It's a race to the finish line as AIDA tries to escape her robot body and S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to escape the Framework
This episode begins with our first check-in with the crew of Simmons and Daisy’s ship. They’re not in a good way, unfortunately. The Framework connection is draining the ship’s power, and they’re still not in contact with anyone. Nevertheless, Yo-Yo stands firm. Nothing changes until they’re able to rescue everyone (especially Mack) from AIDA’s Matrix.
Following up on his father’s insight, Fitz goes to interrogate Radcliffe for the location of the back door. Radcliffe is all taunts and nihilism, resigned to his death. But then Fitz tells him about the Darkhold machine AIDA built. Such a device, capable of generating bodies of organic matter for any consciousness, would be able to give Radcliffe what he’s always wanted: immortality. This is too much for a beaten and humiliated Radcliffe to pass up, so he gives Fitz the location of the back door.
Once Simmons learns of Fitz’s relationship with his father in the Framework, she realizes that must’ve been where he went wrong. So she does the natural thing and shows up at Alistair Fitz’s door with a gun. Simmons is utterly rational about every single thing in life except Fitz. She thinks she can still persuade him to join them and orders Alistair to call Fitz and summon him there. Alistair appears to agree, calling Fitz and telling him he loves him, but then says the “fugitive” is there with him and tackles Simmons. If this old man thought he’d be able to take this skinny young woman in a fight, he was wrong. After a violent struggle, Simmons regains control of her gun and shoots him – with Fitz still listening on the phone. Boy, this Framework saga has really put FitzSimmons’ relationship through the ringer, hasn’t it? It’s just one psycho-sexual trauma after another. Really can’t wait to see how they handle all these issues back in the real world.
Daisy is mad May didn’t inform her of Simmons’ solo trip, but May is relishing her new independence from Hydra and doesn’t feel obligated to tell anyone anything. Plus, she’s busy palling around with Coulson and telling him he’s the real face of the resistance now. Luckily, they’re able to find Simmons alive and well, though not quite in one piece. Turns out murdering your boyfriend’s dad (even a virtual simulacrum of him) kind of messes with your head. Simmons despairs that they’ll never be able to recruit Fitz now, but Daisy reassures her they’ll still be able to find a way.
Unfortunately, it really seems like Simmons is on the right track here. When Fitz and his Hydra cronies arrive at the scene, the sight of his dead father clearly upsets Hydra’s fearsome Doctor. Radcliffe tries to justify Simmons’ actions, which prompts Fitz to force the Scottish doctor to get a good look at Alistair’s body. Fitz states his new mission in the most awful way: “You’re going to lead me to Jemma Simmons, where my intention is to put a bullet through her skull.” Don’t count on that happy reunion anytime soon.
With the team all together, Daisy and company head out for the location of Radcliffe’s back door. They don’t find what they expected, however. Instead of a public fountain, the coordinates Radcliffe gave them lead to a pool of molten steel in the middle of a factory. Simmons deduces this must mean AIDA found the back door first and tried to cover it up – which means she’s won.