Marvel's Agents of SHIELD returned after a six-week break. In the last episode, Aida, a Life Model Decoy succeeded in replacing the top agents within SHIELD. They were replaced by LMDs and are trapped inside the Framework--a super-advanced virtual reality world. A small group of agents--including Daisy, Simmons, and Yo Yo--managed to escape. Daisy and Simmons entered the Framework in order to locate their teammates. The episode ended with a glimpse into a shocking upside-down world with Hydra in power.
Warning: Spoilers for Season 4, Episode 16 of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, "What If...," will be discussed below.
Ward and Skye Are Back Together
When Daisy awoke inside the Framework, she received a text telling her to wake up her boyfriend and head into the office. She assumed it was Lincoln, who died last season. It turned out to be Grant Ward. This was a shock, and she immediately attempted to use her Quake powers on him with no success. (Daisy developed feelings for Ward in the first season before finding out he was really a part of Hydra).
In this world, Daisy is still going by "Skye" and they are both agents of Hydra. She and Ward have been together for several years, and her Framework version just asked him to move in the night before. Apparently he told her the time wasn't right and he needed some space. He also said, "There are things about me you wouldn't like if you knew." These are the exact words he said in Season 1, Episode 19.
May Is The Third In Command Of Hydra
When they arrive at the Triskelion (last seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier), it is now Hydra's main headquarters. Daisy managed to get onto her computer at her work station to look up some friends. Lincoln died during testing, and Simmons died at the SHIELD Academy from a contamination. Before she can diver further into the file, May demanded she get into the briefing. Daisy is relieved to see her, but May had no idea the entire world is wrong.
In the briefing, May put Skye and Ward on the task to get answers from an Inhuman they've detained. It turned out to be Vijay Nadeer using a false name. In the real world, Vijay was killed by his sister--the senator--because she despised anything alien and was working with The Superior. In the Framework, Vijay managed to get a false Hydra-issued ID--which meant there's a mole inside Hydra.
Simmons Is "Dead"
Since Simmons is dead in the Framework, that meant the real Jemma awoke buried out in the woods. The dead Simmons' body was supposed to have been taken back to England, but Simmons realized she was murdered and buried by the SHIELD Academy. Her sweater had a couple bullet holes, and there were other bodies beneath her. Simmons is questioned by a couple Hydra agents in a coffee shop, but she managed to overpower them. Using the computer in their car, she found there is no record of Daisy Johnson and Fitz's file was restricted. Looking up Coulson, she learned he's a high school teacher and sought him out.
Coulson Lost The Urge To Fight
Coulson lectures his class about the evil of Inhumans. He mentioned the "Cambridge Incident" in which an Inhuman girl from Bahrain was rescued and taken there. This was the same child May was forced to kill in the real world. The child killed an untold number of people which allowed Hydra to use this and declare a war against Inhumans.
When Simmons arrived, Coulson didn't recognize her. He freaked out when she showed him the SHIELD ID card in her pocket. When Simmons saw Coulson's hula girl bobble and mentioned "Tahiti is a wonderful place," he forced her to leave. Coulson then reported her to the authorities as a possible "subversive."
Later in his office, he pulled out an old file with newspaper clippings related to key moments in the real world. He also had several sheets of paper with "It's a wonderful place" written over and over.
Fitz Is Pretty Evil Now
Fitz is referred to as The Doctor here. He's the second in command of Hydra and developed a way to painfully test potential Inhumans without them going through the Terrigenesis process. After barking orders at May, he visited Madame Hydra, who turned out to be Aida. Aida is naturally in charge of the world in the Framework. She became aware there were some subversives and disabled their escape. Fitz wanted to deal with them himself, passionately stating he wanted to protect everything they've built as well as Aida. If the world wasn't freaky enough, Fitz and Aida kiss.
Who Is Part Of The Resistance?
Daisy found Simmons at their meeting point. The extraction device they programmed into the Framework won't allow them to leave (because Aida disabled it). Ward popped out at them with his gun drawn. Confused when Simmons called him by name, he asked Daisy if this was her contact in the resistance. They both adamantly proclaimed they were not in the resistance. A Hydra agent came upon them and Ward shot him, admitting he was working against Hydra. He saw Skye's test results that revealed she was an Inhuman so he hid them. He was the one that gave Vijay a false ID and is the mole in Hydra.
At the end, Daisy visited Coulson in the hopes he'd remember her. When he doesn't, she apologized saying because she always goes to him when she needs help. He was like family, and she thought that connection would be inside him as well. Hearing this, Coulson recalled her name was Daisy.
The show is loosely following the idea behind the What If? comics. The characters are all leading different lives from the result of one event happening differently. A lot of detail was put into fleshing out the world including the changes to the Triskelion and all the propaganda posters seen throughout. Seeing alternate versions of characters may not be a new concept, but it's fascinating to see the actors take on the changes. With most of the Framework characters pretty much all taking opposite allegiances, it shouldn't be a surprise to see this version of Grant Ward only has good intentions. It's a way to redeem the character and provide awkward and confusing moments for Daisy and Simmons. Because they're trapped in the Framework now, they'll need all the help they can get.
What is Aida's overall plan? Is she hoping to replace all of humanity with their counterparts in the Framework? We still haven't seen who the leader of the resistance is. It was mentioned at WonderCon this past weekend and is also in our interviews with the cast and showrunners. The interviews will be posted soon.