In the last episode, in perhaps one of the most frightening cliffhangers in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. history, five of our team have been replaced by LMDs – everyone but Fitz and Simmons as a matter of fact – and the bad guys are looking for a full set. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Self Control.”
Have You Heard
We open with the harmonies of the Moody Blues to the tune of “Have You Heard, Part 2.” Aida is monitoring the bodies of those within the Framework, and seeing to the injured Superior. She’s been in his head and pulled the music from there. He’d always thought it would be good music to be born to, and even on his back dying, he’s giving orders.
The Superior still thinks he’s in charge, but he’s not. Aida, the LMD infected by the Darkhold is, and she’s not going to let him die. She’s going to use him to protect the Framework. He doesn’t want to be a thing like her, and Aida retorts sinisterly as she revs up a power tool, that he’ll be many things. Was I right before, when I guessed MODOK??
Fitz and Simmons are trying to hold it together and keep their cool while surrounded by LMDs of their friends, who are just looking for the first opportunity to separate them and replace them with LMDs too. FitzSimmons seem jittery, and yet the LMDs, while a bit business first, seem normal. There is some wonderful camera work and ominous music that keeps it leaning otherwise. Even the most mundane can seem sinister if played right.
The LMDs also have a plan, following their programming under the Superior’s control. They want to bring all the Inhumans to the base where they can be killed. Of course the problem is that these LMDs are programmed with the original human’s memory, so Mack can’t just let Yo-Yo walk in to her death – he must warn her.
One of Us
In trying to get alone away from the other LMDs, FitzSimmons go to an isolated lab to get their heads together so to say, and an LMD detector goes off indicating one of them is an LMD. Would they know if they were? Fitz, having perfected the program, knows he wouldn’t, so when Simmons pulls a gun on him, he relents, and in love promises to do whatever she says. She orders him to cut his wrist.
When Fitz does, it’s a trick to get the edge on her. Fitz is the LMD. As we switch scenes to the bad guys we learn that Daisy wasn’t switched, and that Fitz was the fourth LMD all along (told ya, I’ve been suspecting him for weeks). As we jump back and forth it appears the plan is to kill Daisy along with the other incoming Inhumans. Of course it all goes to hell when Simmons kills the Fitz LMD and Daisy discovers the army of Daisy LMDs…
If things go the way they should, Daisy and Simmons, whose powers and abilities have taken great strides this season will unite against the LMD threat. Just as those two ladies step up, so does Aida, fixing her own programming by both killing Radcliffe and trapping him in the Framework as well. The mission is to fight everyone in the base and find their friends in the Framework.
The number one best thing about this sequence is not the actual fight, not Simmons and Daisy’s ingenuity in separating the LMDs and the humans, not the individual battles, but it’s the pep talk Daisy gives her partner that this is not how FitzSimmons ends – they belong together, and they’re going to be together.
And in The End
Part happy ending, part hopeful ending, but mostly nightmare. As the S.H.I.E.L.D. base blows up in a flurry of fury caused by the contradictory programming of the Coulson and May LMDs, the Zephyr flies skyward with a compliment of three nameless agents, Yo-Yo (is it really her or an LMD?), and Daisy and Simmons, we get our first look at the world of the Framework, where if you stay too long, you could die, and if you die there, you really die. It is a world some comics readers might find familiar, or will in months to come.
Effectively, it’s the world of the upcoming Secret Empire event in the comics, a world ruled by Hydra. We see Daisy and her boyfriend Grant Ward, we see Simmons’ grave, we see Coulson as a teacher instructing on the dangers of Inhumans, and we see Hydra agent May in the Hydra Triskelion. Things are baaad in the Framework…
All things considered though, this was one of the better episodes and it just keeps getting better. Of course the show is still on the bubble, and it’s serious, because they’re now advertising the series in the comics. Remember, #RenewAgentsofSHIELD on Twitter, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns in April… be there!