MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "The Return" - In the exciting penultimate episode leading into next week's season finale, Coulson and the team's victory in the Framework is short-lived, as an even deadlier enemy looms against them all, on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," TUESDAY, MAY 9 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jennifer Clasen) CLARK GREGG

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. | Episode 421 | ‘The Return’ | Aired May 11th, 2017

This is the recap of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4, Episode 21. For the previous episode, click here.


‘The Return’ was an alright episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (AoS), but, to be completely honest, it didn’t stand out much to me. I miss The Framework. For me, The Framework was interesting because there our heroes were trying to better their world. Now that we are back in reality, the team has gone back to fighting their personal demons.

“I choose you, Leopold.”

Aida is finally a human, or should I say Inhuman. She feels like she is finally free to make her decisions just like everyone else. However, when Aida realizes that making choices in the real world isn’t quite the same as making decisions in The Framework, she is sorely disappointed.

 In The Framework, Aida could build the world to accommodate her preferences. In reality, other people can make their choices – even when they are contrary to her own. This disappointment peaks when Fitz rejects her. And her frustration only grows, leading Aida into a destructive rage. This is when we get our first glimpses of her terrifying slew of Inhuman powers.

“He didn’t want to leave Hope.”

Yo-Yo is very upset that Daisy didn’t keep her promise to bring Mack back and not even learning the reason he chose to stay will calm her down. The entire episode she is quite the whiner, and at the end of the episode she goes against the wisdom of The Framework veterans and sends herself in. 

Our only shot from inside the framework is one of Yo-Yo in a flaming room, strapped to a table. As an Inhuman she is a Hydra target within The Framework and seeing, unfortunately, was the only way for her to believe how real The Framework’s terrifying reality is.

Throughout this episode, I kept noticing missed opportunities where the writers could have made better decisions. The survivors of The Framework kept insisting it wasn’t like waking from a dream but, instead, like having lived two lives worth of experience and memories. If that is the case why do none of the characters have any of the characteristics of their framework selves? 

Nothing carried over from The Framework except what the team learned while there. It would have been interesting to watch Fitz struggle with what he should do now, as you could expect he would with that entire life of horrendous villainy in his past. Furthermore, the fact that he can toss Aida aside like he never cared for her makes The Framework seem less real. 

I wish we got to see more faltering from Coulson returning to a full leadership role after his lifetime as a follower. But I suppose we could see these further explored in the finale or the likely to come season five. 

What do you hope we see explored regarding side effects from the framework? Be sure to let us know in the comments or on Twitter by tweeting us @nerditherefirst.


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday nights at 10 pm on ABC