Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Patriot’s Redemption

Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

“No Regrets” Plot Summary:

The Resistance responds to Jemma’s (Elizabeth Henstridge) assertion that the Framework isn’t real with skepticism and hostility. Meanwhile, Hydra devises a plan to take out the Patriot (Jason O’Mara) for good.

I feel like a broken record saying that I have questions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tends to have a level of mystery, but the Framework has upped that level considerably in the past few weeks. This makes judging each individual episode on the breadcrumbs it provides tricky. Some of answers, like character motivation, can be judged accordingly, but details about the Framework are just hints at the bigger picture.

Learning that Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) does indeed have a better relationship with his father in the Framework explains his ruthlessness to a certain degree, assuming his father has been a part of Hydra for a while or an early convert. I do wonder if we’ll get more info about his mother, whose absence the episode makes note of. And even though Fitz knows about the other world, he might not think of his own as artificial. What could that mean?

The artificialness of the Framework is something Ward (Brett Dalton) takes surprisingly well. Sure, he grills Simmons a little with questions and doubt, but you would think being told he’s not real, which I believe she tells him, would devastate him. Then again, the degree of sentience that the computerized inhabitants of the Framework have is up for debate. And even if they’re only mimicking self-awareness, they appear to have feelings. It makes you wonder what the ethics of shutting down the Framework would be.

The idea that what happens in the Framework matters gives Mace a more heroic death. Yup, he finally departs the show, though who could have imagined it would be like this? I’m sure Mace would have preferred to keep on living, but he uses his Inhuman powers to save others. That’s not far from what he wanted. It’s redemption for lying in the real world. But if Aida (Mallory Jansen) is out of the Framework disengaging a dead Mace, is she the same Aida acting as Madame Hydra? What is her ultimate goal? Alas, more questions.

I’m not sure how I feel about May’s (Ming-Na Wen) betrayal of Hydra. We’ll have to see what her exact justification is next week. It obviously has to do with what she sees on her mission to kill the Patriot. Believe it or not, we only have four more episodes left this season. I hadn’t dawned on me.

Overall, “No Regrets” works, through questions, plot-related and philosophical, and character moments.

And speaking of characters, Trip (B.J. Britt) is back. I thought I recognized the actor’s name in the opening credits.

RATING: 7.5 OUT OF 10 (GOOD)

Aaron Sarnecky is The Pop Break’s Television Editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a TV/Film grad of Rowan University and the fraternal twin of staff writer Josh Sarnecky. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed.