Agents of SHIELD Season 4 Episode 16: What If… Recap

MALLORY JANSEN

Welcome to Agents of HYDRA, the world of the Framework created by Aida, the Darkhold and Radcliffe. As you can see above, Aida’s given herself a few perks, casting herself in the role of Madame Hydra, director of HYDRA, which is charged with the safety of mankind in the dystopian world that she’s created. Be careful what you wish for.

This all came about because Radcliffe generously told Aida to solve one regret for each person she placed in the Framework. When you’re dealing with Agents of SHIELD, their regrets tend to be events that have global and historical consequences, so changing a few small decisions has a giant ripple effect. Of course, it’s not all due to Fitz, May, Coulson, and Mack opting for milder versions of the events of their earlier lives. (I think Mace wanted to be an inhuman and a true hero, while the others all wanted less violence and loss.) Aida also undoubtedly keeps tight control on the situation in the Framework, so that no one’s memory is triggered, and nothing seems unrealistic to them. It all adds up to HYDRA’s law and order, Big Brother philosophy dominating the culture with very little resistance, since Aida controls the population as a whole.

This episode opens with Daisy Skye looking at her bed, guessing about which boyfriend she’s going to find there. And, it’s door #2, consolation prize Grant Ward. She tries to take matters into her own hands, but, oops, her powers didn’t follow her into the Framework. She’s stuck with him for now.

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Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 17: Aruba/Season Finale Recap

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This episode, the Legends prove once again why they’re legends, not heroes, as they take on the Legion of Doom to restore reality and destroy the Spear of Destiny, with decidedly mixed results. The only relatively permanent death is the one person Barry Allen has been trying to kill for three seasons. Sara Lance proved her prowess as a strategist by finally taking out the Reverse Flash and disabling the Spear in one fell swoop. It’s just that there were a few issues about the way the Legends got her to that point…

Picking up where we left off last episode, Rip apparently doesn’t realize that he’s been miniaturized. You’d think Gideon would have known. Was she sweet enough to keep it from him so as not to demoralize him even further? They don’t let being a few inches tall slow them down though, and speed away, out the nearest open window to find the rest of the Legends.

The Legends are looking for a signal from Rip, using a radio that Ray built. Nate pouts over Amaya in the corner, having realized that his feelings for her were deeper than he’d admitted. Ray and Jax hear Rip’s radio call, explaining that he has a small problem, just as the mini-Waverider flies into the basement. Mick is the two year old in all of us, as he grabs the ship to make faces at mini-Rip through the windshield. They quickly make a plan to find Ray’s suit at Star Labs and un-shrink the ship and Rip. I was really hoping the Honey, I Shrunk the Time Master part of the show would take a little longer. But, it’s not to be.

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The OA Season 1 Analysis and Speculation

TOAPrairie&Violin

This show is a meta writer’s dream. So many layers, twists and turns, fantastic complex characters, and questions of sanity.

To start with the broadest layer, one way to look at the story is as a metaphor for science and practicality vs art and religion. Hap, Elias, the psychiatrists, the adults of Crestwood, and the weapons represent science and the practical world. Prairie, Russia, her biological father Roman, and the other captives represent art and religion. Prairie’s present day team represents the battle between the two in our communities and schools. At Alfonso’s scholarship dinner, one of the businessmen even brings up the idea after listening to Buck sing. What good is art, since it’s not practical? Elias gives Alfonso an unsatisfying, roundabout answer in episode 8, by implying that Prairie turned whatever really happened to her into a mythological hero’s journey as a way for her and for them to be able to cope with it more easily. The problem is that Alfonso, like many in our culture, can only see that maybe there was some poetic framing in the way Prairie told the story, and thinks that makes the whole thing a lie, thus useless. He forgets the changes the group’s time with Prairie has made in all of them, and the easily verifiable parts of her story. The therapist forgets to mention those to Alfonso, too. She was gone for seven years. She has the physical hallmarks of captivity, like vitamin D deficiency. She did regain her sight. She has strange scars on her back. Something did happen to her, the science shows that. But it can’t tell us what. It can only give us theories. For the rest, we have to rely on Prairie’s memories and interpretations, even if we think she’s using poetic license or is an unreliable narrator because of mental illness or for other reasons (maybe Hap kept them on mild hallucinogens the entire time). Art and religion are the ways we express things when science and practicality fail us, because not everything can be put into those terms. It doesn’t make the metaphor less true, it’s just another way of expressing the truth. Not everything needs to be expressed in literal, factual terms to be true. Some truths can only be approached by circling them, slowly and metaphorically.

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Riverdale Season 1 Chapter Eight: The Outsiders Recap

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This week’s episode centers around Polly, finally in Riverdale, available¬†to tell her side of the story, and to give the Blossoms and the Coopers a chance to fight over her in person. Jughead references The Stepford Wives in his opening voice over. There are two facets to the story of The Stepford¬†Wives at play here. The first goal is turning all of the wives into perfect clones that fit the exact parameters of societal and male ideals of perfection, which is done by replacing them with androids. The second goal is finding the wives with secrets and intelligence, and moving them to the top of the replacement list. So many secrets are revealed in this episode, and so many characters try to control and manipulate other characters. Too many for me to list in what has become a very long recap.

Jughead tells us in his opening voiceover that Alice and Hal Cooper were high school sweethearts who got married and had two beautiful daughters. Their lives appeared perfect until Polly got pregnant and Jason was murdered.

Then Jughead recounts a summary of Polly and Jason’s history together. None of the information is new, but we do see new footage while he talks, including a conversation between them in the school hall with Polly in her cheerleader uniform, an argument at Pop’s, Nana Rose giving them her engagement ring, and the two of them at Pop’s while making plans to run away. Jughead is sitting across the aisle from them, looking bored as he watches.

Polly is sitting in Hermione’s living room, telling her story to Sheriff Keller. She tells him that the last time she saw Jason was the day that they made plans at Pop’s. Jason was going to make a one-time drug delivery upstate in order to raise the funds for he and Polly to run away together. He made a deal with the Serpents to deliver the drugs in exchange for cash. The drugs burned up in Jason’s car, along with the ring, and everything else she had to remember him by. Hermione stops the interview when Polly gets upset.

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