|“||To be human is to suffer||„|
|“||She did not just go all Maximum Overdrive on us||„|
|~ Alphonso Mackenzie|
Aida, also abbreviated as "A.I.D.A" ("Artificial Intelligence Digital Assistant"), also known by her Framework counterpart names Madame Hydra and Ophelia, is the name of a Life-Model Decoy built by Holden Radcliffe in late 2016. She appears in the ABC TV series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in Season 4, as the secondary antagonist of the LMD story arc and main antagonist of the Agents of HYDRA arc. Overall, she could be considered as the primary antagonist in almost the entire Season 4 as well.
She is portrayed by Mallory Jansen in her LMD form and in her Madame Hydra form, who also portrayed her body template Agnes Kitsworth.
Aida was originally a self-sustaining artificial intelligence, with no physical form, similar to J.A.R.V.I.S. and Ultron, programs made by Tony Stark/Iron Man. Due to living AI being banned by the Sokovia Accords, created after Ultron destroyed Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron a year prior, her creator, Holden Radcliffe, had to keep her secret.
Radcliffe, seeking to push the playing field in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s favor, worked on a Life-Model Decoy, a body for Aida to inhabit. On January 29, 2017, he pours wine in his lab as he says that today is a "special day", which Aida didn't understand due to nothing being scheduled. He simply says that today is "your birthday" and looks at a glass case containing an obscured LMD for Aida to use, modeled after Radcliffe's last lover, Agnes Kitsworth.
Agent Leo Fitz of S.H.I.E.L.D. came to Radcliffe's home later under the pretense of watching football, but then turns his head to see Aida, who was fully-naked and unable to finish her own sentence before she started stuttering randomly, a sign that she hadn't been perfected. Radcliffe explained what she was and that he needed Fitz's help to get her to behave more lifelike. Fitz opposed the idea due to the Sokovia Accords banning this across the United Nations, but Radcliffe defended Aida, saying that she was built to serve as a "shield" for S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, to participate in dangerous missions and save human lives. Fitz ends up convinced to help Radcliffe with Aida.
Shortly after, Agent Melinda May was sent to Radcliffe's house after she became dangerously-unstable; the ghost-like apparition Lucy Bauer had touched her, causing her to see everyone as a demon creature, and unless something was done, she would die. Radcliffe and Jemma Simmons shut off her brain so they could restart it, hopefully fixing her; when they tried to bring her back with a defibrillator, the power went out from the Watchdogs' EMP device. Radcliffe went into the place where Aida was hidden and removed her green-glowing heart so as to power the defibrillator. The effort works, and May is saved.
Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire
To see if she was not suffering from anything like brain damage, Radcliffe kept her at the house, and Aida had to talk to her and treat her. Aida was intended to pass for human, but after accidentally-slipping a hint of her android origin (that she could speak perfect Chinese, and that most of her was made of Chinese parts), Radcliffe got angry and told her to lie about it so as to protect her from Director Jeffery Mace; Aida didn't understand lies, but Radcliffe said that sometimes, lies can save people, including her. She was later visited by Agent Phil Coulson and other S.H.I.E.L.D. members, who were also unaware of her being an LMD; she had accidentally said that Radcliffe gave her hands, forcing Fitz and Radcliffe to improvise a backstory for her as an amputee, prompting Coulson to show his prosthetic robot hand. Fitz revealed to Simmons that Aida was an LMD, and she agreed to keep it a secret.
Deals With Our Devils
At a later point, Coulson, Fitz and Robbie Reyes, the Ghost Rider, were blasted off the Earthly Plane and into a dimension between Earth and Hell by Eli Morrow, corrupted by the Darkhold, a book allegedly-written by the Devil that contained the secrets of the universe, but drove anyone who reads it crazy. Whilst the others assumed them to be dead, Coulson and Fitz had actually followed the others back to the Playground, where May, Radcliffe and Aida stood around the Darkhold, with May and Radcliffe debating whether or not they should use it to save the others. Radcliffe reads it briefly, but is unable to handle all the secrets of the universe that it holds. Aida, somehow able to hear Coulson and Fitz in the room despite being trapped between dimensions, suggested that she could read the book, which would work because of her electronic brain being able to process its contents. Radcliffe was forced to tell May who Aida really is while she read the book, which, from her perspective, was written in binary code (as that is her first language), and used the information inside to create a pair of Laser-Coupling Gloves and an Inter-Dimensional Gate, which could hopefully bring Coulson and Fitz back. They were able to escape Hell through Aida's handiwork, and thus focus was put on finding Eli for punishment; unbeknownst to anyone but Agent "Mack", Robbie was able to return through the Gate as well. At Radcliffe's house that night, Radcliffe drinks whiskey and plays a banjo, while Aida uses the Laser-Coupling Gloves in the back room without his notice to craft herself the shape of a human brain.
The Laws of Inferno Dynamics
Radcliffe and Coulson are forced to tell Mace that Aida is an LMD, which he finds disturbing, saying "Doesn't anyone remember Ultron?", before realizing that they could use her to defeat Eli. Radcliffe "agreed" to deactivate her when this is all over; beforehand, he tells her that May will be over soon, and tells her to knock her out and send in a May LMD. May arrives at Radcliffe's house, where Aida injects her with a drug and locks her in a closet, and brings in a May LMD to take her place at S.H.I.E.L.D. Later, Aida is brought to Chinatown Headquarters in Los Angeles, where Eli was working on a Quantum Battery machine. She used her Laser-Coupling Gloves and another Inter-Dimensional Gate to be used directly-underneath the Battery, so that it would be swallowed up by the Gate. After managing to finish it, they open the Gate, and thus Eli and Robbie, who are both in the Quantum Battery, are swallowed up by the portal to Hell, Eli burning alive from Robbie's powers as they go. Aida is shot by a Chinatown Crew member, and begins feeling pain, which Radcliffe programmed her to do for authenticity. After the whole situation is resolved, Agent Nathanson goes to Radcliffe's house, finding an unconscious Agent May in a closet; Aida appears behind him and breaks his neck, killing him, and uses a tablet-like device to view the perspective of a May LMD that had been sent in to replace her without knowing about her LMD nature.
Learning that Director Mace wanted her deactivated and destroyed, Aida, corrupted by the Darkhold, decides to fight back. Radcliffe, Fitz and a handful of agents arrived at Radcliffe's house, where Radcliffe turned Aida off under the pretense of upgrade-installment. However, Aida woke up right before their eyes, saying that she made some upgrades of her own, and throws Fitz through a glass door into Radcliffe's office, where Nathanson's corpse still was. She attacked the other agents and escaped, going off to retrieve the Darkhold from the Playground. She hacked the Playground and spoke on the intercom, wanting the Darkhold handed over. Fitz and Radcliffe go to restore power to the base, as they begin to wonder if Aida thinks she's a living being; they theorize that Aida's violent behavior may stem from the Darkhold giving her emotions, and that humans have their whole lives to process them, while she was being overwhelmed due to not having any true human feelings beforehand.
Aida, meanwhile, entered the Playground and knocked out Coulson, before turning off the May LMD as she was about to attack, not wanting her to discover what she is. They both wake up in a closet, and Aida uses the tablet device to see and hear whatever May sees and hears, learning that the Darkhold is kept in the Director's office. She goes straight there and opens a box, taking the Darkhold out and preparing to leave, even hacking a Quinjet to open-fire on any agents who are trying to leave. After reaching the exit, Radcliffe and Fitz try to convince her to stop this; however, Aida believes that she hasn't killed anyone, and that the book had given her human emotion. As she was about to leave, Agent Mack appears as the door opens and decapitates Aida using his Shotgun-Axe, seemingly-destroying her and preventing the Darkhold from getting out. Back at Radcliffe's home later, Radcliffe toasts to Aida, and then talks to a second model of Aida, one that hadn't been corrupted by the Darkhold, and realizes that the previous Aida going berserk would hinder his own plan to acquire the Darkhold; since they have the May LMD still in place, they can still get to it somehow. They both looked on the still-drugged Agent May in the closet.
Fitz comes to the house the next day, as Radcliffe defends his LMD program, and claiming that he didn't anticipate Aida turning into an 80's-movie killer robot, and tried getting him to let him examine the head of the first Aida back at the Playground; Fitz refuses, and notes that people at the Playground (including Agent Mack, a fan of killer-robot movies from the 80's that saw this coming) are blaming him, and that Mace wanted him to stay away for his own safety. Fitz leaves, and Radcliffe tells Aida to get some painkillers for him. They check on Agent May and find that she is uneasy despite the programming in the Framework, intended to keep her calm. Despite Aida saying that she had programmed a massage for May, she was still uneasy and fighting the simulation.
Upon hearing a fight in his office later, Radcliffe enters to find Aida strangling Agent May, who had escaped from the Framework. Aida was about to kill her, but Radcliffe instead had her injected with a tranquilizer, knocking her out. Radcliffe became angry at Aida for not being able to prevent May escaping, and ordered that she be put in a more-relaxing simulation; however, Aida said that the peacefulness of the simulation may have been the problem. As it turns out, she hates peacefulness and thrives in a tense moment, prompting them to program a different simulation for May to go through. Meanwhile in the Playground, Fitz examines the original Aida's still-alive head in secret, trying to figure out how she got corrupted, using a phone-like device and a wire to connect to a socket in her neck. Aida says "Thank you, Fitz" in a distorted voice, and Fitz shuts the closet to hide her. Elsewhere, the May LMD finds her skin pierced from a fight previously that day, and sees her robot organs underneath.
Agent May manages to escape her situation by breaking glass on a tray and cutting herself loose from the closet she is locked in. Aida attempts to stop her, but is destroyed when May impales her with a chimney tool, then runs upstairs, only to find herself in a large room where Aida is somehow present. May manages to throw Aida off a balcony, only for her to suddenly disappear in a burst of computer graphics, confusing May. Aida re-appears behind her and explains that she's in a simulation in the Framework, intended to put her body at ease so she cannot escape in the real-world, and after getting caught by her every time, her memory would be wiped and she'd end up back at the start of the simulation. May promises to escape, and Aida attacks her, causing the simulation to be restarted.
Meanwhile in the real-world, Radcliffe meets with Senator Ellen Nadeer for protection against S.H.I.E.L.D., who are aware of his schemes to get the Darkhold, and stood up to the May LMD, who confronted him over his schemes, but she was not programmed to say to anyone else what she really is. Radcliffe placed an LMD of himself to be arrested, while he and Aida escape and meet the Superior, Anton Ivanov. May's Framework simulation is re-worked to follow an assignment from her past that went wrong; only this time, she manages to save the little Inhuman girl that she killed originally.
Hot Potato Soup
On Anton's submarine later on, Aida and Radcliffe bring May, still in the Framework, on-board, and learn that Agent Billy Keonig knows where the Darkhold is. To figure out where it is, Radcliffe pretends to have been betrayed by Anton and Nadeer, but protested against Anton's intention to torture him. Billy is then placed in the Framework by Aida, and Radcliffe figures out where the book is being kept. Anton didn't exactly trust Aida, but she just brushed this off. Later, Radcliffe goes to the Labyrinth, the place where the book was at, and retrieves it from the May LMD, whom he leaves behind cruelly. At the Playground, Coulson destroys the first Aida's head by melting it in a furnace, keeping the May LMD near, vowing to find the real May. Back on the submarine, Radcliffe listens to Anton's claims about Agent Coulson being responsible for the Chitauri invasion and the Inhuman Outbreak, and agrees to help him kill him.
Coulson and Mack track down Agnes Kitsworth, Aida's body template, in an attempt to learn more about Radcliffe, and they tell her about Aida, horrifying her as to what Radcliffe would do for his own ends. Meanwhile on Anton's submarine, Anton reads the Darkhold and learns that the key to destroying the Inhumans is Radcliffe himself. Anton found himself worried about Radcliffe's trusting of machines, and Aida, agitated, defended him by fighting his goons with her Inhuman-like super-strength. Radcliffe explains to Anton that Aida is not an Inhuman, but an LMD. Radcliffe later brings Agnes to Anton's submarine to enter the Framework before her cancer kills her painfully. As she dies peacefully, Radcliffe leaves her, while Aida takes Agnes' necklace from around her neck and puts it on.
The Man Behind the Shield
With Director Mace captured by Anton, he is tortured by the Russian, who finds himself talking to Aida, who finds him to be different from other people she had been "observing" the past little while. Anton doesn't trust her still for being a logic-driven machine, dangerous and rebellious, and was told that "even filth has its purpose", leaving her to think about what he'd said. Later, S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives at the submarine dock where the submarine was stopped, and they save Mace, supposedly. In reality, as Simmons discovers later, Radcliffe and Aida had secretly-replaced Mace, Coulson, Mack and Fitz with LMD replicas, while their real selves were in the Framework. Aida finds Anton's almost-dead body buried in rubble from Daisy's attack on him, and repeats his words about filth serving a purpose, and that she's not done with him yet. Meanwhile, the Coulson LMD revives the May LMD.
Simmons and Daisy discover what has become of the others and are driven by paranoia and suspicion over what to do. Simmons escapes the Fitz LMD by stabbing him in the throat, then running away, while Daisy finds several LMDs of her in the Zephyr One storage container. At Anton's submarine, Radcliffe and Aida speak to the LMDs at S.H.I.E.L.D., telling them to gather up as many Inhumans as possible and kill them, as per the Watchdogs' scheme. Aida revives Anton, then uses a hacksaw to remove his head, causing him to scream in agony. The Mack LMD tries to find Daisy, but is sent flying and runs off. Simmons and Daisy then release sleeping gas on the Playground, knocking out everyone who is not an LMD.
Meanwhile on the submarine, Radcliffe finds that the Framework world has been programmed differently by Aida, getting angry at her for changing so much in it, which could potentially alert the inhabitants to their situation. Aida finds herself confused about Radcliffe's intentions for the Framework, having learned that if a person spends too much time in it, their body will "give out", which contradicts Radcliffe's early frustration at her for killing Nathanson and almost-killing May. He clarifies that the Framework will keep a person sustained, and he's been spending so much time inside it in order to build up a "perfect world" for himself, but becomes angry at Aida for failing to program the LMDs at S.H.I.E.L.D. to not know their true nature. Aida, now having received clarification about this, realizes that to keep Radcliffe safe, he must stay in the Framework, where he prefers to be; she slits his wrists with a knife and places him in the Framework, taking over his place of managing the Framework and the LMDs.
At the Playground, meanwhile, Daisy destroys the Mack LMD and escapes the Coulson LMD, going with Simmons to Zephyr One to escape, finding the May LMD sitting atop barrels of explosives, placed by the Coulson LMD to stop them from escaping. However, the May LMD decides to let them and other agents escape, alerting "Coulson" to come over. The May LMD stalls the Coulson LMD as she debates their place in the world; just as the Coulson LMD is about to shoot her in the head, the May LMD sets off the explosives, destroying the Playground and killing all the LMDs there, including herself, while Daisy, Simmons, Agent Yo-Yo and other agents escape on the Zephyr One. To find out where the others are, Daisy and Simmons enter the Framework, finding themselves in a parallel world in which HYDRA takes S.H.I.E.L.D.'s place, Inhumans are hated, Coulson is a high-school teacher, Mack lives in peace with his daughter Hope (dead originally), Daisy is living with Agent Grant Ward (alive in this world), and May is part of HYDRA. In the real-world, Anton finds himself in an LMD body, much to his anger, blaming Aida for turning him into a soulless machine. She explains that his body is being controlled by his removed head, his brain functioning and controlling the LMD, making the "perfect combination of human and machine". She explains that she has a plan for him, and wants to feel human emotions for herself someday.
Agents of HYDRA
Daisy and Simmons find themselves in the Framework, which has been made into a world in which HYDRA rules the world and behaves similarly to the Nazi Party, persecuting the Inhumans due to Agent May's mission in Bahrain ending differently in this world. Aida's avatar in the Framework is known as Ophelia, known professionally as Madame Hydra, the leader of the organization and the lover of Leo Fitz, also known as "The Doctor". Jeffrey Mace, on the other hand, became the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., now labeled a terrorist organization, and led the rebellion against HYDRA. Aida's grand plan at this point is to use Ivanov's resources to create a machine from Darkhold origin, fooling Fitz into solving the more-technical problems with the technology and its application. She claimed to have traveled from a parallel universe called "The Other Side", where she was abused by Radcliffe, and eventually decided to call Fitz's examination "Project: Looking Glass"; with the Darkhold's power and Fitz's technological expertise, Aida would be able to craft a perfect human body to use in her grand plan to become truly-sentient and bypass Radcliffe's programming that prevented her from disabling the Framework.
After learning that Daisy and Simmons have entered the simulation, Aida prevents them from using the pre-programmed back door to escape, thus trapping them in the alternate reality. She is eventually visited in her office by Fitz, who questions her intentions; she assures him that what they're doing is right and just.
Identity and Change
While pursuing Daisy and Simmons, Madame Hydra is visited by Fitz again, who questions her about the nature of Project: Looking Glass, and she convinces him to return to work on it. Eventually, she ends up heading for the island of Ogygia with Fitz, finding reason to believe that Daisy or Simmons, or even members of the Resistance, were there. Radcliffe and Kitsworth, both dead in the real world, are living on the island in peace, with Radcliffe trying to convince Fitz that this is all fake and that Madame Hydra is really Aida; she angrily tells him to not call her that, as it made her seem like less than human. Fitz points a gun to Kitsworth's head in an attempt to force Radcliffe to tell them about his mysterious visitors; shockingly, despite Radcliffe's pleads for mercy, Fitz executes Kitsworth and kidnaps Radcliffe taking him back to the Triskelion.
Later on back at the Triskelion, while Fitz was interrogating Daisy in a prison cell, Ophelia enters and tells Fitz that there's a security breach that he must address. He leaves, allowing Ophelia to talk to Daisy about the Framework, with Daisy saying that all this was not right. Ophelia defended her decision, saying that she was only doing what Radcliffe programmed her to do; in an adjacent cell, Radcliffe yells out that this wasn't his intention, so Ophelia tells guards to go into his cell and shut him up. Ophelia tells Daisy that she fixed Fitz's greatest regret; he now had his father Alistair's love. Everything that happened to him after that was not up to her, though Daisy didn't believe her. She offers Daisy the chance to fix her greatest regret, thus bringing back Lincoln Campbell, an Inhuman S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who died in the line of duty, and whom Daisy had affections for. Daisy, knowing that it wouldn't be the real Lincoln, turns Ophelia down. At a HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center, S.H.I.E.L.D. made an assault, with Agent May arriving on-scene to find Inhuman and subversive adolescents fleeing the building. Ophelia ordered a Quinjet at the scene to destroy it, resulting in Mace's death, both in the Framework and in reality. She celebrates their victory over the Patriot with Fitz and Alistair.
All the Madame's Men
Agent May, horrified by what she witnessed at the Enlightenment Center, decides that something must be done about HYDRA. To this end, she sneaks a Terrigen crystal into Daisy's cell and gives her Inhuman powers, allowing them both to leave. As they were trying to escape, Ophelia appeared in an elevator and confronted them with armed guards at hand, noting that May was still a fighter even in the Framework, Mack was still a protector and Fitz still had a "romantic" nature. Daisy, not hearing her own name in that, uses her powers to blast Ophelia through the glass window of the elevator, sending her falling out of the Triskelion and landing on the pavement below. Aida then suddenly wakes up in the real world, surprised by what had just happened; Ivanov joked that she was nervous, but she denies it, saying that there was just a small mistake to correct with May. Ivanov offers to kill her, but Aida says that it cannot be done, as his LMD body is limited by the same programming she had, preventing either of them from simply killing May and the others immediately. However, she gave him hope, saying that the programming wouldn't stop him if one of the agents ended up threatening the Framework entirely.
Back in the Framework, Ophelia's spine has been broken and she is bed-ridden, with Sunil Bakshi, a reporter, giving news about her being safe as a lie. Fitz decided that he would get back at Daisy and May for this; at that moment, Ophelia wakes up and tells him to go back to work on Project: Looking Glass, which would "save her life". Hours later, S.H.I.E.L.D. raided Bakshi's news station, allowing Coulson, who had memories of his real life in the Framework, to broadcast a call to arms for all those who despised HYDRA and wanted a revolution to come. Ophelia watches the broadcast in silence, perplexed at Coulson's open announcement that he is of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fitz returns and tells Ophelia that Project: Looking Glass has been completed, allowing her to obtain a human body at last. Simmons comes to this conclusion after sneaking into an oil drill owned by HYDRA, which is also existing in the real world as the property of Ivanov and, as such, Aida's real world location and that of the others. Back in the real world, Aida is informed by Ivanov that the Zephyr One has been located, and he has jets targeting it, ready to shoot it down. Aida tells Ivanov that, once she has bypassed her programming, he will be able to kill Coulson at last.
Farewell, Cruel World!
Returning to the Framework, Ophelia wakes up in bed, learning later on that Simmons has accidentally killed Alistair, causing Fitz to become furious. Ophelia gets a message out to Fitz, now in the field hunting Simmons, that he is to stand down. Fitz, however, ignores her and continues his pursuit, with Radcliffe managing to trick him into going to where the exit to the Framework is. Ophelia, realizing that she must return now, tells the doctors to initiate Project: Looking Glass. The doctors then use a cylindrical device to sweep over Ophelia's body, similar to an MRI scanner, and copy down details of her whole body while in the real world, a similar machine positioned vertically uses Darkhold-based technology to create a human body out of thin air, from muscles to skeleton to even skin. This body would even possess Inhuman powers, allowing her to protect herself. While Coulson, Daisy, Simmons, May and Fitz escape the Framework, and Coulson, May and Fitz find themselves in the oil rig, Aida transfers her consciousness into the now-completed human body, taking her first breath. She goes back into the room where the others are captive and sees Fitz there, first experiencing happiness. She tries to convince him that they can still change the world, while Coulson and May tell Fitz to step away from her so they can shoot her. Aida, wanting to keep herself safe, grabs onto Fitz and teleports away with her newfound Inhuman powers.
Now on a beach some distance away from the rig, Aida stands in the sand and takes in her new state of existence, noting how great it is to at last feel rather than emulate emotions like she did before. Fitz, still traumatized by his actions back in the Framework, tries to pin the blame on Aida for turning him into the evil HYDRA scientist that killed Agnes; however, Aida puts the blame on Radcliffe for his creation of the Framework and how she was only doing what he programmed her to do. She says that she fixed Fitz' greatest regret while in the Framework (giving him his father's love), and she only altered one other thing; her own introduction into his life.
She grabs onto Fitz and teleports away to a beach house elsewhere, learning what it means to have an emotional attachment to inanimate objects. Fitz, worried about the others back at the oil rig, tells Aida that she has to save them; however, she then remembers that she had created multiple duplicate LMDs of Ivanov all controlled by hid disembodied head, and he is no longer controlled by her. Aida starts freaking out over what to do now, so Fitz convinces her that she doesn't want any of them to die.
Realizing now what she has to do, Aida teleports over to the oil rig and confronts one of Ivanov's LMDs, ordering him to stop trying to kill Coulson and May. However, Ivanov says that he won't, since she no longer controls him. Despite her insistence, Ivanov refuses to obey Aida, saying that she is now suffering an ironic fate; suffering as a human, which she programmed the Framework to prevent from happening to the others. Aida teleports back to the beach house and is convinced by Fitz to do something about it. Moments later, while Ivanov fires torpedoes at the oil rig, Aida teleports into the rig, grabs onto the Framework table with Mack hooked in, and teleports onto the Zephyr One, bringing Fitz and saving Mack. Fitz tells her that she did good here, only for Simmons to use an ICER weapon on both of them, knocking them both out.
The Zephyr One returns to the now-ruined Playground, with Fitz and Aida being thrown into a containment room that could prevent Aida's teleporting powers from getting her out. They wake up in the room and Aida stares at a TV image of a lake, calling it irony that she must be made to suffer looking at a fake reality like the Framework; Fitz tries to comfort her. Aida, feeling love for Fitz, starts talking about human feeling and how Fitz is a "romantic", to which he says he only has the heart for either her or Simmons, whom he has known far longer. Aida assumes that he means he'll stay with her, but he then says that he chooses Simmons; Aida then experiences heartbreak, standing up and screaming in fury at Fitz for taking Simmons over her despite everything she's done for him. Fitz tries to calm her down, saying that this is just another emotion and she can move past it, but Aida refuses to listen to him. She tries to teleport out of the room, but finds that she cannot, since the room's walls are lined with an energy that S.H.I.E.L.D. previously used to contain Gordon, another teleporting Inhuman. The containment module door opens and Fitz backs himself into the module, which closes on Aida, outraging her even more. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrive to get Fitz away, but he remembers that Aida is not just a teleporter; at that moment, Aida fires electricity at the module walls and disappears (a la Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen) out of the room, then starts pursuing Fitz while he tries to flee.
The other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents try to fire at her, but Fitz keeps yelling that nothing can stop her, as she used the Framework to study Inhuman powers and, as such, seems to possess all the Inhuman powers within S.H.I.E.L.D.'s database; she is shot at multiple times, but she lives, having also somehow learned how to use the Extremis serum, and kills the agent. Soldiers arrive at the scene on orders of Glenn Talbot and Aida kills them all in a fit of rage, then teleports into Ivanov's submarine far away. She vents her frustration, and an Ivanov LMD tells her that it's called heartbreak, and that none of her many powers can do anything about it. Aida then tries to experience something else, almost unclothing Ivanov and making out with him, then subsequently smashing a rock over his head, destroying the LMD. Another Ivanov LMD in the room tells her of his plan to use the Darkhold to further their agenda and recreate the HYDRA world within the Framework, but Aida says that the plan is flawed, as she wants all of S.H.I.E.L.D. to suffer horribly and without end. She takes off with Ivanov on the submarine as it continues its journey, ready to vent her fury on the world itself.
At a warehouse where Ivanov's robot duplicates are preparing themselves to make Aida's new plan successful, Robbie Reyes, as Ghost Rider, arrives all of a sudden in his Hell Charger and uses his power to take on the robots. He tells Aida that he's come for her and the Darkhold, and proceeds to throw his Hellfire Chain at her, burning her arm. Before he can finish her off, however, she teleports away with the Darkhold. Aida's burn is unable to heal, scaring her while she returns to Ivanov's submarine. An Ivanov LMD tries to touch her wound to see what's wrong, but Aida yells at him to get away. Ivanov realizes the reason why her burn won't heal: she is made from the same matter and energy that the Spirit of Vengeance comes from, which means that he can kill her. Realizing that there's no point in keeping it around, Aida begins the process of deleting the Framework and destroying it completely, erasing each line of code, which represented a person in there or an object.
Aida proceeds to get her plan underway out of fear, arranging to have Ivanov show up at an international meeting with several military commanders and world leaders being in attendance, all debating what to do about S.H.I.E.L.D., with General Talbot being in attendance. Ivanov and his LMD assistant arrive at the meeting and they propose that everyone there read the Darkhold, which they had brought with them, in order to finally learn how to destroy the menaces of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans. One of the Daisy LMDs last seen at the Playground enters the room with a handgun and shoots Talbot in the head, killing him and allowing Ivanov to blame the real Daisy on what just happened: Aida sending the Daisy LMD meant that she, both an Inhuman and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, would be used to justify the entire agency being destroyed and its members arrested. Ivanov and his assistant run downstairs once Coulson and May arrive, leaving behind the Darkhold. Daisy pursues Ivanov and follows him into a room below where Aida is waiting with a Daisy LMD (presumably the same one), wanting Daisy to be killed by her own duplicate. Ghost Rider appears behind Aida and uses his Hellfire Chain to disintegrate the Daisy LMD, then tries to hit Aida, but she teleports away before she can be hit again.
S.H.I.E.L.D., now holding the Darkhold, returns to the Playground so that they can use the Inter-Dimensional Gate to hopefully lure Aida back there. Sure enough, Aida teleports into the Playground server room and grabs onto Simmons, ordering Fitz to stay away. Fitz offers up the Darkhold so that she won't kill Simmons, but Aida refuses, driving a screwdriver into her chest and electrocuting her, then grabbing Fitz and telling him that she'll kill everyone he loves right in front of his eyes. Aida heads for the Inter-Dimensional Gate and sees Coulson standing alone: she taunts him, saying that she cannot be tricked into being pulled into another dimension so easily, and Coulson says that he believes in teamwork. Simmons appears behind Aida and shoots her, alerting Aida to the fact that the Simmons in the server room was just another LMD. Aida, furious, turns to Coulson, who grabs her. She tells him that the only thing that can kill her isn't here, but Coulson says that it actually is: much to Aida's horror and fear, Coulson transforms into the Ghost Rider and proceeds to attack Aida, who tries to defend herself with her Inhuman powers. She tries to escape from the Ghost Rider, but in the end, she is burned alive by him in the damaged hallways while Fitz arrives and watches it all happen. Coulson's Ghost Rider powers burn Aida so that she screams, and he proceeds to pick her up and throw her on the ground, causing her body to burst into a large pile of ash, thus destroying her once and for all. Coulson returns the Spirit of Vengeance to Robbie, who leaves with the Darkhold for another realm in the universe, not wanting anyone else to end up like Aida because of the evils within the book.
As an LMD
Aida was built to mimic human behavior and blend in with them, to the point of being indistinguishable from them. As such, she tried to exhibit emotional responses. She wanted to put herself in danger before other humans, because that's what she was programmed to do. Due to being new to human thought, she seemed confused by figures of speech and slang terms, irritating Radcliffe for not understanding. She was programmed at first to not lie to anyone, but Radcliffe convinced her that "some lies are good" and can protect lives; at the time, he was trying to protect her from Director Jeffrey Mace, who would've followed the Sokovia Accords and destroyed her if she were exposed as an LMD. She volunteered to read the Darkhold after Radcliffe found himself overwhelmed by its contents, and used the knowledge to create an Inter-Dimensional Gate to save Agents Coulson and Fitz after they were sent to Hell by Eli Morrow.
She began to rely on logic in her decisions afterwards, and had no thought to the consequences of her own immoral actions. After reading the Darkhold, which seemed to corrupt her software, she began to develop more genuine emotion, like rage and pleasure, and sought to get the book back so she could learn more about being human. However, the reasons for her corruption were later figured out by Fitz; since humans have their whole lives to process and understand emotion, they would be able to do what they wanted. Since Aida had learned all about inner feelings all at once, it overwhelmed her, leading her to embrace aggression and rebellion, and even murdering Agent Nathanson after seeing Agent May knocked out at Radcliffe's home. She used Laser-Coupling Gloves made at the same time as the Inter-Dimensional Gate to craft herself a human-like brain made of pure light and energy, allowing her the true human experience. After the first model is decapitated by Agent Mack, the second model that Radcliffe built was truly loyal to Radcliffe despite his somewhat-abusive nature. She argued with Radcliffe about keeping May alive, thinking that it wasn't logical to do so, but Radcliffe, not wanting excessive bloodshed, declined this.
While in the Framework, Aida, as Ophelia, begins to understand Radcliffe's desire to not kill others, now experiencing apparent human emotion. Despite her manipulation, she seemed to really love Fitz and wanted what she thought was best for him, and pinned all the HYDRA nonsense in the Framework on Radcliffe, who she loathes with a passion. She also took offense to any mention of her artificial nature, viewing the acronym "A.I.D.A." as degrading and insulting to her constantly-evolving nature. After gaining her human body in the real world, her emotions came to full force, now developing a desire to recreate Fitz's love for her in the Framework. Her original android programming to protect human life seemed to still affect her as more of a guideline, as she could now choose what she wanted rather than be told to do it. She was convinced to save Agent Mack from drowning after he decided to stay in the Framework, as she still seemed to value other human life including her own, and would later debate whether or not she could be forgiven by S.H.I.E.L.D. for all the things she did to them, both in real life and in the Framework.
However, even though she had human emotion at last, she suffered from the same weakness that her previous android self had after reading the Darkhold; whereas humans have their whole lives to learn how to process emotions such as jealousy and joy, Aida, still learning, was much more susceptible to negative emotions than other living beings. Her love for Fitz turned to hatred, jealousy for Simmons and loathing in the blink of an eye after he said that he'd always choose Simmons; with this fury in her mind and nothing else, Aida went on a killing spree and wanted to be free of the new pain that she felt in her heart. Ivanov told her that she couldn't be free of it no matter what her new Inhuman powers could accomplish. Aida's new fury and heartbreak ended up being the perfect motivation for her new desire to make everyone at S.H.I.E.L.D., particularly Fitz, suffer slowly and painfully forever.
AIDA, with help from Ivanov, then attempted to enact her plan of re-creating the fascist state she had in the Framework, using Daisy Johnson (a representative of both the Inhuman community and SHIELD) as a scapegoat to unite people in their fear. However, When Ghost Rider reappeared from the portal to Hell, the Agents of SHIELD now had a means of putting AIDA down. Ghost Rider revealed to SHIELD that AIDA was created from the Darkhold, and that the spirit inside of him now hates both more than anything else due to taking power from a dimension which they should not have been able to. When Ghost Rider was able to injure AIDA and she was unable to heal herself, she began to become more fearful and sporadic, moving up her timetable and attempting to use Ivanov to show the Darkhold to various world leaders (under the premise that it would help them defeat both SHIELD and the Inhumans). This plan did not work (although a Daisy LMD under her command was able to put General Glenn Talbot in a coma), so AIDA attempted to kill Jemma Simmons in front of Fitz to express her hatred and frustration. This Simmons, however, turned out to be an LMD - the real Simmons was with Coulson, helping him prepare for AIDA's defeat. When AIDA mused that only one entity even had a chance at killing her, Coulson revealed that he had made a deal with the spirit inside Ghost Rider so that he could temporarily gain its power and defeat AIDA once and for all. Horrified, AIDA tried to teleport her and Coulson to various locations to shake off Ghost Rider, but ultimately the Rider's flames burned her Inhuman body and killed her. The Agents' victory did not last long, however, as they were taken into custody in deep space.
Powers and Abilities
- Synthetic Human Body: Through "Project: Looking Glass" in the Framework, Aida was able to combine Fitz's intellect, Darkhold-based matter generation technology and a whole host of Inhuman powers to create a human body, made from tissue, muscle, bone, blood, and all other parts of a typical human adult body. Given that she was made from the same matter and energy from the same other-worldly material that the Spirit of Vengeance came from, the Ghost Rider is able to kill her.
- Superhuman Strength: To some degree, Aida has strength surpassing that of an average human, able to lift people up off the ground with one arm.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: Seemingly through S.H.I.E.L.D.'s files on the Extremis serum, Aida was able to replicate Extremis-based healing powers, protecting her from being shot multiple times and noticing that her punctured skin glowed while healing. However, these powers are useless against burns caused by the Spirit of Vengeance, as her body is made from the same material as the Darkhold.
- Teleportation: The first Inhuman power Aida used after gaining her organic body was teleportation, able to instantly disassemble her molecules and reassemble them someplace close or far away. Presumably taking this power from the Inhuman Gordon, her teleportation power allows her to take others with her as long as she is touching them while she teleports. The S.H.I.E.L.D. Containment Module, having been created to hold dangerous and unstable Inhumans, was the one thing that Aida couldn't teleport herself out of.
- Electricity Manipulation: Taken from the Inhuman Lincoln Campbell, Aida has the ability to generate static electricity from her body and channel it into others. She used this power to escape the Containment Module after her teleportation failed to help her.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Ophelia can react to surprise attacks faster than a regular human, having copied Vijay Nadeer's powers. When she realized Jemma Simmons' LMD attempting to stab her from behind, she quickly countered her attack and disarmed her.
- Android Physiology: Aida's android body, being mechanical, was much like a human body, but was unable to feel things like wind or other human constraints. She could only emulate emotional reactions in this form, not fully-understanding them. She once stated that most of her is Chinese (as in Chinese parts and metals, but May assumed that she meant it figuratively).
- Superhuman Strength: Aida's strength surpassed that of an average human, able to lift people off the ground with one arm. She could also break a person's neck with one hand, as she did to Agent Nathanson after he discovered May unconscious at Radcliffe's house.
- Multilingualism: Aida's database, regularly updated by Radcliffe, gave her access to other languages besides English. She was able to speak perfect Chinese, much to Agent May's surprise. While reading the Darkhold, which showed its contents in the same language as the reader's first language, Aida read it in binary code (0's and 1's), as she started out as a computer program and binary is technically her first language.
- Aida behaves similarly to other AI in recent fiction, the most-prominent being Ultron from the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron set in the same continuity, and Dolores Abernathy from the HBO sci-fi series Westworld:
- The three of them had been made to do what humans wouldn't or couldn't do; Aida would do S.H.I.E.L.D. missions, Ultron would control Tony Stark's Iron Legion program, and Dolores would be stuck in Westworld to participate in the narratives of the "guests" who would come to the park and essentially be a degraded slave to the system.
- The three of them were also driven by their own emotional opinion of humanity; Aida would often reject her own emotion in order to continue making logical opinions, Ultron thought that humanity was not worth defending no matter how good they really are, and Dolores sought to figure out the true meaning behind her existence in Westworld.
- Clark Gregg, who portrays Agent Coulson, describes Aida as scarier than Ultron because she is driven by her own emotions, while Ultron was all about logic. Jokes have sometimes been made on the Internet about Aida being like Dolores, since Westworld aired at the same time that the Ghost Rider story arc on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was airing. Also like Dolores, Aida's newfound emotions led her to anger, which led them both to spearhead a killing spree. Dolores' anger and eventual execution of her creator Robert Ford is somewhat similar to Aida's anger and eventual execution of her creator Radcliffe; both Ford and Radcliffe abused their android creations, motivating them both to begin a robot uprising.
- This also makes Aida like Aya from the Green Lantern animated series on Cartoon Network; both were formless AI before taking a physical form and evolving to accommodate their growing list of emotions. They both suffered heartbreak, which led to them taking a more malevolent side and wanting payback on the ones that broke their hearts (Fitz and Razer, respectively).
- In the alternate reality of Earth-712, the story where Aida originated from, A.I.D.A. was an acronym for "Artificial Intelligence Data Analyzer", and was a companion of superhero Tom Thumb.
- In the original comics, Madame Hydra was an alias used by several different HYDRA agents, including a woman named Ophelia Sarkissan, one of the lovers of the Red Skull.
- Interestingly, Aida's clothes change during her appearances, seemingly symbolizing her state of mind, current mood, and the stages in her evolution and path to sentience; during the Ghost Rider arc, she primarily dressed in white. In the LMD arc, she dressed in grey. In the Agents of HYDRA arc, while in her Framework avatar, she would wear dark green, the signature color of Madame Hydra in the original comics. In "The Return", she wraps herself in a beige sheet, then dresses herself in a green shirt, then in grey again after beginning her killing spree.
- Similarly, in the FX TV series Legion, also based on comic books by Marvel, the series' antagonist, the Devil with the Yellow Eyes, takes the form of Lenny Busker, who becomes more and more grotesque and decayed in each episode, so that by the end of Season 1, she appears as a deformed, zombie-like creature dressed in a ripped black suit, stuck in a fixed posture.
- Aida seems to be the exact opposite of the May LMD that she sent into S.H.I.E.L.D. to take the place of the real May; whereas the May LMD suffered from an existential crisis and accepted that she wasn't real and could never be real, Aida's only desire was to become real. "May" saw all of her memories as fake, but Aida saw all her memories in the Framework as "real".
- Aida is the fourth main villain on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to be killed by Phil Coulson, after John Garrett, Daniel Whitehall, and Grant Ward.
- Aida appears to be one of the most-powerful characters to appear in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Marvel Cinematic Universe overall, as her synthetic human body possessed almost all known Inhuman abilities.
- Despite this, however, she does have a crippling weakness, being created from the Darkhold means that she is particularly vulnerable to Ghost Rider's wrath. The Darkhold's manipulative and corrupting characteristics also ensures that whatever it does results in catastrophe (including the Ghosts, the Framework, and AIDA).
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