Saturday, April 29, 2017

Agents of Shield - Post 4x19 Hangover and The Ward/Fitz Parallel.

AOS writers, you have made me ashamed that after the season 3 finale, I vowed never to watch this show ever again. If I was wearing a hat, I'd take it off to you. Whatever old-timey thing that means.
When season 4 premiered, I stuck to my guns. I just wasn't interested. I didn't care enough to tune in every week when the one character I enjoyed seeing the most had been killed. But then in my travels one day, I saw a promo where *gasp* WARD WAS BACK! So I scrambled to catch up on all the episodes of season 4 to prepare myself.



I have to admit, even without Ward, I enjoyed the first half of season 4 almost as much as I enjoyed season 1. It's just a pity that after Winter Soldier torpedo the entire AOS series premise, it took them two more seasons to claw their way back to greatness (in my sole opinion, anyway).
So, as to the reason we're all here today... And it probably goes without saying, if you're not up to date on AOS, then this post is going to spoiler the hell out of you.
From a story point of view, what the writers have done with the Framework plot line is a kind of evil genius, and it loops all the way back to the end of season 1 when Ward was revealed as a Hydra agent,
Once that little bombshell was exploded, people seemed to be divided right down the line when it came to Ward -- they either loved him or hated him. I fell into the former category. No matter what Ward was up to, whether he was being a complete sociopath, trying to help the team for his own murky reasons, or even when he became Hive, Ward was the one character I wanted to see week after week. He was the kind of character I love -- what I call a gray character. One that leaves us with the question of is he truly a bad person, or deep down a good person who ended up on a dark path?
The AOS writers, I think, have now answered this question in the most brilliant way they possibly could have,
Though I doubt it was this simple, in my mind, the AOS writers sat down and said "if we're going to make one of the team go evil in the Framework to highlight that any good person can go bad depending on circumstance, who is the most purely good hearted, lovable character on the show?" The answer, of course, is Fitz.
Some of the hardcore Fitz and Fitzsimmons fans are absolutely hating this story line, and the unforgiving side of me thinks "well, now you know how Ward and Skyeward fans felt at the end of season 1!"
Fandom battles aside, in many ways it was brilliant of the writers to use Fitz for this plot thread. However, the one reason that stands out the most is the fact that he was one of the people most hurt by Ward's betrayal -- maybe even more so than Skye/Daisy, given that the pain inflicted on Fitz was both emotional and physical.
The writers have gone to great lengths to highlight how easily, with a few changes in past circumstances of a person's life (which, if you're not up with things, is what the Framework is all about--fixing a person's biggest regret, which changes the outcome of the entire world), the path to good or evil can be taken by anyone.
For Fitz, fixing the regret that his father was not part of his life put him on a dark path. Possibly an even darker path than Real-World Ward took.
In the Framework, Fitz killed an innocent woman, and though we did see him question himself over this later, it was still clear he was doing what he thought he had to in order to maintain his beliefs and reinforce his world view. Which was exactly what Ward was doing when he betrayed the team at the end of season 1.
Even though Ward killed people who didn't deserve it (like Victoria Hand, who, incidentally, was responsible for bring Framework Ward into Shield, not John Garrett) at least the people Ward did kill were agents, whose hands wouldn't have exactly been clean, and knew what they were signing on for when they decided to join Shield or Hydra. All's fair in love and war, that old chestnut. Killing an innocent woman for no other reason than to prove a point is arguably far worse.
Meanwhile, the writers have carefully made sure the audience recognizes that Framework Ward is nothing like Real-World Ward -- having him apologize to Gemma over what Real-World Ward did to her, mentioning to Coulson it was Victoria Hand who had brought him into Shield, telling Skye/Daisy outright that he is not anything like the other Ward. Which, I'm sure is only making fans more attached to him. He is the potential realized of what Ward could have been, if not for his misguided loyalty to Garrett.
The way I see it, I (and other Ward fans) are either going to be wildly rewarded and giddy with happiness by the end of the season, or completely heartbroken all over again.
I'd like to make a call on which way it's going to go, but I'm 50/50 on both options.
And I really do think there's only one of two endings for Framework Ward.
One, he'll sacrifice himself to save the rest of the team so they can make it home. This will give him the death of a hero, which a lot of fans wanted after all was said and done with the Hive thing. I'm hoping this isn't his ending, as for a start, people would be expecting it, and secondly, there would be so many missed opportunities for interpersonal story lines going into season 5.
The other option -- with the revelation that Aida is attempting to make a real body (which I had been guessing for a few weeks now), Ward will be able to come out of the Framework, and become a real boy. This of course means the original team will be back together for season 5, which would be like a dream come true. I can only imagine the kinds of turmoil this would cause to begin with -- Coulson having to face his guilt over the merciless way he crushed original-Ward's chest, resulting in the Hive problem. Fitz newly understanding that he possibly judged original-Ward too harshly for the things he did, because Fitz will have a new understanding from the Framework that anyone can all too easily end up on that dark path. Skye/Daisy's feelings for him that possibly never really went away, even though she was with Lincoln for a while. The possibility that they will end up together after all.
I'm practically drooling from the juiciness this could all bring.
Of course, knowing the AOS writers, there's every chance they will come up with a third option completely out of left field that I've got no way of guessing.
Honestly, as long as Ward is in season 5 somehow -- as long as AOS gets renewed and there is a season 5, I'll be one very happy fan.



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