“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” Season 4 Episode 16 Recap: “What If…”


“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” returns from its hiatus with an episode set in the Framework. Want to see what life is like with Hydra instead of SHIELD?

Welcome back to new episodes of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD! If you’re like me, then Legion tided you over during this break, but now that its first season has wrapped up, we’re back to our SHIELD compatriots!

Or … make that Hydra compatriots.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “What If…” – Hail the New World Order! Daisy and Simmons uncover secrets and lies in a world gone mad. With Hydra in control, they are our only hope to save everyone, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” TUESDAY, APRIL 4 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jennifer Clasen)


Not-So-Short Summary

Hooray, it’s Grant Ward! And Daisy Skye doesn’t have her powers in here and is also tracking down Inhumans. Surprise, they work for Hydra! It’s a terrifying opening because of all the things Ward has done and how Skye has to deal with it and pretend everything is fine.

She comes face-to-face with May, badass Hydra superior, who wants nothing to do with her talk of the Framework. Ward and Skye get to interrogate Senator Nadeer’s brother, who is smuggling Terrigen crystals.

As it turns out, bringing the Inhuman girl from Bahrain back to the US led to the Cambridge Incident. AKA hundreds of deaths that gave Hydra the green light to hunt down and kill Inhumans. Trask Industries and Days of Future Past, anyone?

And Fitz is the mysterious Doctor! His testing is freaking terrifying and he’s a super evil doctor. And higher up in the Hydra echelon than May, apparently.

Meanwhile, Simmons wakes up in a hole in the middle of a forest. She hitchhikes to DC until they get to an Inhuman checkpoint and the only ID Simmons has is her SHIELD ID. While she plays her situation cool (and it’s a lot of fun to watch her analyze her surroundings knowing it’s all just programming), she ends up taking out two Hydra goons and stealing their car.

But she does get their backdoor escape route. And she finds Professor Coulson. Her speech to him to try to remember is heartbreaking in that there really is no way for her to prove what she’s saying. He calls her into Hydra anyway even despite having written “it’s a magical place” hundreds of times and how would she know.

Which is fine, because that’s how Skye and Simmons find each other. And before Skye can warn Simmons who she woke up to, Ward appears from the shadows, ticked off, and keeps asking if Simmons is her source in the Resistance. When she screams no, he admits that he is, and they take off with Hydra on their tails.

He knows Skye is Inhuman, so he’s actually a good guy?! Well, as Simmons says, he’s always playing a double agent. He drops them off at Skye’s apartment where she and Simmons brainstorm how to save their friends.

As it turns out, their back door exit has been recoded. They’re stuck in the Framework — for now.

Photo courtesy of ABC Entertainment

Post-Credits Stinger

Coulson gets into his car to find Skye in the backseat, begging for him to remember her. “You’re the closest thing I have to family,” Skye admits, and it causes Coulson to say, “Daisy?”

Badass Moment of the Week

Simmons taking out the two Hydra goons outside the diner. Just another tally in the badass column for her.

Best One-Liner

“You’re not even real, you rogue piece of code!” Simmons screams at the kid from Coulson’s class who brought up Hydra Nazis.

Okay, so I know Hydra’s been around for thousands of years, but their defining moments are set during World War II. You can’t fault a kid for focusing on the Nazi aspect, can you?

I love that May’s nickname in this world is Bahrain instead of the Cavalry. Every little detail of this reality is so perfectly the opposite of the real world. Kudos, Agents of SHIELD writers! And that final text slide to Bill Paxton was a nice touch.

So who else may show up in the Resistance? I’m hoping for at least Bobbi and Hunter. But would that go against the opposite of their personalities in the Framework …

Thanks for bearing with this ridiculous recap, as I’m recovering from the stomach flu.

Next: The Defenders Take an Elevator Ride and Give Us a Release Date

Next week’s Agents of SHIELD shows a lot more action in the Framework, including Jeffrey Mace as part of the resistance, and a heated love affair between Madame Hydra (aka Aida) and Fitz. Oh, and Mack will show up, too!