Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Great Escape

Photo Credit: ABC

“Farewell, Cruel World!” Plot Summary:

Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) complicates the journey home after Simmons’ (Elizabeth Henstridge) attempt to reach him goes horribly wrong.

One week after saying I was worried the Framework arc was falling apart, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. delivers this episode. Wow. Color me impressed. “Farewell, Cruel World!” gets nearly everything back on track.

Last week I criticized the way S.H.I.E.L.D. exposed Hydra’s true nature, which I felt was full of plot holes. This episode moves past that, so it isn’t of much concern. The focus is on Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team. In a sense, it brings things back to basics. We’ve seen these characters go through so much together during these four seasons and we’ve learned a lot about them. To steal a phrase from another franchise, this feels like one last ride.

“Farewell, Cruel World!” delivers numerous emotional moments. It’s hard to know where to start. I imagine with Leo and Jemma. The two of them dodged a bullet when they survived last season’s finale, but seeing Fitz seconds away from killing Simmons must have crushed many fans. If this is truly the last season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could’ve had Fitz pull the trigger without fear of the backlash, but then Radcliffe (John Hannah) wouldn’t have redeemed himself.

As I’ve said before, I loved Radcliffe’s quirky personality, so I felt betrayed when he turned out to be a villain. He still doesn’t take full responsibility for his actions, blaming the Darkhold, but he passes up a chance at immortality to save his friend Fitz. I will take that as an appropriate sendoff. Of course, Aida’s (Mallory Jansen) transformation makes Fitz’s recovery that much tougher. Despite all terrible things both of them have done, I can’t help but sympathize, even with Aida. I would have been upset if May (Ming-Na Wen) had gunned Aida down just as she was experiencing the joy of being human.

Rounding out the list of major emotional moments is Mack’s (Henry Simmons) decision to stay in the Framework. The show only told us that he had lost a daughter recently, but how can you not understand his point of view? Hope (Jordan Rivera) is real to him, and who’s to say she might not be real in a sense? Besides unknowingly abandoning Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), it looks like this decision may prove fatal for Mack next week.

As much as I enjoy evil Fitz, it’s nice to be back on the other side. If this week is any indication, the next episode will be equally heart-wrenching.

RATING: 8.5 OUT OF 10 (GREAT)

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.