Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×17 raises the stakes again in tomorrow’s episode, “Identity and Change.” Here are a few hints for what to expect!

Mack is back

Our beloved mechanic-turned-nicknaming-badass makes his Framework debut in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×17, as does his daughter Hope. And I’ll prepare you right now — that means that viewers should be ready to have their heartstrings deliberately (and painfully) tugged. The bewitchment of the Framework has so far held little sway on Daisy, Simmons, or viewers, but expect Mack’s little ray of hope to change that.

And indeed, change quite a few things going forward.

Mace is ace

Director Mace also returns in “Identity and Change,” and his time in the Framework has wrought a different kind of alchemy. Far from the puppy-dog-like stand-in Director we’ve come to pity know, this Mace is everything his real self could hope for. Powerful and dashing, with a strength of character that we haven’t yet seen on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Mace’s surprising alliances offer a ray of light in Hydra’s very dark world.

And if you were missing a little humor in this horrific alt-reality, perk up — in a fun twist of irony, Mace is responsible for a good part of Framework!Coulson’s reeducation. Ah, I had almost forgotten how to laugh.

Aida has a plan for her man

Speaking of the death of all humor! Questions exploded like ship-killing mines in last week’s episode when Aida (as Madame Hydra) and Fitz (as the Doctor) were revealed to be in a, shall we say, very intimate relationship. The hows and whys of this liaison are illuminated somewhat in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×17, but don’t expect to learn all of the answers.

In a harrowing series of unholy confessions, “Identity and Change” challenges both Fitz and Aida to consider their own true natures. The conclusions they reach are by turns surprising and inevitable… and of course, leaves more than one casualty in their wake.

If it wasn’t clear before this episode, it becomes clear now: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is taking no prisoners within the Framework. Its characters, however, just might be.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×17, “Identity and Change,” airs Tuesday, April 11 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

Share your fears and theories for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4×17!

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