Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S04 E17: ‘Identity and Change’


In the last episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daisy and Simmons entered The Framework only to discover their friends trapped in a Secret Empire world where Hydra rules. Can they save the rest of the team from this nightmare? Meet me after the jump for my review of “Identity and Change.”

The Resistance

With Coulson, despite his faulty memories, now on the good guys’ side, it was time to meet the Resistance. Headquartered in the old SSR digs, Jemma and Coulson meet the Patriot, Jeffrey Mace, who in The Framework actually is Inhuman, and their leader. S.H.I.E.L.D. still lives, as a rebel alliance, with Grant Ward, and Inhuman refugees.


Believing Holden Radcliffe to be key to escaping The Framework, Jemma and Coulson under the supervision of Ward go after him. When they find him, playing croquet in his bathrobe, they find he is as much a prisoner of The Framework as everyone else. Aida killed him as well. And she rules this world. As The Bride is so fond of asking, is it time for the good guys win yet?

Agents of Hydra

Meanwhile Daisy is undercover with May hunting Inhumans and subversives, especially Simmons. But their first stop is Mack, whose daughter is alive here. She’s gotten herself into trouble by playing with a Hydra drone. That’s the kind of police state Hydra has established. Keep your head down, follow orders, and stay out of the way.

Of course, apprehending Mack and his daughter is merely a ploy to trap Daisy. May is slick, even here, and knew Daisy was playing her. I really loved the all-too-brief bit when Daisy pulled a Captain America on the Hydra agents in the elevator a la Winter Soldier. Too bad the forces of evil overwhelm her. It just gets worse. Like the Secret Empire event in the comics, it just keeps getting worse.

Project Looking Glass

Much like May, Fitz has embraced his dark side, and more than that, as Hydra’s second-in-command, he is wrapped around Madame Hydra’s finger. Madame Hydra, called Ophelia here, is actually Aida from our world. She’s woven a web of alternative facts for Fitz, that she comes from another world where S.H.I.E.L.D. won the war, and she was held as a slave.


The project codenamed Looking Glass is to protect against incursions from that other world, our world, the real world. When Fitz and Madame Hydra arrive on Radcliffe’s island, and she explains that he and the woman who looks like her are from our world, chaos reigns. Fitz takes the life of Agnes, whom Aida was designed after.


I asked the question last time. How can good people become so evil in this other world? Perhaps there is such darkness inside the subconscious of May and Fitz to make them act in such a way? Here, we see Fitz murder in cold blood, is that actually in him to do this? Do we all have such a dark side?

Maybe May can be explained away by her guilt in allowing the Cambridge incident to occur. She has also been someone focused on the job, so that may have something to do with it as well, but Fitz… what the hell? I hope we get a satisfactory answer to this conundrum, like maybe Madame Hydra has him mind controlled or something. This is not like our Fitz.

I’m digging these last two episodes I have to admit. It’s a nice change of pace, but I certainly hope this doesn’t go past three parts. Between here and the comics, this is just a little two much Hydra and evil for me. Enough.

Next: “No Regrets!”

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