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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4 E20 "Farewell, Cruel World!"

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The team races against time to escape the Framework before Aida destroys it. However, not everybody is ready or willing to leave.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Absentee Actor: Brett Dalton doesn't appear as Grant Ward this episode.note 
  • Accidental Murder: When Simmons tries to force Alistair Fitz to get his son to her at gunpoint, he instead tries to overpower her. As he's trying to strangle her, her gun goes off and hits him in the stomach.
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  • The Atoner: Radcliffe saves Jemma from being killed and throws Fitz into the Backdoor, but he knows that it's nowhere near enough to make up for everything he's done.
  • Back from the Dead: Fitz offers this to Radcliffe to get him to reveal the location of the Backdoor. Radcliffe complies, but only because he knows the only way to save Fitz is to disconnect him.
  • Become a Real Boy: Aida succeeds in creating herself a living, organic body, and was even ambitious enough to give it some superpowers as well.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Radcliffe stops Fitz from killing Jemma, then throws him into the Backdoor.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Coulson, May, Fitz, Daisy and Simmons escape the Framework, but Mack chooses to stay, Fitz is traumatized by his actions within and is kidnapped by Aida, who has successfully transferred her consciousness into a living organic superpowered body.
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  • Brought Down to Normal: Coulson and May think that Aida transferring herself to an organic body means she's vulnerable ("she bleeds just like we do!") but she had the foresight to include superpowers in her new design, which means this is more a case of Discard and Draw.
  • Call-Back: Coulson decapitates Aida's body to trap her mind in the Framework, and laments that all he has is a small surgical scalpel while Mack had a shotgun-axe.
  • Casanova Wannabe: When Trip talks with Daisy about the real world, he asks if he was involved with any of the women on her team. When she says no, he asks why she'd want to go back to such a bleak world. She finds it funny, but he's still striking out.
  • Cliffhanger: The Zephyr is being fired upon by a jet sent by Ivanov and doesn't have the power to defend itself, while Aida manages to kidnap Fitz by teleporting to parts unknown, and Mack decides to stay in the Framework.
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  • Comically Missing the Point: When Coulson tells May about the real world, she's understandably skeptical, thinking he's crazy. Coulson admits that for a while, he thought he was crazy, and crafted soap just to stay sane. But then he met Daisy, and started to believe again. What does May take from the speech?
    May: Did you say "crafted soap"?
  • Continuity Nod: While bleeding out, Coulson tells May that "This feels oddly familiar".
  • Dream Apocalypse: Simmons correctly surmises that Aida is ultimately planning to unplug the Framework, effectively destroying the entire virtual reality. She doesn't get the chance thanks to the team escaping while she's moving into her new body.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • It's made clear once again that, despite the unhealthiness of their relationship, Leopold and Alistair really did love each other.
    • Aida seems still attracted by Fitz after waking up in her human body, apparently not only having viewed him as a means to an end.
  • Exact Words: When Mack makes Daisy promise he'll be back in time to bring his daughter to bed, she just says that he will be exactly where he is supposed to be. She starts to try it again later but ultimately decides telling Mack the truth is the right thing to do.
  • Fake Defector: Radcliffe seems to be swayed by Fitz's offer of immortality through Aida's Project Looking Glass machine, but in fact merely intends to get Fitz to the Backdoor so he can be disconnected.
  • Fan Disservice: Seeing Madame Hydra half-naked with all the bruises on her body is not a nice sight.
  • Fun with Acronyms: We finally get to learn what Aida's name stands for: Artificially Intelligent Digital Assistant.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: When Coulson is sent through the Backdoor, it sends out a ripple that exposes the Framework as a computer construct to everyone in attendance. May (who didn't fully believe it) and Mack (who had literally only heard about it minutes before) are predictably stunned.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see Coulson cutting off Aida's head, we only see her decapitated body lying in the background afterwards. Although given that Coulson only had a tiny scalpel, if they showed it in real time, it would have probably taken the entire episode.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Radcliffe realizes that his mind was corrupted by the Darkhold and his actions were not for the greater good.
    • After waking up from the Framework, Fitz is shocked to the core about his actions there and wonders if he really is a bad person.
  • Heroic BSoD: After what the Doctor did to Agnes, Mace, Daisy and Jemma, Fitz is practically catatonic by the time Aida takes him away. He doesn't seem to hear May or Coulson yelling at him so they can stop Aida.
  • I Choose to Stay: Mack stays in the Framework, refusing to abandon his daughter. Even though he now knows she's not real, he still considers that preferable to her being dead in the real world.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Jemma tries to get through to Fitz at the steel mill, but her killing Alistair has made Fitz completely unwilling to hear her out.
  • Irony: In the Framework, Aida led an organization founded on the persecution of Inhumans, but the human body she created for herself in the real world has superpowers.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Jemma makes her feeling towards "Ophelia" quite clear.
    Jemma: Its name is Aida. Artificially Intelligent Digital Assistant.
  • It's All My Fault: Radcliffe says this word for word as he throws Fitz into the Backdoor.
  • Just a Machine: While Simmons and Daisy are still firmly upholding this opinion regarding the people created by the Framework, Mack defies it, stating that Hope is real enough to him.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: After learning about Alistair, Simmons immediately storms off to confront him. After accidentally killing him, this almost costs them the mission.
  • Legacy Character: Daisy suggests that Trip take up the Patriot mantle. He thinks the suit would look good on him.
  • Loophole Abuse: Radcliffe built the Framework's Backdoor as an immovable pool of water disguised as a park fountain. Aida found it but couldn't get rid of it, so instead she had a steel mill built over the park with a smelting pool directly on top of the exit, making it suicide to dive in. Daisy is able to quake the molten metal aside to get around this.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Jemma's desperation to get Fitz back comes to a head and drives her to confront his father at gunpoint. She forgets that, while Alistair is scum in any world, in the Framework they have a close relationship and will do anything to protect the other.
  • Metaphorically True: When Daisy recruits Mack, he asks if she'll get him back to his daughter. She tells him she'll get him where he needs to be. He doesn't catch on.
  • Moral Myopia: Fitz accuses Jemma of killing his father in cold blood, despite the fact that even over the phone he could tell there was a struggle. He then tries to kill her execution-style, which is pretty much the definition of cold blood.
  • Multiple Reference Pun: The title of the episode is "Farewell, Cruel World!" which looks like an homage to the phrase "Goodbye, cruel world!" (most often used when a character is dying and leaving behind a less than pleasant life), but here it means that the team are leaving the Framework (the cruel world), and with it still running, hoping for Mack at least to "fare well" (be happy).
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Jemma is utterly distraught at killing Alistair. Not because she killed someone (even if he was just an avatar, he's still Alistair Fitz, whom Jemma utterly despises in the real world) but because it means that there is no way Leopold will even consider listening to her now.
    • Fitz is horrified by his actions in the Framework once he's back in the real world, fearing that he's a bad person.
  • Mythology Gag: Daisy suggests that Trip take up the mantle of Patriot after Mace's death. After the comic version of Mace was killed, the mantle was taken up by Eli Bradley, who physically resembles Trip. They both are even the grandsons of WWII era characters who have a connection to Captain America (Eli Bradley is the grandson of Isiah Bradley, a WWII super-soldier who ends up taking up the mantle of Captain America. Trip is the grandson of a Howling Commando, most like Gabe Jones).
  • Naked on Arrival: Aida's new body is built without clothing, but her minions left a bathrobe to take care of that problem.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Fitz, still disoriented from the switch to the real world, sees Aida and assumes she's Ophelia from the Framework. He stumbles over to her, keeping May from getting a clear shot, which isn't helped by the reveal that Aida has teleportation powers, which allows Aida to teleport them both away.
  • Off with His Head!: Coulson cuts off Aida's head when he sees her connected to the Framework, but it's too late, as she has already begun transferring into her new body.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The normally stoic Madame Hydra gets worried when she hears about Simmons trying to lure Fitz to the Backdoor. It's even more jarring in the real world when she wakes up in her human body, where she seems almost overwhelmed by all her feelings.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Radcliffe does this to Fitz after stopping him from killing Jemma. It doesn't knock him out, but merely disorients him enough that Radcliffe can toss him into the Backdoor without Fitz putting up a struggle, since Radcliffe is still weakened from being beaten and tortured, and Jemma's on one leg from a gunshot wound.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Having spent weeks if not months drugged into unconsciousness, May is incredibly weak and lacks the strength to stand, let alone walk, after being disconnected from the Framework.
    • Fitz is deeply traumatized by his actions in the Framework. He's the only member of the team who didn't turn against HYDRA before exiting, he was complicit in and responsible for many of their atrocities. He also shot Agnes in cold blood and ordered the airstrike that killed Mace, both of whom were real people and not just Framework constructs.
    • Virtual or not, Hope is still Mack's daughter whom he (from his perspective) had spent ten years raising as a single parent. He won't abandon her so quickly, especially after finding out that she's dead in the real world.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Madame Hydra orders Fitz back to base upon hearing that Alistair's been killed, but he refuses to return without killing Jemma for doing the deed.
  • Sense Freak: Aida when feeling emotions for the first time in her human body.
  • Smash Cut: When Jemma hears that Alistair is still part of Fitz's life in the Framework, she asks May if May still has access to HYDRA personnel files. Cut to Jemma pulling a gun on Alistair at his home address.
  • Spanner in the Works: Aida is not happy that Jemma killed Alistair, as it's the one thing that could really derail her plans for Fitz. Sure enough, he ignores her order to return to the Triskelion in favor of tracking down Jemma (and inadvertently heading to the Backdoor).
  • Taking Up the Mantle: Daisy convinces Trip to become the new Patriot.
  • Teleportation: Aida's new body has the ability to teleport. Apparently she built some superpowers into it.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Mack seems shocked after shooting a HYDRA agent himself, though that might be surprise that he was able to use a gun so easily.
  • Villainous Crush: Even outside the Framework, Aida seems to genuinely love Fitz, despite the fact that Fitz isn't the same man outside that he is in there. She grabs him and teleports away before May can shoot her.
  • Villainous Valor: Alistair refuses to give in to Jemma's demands that he get Fitz to come alone, instead telling Fitz to send a strike team before trying to overpower Jemma himself. He gets shot for his trouble, ruining any attempt by Jemma to get through to Fitz.
  • We Can Rule Together: Aida offers this to Fitz, who's too dumbstruck by what he's done and the current situation to answer one way or the other before she grabs him and teleports to safety.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: All of Team Coulson (sans Mack) escape from the Framework... only for Aida to settle into her new body and teleport herself and Fitz away from the rig before he and Jemma can be reunited, while the Zephyr is being attacked by Ivanov's goons.
  • You Are Too Late: Coulson decapitates Aida's body to trap her mind in the Framework. Unfortunately, she has already completed the machine that allows her to transfer her mind from the Framework into a newly constructed human body in the real world.
  • You Killed My Father: Upon reuniting with Jemma in the Framework, Fitz says this word-for-word to shut down her appeals to remember her, and the reality they're about to return to. Considering that he heard Alistair's death over the phone, he's not wrong. Even the fact that Jemma apologizes for the mentioned incident can't make him see reason.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: All but Mack have escaped the Framework, but Aida's gotten what she wanted from it and now she's free to do whatever she wants with Fitz as a prisoner.


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