When Dr. Radcliffe first showed Aida, the first LMD (Life Model Decoy), it seemed like it could be a great thing for the agents. He wanted to protect their lives and prevent them from losing loved ones. Since the mystical Darkhold book allowed Aida to create the virtual world Radcliffe called the Framework, more and more agents are being replaced by LMDs so he can carry out his plan to give humanity a virtual paradise. It's up to the few remaining high ranking SHIELD agents to overcome the LMDs and save the others that are being held captive.
Warning: Spoilers for Season 4, Episode 15 of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, "Self Control," will be discussed below.
Radcliffe And Aida's Paradox
Aida brought Radcliffe out of the Framework. He wasn't pleased to discover the SHIELD agents were plugged in while he was still hooked up. It could have put him at risk. Aida explained she is facing a paradox with her programming. She is to protect the Framework and also protect Radcliffe. She realized he is the biggest threat to the Framework. If he felt regret over their plans, he might decide to reprogram her. Radcliffe explained that he feels no regret over putting the others in the Framework. They are getting a replica of their life with no pain. "Reality is a perception," he said. This allowed Aida to deal with her paradox. Since he strongly believed in the Framework, she slashed his wrists and put him back in as his body started to bleed out.
Aida And The Superior
Aida retrieved the Superior's body after his battle against Daisy Johnson. Badly wounded, the Superior was adamant that she didn't turn him into a "thing" like her. She responded by taking an electric saw to his body.
Later he awoke, fully healed. Grabbing her by the throat, she commented how he's stronger as well. His mind is still alive inside a mechanical body. His head is being preserved, and he can control the body. She needs him to be able to walk around to protect the Framework. She is determined to be able to find a way to experience emotions such as joy.
Fitz And Simmons - Who's An LMD?
Fitz and Simmons discovered their friends were replaced by LMDs and need to figure out what their next step should be. When the Director Mace LMD and Coulson LMD try separating the two, they manage to get away to work on another problem. The LMD detector goes off again, suggesting either Fitz or Simmons had been replaced as well. Simmons pointed a gun at Fitz, and he pleaded with her that he was real. After a tearful exchange, Fitz cut his wrist to show there wasn't any mechanical parts inside. Seeing a lot of blood, Simmons goes to help. He then stabbed her in the leg with the knife and knocked her out.
Simmons came to and found herself tied up. The Fitz LMD was preparing to download her memories. She escaped her bonds, dropped some machinery on the LMD to pin him down, and stabbed him over and over until he short-circuited.
Daisy Vs. LMDs
Last episode, it was thought Daisy, Mack, Coulson, and Mace were replaced by LMDs. The LMDs wanted to replace Daisy. She would have the Inhumans known to SHIELD transferred to their headquarters so they could be executed. Daisy discovered a room full of LMDs of herself. Thinking quickly, she shed her clothes in order to blend in when Mack came looking for her. She blasted him with her quake powers from behind and escaped.
Finding Simmons, they convinced each other they were both real. Simmons gathered other agents while Daisy took on both the Mack and Coulson LMDs. When it came time to enter the hanger, they found the Melinda May LMD and a bomb. The May LMD allowed them to leave. In a final confrontation with the Coulson LMD, she stated her mission was to find the Darkhold for Radcliffe. Her desire to be with Coulson was real. The Coulson LMD said that was good and drew his gun on her as she set off the bomb.
Daisy, Simmons, and a few agents were able to escape in the Zephry-1. Daisy and Simmons were going to hack into the Framework to find the others in order to discover where they were in the real world. Inside the Framework, Daisy found herself in a bubble bath. She got a text saying, "Wake up your boyfriend. We're being called in." Figuring it was Lincoln, she got out of the tub and could see someone sleeping in the bed. In the room, a picture of Daisy and Grant Ward could be seen.
The lives of the other agents was shown. Coulson was in a classroom teaching why they should fear Inhumans, Mack has a house and picked up his daughter's bike, Fitz was in a fancy car with fancy clothes, a grave for Simmons was shown, and May was seen in the Triskelion building (seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) with a Hydra logo on the outside.
Things get pretty nuts in this episode. Last week, we were blown away to discover four of the main characters were replaced by LMDs. When it turned out either Fitz or Simmons were also one, things got tense. The emotions between the two as we didn't know who was real and who had been replaced was heart-breaking. Having the real Daisy still around was a nice surprise. It seems her powers are increasing. She had to fight without her gauntlets, which could lead to her bones in her arms shattering. Still, she knew they had to fight and that they could win. Blasting both the Mack and Coulson LMDs at the same time was a spectacular sight.
The biggest surprise was when Daisy entered the Framework. Her hair looked longer, but it wasn't clear if this was really the case since it was wet and she was in the bath. When she was told to wake up her boyfriend and she assumed it was the deceased Lincoln Campbell, a part of me was hoping it would be Grant Ward. That would explain the long hair from Season 1.
It was interesting to see what regrets were being rectified or set up for the others. Does Coulson really want to be a teacher? Of course Mack would want a life where his daughter survived. Fitz's life was strange since he had wealth and fame along with a new lady friend. Could it be Aida? That would be creepy. It didn't make sense to see a headstone for Simmons in a cemetery. Was this part of Fitz's Framework life so he could move on, or does Simmons have a death wish? May being a big part of SHIELD before it fell also makes sense, but why the Hydra logo?
Let's hope we get to see these lives explored more in the next episode.