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"I followed you."
"I'm amazed you went through."
Melinda May and Phil Coulson[src]

The Escape from the Framework was a semi-successful attempt by Daisy Johnson and Jemma Simmons to convince Phil Coulson, Melinda May, and Alphonso Mackenzie to leave the Framework.

Background

"Please tell me that you built a back door to this place and that Aida hasn't destroyed it."
"I did, and she can't."
Daisy Johnson and Holden Radcliffe[src]

In order to get a real human body after reading the Darkhold, the Life-Model Decoy Aida kidnapped some of the most prominent members of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Melinda May, Phil Coulson, Jeffrey Mace, Alphonso Mackenzie and Leo Fitz. They were replaced by Life-Model Decoys and their bodies were trapped inside the Framework. However, agents Daisy Johnson and Jemma Simmons discovered the trickery and infiltrated the Framework as well. Rather than an easy extraction mission, they found a reality where the kidnapped agents' lives had been fundamentally altered and HYDRA had established a dictatorship. May, now a HYDRA operative, had allowed Katya Belyakov to live, resulting in a massacre that led to HYDRA's rise in the first place and discrimination against Inhumans; Fitz's father had not abandoned him and he had met "Ophelia" - later Madame Hydra, in reality Aida - rather than Jemma Simmons at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy, resulting in a fundamental change for the worse in his moral compass and leading him to become a head of HYDRA; Mackenzie was living an ordinary life with a 10-year-old daughter whose real-world counterpart had died in infancy; and Coulson had never joined S.H.I.E.L.D. and was a history teacher. It was not until later that Johnson and Simmons discovered that S.H.I.E.L.D. had survived as a resistance movement headed by an Inhuman Mace. Johnson, realizing that the mission was fundamentally different from what she and Simmons had expected, made the call to leave the Framework in order to come up with a new plan, but their attempt failed due to Aida's interference: they were effectively trapped in the alternate reality.[1][2][3][4]

After being tricked by May into revealing her allegiance to S.H.I.E.L.D., Johnson was imprisoned at the Triskelion.[3] Soon after, Holden Radcliffe was locked in an adjacent cell after his girlfriend Agnes Kitsworth had been killed by Fitz during a manhunt for subversives. Communicating through the air vents, Johnson and Radcliffe discussed the horror of the Framework and Radcliffe provided Johnson with coordinates leading to an exit that Aida could not destroy.[4] After escaping from the Triskelion with May's assistance and causing a rebellion against HYDRA[5], Johnson gathered Coulson, May, Mackenzie and Simmons before taking them to the coordinates, leaving Fitz behind as he was out of their reach and having failed to save Mace, who had died during a previous mission. However, Fitz had decided to approach the coordinates on his own in order to murder Simmons for accidentally killing his father in a struggle, with Radcliffe in tow.[6]

Escape

This section requires expansion
"How can you be sure it will work?"
"I can't. I guess it's gonna be a leap of faith type of thing."
Melinda May and Phil Coulson[src]

To be added

Aftermath

"We were all in the Framework together. We understand how confusing and screwed up that world is. And trust me, it's gonna take me years to process everything that happened in there. But the one thing that I don't need time to understand is that we are all in this together. I tried to take the blame for everything not too long ago. I dyed my hair. I ran away. I thought that separating myself from the team would help me protect it. But in truth, I kind of just lost myself. And you... you were the one who pulled me back in. This is not on you, okay? We all lost ourselves in there. And yeah, it might take you a long time to forgive yourself. But speaking on behalf of the team, you have nothing to apologize for."
Daisy Johnson to Leo Fitz[src]

With Leo Fitz out of the Framework and Aida obtaining her human body thanks to him, she confessed her love for Fitz and her desire to live with him, just like they did in the Framework. Unfortunately for her, once he returned in the real world, Fitz remembered his deep love for Jemma Simmons, which was still present even after the events in the Framework. Seeing her love rejected, Aida went insane and swore to exact revenge by killing everyone Fitz cared about, but she was eventually defeated and killed by S.H.I.E.L.D.

After escaping the Framework, those who had been trapped in it and thus had lived a rewritten life had to deal with the memories of two full and very different lives, forcing them to sort out their memories. This was particularly difficult for Fitz as he had been a cruel and ruthless HYDRA officer whose actions had caused the deaths of Agnes Kitsworth and Jeffrey Mace.[7] Heavily traumatized and unwilling to cause further harm to anyone else, even to a mortal and insane Aida, Fitz considered his relationship with Simmons destroyed and worried about the fact that his profound nature could be evil. Even Daisy Johnson, who had willingly entered the Framework with all her memories, said that she would need a long time to process anything that had happened in the alternate reality. Eventually, the horrid events in the Framework did not tear the team apart, as everyone forgave Fitz and chose to remain together.

Alphonso Mackenzie's decision to remain in the Framework eventually endangered him, as Aida decided to deactivate the Framework, deleting everything and everyone within; however, he still refused to leave until Hope was deleted. Although it was hard for him to leave the Framework, Mackenzie managed to see a bright side to his stay in the alternate reality, which had shown him a glimpse of a life he could have with Elena Rodriguez.[8]

References