It’s also revealed why Virtual Leo Fitz is so cruel. He learned it from watching someone.
That someone was his father, Alistair (David O’Hara), who’s alive and well in HYDRA world. As far as he’s concerned “womanly” attitudes like sympathy are for suckers. He’s taught Leo it’s better to be cruel and unfeeling in a hard world, and that Madame HYDRAida (Mallory Jansen) is best for him.
Meanwhile, Daisy is still stuck in her cell, while Fitz tries to get info from her, specificly where the Patriot (Jason O’Mara) is. He doesn’t get much, but makes it clear he likes his reality, and doesn’t want anyone from “the other side” to destroy it. He also mentions plans to take over reality through Operation Looking Glass, whatever that is. HYDRAida reminds Daisy that all she did was remove regrets from the SHIELD agents. The fact that HYDRA is in charge was just a side effect. HYDRAida does offer Daisy a chance at happiness. She can suddenly make Lincoln alive again, and Daisy would be happy. It’s tempting, but it’s clear she won’t take it.
Radcliffe (John Hannah) is right next door, and he is disgusted with the food and himself. He’s mad that Fitz killed Agnes last week, and at himself for making the Framework. He tells her that Fitz is evil in this world because one small detail in his life changed. It’s that subtle, and powerful. Having Evil Dad made all the difference. He does tell her there is a way out of the Framework, which likely is tougher to reach thanks to HYDRAida, but Daisy’s willing to try.
The main mission is the Patriot, Jeffrey Mace, planning to get to a re-education camp to rescue someone. He’s amused at Jemma telling him how corny his other version is, especially with the slogans. Remember, in the Framework, Mace is a super-strong Inhuman. Ward (Brett Dalton) is still skeptical that his world isn’t real, but he shows Jemma that it doesn’t matter. Mac risking everything to help the Resistance, for his kid, makes the Framework real enough for him. It’s all depends on the perspective. Jemma has a lot to consider, and maybe think it’s too bad real Ward wasn’t like this.
Agent May is tasked with killing Mace, and she’s given a super-serum that makes her as strong as him for an hour. That does sound like a DC hero, although others say it makes her the Maytriot. They have quite the big battle, but he doesn’t kill her. She’s surprised, but is still determined to kill Mace.
Mace and Coulson get to a HYDRA re-education camp, and rescue an agent called Antoine Triplett (BJ Britt). That’s right, Tripp is back, but it’s too bad it’s only in the Framework. As fans recall, he died touching a terrigen crystal back in 2014. He was able to get info on whatever Fitz has planned, thanks to a boot that takes pictures. Coulson also spots Chris (Skyler James), the student who was grabbed by HYDRA a few weeks before. He decides to go rescue him and the other students inside. May decides to blast the building, but when she goes inside, she’s surprised there are kids inside.
Then she’s in this situation: she’s about to shoot Mace, but he is holding up a supporting beam to save Chris and keep the whole place from crashing down. Coulson goes into SHIELD director mode and tells her to make a choice, either shoot Mace or help. “Snap out of it, May,” Coulson says.
Mace makes a choice, too. He gives his life for Chris, Coulson, May and the Resistance. This makes a big impression on Agent May. However, it also means Mace is dead, in the Framework and the real world. As Aida heads towards Mace’s body in the real world, she turns off his life support….with no regrets.
Back at the Framework, May asks Daisy if she’s an Inhuman. Daisy says yes, with enough power to destroy the Triskelion. That is, if she underwent terrigenesis.
What does May think of that? She takes a terrigen crystal and cracks it in front of Daisy. It looks like May has indeed “snapped out of it.”
While the show points out that no one is safe through the deaths of Agnes last week and Mace this week, it’s wise enough to show there is still hope as the finale is fast approaching. It’s not enough that there is a way out of the Framework, but that those who live there can change their minds about their reality. HYDRA May, who has no idea of her real life, deciding to turn Daisy full Inhuman is proof of that.
Next week, HYDRA will send its main guns to find the Resistance, but there could be a change on top.