TweetEmailIn the last foreboding minutes of episode 15 we watched as Daisy Johnson, (Chloe Bennet), and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), delved their minds into the Framework: a vast, artificial reality where the rest of their team is unknowingly being held captive. Within this fabricated reality—created by the misguided genius of Dr. Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) and his LMD assistant Aida (Mallory Jansen)—each member of the team lives in a world where one regret has been altered, which perfectly explores the iconic question, (and title of the episode), “What If…”. It’s the third and final arc of Season 4 and, with the return of at least one long lost team member and the looming global power of a publicly announced Hydra, it’s setting itself up to be the best arc of the season by far. Now, I’m an avid AoS fan who has been loyal since the beginning, but as much as I appreciated the casting and revamping of Ghost Rider in the first part of this season, I have to admit that the Season 4 kick-off arc wasn’t doing the show any favors. The mysticism of the Ghost Rider lore didn’t seem to find its fit in an environment that relied on science, (albeit Marvel science does allow for dimension travel, semi-telepathic and immersive holographic imaging, and intricate alien biology), but the relation between the agency and a vigilante devil rider from hell felt forced. It was only through the Ghost Rider arc did Agent Phil Coulson and the rest of the team come across the Darkhold: a mysterious tome that holds seemingly infinite knowledge about everything, which then becomes the catalyst for Dr. Radcliffe to perfect his LMD project and proceed with an evil genius plan of trapping everyone in a simulated reality and replacing them with androids. It sounds campy, but it works. Really well. Now, in the final act of Season 4, we get to see the main cast in scenarios worthy of any well-respecting fanfiction writer; Coulson is a teacher, Daisy is together with Grant Ward, (reprised by Brett Dalton), and Jemma Simmons is…dead? And all under a new world order with a Hydra symbol plastered on the side of the Triskelion? It’s a creative nod back to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and what would have happened if Hydra’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D. had been successful. Cue some intense and harrowing music and Hail to the Hydra. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday, April 4th 10/9c on ABC.