Coulson says, “She’ll personally greet each of them face-to-face and then execute them on site.”
Yes, it was an LMD, but how will having to kill Fitz mess with Simmons moving forward?
WHEDON: Oh, she’s good.
TANCHAROEN: She didn’t seem emotionally distraught over that at all.
WHEDON: Yeah, I thought she handled that pretty well. They’ve had a super complicated relationship; this is just another fun bump in the road for the two of them. What else could possibly go wrong?
What theme are you exploring in the third pod of the season?
WHEDON: The same stuff we’ve been tapping into this whole year, which is the nature of identity and what makes you, you. Are you made up of your experiences? Or is there an inherent person inside you? Questions of the soul and does that define me as a person — May, as an LMD, was struggling with that. Does my body not matter? Am I me? What does it mean to be me? We’re going to explore some of those questions with a whole other set of experiences.
Radcliffe has said eventually the body gives out on the mind. Should we be worried about anyone’s bodies giving up?
WHEDON: Yes, you should be worried.
Should we expect more death by season’s end?
WHEDON: You’re fishing! Now you’re just fishing.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return Tuesday, April 4 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. Stay tuned for more S.H.I.E.L.D. scoop during the hiatus!