Agents Of SHIELD Season 4, Episode 21 “The Return” Recap And Review

Most of the agents have emerged from the virtual world of the Framework. Unfortunately, there won’t be time to celebrate. Things have become pretty tense in the real world on two fronts, and the agents will soon discover they have an even bigger problem to deal with.

Warning: There will be spoilers for Season 4, Episode 21 of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, “The Return,” below.

Coulson and May

After witnessing Aida and Fitz disappear, Coulson and May discover the Russian waiting for them. He says he no is no longer restricted against killing them. May shoots him several times with little results since Aida replaced him with a Life Model Decoy. Struggling with the Russian, Coulson activates his energy shield and slices off the front half of the LMD’s face. This victory is short lived as they see two other LMDs of the Russian on board and barely manage to lock them out.

Coulson gets May caught up on what she missed because she was the first to be placed inside the Framework. They manage to defeat the other two LMDs while another LMD fires torpedoes at the old oil rig. Coulson has to get May to the surface and try to return for Mack.

Meanwhile On The Zephyr-1

With Daisy and Simmons out of the Framework, the remaining SHIELD agents try to out-maneuver the plane firing upon them. Yo-Yo is angry Daisy didn’t bring Mack back. Daisy finally explains he wouldn’t leave Hope behind. Yo-Yo understands but is hurt he didn’t remember her. She wants to go into the Framework to “remind” him, but Daisy says it’s too dangerous for Inhumans there.

The Zephyr-1 arrives at the oil rig just in time to rescue May and Coulson. As Coulson and Yo-Yo attempt to go back in the elevator to retrieve Mack, an explosion takes it out. Mack is still locked into the Framework down below, and the water level is rising.

Aida And Fitz Go To The Beach

Aida teleported Fitz away to a beach. She is overwhelmed with all the feelings and sensations she can now experience since she’s become human. She tells Fitz she was forced to follow Radcliffe’s orders and was just trying to make everyone happy in the Framework. She thought giving Fitz his father back would be good. She then teleports him to a room identical to the place they had inside the Framework. She figured they could decorate it together. Fitz asks if she can feel empathy because she was ruthless in the Framework. Aida claims she was just doing what she could to win the heart of the man she loved. She then realizes the others are in danger at the oil rig but is scared to go back. May pointed a gun at her and she’s afraid of dying.

On the rig, as the water level engulfs Mack, he’s teleported onto the Zephyr-1 along with Fitz and Aida. Aida is overjoyed she managed to save his life, but Simmons shoots her and then Fitz. They’re placed inside the containment room so Aida can’t use her new teleporting powers. Fitz thinks the others might be willing to forgive her since she was merely following orders. He feels they won’t forgive him since he wasn’t forced to make the decisions he did. Aida explains he was basically programmed by an overbearing father figure. Fitz realizes he’s now just like Ward. Aida says she now fully understand Fitz and how deeply he loves. Fitz mentions there’s only room in his heart for Simmons and Aida is outraged.

SHIELD: Wanted Dead Or Alive

Simmons was observing the exchange between Fitz and Aida. She rushes to the others explaining they need to get Fitz out of there right away just as General Talbot and several soldiers arrive. Talbot is convinced they’re all robots. It’s a tense standoff until Fitz is brought up by another agent. He tells them they need to get the Zephyr-1 out of there because they’re all in danger. Talbot and his men stay behind to check out the remains of the SHIELD base.

The Attack

Overcome by her new emotions, Aida loses control. She told Fitz she clawed her way to get to him and become free from Radcliffe’s orders. After she discovered she couldn’t teleport out of the containment room and Fitz was removed by an agent, she unleashed another set of powers. Shooting beams of energy out of her hands, she’s able to disable the room and leave. She kills some of the other (“red shirt”) SHIELD agents and three of Talbot’s soldiers before ending up with the Russian. Still angry, he reminds her the Darkhold book tells them they can rebuild worlds. They can make the world more like what she’s used to. Aida says that’s too clean. She wants them all to suffer.

A Return And An Exit

After Talbot and his men left the SHIELD base, the portal Robbie Reyes used opened up. Ghost Rider is back.

Where was Yo-Yo during the fight? It turns out she entered the Framework to go after Mack. She wakes up strapped to a table. She’s likely in a Hydra base that’s under attack.



The agents’ return to the real world was as chaotic as you would expect. This season has kept the action going at an almost non-stop speed. It’s great seeing some of the aftermath from actions taken in the Framework. Fitz is a little messed up but luckily it seems Simmons is willing to forgive him. Aida’s struggle with her new emotions was fantastic. Mallory Jansen played yet another version of the character. It appeared she was on her way to becoming another asset for SHIELD and their fight against evil until she completely lost control. Her change from good to pure evil felt a little abrupt, but with only one more episode, the storyline has to reach its climax.

There will be more fallout that needs to be dealt with. Jeffrey Mace’s death was mentioned. We’ll have to see what the official story will be. The main agents are considered terrorist in the public’s eye thanks to Talbot’s press conferences. The SHIELD base is also a wreck. It’ll be great to see what happens next. It’s just unfortunate there’s only one more episode this season.

We know the others will have to return to the Framework to save Yo-Yo and possibly Mack. Will we see Grant Ward or Trip again? What is Ghost Rider’s role? Will he be the key to stopping Aida and her Darkhold abilities? What other surprises will the showrunners throw at us? We’ll find out in one week.

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