Season four of Agents of SHIELD wrapped up this week as they tried to find a way to beat Aida/Ophelia and Ivanov, with a little help from the Ghost Rider. Where they wind up will puzzle fans all summer long…and part of the fall.


“Worlds’ End” was a very intense finish to the season, thanks mostly to Mallory Jansen as the very angry and powerful ex-LMD, Ophelia. She was very scary in her intent to burn down the world just because Fitz didn’t want her as he did in the Framework. Ivanov (Zach McGowan), meanwhile, hopes to make LMDs and use the Darkhold to create a new world that will target Inhumans. He also mocks Ophelia a little because she’s starting to feel regrets about her decisions, which is ironic because she made a world without regrets that was also too evil.

Standing in their way, though, is Robbie Reyes, the Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna). He says the demon inside him sensed Ophelia and really wants to get rid of her. That helped Robbie get back to our world. Aida and Reyes have tough battles, but her teleportation gives her an edge, at least, for now.

There’s also Fitz, who is guilt-ridden over making the LMD’s and Aida’s human body. Jemma tries to tell him his Framework version did that, but he insists his real self is also to blame. He was able to give Ophelia Inhuman powers through his experiments.

All of this ruins SHIELD’s reputation again. Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) tells Coulson he’s got to convince intelligence agencies SHIELD can be trusted. Problem is, Ivanov and one of his LMDs go to that meeting, and they convince everyone using the Darkhold will take care of SHIELD and Inhumans once and for all. Talbot doesn’t buy this, but then a fake Daisy shoots him in the head. He winds up in a coma, but the damage is done. Even if this is ever cleared up, it’s still enough to make SHIELD less popular than Kelly Anne Conway.

While Ophelia doesn’t cause as much damage as Ivanov, she still hits Fitz where it really hurts. She stabs Simmons in front of him, and taunts him by asking “Why do we feel better when we make someone else suffer?”

Simmons answers, “Because there’s something wrong with you, you psycho.”

What Jemma gets from that is a fatal laser beam from Ophelia…or so we think.

Ophelia is confronted by Coulson, who has the Darkhold. Suddenly, someone unloads a machine gun at Ophelia….and it’s none other than Simmons. Ophelia actually killed a fake version of Simmons, thanks to Fitz. Simmons knew shooting Ophelia wouldn’t do anything, but she just wanted to do that. Imagine if she used a bigger gun from the latest Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

Still, Ophelia is determined to get the Darkhold and says Coulson can’t stop her. He agrees…but the Ghost Rider within him certainly can.

That’s right, the demon left Robbie and entered Coulson because it wanted Ophelia gone. Of course, there was a price to pay, and someday we’ll find out what it was. It goes back to Robbie, who shows he can travel between dimensions now. Maybe he’ll be back.

The other main plot is Elena’s (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) efforts to convince Mack to leave the Framework. When the episode began, she found herself tied down on a table, maybe by HYDRA. However, Radcliffe (John Hannah) gets her out. It turned out Daisy, sort of, left him a trail to Elena, thanks to some hacking.

Still, it won’t be easy. It doesn’t matter to Mack if the Framework isn’t real. He has his daughter, Hope (Jordan Rivera), and he just can’t leave her. And in the Framework, he doesn’t even know Elena.

However, the Framework is collapsing. Chunks of it are fading away. People suddenly go missing. Yet even Radcliffe says Mack would rather live in a fake world with the daughter he loves. Elena knows this, but Mack has to realize Hope isn’t real. Too bad Hope hears this.

Mack still doesn’t believe it. He holds Hope tightly, hoping she’ll never leave. Sadly, she does. He feels the loss of losing his daughter all over again, and it hurts…a lot. It also convinces him it’s time to wake up.

He says that losing Hope again was painful, and it reminded him of what he lost. However, it also showed him what kind of a life he and Elena can have together.

It makes sense that the Framework version of Radcliffe would have the last word in his virtual world, having one last shot of scotch before fading away and leaving the scotch behind.

It was a great idea to show Coulson and May still arguing over how LMayD got to share that bottle of Haig with him, but really how he was convinced the fake May was real. He suggests they take a step back and process what happened, then get another bottle of Haig. That makes sense.

So, what now? Fitz offers to fall on his sword and take the blame for Aida/Ophelia, the Framework and the LMDs, but Daisy won’t hear of it. She gives a speech about how the Framework really affected them, and how it’ll be a long time before they’ll realize how much. The important thing, she says, is that it wasn’t really Fitz’s fault, but the whole team will take the responsibility for what happened. Her speech  is where season four goes full circle. It started with Daisy on the lam, running away because she thought it was the best for SHIELD. Eventually,  she returned to help her team. It’s a great moment for her, and proof she may be the heir apparent to Coulson.

So, they’re on the lam…but not for long. Some agents from….somewhere….capture them at a diner, and now they’re spending time in individual cells.

In. Outer. Space.

At least Coulson’s getting used to it, while the fans may wonder all summer how it got this way.

For the record, the producers told Entertainment Weekly very little about where the agents are and what is coming next. At the very least, the 100th episode should have Earth taking SHIELD back.

Season four has been praised as the best season yet, mainly due to Aida and the Framework. They both posed questions about trying to create a better version of ourselves, and how it can go horribly wrong. It also posed questions about reality, and how dangerous it can get when people literally try to make their own. That, and the Darkhold, tied together Reyes, Aida/Ophelia and the Framework.

It was also great to see Brett Dalton again as a better version of Grant Ward. It’s too bad we didn’t find out if his version of Skye accepted his true feelings about HYDRA. Sure, they would have faded away, but it would have been a great scene.

Oh, and remember that Vijay Nadeer, who was killed by his Senator sister, is still in the ocean in a terragenesis husk. Is he dead or alive? That has to be answered, too.

Season five of Agents of SHIELD will start after the eight-part Inhumans limited series. It’ll be part of ABC’s Fantasy Fridays starting in the fall.

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