It looks as though Agents of SHIELD may be enmeshed in Radcliffe’s Matrix-like Framework for quite some time. As reported by Screenrant, not only are members of the team trapped inside a seemingly inescapable computer simulation, they will be facing some old adversaries while they are there. It turns out that Hydra – inside the Framework – will be making a big comeback.
We’ve already seen from the teaser at the end of the last episode that Grant Ward – former SHIELD agent and Hydra mole – will be returning inside the Framework. And apparently, he is – in this simulated reality – going to be Daisy’s significant other again.
Whether this imaginary version of Grant Ward turns out to be a member of Hydra inside this Matrixy world or is still the Ward of season one is unclear. But what is clear is that whether Ward turns out to be Hydra again or not, the show runners will be rebooting the organization with an old traditional villain.
The Return of Hydra
It’s really been a while since Hydra seemed to pose much of a threat. Even during the story arc in which Grant Ward alternately tried to form his own branch of Hydra and then join the remaining leaders in their attempt to bring back Hive from another world, Hydra itself just didn’t seem like that much of a problem for SHIELD anymore.
But Radcliffe’s android assistant Aida – who’s now making her own decisions – has moved away from providing idyllic – one might even say Tahiti-like – simulations. She is now creating challenges for those inside the Framework to make it harder for them to leave. Thus, Hydra.
Reviving Hydra inside this artificial world could be just another aspect of Aida installing roadblocks the team has to overcome. On the other hand, since this new world is supposed to both replace and reflect the real one, it may be that having Hydra exist inside the Framework is just a necessity.
Regardless, one of the more interesting decisions that the producers and writers for Agents of SHIELD have made is to bring in the character of Madame Hydra and place her in the Framework as well. Perhaps just as telling is their decision to have the same actress playing Aida – Mallory Jansen – play this character as well. This wouldn’t be too surprising since she also played a third character – Radcliffe’s long-lost girlfriend, Agnes.
Who Is Madame Hydra?
In Marvel Comics, the character of Madame Hydra has been around for a long time – first appearing in 1969. Initially, she was a refugee taken in by a terrorist/criminal group who ultimately grew up to run the entire Hydra organization.
Over the years, the character changed somewhat. For a time, she used the name Viper instead of Madame Hydra, but more recently she has returned to using her original name. As the leader of Hydra, Madame Hydra in the comics frequently fought Captain America, Nick Fury, and SHIELD.
While she’s never made an appearance on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s safe to assume that her role in the upcoming episode – and possibly for many episodes afterward – will be similar to that in the comic books. This essentially means that she will be Coulson and team’s principal adversary while inside the Framework.
An interesting twist to this situation would be if the writers ultimately revealed that Madame Hydra is, in fact, Aida herself projecting her consciousness into the Framework so that she can better control the people she has inside. If this is the direction Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. goes, it will probably be several episodes before we see the big reveal. Hopefully, this new story arc will get the ratings up a bit.
[Featured Image by ABC]