Coulson punches Daisy and the two spar in the S.H.I.E.L.D. gym. He's surprised that he can feel anything with his hand, and Daisy finally kicks Coulson back as he stops in mid-air. He says that it's enough, and Fitz shuts down the VR simulation that Holden used as the basis of his Framework. Daisy is hooked up as well and Jemma removes her headpiece. She explains that they can still feel pain inside of the simulation, and they designed it as a training exercise. They figure that Holden's Framework is separate and more powerful, and he can try to track it via the code. Agent Davis reports that they've locked in on the GPS tracker in Jeffrey's suit... and it's in Nome, Alaska.
Coulson leads a team to Nome and they find Jeffrey's empty suit on the floor of a warehouse. The warehouse is otherwise abandoned, but one wall is covered with photos of Colson plotting his movements.
At his base, Anton's men tell him that they will soon be ready. He goes to Holden's lab and prepares to interrupt him in the Framework. Aida grabs Anton's hands and warns that warms him not to forcefully remove Holden from the Framework. Anton tells her to let him go, and then says that he needs to talk to Holden immediately. Aida brings Holden out of the Framework and Anton says that he needs him in the real world. Holden says that he has set up the system to make sure the transition will go smoothly, and tells Anton to view Aida as an extension of himself. He hooks himself back into the Framework, and Aida tells Anton that everything will go according to plan.
At the Nome warehouse, the team scans the photos. Coulson figures that Anton wants him to find something there, and Daisy points out a photo of a Russian mining facility that Anton owns. Coulson looks at it and remembers.
Some Time Ago
Field agent Coulson drives up to the mining facility and says that he's there to take the item they found there. When the guard prepares to call it in, Melinda knocks the guard out from behind and says that she was sent there as his backup. Coulson is less than thrilled, and they drive in.
Coulson tells Daisy that they're going to Russia.
Jeffrey is chained to a wall in his cell. He breaks himself free and discovers that the cell door is opened. Once he's out< Jeffrey takes out a guard but Anton and his men arrive him. The Director places Anton under arrest, but Anton figures that he's used the last of his power. Jeffrey punches him in the chest but Anton shrugs off the blow and soon beats Jeffrey down. Once Jeffrey is unconscious, Anton says that he can do better than that and has him put back in the cell.
As the Quinjet flies to Russia, Mack tries the simulation and afterward, points out that Zack helped build the Framework. He says that if Fitz hadn't helped design Aida and the Framework, things would have been easier for them. Fitz insists that they're just tools and they have to pursue science despite the risk. When Mack says that Fitz is starting to sound like Holden. Fitz cuts him off. Jemma reports that they've cloaked and entered Russian airspace, and are five minutes from the drop space.
Once the team lands, they drive to the abandoned mining facility. Coulson says that he and Melinda were sent to retrieve an OA4.
Some Time Ago
Coulson and Melinda enter the building and they joke about his inability to bluff. They find a vault door and as Coulson tries to open it up, they argue about the time they were undercover posing as a married couple. As Coulson burns through the door with a portable torch, they hear a car pull up outside. Melinda confirms that there are four SVR agents.
The tem find the vault door.
Jeffrey wakes up back in the cell, tied to a table. Anton and Aida are there, and Anton talks about how his father and how he kowtowed to his rich superior. He sits down next to Jeffrey and says that Jeffrey allowed S.H.I.E.L.D. to poison him and parade him around. Anton drags his knife across Jeffrey's chest, and Jeffrey says that S.H.I.E.L.D. will come for him. His captor says that is the plan and leaves with Aida.
Outside, the LMD says that preparations are almost complete. Anton wonders if she feels sympathy, and Aida notes that Anton's behavior is different than what she has experienced before. He says that she's fake and will be done with Jeffrey once he has served his purpose.
The team opens the vault door and there are two skeletons inside. A cell phone inside one of the skulls rings. Coulson answers it and Anton asks if he recognizes the dead men... because Coulson had them killed.
Some Time Ago
Coulson tells Melinda that she can't go out guns blazing, and she says that her orders don't include telling him what her orders are. He tells her to get the OA4 while he stalls them. Melinda goes to work while Coulson goes out and claims that he's with the UN task force and there are biohazard materials on the site.
Anton says that the dead men were his brothers, and interrogated, tortured, and executed to cover up Coulson. He says that Coulson's people will suffer the same fate as his people and hangs up, and tells Jeffrey that Coulson has tossed more people side than Jeffrey in pursuit of his alien agenda. Jeffrey doesn't believe him, and Anton says that he's closing the door that Coulson opened. He will make Jeffrey admit that it's true.
In the Quinjet, Fitz discovers that the code is being bounced around the planet. Coulson and the others return and Fitz explains that the code is piggybacking over processors across the world. He admits that he can't track its origin and Holden is using the Darkhold to pull it off. Coulson insists that they don't leave their people behind.
Some Time Ago
The SVR commander asks Coulson if he has a partner. Coulson continues stalling, and the officer says that they were sent to retrieve the item at the facility at any cost. An explosion goes off and the men run inside. There's no sign of the OA4, and Melinda drives away in the S.H.I.E.L.D. vehicle. The lead SVR agent says that Melinda was under orders to abandon Coulson to get the OA4, and knocks him out.
The Quinjet takes to the air and Daisy looks up SVR detention centers facilities based on the numbers on the uniforms, and finds one that was a submarine base during the Cold War. They're en route there, and Coulson warns that the enemy is expecting them. However, he says that what matters is getting their people back. Fitz is still trying to trace the code, and Jemma tells him what they're doing. He wonders if Melinda will emerge intact and blames himself. Jemma says that Mack was right and Fitz has to think about what he created. However, she assures Fitz that the fact that people abuse his creations doesn't make him evil. Together they will make things right. Fitz says that there may be some Framework hardware at the sub base and he might be able to find a way to shut it down for good.
Anton tells Jeffrey that it's his last chance to denounce S.H.I.E.L.D. He asks if Jeffrey has any regrets, and Jeffrey says that he believes in Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. because it tries to protect humanity. The Director says that Anton lost his humanity a long time ago, and regrets not having super powers to Anton's ass. Anton takes out a knife and says that he respects a man who stands by his beliefs no matter how misguided. He cuts Jeffrey free and shoves him to the floor, and says that his comrades are less forgiving then he is. The Russian soldiers come in and start beating Jeffrey, while Aida watches from the door.
The team blasts their way into the sub base and fan out to search for Jeffrey and Melinda. Coulson takes out two men but Anton disarms him and says that there is no one left to protect Coulson. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agent says that he can protect himself, and Anton says that Coulson is at the center of all the technology and agents that he found.
Some Time Ago
As the SVR agents drive off with Coulson in a van, Melinda rams them with her SUV and attacks them. She then frees Coulson and admits that she made him sweat a little.
Coulson realizes that Anton was one of the SVR agents, and Anton says that his teammates were killed for not retrieving the OA4. Irritated, Coulson demands to know where Melinda and Jeffrey are. Anton says that Melinda was never there and Jeffrey may be dead, and Coulson says that he has no idea who Anton is. He doesn't even remember what he recovered, and Anton's origin story means nothing to him.
Daisy blasts her way in and Coulson leaves her to deal with Anton. She blasts him down, furious that Anton is responsible for everything she's dealt with. He manages to throw a knife into her shoulder as she blasts him back.
Fitz, Jemma, and Davis get to the communication center and Fitz realizes that the Framework isn't there. They receive word that Aida is there and Jemma takes Davis and goes to capture the LMD.
Mack finds Jeffrey's cell and attacks the Russians. Coulson arrives and together they take down the soldiers, and the two agents take Jeffrey out.
Daisy pulls the knife out of her shoulder as Anton comes at her. They fight and Anton says that he strove for perfection and she's a genetic cheater. Daisy says that the game has changed and brings the ceiling down on Anton, and runs off to find the others.
Jemma and Davis search the facility for Aida but find her. They've lost contact with the others, just as the submarine prepares to launch.
Coulson and Mack carry Jeffrey to the exit point.
By the time Jemma and Davis get to the submarine bay, the submarine has left and Aida with it. Fitz arrives and says that the comm units have been going in and out. The others arrive and Coulson says that they'll tend to their injured and fight another day.
Back at the base, Fitz prepares to take apart the equipment he recovered. Jemma says that the timetable of the mission has been bothering her. There's a stretch of time when no one was in contact, and Fitz points out that it was pitch-dark when they left. Jemma discovers that the LMD scanner system on the base blast doors went down and the system report was deleted from the record. She confirms that Coulson accessed the system, and the scanner system detected a LMD when they entered the base. Fitz figures that the whole thing was a trap to switch some of the team out. The report says that everyone was a LMD, as Coulson, Mack, and Daisy gather in the next room.
Aida finds the unconscious Anton and confirms that he's alive. Now that they've replaced the top operatives at S.H.I.E.L.D., the next phase can begin. The LMD says that Anton has not yet served his purpose but he will.
Some Time Ago
As they drive to the rendezvous, Melinda makes Coulson thank her for saving his life. She admits that she asked for the assignment and Coulson rides her about it. Melinda says that she's tired of dating civilians, and Coulson suggests that they have a drink if it doesn't work out with her current guy, a shrink.
The Coulson LMD activates the Melinda LMD and says that they've waited long enough.
Written by Gadfly on Feb 15, 2017