Farewell Cruel World was the episode I’ve been dreading — the departure from the Framework … for most of the team. This was another emotional episode that enters the conversation for best in the series.
That’s going to largely hinge on this season’s final two episodes. Specifically if that Framework holdout returns.
It’s only been 10 days in the regular world. Yo-Yo’s Kookey Quartet are flying in a cloaked quinjet. But with resources diminishing, SHIELD has to save some energy and dropped the cloak device. That was the worst option as the cloak was the only thing preventing Anton from finding them.
This kicked off a countdown with Daisy and Simmons trying to get the team back to the real world. That got far more complicated with Simmons visiting and killing Alastair Fitz. Simmons was only trying to use him to get Fitz to return home. Now he was after her for revenge. Evil Fitz has been such a revelation I’ve been rooting against his return to the real world.
Not that he has much choice thanks to Radcliffe working him into thinking he was on board with Hydra to live again in the real world. Aida was racing against the clock too as she was trying to get her new human body made before her beautiful Framework came crashing down. The special effects throughout this arc have been at or very close to movie level.
It all came down to a face-off at a factory with Aida placing the backdoor to the real world in a molten pit. Pretty sneaky and amazing discouragement from anyone looking to escape. Naturally Coulson went through first and his Framework exit was enough to throw a glitch in the system temporarily. That should have been the cue for everyone that this was a fake reality.
May quickly followed while Simmons and Radcliffe pushed Fitz through. The writers have done an outstanding job giving Radcliffe so much more depth than simply being a good guy or a bad guy. Tonight he atoned for all of his actions.
While it was very weird that Ward was absent this episode, Daisy’s final conversation with Trip was a nice moment. I really liked the nod to the comics here with Daisy suggesting he could become the new Patriot a la Sam Wilson as Captain America. This was the closure Daisy needed after inadvertently getting Trip killed.
This made a lot of Daisy’s interactions with Mack this episode frustrating. With the exception of Fitz, no one’s life in the Framework was as fulfilled as Mack. He has the daughter he lost and she was everything he envisioned. That meant Daisy was going to have to work harder to convince him to leave his version of a perfect world.
From a tragic narrative, Mack staying behind was powerful. In a way this was the happy ending the character deserved. And Daisy came off as a bit of a crappy teammate here since she could have simply used her powers to push Mack through the portal. Let him be pissed off in the real world. The scene with Mack and Trip was really terrific, but I hate the thought of Agents of SHIELD killing off its only significant black character … again.
I’m hoping the teaser next week showing Mac’s comatose body getting submerged is a hint we’ll see the return of (the) Mack. And maybe while he’s at it, Radcliffe can whip up a new body and send Framework Trip over too.
For now, SHIELD is shorthanded. Aida emerged from the Framework a real life woman. One of the Framework question marks was Aida’s actual connection with Fitz. But it appears Aida truly had whatever passes for true feelings for him. I like the twist of Aida deciding to give herself powers. At least teleportation. With Fitz still in shock from his Framework actions, it’ll be real interesting to see how that affects him isolated from his friends. Regardless, Coulson and May have to survive cyborg Anton in order to rescue Fitz.
Farewell Cruel World seemed to wrap up the Framework saga. SHIELD is back in reality, but Anton and Aida look to continue being major problems for them.
Rating: 9.2 out of 10