Agents of SHIELD Review: How Does Everyone Handle “The Return”?

Agents of SHIELD

Well, gang, this has been a blast. Seeing as we’re on a rotation, this is my last review of Agents of SHIELD for the season. As we’ve reached the penultimate episode, I am hard pressed to think of a time when this show has been more exciting or interesting than over this past season, especially the framework arc. Now that the team is (mostly) out of the framework, the real world consequences are more real than ever.

This week on Agents of SHIELD: Fitz and Aida contend with the real world consequences of their framework actions, which includes being captured by SHIELD. Yo-yo devises a plan to retrieve Mack from the framework. Coulson and May contend with the Russian on the barge before it blows. General Talbot shows up to the base, frantically trying to stop the LMD’s.

It’s hard for me to even express how exciting this arc has been, though they’ve all been exciting in different ways. This particular episode was an emotional rollercoaster. Watching AIDA go through all of those emotions in one short episode was nothing short of incredible to watch. I have loved Mallory Jansen’s work since her early days of Galavant, but the AIDA/Madame Hydra spectrum has been phenomenal. She and Iain De Caestecker absolutely destroyed their scenes this week, which were haunting, emotional, and intense.

Probably my only real complaint with this episode was the Russian. The fact that he has a bunch of brain-controlled robots in his likeness running around is the most interesting part about him. But watching the team battle him was extremely exciting. Now that he’s teamed up with AIDA to try and recreate the framework world, though, I am more intrigued than ever before about his story.

Easily, though, the story in “The Return” was all overshadowed by the FitzSimmons saga. Fitz obviously has serious regrets. Jemma can NOT un-see what she saw him do, either. Then, of course, AIDA’s feelings for “Leopold” throw another wrench into the situation. I’m not usually a shipper, but FitzSimmons has thrown all of that out the window for me over the past few months. Did anyone else cheer when Fitz, ever the sweet boy, dropped that he only loved Jemma and not AIDA?  I already mentioned the intensity that surrounded the Fitz/Aida saga, but Elizabeth Henstridge was a part of this too. Her silent, calculating confusion on all things Fitz had me praying that they would reconcile. But I have to admit, this is way more interesting than an OTP who just gets together and never endures any more conflict.

Here are a few other thoughts:

  • I love Yo-Yo, but I was getting a little annoyed by her persistence at getting Mack back. He’s gone, girl, get over it!
  • Seriously, can we use AIDA’s technology to bring back Ward, or Trip? Or bring back Mack’s daughter so this nonsense can stop?
  • I’m really excited for (spoiler alert) Ghost Rider to come back, too.
  • Cross your fingers for the show to be renewed for a fifth season!

Overall, this was an impressive, exciting penultimate installment for Agents of SHIELD. As my colleague returns to do the last episode of the year, I want all of you to know what a pleasure it has been writing about this show.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Let us know in the comments!

Agents of SHIELD’s season finale airs Tuesday, May 16th at 10pm on ABC


Agents of SHIELD Season 4 Episode 21 Review: "The Return"


Fitz tries to redeem AIDA, while the team deals with their return to the real world on this week’s strong episode of Agents of SHIELD

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