so…this ran away from me a little bit but I was thinking about the Framework & its logic today and two things occurred to me. 1) I am now more sure than ever that they’re not trying to sell us ‘if one thing was different they’d be evil’ and 2) Aida might not be the puppet master after all…
Part One: Aida as Puppetmaster (…or is she?)
If ever I start believing that AOS might be trying to pull one of those “if one thing changed you could be, in this case, a nazi” storylines I think about that line Fritz’s dad said. Fritz said “I don’t know what kind of man I’d be without you” and Fritz’s dad replied: “That’s why I’m here” and something about that line just struck me as really Doctor Moon ish -
Doctor Moon is a character from Doctor Who, he is essentially the AIDA of this database called The Library which Donna, one of the companions, is held captive inside. While life inside the Library is creepily utopian and Doctor Moon is benevolent, whereas Aida is malevolent (either of her own “will” or as an instrument of the Darkhold) they both have similar power in that they can control people’s memories, feelings, choices, and what choices are available. His two most common lines were; “And then, you remembered.” and “And then, you forgot,” and just like that, Donna would remember things that hadn’t happened, or forget things that had. She was being reprogrammed, whenever she questioned the “reality” she was in.
The same thing happened to Fritz, numerous times. It happened in a slightly more logical way, not just with a snap of Aida’s fingers, but in the space of 2 episodes we have seen:
- Jemma’s face hidden from him
- the truth about the “other world” disguised as a lie, and he’s been taught it in such a way that he thinks he knows what’s going on
- Aida didn’t let him spend too much time around Daisy; he had a brief chat, hit her once, and left the room, and then Aida was like oh, no, sweetie, don’t go back in there, i’ll take care of it and cajoled him until he dropped the subject
- Fritz’s father, the most controlling and scary person in his life probably, shows up on his doorstep to answer his most pressing question “should I have killed that woman” at which point he gets all the morals crushed right back out of him
- as well as the more directly “brainwashy” elements such as quotes and feelings that originated between Fitz and Jemma being displaced onto Aida (gross)
I believe it was @agl03, Theorist Extraordinaire, who recently phrased what’s happening as something like “Aida needs him to turn left at this intersection, so she’s going to remove the road leading right.” Every time Fritz swings away from the path he has been assigned (either by Aida herself, or by the Darkhold which is acting through Aida), someone or something - usually Aida herself - crops up just in time to “correct” his thought process. And this has probably happened before, too.
Fritz couldn’t just get his father back, he had to lose his mother as well. Was that a matter of being careful what he wished for? Or was Aida, or the Darkhold acting through her, intentionally removing a good moral influence from his life? I’m inclined to go with the second, especially as Jemma was also killed off. Depending on how time works in the Framework, Aida may have witnessed or predicted or known, based on algorithms of some sort, that Jemma might be another person who could still lead Fritz back toward good choices, belief in himself, etc. She (or the Darkhold, acting through her) couldn’t have that, so they got rid of Jemma - they cut off the road that turned right. When real-Jemma showed up, cut off her access too. When her actions caused Fritz to feel unsettled about his own actions, lo and behold his father shows up to soothe him, discredit her, and return everything back to “normal”.
Now, I’ve never been a fan of “if one thing changed the world would be evil” type storylines, from both a moral and a practical point of view (not all decisions lead onto each other, for example, and external factors have too much influence imo) so this may be partly that bias talking, but one thing changing does not change your whole life and we can see with Fitz especially that this is not what has happened. We can also see it with the others though. Fitz’s regret was fixed at the cost of who knows what?? happening to his mother, and Jemma being killed off, and etc etc somehow enabling him to be trained into this role. Mack’s little girl lived but he lost his wife, and what about his brother, does he exist at all? May’s regret was fixed, but we haven’t seen any mention of Andrew, or why she was surprised/annoyed about “why are there kids in here” and yet the next minute, was expressing her regret at showing mercy to a kid. Coulson’s regret got fixed, but where is Audrey? And why doesn’t he know May?
This is where what Aida is presenting to us falls down, but not only that, it seems then that the Framework is somewhat beyond not only Aida’s control but Aida’s timeframe. Which leads me to ponder if
Part Two: Aida’s been Washing with the Blue Soap Too
If Bahrain was where it all started why don’t Coulson and May know each other? They knew each other at Bahrain. Aida and the Framework and the Darkhold or whoever want us to believe that May’s choice, really, was the turning point, but it wasn’t. And I didn’t even notice it that explicitly until literally just then as I’ve typed it. I’ve been paying so much attention to how closely Aida’s been tracking and tweaking Fitz’s trajectory that I didn’t even notice that. The changes must go earlier and deeper than that, and unless somebody in there “regrets” that the Allies won WWII, malevolent forces must be at play. Our faves haven’t transformed into Nazis over one choice. They’ve been dumped into a world where they already have been Nazis their whole lives and have to unravel the code that made them that way.
and thinking about that makes me wonder… what if Aida’s not the one in control after all?
She thinks she knows what’s going on, or at least seems to think she does, but she has stated herself numerous times that she does not fully comprehend human nature. She’s also said many times that she wants a choice, but what is the point of choice in a world that you have created, and that isn’t real? And why spend all of her choices messing with the team in ways that… are only designed to protect the Framework, which protects her choices? She also seems to be incorrect about the “it just played out that way” theory, as discussed above. It only “played out that way” because other options and opportunities for goodness and happiness in the characters’ lives were removed. Yet, did Aida do that?
It’s possible - maybe she thinks that peace is happiness, for example, and that a lack of conflict is peace, so if she keeps them all too guilty/scared/well trained to object then she has given them peace and therefore made them happy. But it’s OBVIOUS that she, or who/whatever else is acting through her or letting her THINK she is in charge, hasn’t just fixed one regret, which is what she claims she has done. If nothing else, the timing doesn’t work out, and nor does the things the characters have lost vs what they have gained; they are not zero sum games. Aida’s logic, and even Radcliffe’s logic, doesn’t make sense.
It may very well be that Aida thinks she is in control and thinks she is doing all these things for a good reason, or if not that, for a selfish but somewhat morally neutral reason, but there is a reason why the supposedly-Utopic Framework turned out a Nazi hellscape and it’s not because Fitz wanted his dad around and Mack wanted his kid back and May wanted not to have had to kill a child. Some dark sh*t is going down and Aida may not even be the half of it.
(feel free to message or ask me about stuff)