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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4 E22 "World's End"

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The battle between Team Coulson and their final enemy begins, but they might not have to win the fight alone.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Absentee Actor: Triplett and Ward do not appear in any of the Framework scenes, and were presumably deleted offscreen at some point during its shutdown.
  • Actually a Doombot: Aida threatens Simmons in front of Fitz, who tells her where the Darkhold is in an attempt to bargain for her life, but she kills her anyway and teleports out... exactly as Team Coulson expected, which is why they used an LMD Simmons. The real one is waiting in the portal room to put a magazine of SMG rounds into Aida's back.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg:
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    • After Yo-Yo finds herself at gunpoint while bound to a medical cot within the Framework, she begs her assailant not to kill her before Radcliffe attacks him from behind.
    • Fitz does this as well when Aida has Jemma at her mercy, but it is subverted when it is revealed that this Jemma was actually a LMD used as part of Coulson's plot to have the Ghost Rider trap her.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Radcliffe's ultimate demise by being deleted along with the Framework is portrayed in a tragic and sympathetic way, with him lamenting that without his beloved Agnes, he wouldn't want to live forever anyway. He also dies alone, and even appears to have been the only person left in the Framework before being deleted himself. And he didn't even get to have his drink!
    • Aida shows the face of absolute fear and pain as she succumbs to Ghost Rider's attack and is burned alive to a crisp.
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  • All Your Powers Combined: Fitz mentions that he performed lethal experimentation on numerous Inhumans they knew in order to give Aida her powerset, including Lincoln, Vijay, and Gordon.
  • Always Someone Better: Aida is a superstrong, volt-casting, lethal-wound-healing teleporter. She clearly made herself as powerful as possible, but once the Rider gets his hands on her (literally), she's utterly helpless and quickly dies.
  • Apocalypse How: It's an artificial world, but nevertheless the Framework is deactivated by Aida, causing everything and everyone in it to disappear over the course of around half a day.
  • Ascended Meme: Robbie says "It's all connected."
  • Awesome, but Impractical: In their first confrontation, the Rider does a fancy spinning swing when trying to nail Aida with his chain, but the windup is so long that she teleports away just before it hits her.
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  • Back for the Dead: Framework Agent Burrows, who constantly appeared as a major Resistance member throughout the Framework arc, returns for a few scenes before he and every other living thing in the Framework are deleted except for Mack, Hope, Yo-Yo and Radcliffe.
  • Back for the Finale: Ghost Rider comes back because the Spirit of Vengeance wants him to take Aida.
  • Bad Boss: Aida deletes the Framework along with everybody inside, despite knowing full well that this includes the many virtual HYDRA agents devoted to her, not to mention those virtual HYDRA scientists who helped with Project Looking Glass in order for her to become human in the first place.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Radcliffe once again, this time to save Elena from a HYDRA goon.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The day is saved, Aida is defeated and the Darkhold locked away. On the downside, Ivanov and his LMD army are still out there, Team Coulson are wanted fugitives (again), plus all are coping with what happened in the Framework to various degrees, with Fitz getting it the worst, Talbot can't help because he's in a coma, and Robbie is forced to leave to hide the Darkhold without ever getting a chance to see Gabe, let alone say goodbye. The season ends with the Team being swept away by a mysterious group of Men in Black.
  • Bookends: Due to Ghost Rider's reappearance, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. logo goes back to the Ghost Rider version from the beginning of the season.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Talbot is shot in the head by one of Aida's Daisy LMDs. Surprisingly, this doesn't kill him, though he is left in a coma.
  • Brown Note: The Men in Black use a device which freezes everyone in the diner but themselves for two minutes, allowing them to get Team Coulson out of the diner before the actual authorities show up.
  • The Bus Came Back: As shown at the end of the previous episode, Ghost Rider is back.
  • But Now I Must Go: After Aida is defeated, Robbie leaves once again, this time to make sure the Darkhold is placed somewhere where no one can misuse it.
  • Character Development:
    • Both Daisy and Simmons express regret for the dead people in the Framework, apparently having accepted that they were not just pieces of code. Even Elena, who expresses this view this very episode, seems sad about Hope at the end.
    • Daisy has come to realize that her actions after the season 3 finale (leaving S.H.I.E.L.D., becoming a vigilante, blaming herself for everything, dying her hair) was maladaptive, self-destructive, and she should have let her friends help her. That's why she refuses to let Fitz do the same thing here.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Pay special attention to the way the unknown agent addresses Coulson as it will be important next season.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: One of the Daisy LMDs from "Self Control" shows up here to aid Ivanov in disrupting the conference by leaving a lot of dead bodies and Talbot with a head wound.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • All that previous research with Life Model Decoys allowed Fitz to build one of his own.
    • The Spirit of Vengeance first demonstrated the ability to jump into people other than Robbie in "Deals With Our Devils," fifteen episodes ago. Here, Coulson took the Spirit into himself to trick Aida.
    • Ghost Rider's ability to create burns that will not heal was first mentioned in "The Ghost", the first episode of the season. Here, it makes him the only being capable of harming Aida without her Healing Factor repairing the damage.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Robbie's description of the MCU multiverse, with dimensions and worlds that would seem like Hell to humans and there being a constant war that Ghost Rider has been fighting in, is essentially another version of the Ancient One's explanation to Stephen Strange about the nature of reality in Doctor Strange (2016). The overhead shot of an intersection, as well as Aida and Ghost Rider falling from the sky, also call to mind the visuals of the Mirror Dimension fight that led to the death of the Ancient One, another woman who drew power from a dark dimension to give herself life. The portal Robbie makes at the end with his chain is identical to one made by a sling ring. He even opens the portal to a snowy mountain peak, the same kind Doctor Strange was sent to so he could master the ring.
    • This isn't the first time in the MCU where our heroes all go grab a bite to eat together after the action is over.
    • The little device the man in the suit uses to freeze the team in place is not unlike what Obadiah Stane used in Iron Man to freeze Tony and Raza (albeit a much wider area and without the painful side effects).
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Aida is burned alive, very slowly, by Ghost Rider's hellfire, and for good measure he throws her charred corpse to the cement to shatter it into ash and cooked bone.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: As to be expected with everyone the Spirit of Vengeance fights for real, Aida doesn't last long after she finally can't get away from him.
  • Deal with the Devil: Coulson made a deal with the Spirit of Vengeance to get it to agree to their short team-up, the details of which are not mentioned, but Coulson is not looking forward to the day he has to pay up, and Robbie says he does not envy Coulson.
  • Death of a Child: The Framework version of Hope gets deleted with the Framework.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: A variation; Mack hugs Hope tight as the Framework is being deleted, until she's deleted and he's left holding nothing.
  • Doing In the Scientist: Continuing from Doctor Strange (2016), the episode dances around this point. Robbie says that "Hell is relative," and that there are many other worlds and dimensions, all connected, some of which fit the definition of Hell. The dimension Robbie went to, the same one the Ghost Rider and the Darkhold are from, is described as a world of endless pain and fighting.
  • Evil Feels Good: As Aida tells Fitz, she enjoys hurting others because it makes her feel better. In fact, she prefers this emotional outlet over more benign activities like song writing. This screenshot should give a perfectly good impression.
  • Evil Knockoff: Aida uses a Daisy LMD as a petty way at getting back at Daisy for crippling her in the Framework, in addition to the fact that Daisy is a public face of both Inhumans and S.H.I.E.L.D. she can frame for murder.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: Averted; the Framework along with everybody inside is deleted by Aida, but it's played for utter horror. Even those without memories of living there, who previously said it was expendable, changed their minds and said it was just as real as reality.
  • Eye Scream: One LMD is destroyed when Robbie pulls its eye out using a drill.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Radcliffe is accepting of the fact that he's going to die as the Framework shuts down and is sitting on a beach to have a quiet drink while waiting for the end.
  • The Faceless: The leader of the group that captures the team has his face entirely in shadow the entire time he's in the diner.
  • False Flag Operation: Aida uses a Daisy LMD and has it shoot Talbot in the head to make both the Inhumans and S.H.I.E.L.D. look bad. It works, though Ivanov's plan to influence the others at the briefing with the Darkhold is foiled.
  • Forced to Watch: Aida intends to kill everyone Fitz loves in front of him, starting with Jemma.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Coulson is conspicuously wearing black leather gloves when Aida shows up to confront him. Since those are usually associated with Robbie, an astute viewer can probably figure out where the scene's headed. He's also within the line of fire from Simmons's SMG, so you know that he is up to something when she fires.
    • As shown in the previous episode, the containment room at the Playground was pristine despite the base being otherwise ruined. Given there were a few dozen copies of Daisy LMDs in one of them, it raised the question as to whether or not any of them made it out.
  • Freefall Fight: Aida teleports herself and Ghost Rider around the world in a vain attempt to shake him off, at one point transporting them both high into the air only to teleport again just before impact. She ultimately gives up and returns to the Playground.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Once Aida realizes Ghost Rider can hurt her, she does her best to teleport away whenever possible. The final confrontation hinges on finding a way to trick her into getting close enough for the Rider to finish her off.
  • Good News, Bad News: Coulson references the concept when asking if Daisy's face upon coming over to him is a "good news" or "bad news" face. She says it's a "weird news" face, given what she heard about Robbie's return.
  • Hates Being Touched: They may be working together, but Aida doesn't appreciate that Ivanov touches her hand when he intends to examine her wound.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Fitz offers to stay behind and take responsibility for the LMD mess, but Daisy talks him out of it.
    • In hindsight, Coulson using the power of the Rider to kill Aida once and for all was ultimately this.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Aida spent most of the season using LMDs to fool people into thinking they were dealing with something that they weren't. Coulson's plan uses an LMD of Simmons and the Spirit of Vengeance concealed within himself to do the same to her.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Aida has by this point evolved from a progressively more intelligent robot to a flat-out Humanoid Abomination made of Darkhold matter with the combined powers of Inhumans. Yet, she soon starts running away in terror from the Ghost Rider.
  • Humanoid Abomination: As hinted at near the end of the previous episode, though Aida's body may be anatomically human, it's made of matter from the world the Darkhold comes from. Much like how Eli's Reality Warper powers created tremors, doing this created a tear through which Robbie was able to return to Earth. Her mere existence is so unnatural that the Spirit of Vengeance hates her beyond anything Robbie has ever felt.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: When May asks Coulson about why he drank the bottle of scotch, he says that the explanation will require another bottle.
  • Irony: Ivanov finds the irony of a being of pure logic such as Aida becoming so ruled by emotion to be quite humorous.
  • Karma Houdini: Ivanov gets away with framing S.H.I.E.L.D. without his head being found.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: As everything in the Framework is being deleted, Radcliffe decides to spend his last moments before he meets the same fate watching the sunset on a beach with a bottle of liquor. He pours himself a glass and raises it for a toast, quoting T. S. Eliot, but is deleted before he can finish his sentence, and the glass he was holding just drops to the ground. The background music even stops when this happens.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Coulson is incredibly disappointed when he realizes he missed seeing Daisy and Ghost Rider fighting as a team.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Once Aida learns that Robbie can bypass her healing power, she teleports away the second she sees him.
  • Last of His Kind: Radcliffe appears to have been the only person left in the Framework before being deleted himself.
  • The Men in Black: After Aida is defeated, Team Coulson heads to a diner to have one last meal before they're possibly thrown in prison thanks to the Daisy LMD shooting General Talbot in the head, only for a suited man and several soldiers they believe to be arresting them show up. Instead, the suited man pulls out a device that seems to freeze everything for two minutes, and in the final scene of the season we find Coulson looking out at an asteroid belt somewhere in space.
  • Mirror Match: Aida looks forward to watching Daisy and her LMD duke it out, but doesn't get the chance as it is promptly burned to ashes by Robbie's flaming chain.
  • Never My Fault: Talbot says that the world is turning against S.H.I.E.L.D. again because someone (presumably Aida or Ivanov) leaked Mace's autopsy, which revealed that he is not an Inhuman, and people are mad at S.H.I.E.L.D. for lying. When Coulson points out that the US government was behind that whole mess, Talbot brushes it off.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Robbie disintegrates the Daisy LMD, leaving Team Coulson no evidence that Daisy is innocent of the attack on Talbot.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • By using the Darkhold to create a body for herself, Aida created a tear that Ghost Rider was able to use to return to Earth. In essence, she summoned the one thing on Earth that exists to stop things like her.
    • If Aida had just left the Framework alone, in all likelihood Mack would have stayed there forever. By destroying it, she gave Mack the motivation to leave.
  • No-Sell: When Aida hits Robbie with her lightning, all it does is cause the Rider to emerge, who then charges at her without even being slowed by the attack. She tries it again against Coulson as the Rider, but he just grabs her hand and forces it away.
  • Nothing Left to Do but Die: As his physical body is dead, thus preventing his return to the real world, and not having anything else to live for, Radcliffe simply goes to a deserted beach and awaits his deletion.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Robbie shows up to take the Darkhold, Aida blasts him with electricity, but all that does is bring the Rider out. The look on her face after he transforms is priceless.
    • She has another one when she realizes too late that Ghost Rider has a new host, and she just let him grab her.
  • Only Sane Man: Radcliffe openly wonders if he is this when both Mack and Yo-Yo refuse to return to the real world despite the Framework shutting down around them.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Ghost Rider is a Spirit of Vengeance, sure, but in all previous instances it seemed to treat this more like a job. Then Aida manages to escape it and it lets out several angry roars of frustration. This is lampshaded when Robbie tells Daisy and Coulson that the Rider "hates her in ways I've never felt."
  • Reality Ensues: Even when Yo-Yo comes to bring him back, Mack still refuses to leave Hope behind. Only after she disappears in his arms does he agree to leave with Yo-Yo.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Defying narrative expectations, General Talbot survives getting shot in the head, but he's put into a coma.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Radcliffe completes his redemption by saving Elena from a man who was about to kill her and helping her in convincing Mack to escape to the real world. He spends his last moments having a drink on the beach, peacefully accepting his inevitable end.
  • Sadist: Aida is now fully enjoying causing people pain, especially Fitz.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Robbie not only burns her arm with hellfire but then transforms into the Rider, Aida immediately runs away instead of trying to really fight him.
  • Sequel Hook: Aside from the obvious hook of Coulson waking up in some kind of space station, there is also the matter of the deal he made with the Spirit of Vengeance. Ivanov's Brain in a Jar and his LMD production facility is also never seen or dealt with, thus he's still out there somewhere, and the reappearance of one of the Daisy LMDs opens the possibility that there are more of them out there.
  • Shooting Superman: Jemma empties an entire submachine gun magazine into Aida, even though she knows it won't kill her. She was only trying to distract her so Coulson could get close enough to grab her, but decided to have some fun with it.
    Aida: Your weapon can't stop me.
    Jemma: I know. I just really wanted to do that.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Radcliffe quotes the famous line from the T. S. Eliot poem The Hollow Men, "This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper", but is deleted before he gets to finish.
    • Daisy refers to the portal that took Robbie and Eli in "The Laws of Inferno Dynamics" as a "hellmouth".
  • Smug Super: Having superpowers that make her unkillable has made Aida quite arrogant, treating Robbie's attempt to steal the Darkhold from her as an amusing trifle. Then she finds out how wrong she is when she can't heal from the damage caused by Ghost Rider's Hellfire chain.
  • The Stinger: Much like the stinger for the Season 1 finale, we get a scene with Coulson waking up and seeing no other characters. This time, however, he appears to be in space, and is ready to "get to work".
  • Sympathy for the Devil: When Ghost Rider is in the process of killing Aida, Fitz is visibly disturbed by the amount of pain she's obviously in.
  • Tag Team: Daisy and Robbie dispose of the LMDs by combining their powers in very awesome ways. Coulson is upset he missed the show.
  • Tempting Fate: Daisy is dismissive of one of Ivanov's LMDs grabbing a pipe. Then the other, posing as a security guard, draws his gun and starts shooting.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Radcliffe sadly never gets to enjoy his last drink, being deleted from the Framework in the middle of his toast. It spills on the beach.
  • Thinking Up Portals: During his time in the other dimension, Robbie has learned how to generate portals using his chain.
  • Time Skip: Coulson is not surprised in the least when he wakes up in a room and looks out the window to a view of outer space, suggesting that it has been some time since the team was captured in the diner.
  • Together in Death: Mack would rather stay in the Framework and die with Hope rather than go back to the real world and live without her. Yo-Yo then decides that she feels much the same way, and would also rather stay and die than go back and live without Mack. It ends up subverted when Hope is the first one of the three of them to disappear, which makes Mack finally agree to leave.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Aida, having come to believe herself invincible in her new body, treats Robbie's return rather casually and let him fight her Ivanov drones before taking him on. She finds out painfully that not only can he hurt her despite her Healing Factor, but attacking him just pisses him off.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Coulson wakes up, looks out a window to see that he's in outer space, and then decides that he's done enough sightseeing and it's time to go back to work.
  • Wham Line:
    Aida: Don't you get it? You can't kill me.
    Coulson: Maybe not. [grabs Aida's arm] But I'm pretty sure he can. [turns into Ghost Rider]
  • Wham Shot: The final scene of the season has Coulson waking up in what appears to be a prison cell at first, before walking out and opening a window to reveal that he's actually in space.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • While Aida is finally taken care of, Ivanov is nowhere to be seen even though we know the bodies we see aren't his true body.
    • Ward and Tripp are nowhere to be seen in the Framework, which is pretty jarring considering they are major characters there. It can be assumed that they got deleted along with everyone and everything else in the Framework.
    • There is also no reveal about what happened to Vijay Nadeer after undergoing a second terrigenesis.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Everyone in the Framework is unceremoniously deleted just because Psychopathic Womanchild Aida was throwing a temper tantrum. Team Coulson, on the other hand, is horrified.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Radcliffe spends his final moments lamenting the fact that he never did get to achieve immortality as he always dreamed, but figures that it's just as well he didn't, because he wouldn't be able to enjoy it without Agnes.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Robbie's Hellfire trumps Aida's Healing Factor, giving her a permanent burn on her arm, which he identifies as due to her body being made from the same kind of dark matter produced by the Darkhold. She does her best to stay away from him after that.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Fitz initially plans to turn himself in alone, still being haunted by his actions in the Framework, but Daisy convinces him that it was not his fault and that they are in this together.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Aida deletes the Framework now that she has her human body.

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