Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S04 E20: ‘Farewell, Cruel World!’


The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are in a race against time to escape from the Secret Empire Hydra world of The Framework, but not everyone is ready to leave yet… Meet me after the cyberspatial jump for my thoughts on “Farewell, Cruel World!”


If it seems like hell in The Framework, it’s not so great in the real world either. We open this episode in flashback ten days earlier when Daisy and Simmons originally went under into the cyberspatial Secret Empire world. Ten days have passed, and the Zephyr has to land a refuel soon. Yo-Yo and the Zephyr’s skeleton crew are getting desperate.


In the four episodes we have all been immersed in The Framework we may have forgotten what’s going on in the real world. S.H.I.E.L.D. is once again a ragtag group of fugitives thanks to the attack on Senator Nadeer’s office. For all they know they could be shot down at any time. To save power and keep Daisy and Simmons alive, they turn off the cloaking. Now the Zephyr is a flying target.

Second Chances

With Hydra falling into chaos with footage of the Patriot’s death getting to the public, Fitz is planning to regain control of the situation. He offers Radcliffe a deal – a new life on the other side, the real world, if he gives him to coordinates of the exit. As he’s beaten and dying in The Framework, the offer is tempting.

The circumstances however of a new flesh and blood body in the real world parallel what Aida is after, and Radcliffe at once realizes that she’s doing these things with the help of the Darkhold, allowing her not just knowledge but ability to do these things. How does one stop something that is both magic and machine?

Fitz vs. Simmons

Jemma finally cracks the code as to what is different for Fitz in The Framework – his father being alive and a guiding influence in his life. So Simmons goes to confront her potential future father-in-law, and while he’s on the phone with Fitz, the elder Fitz attacks Simmons. In Dad’s lethal stranglehold, Jemma has little choice but to shoot him dead, while little Leo listens.


Fitz maintains his cold exterior when he and a squad of Hydra agents arrive on scene. Dad’s dead, but it doesn’t matter. After his chat with Radcliffe, who is in tow, Fitz knows where she’s headed. When the agents leave, Fitz makes clear his intent to Radcliffe, that he’s going to put a bullet through her skull, quote unquote.

Exit Point

Perhaps all isn’t lost for Fitz, but it may be for FitzSimmons. Madame Hydra orders Fitz to abandon his mission and return to the Triskelion, and he refuses. Madame Hydra isn’t out of tricks however. She’s altered the exit point. Rather than a public fountain in a park, she’s made it a molten pool in a steel factory, guarded by Hydra. Who in their right mind is going to climb into that?


Luckily Daisy opens it up with her Quake powers, but can they get through before Coulson dies from Hydra gunfire? Coulson’s leap of faith into the pool encourages May to do it as well. Before the rest can go through – Fitz catches up with Simmons. The moment where he is about to execute her is one of the most horrific moments of the series – even more than Daisy telling Mack that Hope is dead in the real world…

Reality Bites

When Fitz comes through, as well as everyone else, he gets his memories of the real world back, but also retains his memories of The Framework. He is rocked to his core, he’s murdered people, he’s a bad person… and then the flesh and blood Aida enters the room, calling his name. Before May can take the shot, Aida grabs Fitz and they vanish. Magic? Teleporter?

We are left hanging about the Russian plane attacking the Zephyr, Yo-Yo’s reaction to Mack’s decision, and where did Radcliffe go? There’s more to this cliffhanger than meets the eye. One thing is for sure, no matter how much I want otherwise, this is far from over.

Event Fatigue

I find it amazing that after only five episodes (and maybe sooner) of Agents of Hydra in this coincidentally Secret Empire world, I have what is known in the comics industry as event fatigue. It’s what happens when readers tire of crossover event after crossover event in the comics. It was one of the first things I wrote about here at Biff Bam Pop!, and it’s affecting Marvel Comics currently with Secret Empire, as well as other recent events like Civil War II, IvX, and Monsters Unleashed.


Just as readers are tired of this crap in the comics, we viewers are tired of it here in this Marvel TV series. As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which for the most part has had a good season so far, struggles for renewal with a fifth season, this is not the time to drag out what may already be an agonizing plot from the comics. Remember, hashtag #RenewAgentsofSHIELD if you’re so inclined.


All that said, seeing the real world as well as The Framework was a breath of fresh air. I liked the risks taken by uncloaking, but didn’t care for the agent that referred to Daisy and Jemma as ‘girls’ – they’re not twelve. Just as sexist, but on the likable side, is Triplett, who I’ve missed and wish we didn’t have to leave in The Framework. He’d make a damn fine Patriot, wish we could see that.

When Mack returns to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Trip is there with Hope, and he knows he’s made the right decision. Although there are too many loose ends to think we have seen the last of Mack, Trip, and The Framework. I think that’s where Aida and Fitz may have gone as well. We’ll see. Just don’t drag this out any longer than it has to…

Next: “The Return!”

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