Warning: major spoilers ahead for Episode 19 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, "All the Madame's Men."
The final third of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 has had the good guys at a serious disadvantage. The majority of the main characters were trapped inside A.I.D.A.'s digital framework without having any idea that they were living very different lives before they were captured and forced into a false reality. Daisy and Jemma have spent the last several episodes trying to wake their friends up and find a way to return to the real world, but A.I.D.A. and her minions (unfortunately including Fitz) have gotten in their way. Now, the show has finally revealed why A.I.D.A. is going to so much trouble to keep everybody occupied inside the framework, and it turns out that her master plan is devastatingly simple: she wants to be a real person, not an android or a digital construct.
As this is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and not Pinocchio we're talking about, A.I.D.A. doesn't simply want to be a real girl so she can have the full human experience in the world. No, A.I.D.A. wants to have an organic body of her own so that she's not beholden to the programming that prevents her from killing the helpless bodies of the folks currently stuck in the framework. She was programmed with the directive that she couldn't harm Coulson and Co. unless they posed a direct threat to the framework. The only reason why Jemma and Daisy haven't been murdered by A.I.D.A. is that she can't actually find their bodies.
Unfortunately, A.I.D.A. does have the means to become a real lady, and she doesn't need three wishes or a fairy to make it happen. The Darkhold text that enabled Eli Morrow to create matter out of nothing is now allowing A.I.D.A. to create a living body for herself. Once the body is completed and her consciousness is transferred, she'll be rid of the programming and perfectly free to murder all the agents currently at her mercy.
The good news is that Daisy and Jemma have figured out what A.I.D.A. is up to, and they're working harder than ever to break out and stop her before she can kill all the people they care about. A.I.D.A. has been a few steps ahead of them the whole time, but it's possible that her crippling within the framework will set her back somewhat. Fitz as the Doctor is still a variable that could cause a lot of trouble for the good guys in the framework, not least because he just asked A.I.D.A. if he could stay with her even after the transference is complete. We can only wait and see if all of the agents can emerge from their latest ordeal alive and intact. We lost Mace last week, and something tells me that we're in for more loss by the end of the season.
Tune in to ABC on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET to catch new episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news, and don't forget to check out our midseason TV premiere guide and our summer TV premiere schedule to discover all your viewing options now and in the coming weeks. Be sure to drop by our rundowns for cable/streaming and broadcast TV renewals and cancellations.