We’ve been on a stream of crazy episodes, so let’s not stop now! If you aren’t caught up, check out the last episode here.
As has been the trend as of late, our episode starts with a familiar face – or rather, not a face at all. It’s the “thing” from Maveth, the one that attacked Simmons and Will all the way back in “4,722 Hours”. We now know it to be Hive, but at the time, it was just a shambling monster in an spacesuit. He is being generated from the Rift to the fear dimension.
Meanwhile, newlyweds Fitz and Simmons are working on a more permanent gravity bomb solution to the Rift. Fitz is complaining that he just wants British junk food – Hobnobs, Maltesers, Twiglets. Why does it have to be a fear dimension, anyway? Why can’t it be a dream dimension, or a wish dimension? He asks what Simmons wish would be, and she says a honeymoon, which makes Fitz feel guilty; he’s been so busy with work. Suddenly, the Hive-creature grabs Simmons and kills a redshirt before they take it out. The Rift is getting worse.
Elsewhere, Mack is working with Yo-Yo and tweaking the prosthetic arms he and Fitz are making for her. It’s not a perfect fit; she is still in a lot of pain from her maiming, and even at 10% power it’s hurting her nerve endings too much. She tries to push for more power, desperate to be able to punch things again, but Mack ends the session. She asks to put on operations; even if her arms don’t work, her eyes do. Mack considers it, but says that she really needs to rest and heal.
Daisy and Deke are trying to track General Hale, when Fitz and Simmons enter and explain what just happened. They ask for Deke’s help with information on how to compress the gravitonium, but Deke is distracted; after all, he just discovered that Fitz and Simmons are his grandparents, and they don’t know yet. Fitz gets annoyed. He is stressed and short-fused lately. Deke stammers that he doesn’t know how it works, and Fitz has the idea to find Dr. Franklin Hall’s original notes on the gravitonium. Daisy says she will look for them while Fitz and Simmons go off to experiment more. Deke tells them to stay safe, not wanting anything to happen to them (and by extension him). He explains to Daisy that he just got “really invested in them as a couple”. Daisy gets a hit on General Hale’s tracking, and forwards the information to Coulson.
General Hale is on her phone in the backseat of her chauffeured car, complaining to her superiors that she needs more time. Suddenly, they crash into a net in a cargo bay. It’s the cloaked Zephyr. Her window smashes, and a gas grenade flies in. She is knocked unconscious. Coulson and May thank Piper for this first step of her redemption arc; they bagged a general. The Zephyr takes off.
Fitz is wearing a welding mask and is working away on the robot that they took Yo-Yo’s new arms from. Deke arrives to tell him that they nabbed Hale, and asks to help. He’s good with metal-working; must be in his genes, even if he’s no doctor. Fitz knocks Deke out with a pipe and takes off his coveralls and mask, revealing his slicked back hair and well-pressed suit. He’s the evil HYDRA Fitz from the Framework; The Doctor. He remarks to the unconscious Deke that he is the only doctor here. The Rift is getting worse!
Aboard the Zephyr, Coulson interrogates Hale. Why has she declared war on S.H.I.E.L.D.? She simply states that she is a general of the United States Air Force and he is the leader of a domestic terrorist organization. He points out that she bombed them and cut off the arms of one of their agents, and she admits that one of her subordinates got overzealous; but after all, wasn’t it one of Coulson’s who shot her predecessor General Talbot in the head? He says that that wasn’t Daisy (it was a Life-Model Decoy), but she says that he is just protecting her. That must be why people follow him so blindly. All she wants to do is prevent humanity’s extinction.
Fitz – the real Fitz – pushes Daisy aside from computer and asks if they have any records of Franklin Hall’s notes at all. Daisy hasn’t found any, and Fitz pounds his fist on the desk. Daisy tells him to chill out; he really needs to sleep. He can’t carry all this on his own shoulders. He is angry that this is just going to keep getting worse. Suddenly, they lose two cameras in the base, and Daisy goes to check it out, leaving Fitz to take a breather. Fitz sits and struggles to figure out a solution out loud, when the Doctor arrives and tells him that he is on the right track. Fitz, terrified to see his worst fear – his evil self – asks why the Doctor is here. He responds that he is here to do what Fitz will not.
In Yo-Yo’s room, Mack and Simmons get the news that the anomalies are getting worse. Mack decides to move Yo-Yo’s hospital room to a safer floor, and she argues that she isn’t a child. She is an agent, just like they are. Suddenly, the sleeper agent robot that The Doctor was working on arrives and tells them not to move.
Fitz is close to tears facing the Doctor, insisting that he isn’t real. The Doctor disagrees; he is very real, and they have work to do. Fitz feebly argues that everything that happened in the Framework was The Doctor, not him. The Doctor states that they are one and the same. He examines a scalpel and tells Fitz that he can’t stop him; plans are already in motion. Suddenly, Fitz hears a gunshot and Simmons screaming his name, and runs off to save her. The Doctor yells that they are not finished yet.
As May watches the interrogation, Coulson remarks that saving the world is generally S.H.I.E.L.D.’s deal, and Hale says that she will show him how they can save the world if he trusts her and follows her. Coulson refuses; she hasn’t proven herself to be trustworthy, and he’s in the drivers seat now. She laughs and says that she deliberately let them hack her phone and has always been in the drivers seat. Piper arrives and tells May that they can’t move the chauffeur of Hale’s car; he’s like a statue. May goes down to help and the driver takes off his sleeper robot mask, revealing himself to be Carl Creel; The Absorbing Man. He suggests that they listen to Hale, and reveals an explosive vest.
It’s a regular Who’s Who of past villains!
Fitz rushes to the medbay to find the robot destroyed and Mack shot. Simmons is tending to his wound. They explain that it wasn’t a Rift illusion, because it didn’t disappear. But if Mack disabled the robots before he brought them back to the base, who put them back together? Fitz begins stuttering – it feels like his season two brain injury is returning – and tells them that The Doctor is here. He blames himself, but Simmons tries to keep a more level head. What does the Doctor want? Fitz is The Doctor, so if he thinks hard enough he can figure it out. Fitz says that he wants to “do what he couldn’t” and “finish was was started”, and they realize he wants to continue his Inhuman experimentation. Fitz runs off to find Daisy.
Knowing they are in a trap, Coulson, Piper and May wait for a Quinjet to dock on the Zephyr, weapons drawn. The door opens and reveals Anton Ivanov, The Superior, who remarks that it is good to see Coulson again. He hasn’t given up on his “superior humanity” kick; he has simply redefined what humanity means. He demands that Hale is brought to him, or Creel will blow the jet out of the sky. Hale, Creel and Ivanov order Coulson to come with him, and Coulson points out that the Superior was the one who actually programmed the robot that shot Talbot. Hale (incorrectly) states that Fitz programmed The Superior, so it’s S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fault anyway. May refuses to let Coulson go with them, but after they argue a bit about Coulson’s recent suicide mission kick, she decides to let him go.
On a lower level, Daisy tries to fix the cameras, only to realize nothing is wrong with them. She doesn’t have much time to be confused before she is knocked out by one of the reprogrammed sleeper robots. She wakes up to who she thinks is Fitz preparing to experiment on her; but it’s The Doctor. He explains that what he does helps people, and that’s why he is restoring her powers. Daisy protests, saying he can’t, but he begins to tear the inhibitor out of her neck. She starts crying, saying that he doesn’t know what her powers can do – she destroys the world. The Doctor disagrees; the Rift will destroy the world, and her powers can compress the gravitonium and stop it. Suddenly, Fitz bursts in to stop The Doctor.
Aboard the Quinjet, they try to put a black sack over Coulson’s head and scan his arm for weapons. He try to appeal to Creel, saying that he knows S.H.I.E.L.D. are the good guys, but he won’t listen. He asks the Superior what happened that made him no longer in charge. Hale says that she has his head in a jar.
Yo-Yo tells Mack to stay off his injured leg, but he says he needs to protect her. Yo-Yo points out that they saw her in the future; they know she doesn’t die. Mack insists that the future they saw isn’t guaranteed, and Yo-Yo says that at least then they will have broken the loop. Simmons arrives and asks Mack to stay off his leg as well, and then is alarmed to notice that Daisy and Fitz haven’t checked in.
In The Doctor’s makeshift lab, Fitz argues with the Doctor as Daisy cries on the table. The Doctor says that Fitz is weak. Daisy cries, wondering who Fitz is talking to. Suddenly, Simmons runs in and we realize the awful truth:
There is no Doctor.
There’s just Fitz, talking to himself, holding a scalpel.
The signs were there all along.
The stress. The lack of sleep. The brain damage. The Framework. It was a long time coming.
Oh my God.
Simmons helps Fitz realize that this isn’t the Doctor, this is all him. Fitz begins to come to terms with it, but he doesn’t care. The science is sound. This is what he needs to do to save the world. A sleeper robot enters with Deke and a gun pointed at Simmons, and Fitz says the “Doctor” programmed it to ensure he goes through with this. Daisy begs him not to, and he says that science always has risks. Simmons says that paralyzing Daisy or destroying the world are two very big risks, and Fitz says that he hopes that doesn’t happen. As Daisy begs, screams, and cries he extracts the power inhibitor and Daisy’s powers return. She tearfully tells him that she will never forgive him. He calmly says that she probably won’t be the only one. He forces Daisy to compress the gravitonium and place it into the sphere, releases it to close the Rift, and then submits himself for arrest.
Through the window to Fitz’s cell, Simmons asks how long Fitz has been seeing the Doctor. He admits that he has heard him since the Framework, but only just saw him now. She attributes this to his brain injury, but he says that when he saw hallucinations of Simmons before, that was his conscience. She asks what the Doctor was. She assures him that the Doctor isn’t him, but he insists that it was. Not a vision, not a doppelganger. It was him. Simmons asks him to talk to Mack and Daisy and ask them to forgive him. Fitz says he doesn’t deserve forgiveness, and still genuinely believes he did the right thing. Simmons agrees that they need to make hard choices if they want to change to timeline. Fitz asks what that makes them, and Simmons doesn’t know. Fitz doesn’t know where to go from here.
Deke finds Simmons crying and doesn’t know what to say. She says that Fitz is losing himself, and she feels like she is losing him too. Deke says that Simmons knows Fitz better than he knows himself. That he is stubborn, so she lets him win arguments sometimes. That he can be a baby when he is sick. That he loves prosciutto and mozzarella sandwiches that only she makes right. Simmons asks how Deke knows this, and he tearfully says that his mom talked about her parents all the time. Simmons realizes that Deke is their grandson, and he says that this is how he knows they work it out. Steps don’t need to be big, just in the right direction. Simmons throws up.
Hale stands in a impossibly black room with large blue digital alien symbols on the walls. A mysterious shadowed man billed as Qovas tells her that she is failing, and Hale insists that the final pieces are falling into place. He says that people say that before failure, and hands her Kree Odium. He tells her that before she dies, to drink it to go out in a blaze of glory. As he walks away, he says “Hail HYDRA”.
That episode was insane. So many abandoned plot-threads slowly weaving back together. It feels like this has been in motion for forever. I feel so bad for Fitz. This can’t be the final season!
I give this episode a 9.5/10.