We Need to Talk About AIDA
I think the problem with the Framework is that AIDA doesn’t understand the core of humanity - emotions, struggle, regret. These are formative to our experience and perspective. She does not have any of them. So to her, it’s like simplifying code to make it more elegant. Remove the tangled bits, take people back to a time when they had the least to regret or struggle with, when their emotions were as baseline as possible. But be aware, baseline doesn’t mean happy - it means that somewhat numb middle ground. You’re not experience joy, you’re not experiencing pain, you’re not experiencing sadness. It is the ideal, to a robot, because it’s what they know and experience.
By removing their struggles, regret, and in a large part, their purpose, their sadness, and their joy, she has dismantled the formative things about our heroes. Now, their journey is to break from this mediocre unreality, coloured in Pleasantville Grey, back into the world of technicolour pain and joy and suffering and love - something they know deep in their core.
Because here’s the interesting thing about people and memory and emotions - when the mind forgets, it’s the body that keeps score, that remembers. As a person with PTSD, I know this implicitly. They’ve done brain scans and numerous research into the phenomena - because science has proven that what LMD Fitz said, that ‘the brain and the body can be separated’ is inherently incorrect.
I want to see Coulson rubbing his harm when the weather changes, and wondering why he has phantom pain.
I want to see Fitz struggling with finding words when he’s upset, or having an anxiety attack, rubbing his hand, and describing it as ‘feeling like he’s drowning’ without having any context for it.
I want to see Ward press his hand to his chest when he catches sight of Coulson out of the corner of his eye.
I want to see Mack researching online, late at night, when no one is awake, whether men can be affected by post-partum depression/psychosis, because something inside him could swear that the beautiful little girl he tucked in hours ago is not his, but something else. He feels like he’s going crazy, because he feels this immense sense of loss when he looks at her, and goosebumps when he holds her - goosebumps that tell him something just isn’t right.
Imagine, like PTSD memory integration, when Jemma grabs Fitz’s hand for the first time, and suddenly, he feels her grip in his palm the thousands of times it has fit there, the slide of her thumb over his knuckles, so familiar, and a flash of a memory ghosts, disembodied, in front of his eyes. her hand in his. The first time. The last time. The time he took her ring finger and contemplated asking her to marry him.
When they kiss, and it is the agony of her loss, the universe between them, the surety that she is not for him, and the sheer bliss of knowing, deeply, settled and rooted in his chest, that no - that was once and this is now and she has always been his, and will always be his, that they are together, entangled, rooted within each other. And he barks a laugh and cries and pulls away, terrified and elated and shaking, and breathes, “What the fuck?”
Iwant to see each of them, trapped in the framework, take the risk to dig deeply, grasping their fragmented physical memories like shards of glass, to cut away at the web of lies the framework has trapped them in. I want to see them be vulnerable and scared of knowing that they will feel pain, knowing that this will be scary and this will hurt, but somehow, it’s going to be better. It has to be better, to know. To be who they are, instead of parts of a phantasmagoria of life.