“Identity and Change” Plot Summary:
With Coulson (Clark Gregg) on their side, Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) team up with the Resistance, the remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Framework.
I said last week I was hoping for answers, but it feels like this episode introduces a new question every time it answers something. That’s not necessarily bad. After all, we have a lot of season left. The show will no doubt provide these answers by the finale.
One of the most significant insights is when Madame Hydra, AKA Aida (Mallory Jansen), says that she simply took away everyone’s single biggest regret. This is obvious for characters like May (Ming-Na Wen) and Mack (Henry Simmons). I imagine Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) would have regretted his past with father the most, but that remains to be seen. Fitz proves to be quite an enigma. Aida has told him that there is an outside world and that she needs to get back to it. I can’t object to Fitz going full Gestapo as inconsistent with his character when I don’t know what his deal is in the Framework. Regardless, his murder of Agnes (also Jansen) is an emotional moment.
We’re really starting to see the cracks in the Framework. Coulson’s time with Project T.A.H.I.T.I. has given him faint glimpses of his real life, and he’s a paranoid teacher that humorously thinks Hydra literally brainwashes people with soap. Some people in the Framework do support Hydra’s violent crusade against Inhumans, sure, but just as many are afraid of them. Unbeknownst to those who haven’t connected the dots, Hydra made sure the Cambridge incident happened.
Hydra obviously bears the most resemblance to the Third Reich. This comparison makes sense, given Red Skull’s partnership with the Nazis. In contrast, I find Fitz line about making their society “great again” heavy-handed. Even though I enjoy things like the X-Men media, and the Inhumans are the MCU’s fill-in for Mutants, I generally prefer applicability to allegory, since it gives more freedom to the audience. I’m paraphrasing a quote by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it once before, if not ad nauseam. But I digress.
“Identity and Change” is an exciting installment and it has a lot of elements that I like, such as Mack and Hope (Jordan Rivera), the way Hydra exposes Daisy, and so on. With all the new info and lack of it though, I just need a little more time to decide if I’m buying everything Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is selling.
RATING: 7.5 OUT OF 10 (GOOD)