SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Identity and Change,” the latest episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
In “Identity and Change,” the latest episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, Simmons, Coulson and Ward discovered where Holden Radcliffe has been hiding — but they weren’t expecting why. As it turns out, Aida — known in the Framework as Madame Hydra — has been holding Radcliffe prisoner.
When the S.H.I.E.L.D. trio landed on Radcliffe’s uncharted island, Madame Hydra was notified that someone had crossed into his airspace and she promptly showed up with Fitz and some Hydra soldiers to see who had found him. She demanded to know who was there and who he was hiding; he refused to give up his friends and begged her to reconsider what she was doing, referring to her as “Aida.” That clearly struck a nerve with her, and she demanded that he never call her that again.
Fitz became curious as to why Radcliffe had called her that. As she explained to him, she and Radcliffe were from another “terrible” world where S.H.I.E.L.D. had won the war with Hydra; in that awful place, she was enslaved by Radcliffe and forced to be his tool. She detested the name “Aida” because it is an acronym where the “A” stands for “artificial,” implying that she is a “thing.” In the Framework, however, she is not only a living, breathing person but the master of her world, so that she will never be used that way again.
Even as Radcliffe tried to talk sense into Aida, she ordered Fitz to shoot Agnes, Radcliffe’s girlfriend. He did so, only for Simmons to reveal herself in a moment of abject shock and horror. A shootout ensued, and Radcliffe was taken prisoner. In a later scene, where Daisy tries to talk some sense into Fitz, he can be heard screaming through the wall after Fitz tortured him.
While this sequence didn’t exactly lay out a plan and end goal for Aida, it did shed some light onto how her consciousness is developing. In “Self Control,” she revealed to the Superior that she wanted to be able to feel emotion. Though she shows anger in “Identity and Change,” it is unclear whether her rage is for show or if she truly feels it; it seems more likely that the latter is true, though, as she demands Agnes be killed and begs Fitz to stay with her. Her relationship with Fitz is particularly notable, as Fitz treated her with respect in the real world, not just in the Framework. This may be why Aida is so dependent on Fitz.
Airing Tuesdays at 10 pm ET/PT on ABC, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” stars Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Chloe Bennet as Daisy “Quake” Johnson, Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May, Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons, Henry Simmons as Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie and more.