Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 20 Review: Farewell, Cruel World!

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Don't you hate it when you're trying to leave a bad situation only to find your one exit blocked by a pool of lava? It's moments like that when superpowers would really come in handy!

On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 20, Daisy used her powers to "part the Red Sea" and open the back door that Radcliffe had hidden in the Framework. And despite Aida's best efforts to block the exit, she wasn't able to stop the S.H.I.E.L.D. team from escaping. 

Out of The Framework - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

However, the entire team didn't make it out – and while this turning point was visible on the horizon a while ago, its predictability didn't lessen its potency when it finally arrived.

Mack remained behind in the Framework with his daughter, Hope, unable to imagine living in a world without her – even if that world was the real one. He chose the imaginary happiness he found in the Framework over a real life he couldn't even remember.

Daisy: Trip! It's so good to see you.
Trip: Hey...person I don't know.
Daisy: Yeah. Right.

In an episode full of emotionally fraught moments – which has become the norm for the Agents of Hydra arc – the loss of Mack felt the most tragic.

Not only did the team lose a great colleague and friend, Yo-Yo lost the man she was growing to love more and more with each day. And there's nothing she could do about it because he can't remember her. 

Readers of my previous reviews will know that I have been rooting for Mack and Yo-Yo to hook up since they first laid eyes on each other. Well, now their relationship has been torn asunder just as it was starting to get serious. Needless to say, I am very sad.

It's not magic, May, it's science!


Mack is an awesome character who brings a badass mix of humor and hotness to each episode. I can only hope that this departure is not permanent and that he'll end up leaving the Framework after all, for whatever reason.

At the same time, if he does leave the Framework, he'll carry those memories of what his life could have been with him. One wonders if, having been given some extra time with his daughter, he'll have an even harder time dealing with the aftermath of her death than before. 

Mack's story is just one example of how the Framework has radically altered the life paths of nearly everyone who entered it. Of course, the prime example of someone who will never be the same post-Framework has got to be poor Leopold Fitz.

You say this woman loves me?

Fitz [to Radcliffe]

Radcliffe's last attempt to right all of the wrongs he was responsible for in creating Aida and the Framework was to lure Fitz to the back door and shove him through, saving the good man he had known from a terrible fate.

Yet once Fitz woke up in the real world, it becomes immediately clear that he was wrestling with a lot of trauma. The real Fitz is a sweet, good-natured man; the Fitz of the Framework helped run a totalitarian regime and killed people in cold blood.

Not only that, he pulled a gun on his best friend, girl friend and lab partner and tried to execute her after he learned she was responsible for the death of his father – who, let's face it, was not a good guy. 

Simmons: I love you.
Fitz: And you mean nothing to me.

I know I have said it many times before, but I'll say it again: I can't imagine any love so deep and so real that it could recover from everything that Fitz and Simmons have been through this season.

I love my fiance very much, but if I had to kill a robot version of him only to watch an evil version of him shoot a woman, then pull a gun on me...well, I'd need a substantial amount therapy before I could even think about what to do next!

A very emotionally shaken Fitz, questioning whether he was a bad person, hadn't even regained his bearings in the real world before Aida reappeared in her human body and whisked him away. 

This feels oddly familiar...

Coulson [on dying]

Now that she has a human body, but all the power of the Darkhold and the intelligence of an android, I can only imagine what Aida has in store for Fitz – not to mention the rest of the world. 

With two episodes left to air and ABC yet to announce the show's renewal for a fifth season, this truly feels like a swan song for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

From the way long-gone characters were resurrected for one last farewell and – in Ward's case – apology, to the deaths and departures of several others, to the implosion of FitzSimmons, and the beginning of Philinda, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to be building towards going out with a big bang.

My days of following blindly are over. If there's any truth to what you're saying, you'll have to show, not tell.

May [to Coulson]

While it's unfortunate if the show gets canceled following its best season yet, it at least means the show will be going out on top, ending with a satisfying arc. I can't be too upset with that.

While the Netflix shows often sag under their own weight in the middle of each season and struggle to fill thirteen episodes with enough story to keep audiences engaged, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to pack excitement, action and (gasp!) plot development into each episode.

What if I told you this whole world wasn't real?

Coulson [to May]

If not another season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at least deserves its due as the best-written television show in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  

What did you think of "Farewell, Cruel World"? How will the team get off of the Superior's submarine? What will Aida do next now that she has a human body? And will Fitz ever be able to come to terms with his actions within the Framework? 

Remember, you can watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. online via TV Fanatic. 

Farewell, Cruel World! Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (54 Votes)

Lee Jutton was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She went into retirement in July of 2017. Follow her on Twitter.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 20 Quotes

What if I told you this whole world wasn't real?

Coulson [to May]

My days of following blindly are over. If there's any truth to what you're saying, you'll have to show, not tell.

May [to Coulson]