That certainly was a lot to digest wasn’t it? “The Return” was a rollercoaster of emotions. Surprises around every corner and a lead up to a finale that promises to be huge!
Starting not where we left off but actually a minute or so earlier, we see the Russians’ point of view of last week’s end of episode, watching Aida, or Ophelia, whoever the hell she is teleport off with Fitz. We then got the first of a number of Russian versus May and Coulson scenes. This first one though has to be my favorite, from Coulson’s line about “short story, just shoot him” to the eventual take down of this first robot body. Coulson taking timing lessons from the great action stars of the eighties, waits until the Russian makes a comment about him hiding behind his SHIELD, to then deploy the laser light shield from his hand, cutting the Russian’s face off revealing the robotic innards … that was one of the coolest moments in a very cool episode.
It was fun watching May play catch up, and seeing Coulson skirt around what really happened with her doppelganger. How crazy is it that she has been locked up since the Ghost Rider storyline? It honestly shocked me when she asked what ended up happening with Robbie’s Uncle. Amazing how long these storylines have been building in the background. Coulson’s recap of the whole thing sounds a bit ridiculous when said out loud, just showing how impressive it is that the writers pulled it off and made everything make sense.
The fights with Coulson, May and the Russian duplicates were standard fare for the series, though it has been awhile since we got one of those action sequences that just blow your mind. Coulson electrocuting one and May just obliterating the other was entertaining but the bar set for the series is so high, I just miss those scenes that were amazingly crafted.
The stuff in the plane this week was probably the weakest portion of the episode. Not terrible just not much there. What we did get felt fairly manufactured. The forces attacking them are never given a face so we have no reason to care or fear them. The faceless pilot shooting at them will be who takes down the team? As if! Then the fire that breaks out is almost immediately put out by Yoyo. Then when they have to connect the two power cables and they end up being just four inches too short? That was some hacky stuff right there. They don’t find a solution to this problem, they merely pull the cables harder until they meet … wait what? That makes zero sense. Plus if they are that taut, then wouldn’t they burst apart easily too? I was so glad when we got away from that whole section.
The most manic storyline was definitely the Aida / Fitz stuff. Giving us a double twist on her, it felt like Fitz was really reaching her and she might become a part of the team for a while there. Their conversations were odd but interesting. Aida talking about how having free will and real feelings is, talking about emulating emotions versus actually having them. Though I suppose we should have seen trouble brewing as she refused to ever really take the blame for what happened in the Framework, laying all the blame at Radcliffe’s programming. She even saves Mack from drowning, a bit of a cheat and I don’t get how he stayed connected to the Framework. Does his headset work that far away?
But we know Aida manipulated things inside to serve her own purposes. Like an old Amazing Stories giving people their hearts desire but almost always having that desire lead to dire consequences. So she was obviously self-deluded. Combine that with at least three powers, teleportation, lightning, and regeneration. Who knows how many more Inhuman abilities Aida gave her new human body, but we certainly saw how screwed the team is so far.
Mallory Jansen should be given a ton of credit this week, as her strong performance carried much of the episode, especially once Gemma iced her and Fitz. The scene in lockup had so much going on. The two seeming to connect on such a deep level, only to have Aida realize Fitz chose Gemma over her and absolutely lose her mind. I’m betting the actress enjoyed letting loose after a whole season of cold robotic performances. Her utterly psychotic break and subsequent murder spree was another highlight. Even surprising again when she seemingly returns to the Russian for a booty call that turns into a murder / makeout session. It was easy to remember the series moved to 10 p.m. this year. They certainly took full advantage here.
Again surprising was with only one episode left how much remains and was added to our pile of plot to wrap up. Aida intent on reshaping the world with the Darkhold, Ghost Rider returning from parts unknown, and Yoyo injecting herself into the Framework and awaking to being locked up in a smoldering building, strapped to an operating table. Perhaps the same building Mace died in?
All I know is that aside from some brief typical “TV” moments, “The Return” was yet another amazing episode. It will be exciting to see how things end and whether we’ll get some setup for the upcoming Inhumans series.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments section below!