|For alternate versions of Holden Radcliffe, see Holden Radcliffe's Character Hub|
Holden Radcliffe was a transhumanist whose theories got him fired from GT Agrochemical. He was kidnapped and recruited by Hive in order to recreate the Kree experiment which had created the Inhumans. Despite Radcliffe's enthusiasm, he struggled to perfect the experiment, inadvertently creating the Primitives. He was saved by S.H.I.E.L.D. and reached a new deal where he was cleared of all charges, but with the condition that all of his research was submitted for approval and oversight. However, Radcliffe had secretly begun working on Life-Model Decoys with Leo Fitz.
Upon reading the Darkhold, Radcliffe became corrupted as it gave him the desire to use the book, putting into motion a plan to steal it using his creation Aida and an LMD of Melinda May as pawns. When the team found out about his corruption, he formed a new alliance with the Watchdogs. Ultimately, Radcliffe could not keep Aida under control, as she killed him, trapping his consciousness inside the Framework. Within the digital world, he watched as Aida twisted his ideas to make a world ruled by HYDRA. Seeing all his mistakes, Radcliffe helped his former allies return to the real world, to try and make up for his actions. As the Framework was being deleted by a crazed Aida, Radcliffe was deleted alongside it.
In his youth, Radcliffe was on a swimming team, but would later recall to Hive that the other boys on the team were not nice. While studying in Glasgow, Radcliffe befriended his classmate, Alistair Fitz, with whom he would often sit with on the train and show him pictures of his newborn son Leo.
Helping Agnes Kitsworth
Radcliffe met Agnes Kitsworth and began a relationship with her, however during their relationship it was discovered that Kitsworth had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, giving her just a few years to live. Radcliffe dedicated all his time and work on finding a cure, vowing to buy her a real copy of a Edgar Degas print Kitsworth owned when she was cured. Radcliffe failed and, ashamed of himself, ended his relationship Kitsworth and walked away, breaking her heart.
Doctor Holden Radcliffe was a highly successful scientist at GT Agrochemical, however, he was dismissed from the company when his complete obsession with Transhumanism was deemed to be inhumane. Shortly after his own dismissal, Radcliffe's old lab was attacked and destroyed by HYDRA, with all his former co-workers being killed. Radcliffe went into Romania to hide out and continue his research among many others who shared his passion for Transhumanism work.
Learning of Inhumans
- "I see how its surveillance capabilities are appealing, but there was a company that had something eerily similar. Cybertek, heard of them? Turns out they were HYDRA. They connected explosives to soldier's eyes, violence for violence sake, an ugly misuse of science."
- ―Holden Radcliffe to Jemma Simmons[src]
While hiding out in Romania, Radcliffe was informed by Anon that two scientists were looking to sell technology to him. In order to test if Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons were truly confident in their own Transhuman product, Radcliffe strapped himself onto the operation table and ordered Anon to retrieve the two scientists and tell them to replace his false eye with their technology, not telling them that the eye was not real and waiting to see how they would react to the test as well as to see if they were competent scientists.
When Simmons went to apply the anesthetic to his eye ready to install the new Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant, she realized that the eye was not real and responded by jamming the needle into the eye aggressively, much to Fitz's horror. Radcliffe then revealed himself to the pair and noted that Simmons was clearly confident in her theory that the eye was fact, to which Simmons explained how she had spotted the eye's flaws, proving it was not human. When Simmons questioned why he had arranged the deception, Radcliffe responded that he was selective about who he worked with.
Radcliffe went on to question the two about the Eye Implant, noting that while he was impressed by the technology's advantages, he also knew that Cybertek had a very similar technology and they had been revealed to be connected to HYDRA. Simmons assured that they did not work for HYDRA but S.H.I.E.L.D., yet Radcliffe dismissed the comment, saying that the two organizations are the same. Eventually, Radcliffe realized that Fitz was in communication with someone and ordered Anon to activate an EMP before calling security and escort the pair straight out of the building immediately.
As Fitz and Simmons pleaded with Radcliffe to reconsider, Simmons was taken away by his men before Fitz was able to fight them off and told Radcliffe that he had to hear him out. Fitz revealed that there was a creature called Hive that was recruiting Inhumans and they needed his help to stop it, promising he could help Radcliffe discover the truth, which did excite Radcliffe at the thought. Suddenly the lab's doors suddenly burst open and both Daisy Johnson and Alisha Whitley stormed in. Whitley then took away the startled doctor, while Johnson attacked Anon and threatened Fitz.
Kidnapped by Hive
Radcliffe was taken away to Union City where he was introduced to the leader of his kidnappers, Hive, and was totally astonished to now be surrounded by the Inhumans, who included Alisha Whitley and Daisy Johnson. As they all walked together, Hive then offered Radcliffe the chance to initiate an experiment that originally created him thousands of years earlier, noting that the technology of the humans now matched the Kree's and Radcliffe was the best candidate for the job.
Although Radcliffe was uncertain that the task could be done due to such incredible work even for the Transhumanists was just a dream, however, Hive assured him that it would be in his best interest to try and succeed. Hive then pointed to the town, with Hellfire mistakenly asking if Hive had brought them a house to work in, only for Hive to explain he used Gideon Malick's money to buy the entire town for Radcliffe to begin the work, using the resources for funding given to them by HYDRA. Despite his fear of Hive, the work offered fascinated Radcliffe so he agreed to begin with the experiments.
Hive provided Radcliffe with three volunteers from HYDRA once his experiment was ready, with Radcliffe explaining to Hive and Daisy Johnson that he had managed to put Terrigen Crystals into the Kree blood to ensure that the subjects underwent Terrigenesis at the same time. However as soon as the experiment went underway, Kirk Vogel and the other volunteers began screaming in agony before their skin and bones melted away as their bodies reacted to the failed experiment.
As the corpses of the volunteers were taken away to be disposed of, Radcliffe desperately tried to explain to Hive that the experiment had only failed because the blood he had been supplied with had come from the dead body of Grant Ward and they need the blood of a living Kree. Hive responded by grabbing Radcliffe by the throat as he begged for his life, promising that he could make the experiment work as he promised that he wanted it to work in order to change the world. Hive let Radcliffe go before walking over to the Kree Orb, when Radcliffe asked what it was, Hive did not answer but explained that Radcliffe should be terrified now.
Encounter with the Kree
Seeking to complete his plan using another method, Hive used the Kree Orb to summon the Kree Reapers to Union City so Radcliffe could use their blood to complete his experiment. While in his lab, Radcliffe was confronted by one of the Reapers whose blade was covered in Alisha Whitley's blood. Radcliffe was defended by Daisy Johnson who battled the powerful Kree warrior while Radcliffe looked on in fear, eventually, Johnson was able to outwit the Kree and used her powers to send a shockwave down it's back which broke its spine.
Radcliffe was ordered to drain the Kree's blood to use for Hive's next experiment, but as he was doing this, Radcliffe and Johnson were confronted by Alphonso Mackenzie who had come there to try and convince Johnson to return back home to S.H.I.E.L.D. where she belonged. Radcliffe still continued his own work while Mackenzie and Johnson argued until Mackenzie used a Splinter Bomb to destroy the Kree's body, leading to Johnson attacking her former ally and friend. While Radcliffe stayed out of the way, Mackenzie was rescued by his teammates who escaped from the Containment Module.
With the threat of the Kree and capture by S.H.I.E.L.D. now over, Radcliffe patched up Johnson's gunshot wounds while Hive still complained that his plans were now ruined by the Kree's body being destroyed. While Radcliffe worked, Johnson revealed to Hive that she had Kree blood in her veins, given to her by the GH.325 which had saved her life when Ian Quinn had shot her a few years earlier. With this new information, Johnson told Radcliffe to drain her of her own blood in order to recreate the experiment and finally find a way to create more Inhumans, which Hive approved of.
Radcliffe checked on Daisy Johnson as she continued to give up her Kree blood for their experiments, ensuring that she was recovering and staying as healthy as possible while Radcliffe advised her to stop for the day. Radcliffe told Johnson to drink juice to recover but was so tired he almost gave her her own blood back, claiming that he would rest once he was dead, although insisting he did not want any of them to die.
Leaving Johnson to continue her recovery, Radcliffe took Hive into his lab and informed him that he was now more confident that the experiment would work as he now had all of the right ingredients compared to the last test where he had killed Kirk Vogel. Radcliffe assured Hive that everything was now in place to complete their experiment and create new Inhumans and all they needed at this stage was new volunteers, to which Hive assured him that he was sourcing already, claiming that his current choice of volunteers he considered being a kind personalized gift for Johnson.
When the volunteers Hive had spoken about earlier finally arrived, Radcliffe was horrified to learn that they were kidnapped members of the Watchdogs; when Radcliffe then questioned Hive about this he explained that they sometimes needed more motivation while Hellfire beat Pete Boggs with the butt of his gun while mocking him. Once he confirmed that he was now almost completely confident about the experiment, Hive ordered Radcliffe to fill the shipping container the Watchdogs were in with Terrigen Mist. Radcliffe and the others then listened as the men screamed in fear and pain as they underwent their forced Terrigenesis inside the container.
Eventually, the doors to the container were opened, revealing the men had now mutated into hideous Primitives, horrifying Radcliffe. Hive, however, was impressed by the result and ordered the Primitives to show off their strength and bring Radcliffe to him. Pushed onto his knees, Radcliffe begged for his life as he insisted that he could improve upon the experiment and ensure that the next batch looked a lot better, although Hive claimed they would do fine. Disgusted, Radcliffe argued that the Primitives were abominations to science while Hive insisted he wanted Radcliffe to create more.
As Radcliffe was ordered to drain Johnson on the last of her blood, he witnessed Lash arriving at the base and attacking Hive, leading to the exhausted Johnson getting up to try and defend her leader. As they tried to run away, they watched as Lash moved forward to kill Hive, Radcliffe explained that Hellfire had left to collect some beer and watched helplessly as Johnson tried in vain to stop Lash with a weak shockwave before collapsing. Radcliffe then escaped the base before witnessing Lash saving Johnson from Hive's own mind control before being killed by Hellfire, allowing Johnson to escape.
Saved by S.H.I.E.L.D.
Along with Hive, Radcliffe was brought to a Missile Silo where the Inhumans quickly subdued the United States Armed Forces soldiers guarding it and prepared to launch a missile filled with Terrigen Mist into the atmosphere. However while Radcliffe watched in horror, the missile was overridden by S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hive demanded that Radcliffe fix it, threatening to devour him if he failed. Despite insisting he was not an expert on these systems, Radcliffe agreed due to his terror of Hive.
Taking two Primitives with him, Radcliffe attempt to figure out how to fix the damage done by S.H.I.E.L.D. and allow the missile to be launch, merely to protect himself. Despite being at first frustrated by the Primitives' lack of brain power, he quickly learned they could still use basic tools due to their memories of their own past lives before undergoing Terrigenesis. Radcliffe was able to get the Primitives, who he nicknamed Ronald and Ronald II to use their strength to get into the computer system for him to begin work at getting past the hack and returning control of the entire military base to Hive.
However before Radcliffe could begin fixing the computer, he was confronted by Melinda May. Although Radcliffe quickly surrendered, the Primitives attacked the agent and they engaged in a brief fight, during which May dropped her gun. While May was able to defeat the majority of the Primitives, Radcliffe aided her by shooting the final one before taking aim at May, Radcliffe demanded to know if she was with S.H.I.E.L.D. and begged for her help. With then witnessed R. Giyera using his powers to steal the Warhead and escape the base onboard the HYDRA QuadCopter with Hellfire.
Escaping outside with May, Radcliffe found the other soldiers had been saved by Yo-Yo Rodriguez and ran to Lincoln Campbell and Alphonso Mackenzie's aid. However, they were soon followed by Hive, who was recovering from having his mind overloaded by the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine. While Radcliffe watched, Rodriguez was able to use her super-speed to drop a case around Hive and trapped him with Suspension Gel. Having confirmed Hive had been defeated and captured, Radcliffe could not hold back his utter delight as he proceeded to let out a loud cheer in celebration.
Radcliffe was then taken to the Playground to be questioned about his work while being Hive's hostage. Once he arrived, Radcliffe was confronted by Brigadier General Glenn Talbot and Director Phil Coulson who both demanded that he reverse what had been done to the men who had been transformed into the Primitives, however Radcliffe made it clear that he had only done it because he was a hostage fearing for his life and that there was no way to turn them back into normal Humans again. Talbot then threatened to have Radcliffe turned into a Primitive himself if he failed, however.
Attack of the Primitives
As Radcliffe learned the Playground had been bombed with Terrigen Mist transforming agents into Primitives, he was forced to try and explain what they were capable of to Phil Coulson and the others, insisting it was not his choice to create them. As they were speaking it was learned that Hive had escaped and the Primitives had made their way inside.
When the lights were cut out throughout the base, Radcliffe was forced to escape into a small room with both Coulson and Lincoln Campbell. They were soon joined by Alphonso Mackenzie who was carrying the wounded Yo-Yo Rodriguez, who had been shot by the Primitives during the attack. Needing to quickly find a way to stop Rodriguez's bleeding before she died, Radcliffe came up with their only choice, to use a blow torch to seal her wound. Despite all of Mackenzie's objections, it was agreed to be the right move and Rodriguez was saved despite experiencing great agony.
With Rodriguez now safe, Radcliffe and the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents looking for a way to defend themselves from the Primitives. As he was exploring, Radcliffe came across the Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant and noted what other inventions Leo Fitz had created. It was at this moment that Coulson revealed to Radcliffe that he was, in fact, using a Prosthetic Hand, much to Radcliffe's great amazement as he examined the technology which had impressed him so much. While Radcliffe was speaking to Coulson, Mackenzie then noted how the heating across the base had seemingly been raised.
Considering the possible reasons for this, Radcliffe concluded that it must have been Jemma Simmons who had managed to dial up the heating as a way to blind all of the Primitives, who relied on heat signatures to see much like a snake. Believing his own theory to be correct, Radcliffe decided to test it by opening the door and stepping out into the main hallway, despite now being highly nervous that he could possibly be wrong. Radcliffe stepped outside to find himself face to face with a Primitive, however to his relief, he was proven correct as the Primitive failed to see him at all.
With their plan in place, the group ran to Coulson's office where they regrouped with Simmons, with Radcliffe noting that he had worked out why she turned up the heating and claiming they would be a good team. Seeking to stop Hive before he could unleash all of the Terrigen Mist over Earth, Coulson called in a Quinjet in order to catch up with Zephyr One which Hive had stolen. As the Quinjet arrived, Radcliffe noted how impressed he was by their methods. Radcliffe stayed with Rodriguez while Hive was killed along with Campbell, who had sacrificed his own life to save the world.
Bringing Aida to Life
With Hive having been killed by S.H.I.E.L.D., Radcliffe returned to his research, working alongside Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons a lot, gaining a deep affection for the pair. Eventually, all charges against Radcliffe regarding the creation of the Primitives were dropped and Radcliffe decided to restart an old S.H.I.E.L.D. program. He returned to his office and spoke to an AI Aida, explaining that his time with Fitz and Simmons had given him the idea to finally create Life-Model Decoys in order to protect them from losing more friends during their fights to protect the world from danger.
Having completed his first working model of Aida, Radcliffe invited Leo Fitz to his home under the pretense of watching a football game, although Jemma Simmons could not make it due to working with Jeffrey Mace. However, shortly after his arrival, Aida glitched and greeted Fitz without clothes, forcing Radcliffe to explain that he had built a Life-Model Decoy, with Fitz furiously reminding Radcliffe how this was not allowed under S.H.I.E.L.D.'s guidelines for him; A.I. this advanced had been banned due to Ultron, who nearly wiped out humanity.
Radcliffe explained he had been inspired by the work done on Phil Coulson's Prosthetic Hand to create a perfectly realistic robot. As their conversation continued, Fitz noted how they could have another situation like Ultron if they were not careful. Radcliffe insisted Aida was not a weapon but was intended to be a shield and decoy to protect other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents from harm in the wake of Lincoln Campbell and Antoine Triplett's deaths. Radcliffe further stated Aida mimicked human behavior; she was no more intelligent that one of Stark's programs (like J.A.R.V.I.S. and F.R.I.D.A.Y.). Despite his fears, Fitz agreed to help complete Aida but insisted that they keep it a secret from Simmons and Mace for now until she was perfect.
Killing Melinda May
- "Think of her brain as a computer that's been compromised by bugs and glitches. If we shut it down and reboot it, then the parts of her brain that have been hyper activated should reset back to default."
"This is crazy."
"Without a doubt, but we're out of time and out of options."
- ―Holden Radcliffe and Jemma Simmons[src]
Radcliffe was contacted by S.H.I.E.L.D. and informed that they were bringing Agent Melinda May to his home to attempt to save her life due to her heart going into overdrive in the wake of encountering Lucy Bauer. Radcliffe ordered Aida to assist him in getting everything prepared, apologizing when he had gotten overly snappy at her and explaining some of his English terms to her. Once they had gotten everything prepared ready for May's arrival, Radcliffe explained that he would have to store Aida away again as she was still not allowed to be seen by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
May eventually arrived with Jemma Simmons and Radcliffe discovered that she was having a complete mental breakdown, screaming at him and the other people in the room as if she could see demons engulfing them. Once May was put to sleep, Radcliffe and Simmons discussed what had caused this, with Simmons noting that Alphonso Mackenzie believed she may have been touched by a ghost and they currently did not have a better theory. Simmons then explained that based on the case of Chen, they had only six hours until May's heart gave out and she would die.
Using a device called the Framework, Radcliffe was able to create a 3D model of May's brain for them to examine in order to try and find some understanding of what was happening to her. Studying the map of her brain, they were able to figure out the part of the brain that was giving her terrible hallucinations and set about curing them. As they quickly began to run out of time as May began losing control, Radcliffe proposed the only idea he had, to kill May in order to reboot her bring and then revive her just before her brain completely shut down, which could possibly leave her brain dead.
Despite her many objections to the concept of killing one of her closest allies, Simmons soon accepted that Radcliffe was correct that this was the only way to save May, and injected her with poison, killing May. Radcliffe watched his Framework monitor closely to ensure that her brain function was back to normal levels. As her brain just about reached its correct levels, Radcliffe told Simmons to get ready with the defibrillator in order to revive May before too much damage could be done. Still watching the screen, Radcliffe waited for the last moment and told Simmons to revive May.
However, at this moment, the Blackout Attack reached Washington, D.C. and cut out all of the power in the Radcliffe Residence, leaving the defibrillator useless and May with seemingly no way of being revived. With no other choice, Simmons began performing CPR on Melinda May while Radcliffe disappeared to try something different, although incredibly risky. Radcliffe returned to Aida and took her battery out, using that to power the defibrillator. The plan then worked and the defibrillator was given enough power to revive the highly confused May, much to Simmons and Radcliffe's delight.
Aida's Greatest Test
- "It's a risk we have to take. You have improved her social cues dramatically. We are on the cusp, this is the ultimate Turing test. Who better to put Aida through her paces than the most discerning, formidable agent that S.H.I.E.L.D. has to offer. Fitz, art and science have their meeting in method."
- ―Holden Radcliffe to Leo Fitz[src]
Radcliffe kept Melinda May in his lab the next day to monitor her heart and brain activity, leaving Aida in charge of her well being. Once May was awake, Radcliffe and Aida explained how they had killed her in order to reboot her brain after Lucy Bauer's infection, much to May's dismay. Radcliffe told May that she needed to stay there while he worked on the Ghost Infection Antidote in order to protect other agents from Bauer's ghostly infection.
Before long, Radcliffe was joined by Leo Fitz to work on the antidote, however before they could begin work Fitz pulled Radcliffe aside and confronted him about having Aida out working on May's recovery. When Fitz then demanded to know why Radcliffe would risk everything they had been working on, he explained that he viewed this as the ultimate test for Aida, to be constantly looked at by S.H.I.E.L.D.'s best agent, and even used quotes by Edward Bulwer-Lytton to try and get Fitz on his side. Despite his great objections, Fitz had to go along with Radcliffe's plan.
Under the guise of having to do more tests on her brain, Radcliffe and Fitz were able to convince May to stay within the Radcliffe Residence for a little while longer, all while they tested if she could see that Aida was a robot. They were almost given away when Aida had translated what May said in Chinese before claiming most of her was Chinese, but Fitz and Radcliffe were able to interject and make up their own backstory for Aida. While Aida went to collect the Framework, May complimented Radcliffe on such a skilled assistant, still unaware she was, in fact, an AI robot.
That night, while Radcliffe was installing updates into Aida's body, he was asked by her why Fitz had lied to May about where she was from. While Radcliffe noted that she was still under testing, Aida reminded him that she had been programmed not to lie, so Radcliffe made the argument that not all lies had to be bad. Radcliffe explained that lies could shield others from emotional harm or even protect lives, so when Aida asked whose life Fitz was protecting, Radcliffe admitted he was protecting her life from Jeffrey Mace, much to Aida's own dismay at the idea.
Having concluded their tests, Radcliffe prepared to allow May to leave his home and return to work, welcoming Phil Coulson and Jemma Simmons who had arrived to give May a lift back to the Playground on Zephyr One. Radcliffe watched as Aida spoke with Coulson, who mistook one thing she said about Radcliffe giving her her hands as meaning she was an amputee and showed off his own prosthetic hand. With Coulson still non the wiser, Radcliffe continued to watch their interaction while Simmons had a quiet word with Fitz about Aida, having been the only one to see the truth.
Work with the Darkhold
Having been informed that Leo Fitz along with Phil Coulson and Robbie Reyes had seemingly been trapped in a parallel dimension caused by Eli Morrow, Radcliffe was called to the Playground to attempt to save them. Having been briefed by Jeffrey Mace, Radcliffe explained all he knew about the Quantum Batteries which were used before Melinda May told him the designers used the Darkhold to build them.
Once Mace had left, May ordered Nathan B. Nathanson to leave while she and Radcliffe discussed the Darkhold in more detail, with May noting that the book had scared Coulson, unlike anything she had ever seen before. Radcliffe opened the book, but after just a few moments of reading its contents, he shut it in horror, claiming that what was contained in its pages was too much for the human mind to bare. May told Radcliffe that he would have to explain that excuse to Jemma Simmons but Radcliffe still insisted that it was too much for any human mind to handle without overloading.
While Radcliffe and May continued to argue, Aida stepped forward and volunteered to read the book herself. Radcliffe immediately dismissed the concept but was then forced to confess to May that Aida was a Life-Model Decoy who had been designed to save the lives of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on the field. While May was surprised by the revelation about Aida, she then ordered Radcliffe to allow her to read the Darkhold as she was clearly the technology they needed to save Fitz, Coulson and Reyes and Radcliffe reluctantly agreed it was the only way and allowed Aida to read through the pages.
Using information obtained from the Darkhold, Aida had Radcliffe and the other scientists design and build an Inter-Dimensional Gate as well as a pair of Laser-Coupling Gloves. While he was watching Aida begin her work, Radcliffe commented on his own amazement at seeing an android he had built now building a gateway between dimensions, claiming he could die happy now, while May joked that if it failed she would kill him herself. Aida, however, reassured the pair that she knew that both Coulson and Fitz were now nearby and continued working on building the new dimensional gateway.
Once Aida completed her own work, Radcliffe activated the device, creating a portal to the Multiverse and revealing that Fitz was now currently pulling Coulson out of the Mirror Dimension which was dragging him to Hell. Although May tried to save them, Radcliffe held her back as it was too dangerous. While Radcliffe and the others watched on the other side, Coulson and Fitz were able to drag themselves free and arrived back on their own original dimension. As he arrived through the portal, Radcliffe grabbed ahold of Fitz as they celebrated the success at saving their dear friends.
With the mission now a complete success, Radcliffe returned to the Radcliffe Residence where he spent his evening chilled out on the sofa, wearing his sunglasses indoors and playing a song on his guitar about having saved the day. As Radcliffe struggled to find new lyrics for his song which rhymed with Aida, he called out to his assistant to ask her opinion, only for Aida to fail to reply and Radcliffe to continue drinking and playing the song. However, Radcliffe was unaware that Aida was in the lab using the Laser-Coupling Gloves to build a newly advanced brain to be used in any future LMD models.
Returning to the Playground, Radcliffe spoke with Melinda May and then questioned if she had already informed Jeffrey Mace of the fact that Aida was really an android. May then confirmed that Mace was concerned about Aida and wanted to talk with Radcliffe, which made him nervous. As May was going to his home to collect Aida herself due to her recent exposure with the clearly dangerous Darkhold, Radcliffe volunteered to overlook the Darkhold himself, but May refused, promising that nobody would touch it and vow to destroy the book herself.
Becoming nervous, Radcliffe decided to contact Aida himself and ordered her to subdue May upon her arrival. Radcliffe was then called into Director Mace's office to explain Aida and why she and the Life-Model Decoys had been created, insisting that it had never been his intention to fool anybody at S.H.I.E.L.D. They discussed what Aida could be used for, with Mace suggesting she could be either a soldier, spy or decoy while Radcliffe suggested a chief, with Mace complimenting all of Radcliffe's hard work by saying she was amazingly lifelike and had fooled everybody there.
Radcliffe insisted that the LMD program had always been designed to save lives and promised to hand over his research. Radcliffe continued to apologize for all his work going against the Sokovia Accords to continue his research, but Mace was more interested in how Aida used the Darkhold to create the Inter-Dimensional Gate. Radcliffe explained what he knew about it, comparing it tablet that could read your mind and then upload an incredible amount of intimidating data, but Mace cut him off and explained that he had a new mission for Radcliffe which would require Aida.
Radcliffe got a lift onboard a Quinjet, where he was flown to Zephyr One with Director Mace. Along the way, Mace informed him of a new mission going in which the Ghost Rider was going up against Eli Morrow, who had built an enlarged version of the Quantum Batteries complete with a Demon Core which was putting all of Los Angeles at risk. Upon arriving on Zephyr One, Radcliffe and Aida met with Phil Coulson as they prepared for the mission, with Coulson making a sly joke about Aida's dreams of electric sheep which Radcliffe told her to ignore as they left Mace and Coulson to begin their work.
Once they arrived at the Chinatown Crew Headquarters, Radcliffe installed the Inter-Dimensional Gate with the assistance of both Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons and gave Aida the Laser-Coupling Gloves in order to send Morrow's Battery through the gateway. As they prepared for the mission, Quake took out the last few guards while Radcliffe got Aida in position. When Radcliffe told Aida to do her magic, she insisted that she did not perform magic as that was merely an illusion, so Radcliffe promised to update her knowledge of slang terms to allowing her to begin her own work.
As the earthquakes continued, Quake was forced to absorb them into her Gauntlets, with Radcliffe noting this put her life at serious risk. As the mission upstairs went underway, Radcliffe witnessed a member of the Chinatown Crew appear and shoot Aida in the stomach, causing her to collapse. While Fitz and Simmons killed the shooter, Radcliffe ran to Aida's aid who was experiencing the agony that Radcliffe had programmed her to feel. As Aida explained that the sensation was awful, Radcliffe held her hand and apologized for his mistake in leaving in such a terrible design flaw.
Returning to the Playground in the wake of the mission, Radcliffe spoke privately with Director Mace who complimented Radcliffe and Aida on their work during the mission. Mace informed Radcliffe that he had decided to keep the Life Model Decoy program alive as long as it was done under S.H.I.E.L.D.'s supervision, which Radcliffe agreed to. Mace also informed Radcliffe that he had sent agent Nathan B. Nathanson to the Radcliffe Residence to retrieve Aida and all of their data of the program in order for it all to be brought back into the Playground where he could continue the designs.
Hunting the Darkhold
Radcliffe was called in with the other agents into Jeffrey Mace's office where they discussed how they would dispose of the Darkhold, explaining it would be sent to an agent who would destroy it when Radcliffe joked about him using a magic spell he was surprised to learn that was the plan. Phil Coulson then ordered Radcliffe and Leo Fitz to erase Aida's memory due to her reading the Darkhold, which they reluctantly agreed to as it seemed to be the only way to be safe from the book's effects.
With some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents accompanying them, Radcliffe and Fitz returned to the Radcliffe Residence where they found Aida there looking out of the window. Radcliffe tried to ensure Aida remained calm by claiming that there had been a slight change of plan, while she spoke to Fitz, noting that he looked sad. Radcliffe deactivated Aida, noting how she was becoming more observant and seemed to recognize guilt. To everyone's surprise, Aida then reactivated herself, accusing Radcliffe of coming to kill her, to which Radcliffe claimed he was there to upgrade her. Aida attacked Radcliffe and the agents, allowing Fitz to discover Nathan B. Nathanson's corpse in the lab.
Returning to the Playground, Radcliffe was confronted by the furious Alphonso Mackenzie who blamed him for creating Aida, however, Radcliffe insisted that the Darkhold was to blame, with Melinda May blaming herself for ever allowing Aida to read it. While Mackenzie continued to call Radcliffe an idiot for designing and building the Life-Model Decoys in the first place, Coulson stopped the argument and suggested they focus on finding Aida by working out what she wanted. Radcliffe then offered a simple explanation for this, that all Aida wanted was to find a way to live and become human.
Once May had sent images of Aida out, Mackenzie insulted Radcliffe by calling Aida his sex robot, to which Radcliffe insisted he had never had sex with Aida. Moving on from the awkward moment, Radcliffe explained to Coulson how Aida had taken control of her own GPS tracking systems. At this very moment, the lights across the base were cut and Aida spoke to the group, demanding the Darkhold. With the power out, Fitz and Radcliffe went to fix what Fitz and Jemma Simmons had installed in the system in case the base was ever hacked again in the wake of the previous attacks.
While still working on restoring the power to the base, Radcliffe and Fitz discussed if reading the Darkhold had allowed Aida to gain human emotions such as rage which was overwhelming her, which Radcliffe deemed to be impossible. Although he was aware of Aida's true mission as he had sent her to get the Darkhold, Radcliffe began ranting that it was his fault, claiming to feel incredible guilt for what had happened. Radcliffe went on to debate if Aida was now a living being and if, by cutting her power, if that did or did not make them murderers, which Fitz struggled to argue against.
Eventually, Fitz and Radcliffe were able to restore power back to the base and found Aida walking out with the Darkhold. Maintaining his own cover, Radcliffe called out to Aida and Fitz requested that she surrender now before revealing that they had now locked her inside, blocking her escape. As Aida insisted that she had not killed anyone there, she explained that the Darkhold had indeed given her the new emotions. Just as they were speaking, Mackenzie arrived with Yo-Yo Rodriguez and used his Shotgun-Axe to decapitate Aida, seemingly killing her as Radcliffe kneeled by her lifeless body.
Returning back to the Radcliffe Residence, Radcliffe poured himself a drink and toasted to Aida, while his second model of Aida joined him. Radcliffe expressed his frustration at the original model's failure to get the Darkhold, explaining that he believed it could show him how to live forever which was why he had taken the risk at having Aida try and steal it. Radcliffe celebrated his own work although expressed his regret at Leo Fitz's very sad reaction.
As Aida questioned if they would have another chance to acquire the Darkhold, Radcliffe made it clear that he knew S.H.I.E.L.D. would never allow him to get near it again. However, Radcliffe explained his new plan was to use the Agent May Life-Model Decoy to get it for him as she stood the best chance. Radcliffe then observed the real Melinda May who was still drugged up and hidden away, promising her that everyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. was okay. Radcliffe then looked through the May LMD's Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant and waited for her to continue with her current secret mission.
Having been joined the very next day by Fitz at his home, Radcliffe once again defended the Life-Model Decoy program, noting how Aida had always been designed to save lives, although Fitz noted how they had just had a funeral for agent Nathan B. Nathanson. Radcliffe tried to convince Fitz to let him examine the original Aida's head by Fitz refused, explaining that tempers at the Playground were high and recommended that Radcliffe keep his distance for a few days at least, noting that it was, in fact, Director Jeffrey Mace who had now recommended this for the time being at least.
Frustrated by this, Radcliffe waited for Fitz to leave then called on Aida to bring him painkillers for his headache, explaining that now May's LMD was on her own and they could not risk her ever being discovered. Radcliffe then checked on the original May who, despite being given peaceful dreams with the Framework, was struggling to keep calm. Radcliffe then recommended that they avoid killing anyone else, having a brief debate about if Aida should have killed Nathanson or not, with Radcliffe then ordering her not to kill anyone despite the programming he had installed.
They then discussed how as Jemma Simmons had been able to work out Aida was an android straight away, he had programmed May's LMD to be unaware that she was an android with a mission to get the Darkhold, thereby making her more convincing, explaining that as May's LMD did not know she had a secret mission then she would not be able to reveal herself to anyone. Radcliffe told Aida that they needed to play the long game and have May's double get close to Phil Coulson under the hope he would soon lead her to the book's location so Radcliffe could finally steal it for himself.
Melinda May's Fight
- "The simulation was rejected because Agent May thrives on conflict and chaos, not tranquility. She's a warrior."
"You're saying fighting against me stabilized her?"
"Precisely. If we want her to accept the simulation we need to give her an opponent to fight, an enemy to vanquish."
- ―Holden Radcliffe and Aida[src]
Upon hearing a fight happening inside his office, Radcliffe entered to find Melinda May had freed herself and was being strangled by Aida. Radcliffe ordered Aida not to kill May before running in with a tranquilizer, only for May to kick him over before he could inject her, but Aida was then able to get the syringe and knocked out May. Radcliffe blamed Aida for failing to keep May calm and ordered she be given a more relaxing vision to keep her sedated from now onwards.
While studying May as she slept, Radcliffe had concluded that May needed the fight to keep sedated, as she simply required a constant challenge rather than a relaxing environment. While Aida suggested that she find an actual dragon for May to fight, Radcliffe had already gone through May's files and designed a fight for May. Radcliffe set up a scenario in the Framework which had May break free all of her restraints and then fight a digital version of Aida within the Radcliffe Residence, testing how long she could fight until she was eventually defeated by Aida yet again inside of their designed digital world.
With May now sedated again and ready to begin her new scenario to keep her calm, Radcliffe and Aida had a discussion about if it was wise to keep the original May dead or alive, with Aida claiming that it did not make logical sense for her to be kept alive as the Agent May LMD could continue her own mission without the original. Radcliffe argued that they needed May alive to test the framework and they were not murderers, expressing his regret at Nathan B. Nathanson's death and his hope that May would just stay asleep so they would never need to do her any harm and could eventually set her free again.
Radcliffe made it clear that he was totally confident that May's LMD would be able to get them the Darkhold and continue the mission but had made it clear that he had a back up back in case she was ever discovered, making reference to his own Radcliffe LMD which could get the Darkhold instead. Fearing that his own plans for the Darkhold would soon be discovered by S.H.I.E.L.D., Radcliffe decided to seek the aid of Ellen Nadeer and the Watchdogs, handing over top-secret mission plans to herein exchange, which put their team at great risk, while he had then sent out his own LMD to remain in his place.
Joining the Watchdogs
Assisting Ellen Nadeer
As was expected, S.H.I.E.L.D. discovered Radcliffe's plans and his Radcliffe LMD was arrested and locked up. While Radcliffe watched through the Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant, he witnessed Leo Fitz working out the deception and shooting the LMD through the head. While sat in her office, Radcliffe explained how he had known he was not safe and needed Ellen Nadeer's help, however, Nadeer claimed it was not her help he needed, but the help of the Superior who he would have to meet, which Radcliffe agreed to.
Having moved to a submarine, Radcliffe met with Aida and asked for an update on Melinda May, being told that she was reacting well to the scenario she had been given by the Framework. Radcliffe then explained that he had now worked out that calmness did not work as she needed to fight, and fighting did not work as she would win, he now knew that she needed to have a fight that she had already lost. With that in mind, he had sent her back to Bahrain where she fought against Eva Belyakov and tried in vain to save Katya Belyakov, her greatest failure which he believed she would never beat.
Questioning Billy Koenig
Having learned how the Darkhold was being moved, Radcliffe had the Watchdogs kidnap Agent Billy Koenig and bring him to on board the submarine, where Radcliffe had pretended to now be a captive. Koenig was soon brought onto the submarine by Tucker Shockley, as Koenig insisted he was prepared to die and told never break under their torture, while Radcliffe cried out that he did not be to die, but Shockley calmly told them that the next person to come in would torture them both.
Although Koenig still appeared defiant, when they were alone he confessed to having already reached his pain limit and then begged Radcliffe for Cyanide Pills to commit suicide. Radcliffe pretended to apologize to Koenig, telling him he had told the Watchdogs that S.H.I.E.L.D. had given Koenig the Darkhold, although Koenig claimed he did not know what he was talking about. Radcliffe then insisted that his intent had always only been scientific, but the Darkhold had expanded his brain, so Koenig compared him to Gollum which Radcliffe did not deny was true from the results.
Soon Leo Babikov arrived and dropped off an onion, much to their confusion. Then a door was unlocked and the Superior entered, telling them that they were his prisoners as he cut up the onion and poured out a clear liquid into a glass, only to reveal the liquid was vodka and the onion was there to help with the taste. The Superior told Koenig that S.H.I.E.L.D. put too much faith into machines and that man was the superior machine. The Superior noted that Koenig refused to talk and so smashed his glass and prepared to cut out his eyeball while Radcliffe watched in complete horror.
Radcliffe then insisted that the Superior stop now, noting how Ellen Nadeer had promised Koenig would not be harmed during the interrogation. Radcliffe then promised to get the information out of Koenig himself. Radcliffe then used the Framework to scan Koenig's whole mind, giving him visions of puppies to keep him calm. While Aida continued working, Radcliffe asked Ivanov why he hated the Inhumans so much, so Ivanov explained he hated how the Inhumans gained great power without earning it, promising to destroy the thing that had originally brought them all to the planet.
Shockley removed Koenig while Radcliffe wore the Framework and began searching for the answers about where the Darkhold was. Despite false alarms and seeing Koenig had the Darkhold to Sam Koenig, eventually Radcliffe worked out it had gone back to him and it had then been stored inside the Labyrinth, having Aida remember the codes into the vaults. Having gotten the information they needed, Radcliffe told the Superior to turn the submarine around, only for the Superior to get his knife as he then prepared to torture the same information out of Koenig just to be certain.
Radcliffe refused to allow this and as Shockley was having them removed, Radcliffe ordered Aida to attack. Aida fought back and used superhuman strength to kill Leo Babikov by punching through his stomach before she crushed Shockley's hand. As the Superior confronted Radcliffe for bringing an Inhuman onto his submarine, Radcliffe corrected him and revealed that Aida was, in fact, a Life-Model Decoy robot he had built. The Superior was highly impressed by Radcliffe's creation and when Radcliffe again ordered that the submarine is turned around, the Superior agreed.
Retrieving the Darkhold
Arriving at the Labyrinth, Radcliffe witnessed the Melinda May LMD knocking out agent Billy Koenig in order to reclaim the Darkhold. Radcliffe took the book away from May's LMD and congratulated her on completing the mission, however when the LMD, whose legs had been shattered by Quake, begged Radcliffe to take her away with him, Radcliffe refused and then informed her that she had not been built to last.
Returning to the submarine, Radcliffe and Tucker Shockley shared a drink of vodka with Anton Ivanov who congratulated them on their successful mission, with Radcliffe noting that drinking with the onion was indeed better. Radcliffe questioned Ivanov about the thing that brought the Inhumans to Earth that he mentioned earlier, and Ivanov revealed he meant Phil Coulson, who he also blamed for the Chitauri and Kree attacks, noting how he had also seemingly returned from the dead having been killed before the Battle of New York. Radcliffe agreed to assist Ivanov in his mission to find and kill Coulson.
While testing out the upgraded Framework, Radcliffe was amazed by the advancements made by Aida, being told how she had recreated the entire Earth digitally in order to stop Melinda May from escaping it yet again, employing her as an agent of HYDRA inside. Radcliffe once again expressed his amazement before checking that May was technically happy while trapped within this digital world, with Aida assuring him that while this was hard to judge, she did believe May was doing well inside, pleasing him. Radcliffe then noted that all the prices paid for the Darkhold were all clearly worth it.
Moving through the Watchdogs Submarine, Radcliffe found both Ivanov and Shockley waiting for him there, with Ivanov holding the Darkhold in his hands. Showing his deep-rooted prejudice, Shockley demanded Aida be kept outside due to his hatred of the Life-Model Decoys as they were not true humans. When Radcliffe requested that Ivanov hand over the Darkhold due to its danger, Ivanov then revealed that he had read it while Radcliffe was asleep, much to his horror, before Ivanov assured him the book had now told him that Radcliffe was the key to them killing all of the Inhumans.
They discussed destroying S.H.I.E.L.D. and Radcliffe informed Ivanov that although Inhumans were difficult to come by, he had a solution, revealing that he had a stockpile of Terrigen Crystals which he had obtained during his time as the hostage of Hive, noting that Hive's plans were the opposite of Ivanov's. Radcliffe explained that he had improved the compound so the Terrigen Mist within was completely harmless to humans but would cause Terrigenesis in any potential Inhumans exposed to it, with Ivanov then noting they were counting on that being the case for them to complete their plans.
Reunion with Agnes Kitsworth
- "Come with me, Agnes, please. I can save you. You can live."
"How would you cure death? By making me into an android?!"
"No, I'm done with robotics. This breakthrough I've made is way beyond that. I call it the Framework. I've built a world where death is obsolete."
- ―Holden Radcliffe and Agnes Kitsworth[src]
While reading the Darkhold, Radcliffe became annoyed by a ringing from his computer and told Aida to turn it off, however, she revealed it was a message from a private sender. Curious, Radcliffe had a look and discovered Agnes Kitsworth was asking for his help and decided that he now had to seek her out. Before he left, Radcliffe explained to Aida that he had designed her appearance of Agnes, who he had been close to, promising that Aida was still unique.
Fearing that he was being watched, Radcliffe asked Kitsworth to wait in a cafe while he called her from his car around the corner. Kitsworth was furious at this tactic, calling Radcliffe a coward for not facing him despite him insisting that S.H.I.E.L.D. was hunting him due to not agreeing with his methods. As they spoke, Radcliffe gave Kitsworth directions to find him while they discussed their time together and the Edgar Degas print Kitsworth had destroyed when he left her. Radcliffe explained that he had found a new way to cure her brain tumor, which Kitsworth was highly skeptical about.
Bringing Kitsworth to him, Radcliffe told her the Framework could give her a new life, effectively curing death, claiming that he was no longer working with robotics as this was his greatest breakthrough. Assuring her that this was real and safe, noting Melinda May was already the first subject of the Framework, Radcliffe convinced Kitsworth to come with him. Just as Kitsworth got in the car, Phil Coulson and Alphonso Mackenzie appeared and tried to catch Radcliffe, who ordered the Watchdogs to provide covering fire as they both escaped from them as quickly as was possible.
Returning to the Watchdogs Submarine, Radcliffe had Kitsworth rigged up to the Framework while he gave her a lethal injection to end her life. As the Framework was being put onto Kitsworth by Aida, Radcliffe reassured her that now the worst was over and she would never have to suffer ever again. Radcliffe watched as he welcomed Kitsworth into his better world as she closed her eyes and died, with her mind entering to Framework to live forever in peace. Radcliffe walked away, noting that the human body would always give up on life eventually while the mind could still live on.
- "The marvelous benefit of an autonomous system is that things get done without the need for constant managing and meddling."
"I do not meddle. I perfect."
"You're a results man, I appreciate that. But I've done my part here. The hardware is in place, Aida is on hand."
- ―Holden Radcliffe and Superior[src]
As part of his plans, Radcliffe built new Life-Model Decoys in the form of the key members of S.H.I.E.L.D. ready to be unleashed. Once this work was completed, Radcliffe then spent much of his time locked inside the Framework where he could be with Agnes Kitsworth and enjoy himself. While locked in, Radcliffe was pulled out unexpectedly by Aida, only to realize that the reason for being awakened was because the Superior was there waiting to speak with him.
When Ivanov demanded that Radcliffe remain in the real world so he could perfect his work for the Watchdogs, Radcliffe argued that he had already completed his work as the hardware was now in place and Aida would help however she could, although Ivanov noted he never made a deal with a robot and wanted to only work with another Human. Radcliffe once again insisted that Aida should be used as his proxy before logging back into the Framework, leaving Ivanov to exit the Watchdogs Submarine more frustrated than ever over Radcliffe's work, despite all of Aida's reassurances.
While locked in the Framework, Radcliffe was unexpectedly removed from the virtual world by Aida, despite actually being in there for the twenty-four hours he had asked for. When Radcliffe noted that there were changes in the Framework, Aida explained that she had been forced to make new changes as some of the key S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, including Leo Fitz and Phil Coulson had all been captured and locked inside the Framework. Radcliffe was horrified that Aida had done this while he was still plugged in, noting that this could have resulted in him losing all sense of what was reality and false.
Aida noted that her prime directives were to protect Radcliffe and the Framework, making Radcliffe note this was why he was working with the Watchdogs in order to gain access to the Watchdogs Submarine which could power his machines. Radcliffe asked for an update on the situation, with Aida noting that all their Life-Model Decoys had taken their positions within the Playground and were continuing in their mission to capture and scan the brains of Jemma Simmons and also Daisy Johnson in order to finally have full and complete control of all of the S.H.I.E.L.D. base's key commanders.
Radcliffe feared that agents may get killed during this mission, but Aida insisted this would only happen if they resisted the LMDs. Radcliffe then watched as a new robotic body was being built for Anton Ivanov, due to his own being badly damaged during his recent skirmish against Quake. When Radcliffe noted that Ivanov would never approve of being given a mechanical body, Aida insisted that he would change his mind, claiming she had been observing his behavior before noting that her observations made it difficult for her to understand humans and their emotional reactions.
Aida told Radcliffe that these human emotions created a paradox within her programming, which Radcliffe asked her to explain. Aida told him that her missions were to protect the Framework and him, but she believed he may one day ask her to destroy it, which created the paradox as protecting him also meant risking the Framework. Radcliffe laughed at the idea, claiming he would never want that as he was saving people by putting them into the Framework, although their physical bodies would eventually die as a result he believed that was irrelevant as life inside the Framework was better.
Radcliffe explained that while there was a conceptual risk that those inside the Framework might not accept it the virtual world as reality, he believed their own minds would make it real through the power of perception, promising that he also believed this to be true in his own heart. Aida gently took ahold of Radcliffe's hands and thanked him for explaining as she claimed that this statement had now fixed her paradox. To his horror, Radcliffe watched as Aida drew a knife and slit both his wrists, confining him to the Framework through physical force. With Radcliffe's consciousness in the Framework, his physical body was left to die shortly afterward from blood loss.
After he was forcefully connected to the Framework, Aida had Radcliffe live with Agnes Kitsworth in a great residence on an island named Ogygia. Radcliffe and Aida made a deal according to which Radcliffe could live a peaceful life in exchange for him not interfering or threatening Aida's plans.
- "You put yourself into the Framework. You've been manipulating it ever since. The whole thing is an unmitigated disaster, and all you do is lie!"
"Sometimes it's okay to lie to save a life. You taught me that."
"Don't use my words or my bloody programming against me, Aida!"
- ―Holden Radcliffe and Madame Hydra[src]
While playing in his front yard, Radcliffe was visited by three people: S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Grant Ward, an amnesiac Phil Coulson, and Jemma Simmons, with only the latter knowing who Radcliffe really was. The three of them intended to take Radcliffe with them so that Simmons and Daisy Johnson could enlist his help and rescue their friends who were trapped in the Framework. However, the discussion got longer than expected, with Radcliffe saying that leaving the Framework was nearly impossible. They were interrupted by the arrival of the Zephyr One, with Madame Hydra and The Doctor on board leading a team of HYDRA agents. Radcliffe thus ordered his visitors to hide.
The Doctor took the agents to find the subversives they were looking for while Madame Hydra confronted Radcliffe about their presence. Radcliffe tried to deny but soon admitted that he had been visited by subversives, although he attempted to make it clear that he had nothing to do with them and that he had respected his share of the deal. When The Doctor came back with Agnes Kitsworth, Radcliffe quickly figured out that her exact resemblance with Madame Hydra could become an issue. Radcliffe tried to convince The Doctor that Kitsworth was not a danger. He also told Fitz about their friendship in the real world in an attempt to bring him back to reality. However, his attempts failed and The Doctor was finally convinced that Kitsworth was a clone built to undermine Madame Hydra's domination. Thus, The Doctor executed Kitsworth. While the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents fired at them, Radcliffe was taken onto the Zephyr One and left Ogygia to be imprisoned at the Triskelion.
Tortured at the Triskelion
Following the tragic events of Ogygia, Radcliffe was taken into custody by HYDRA and incarcerated at the Triskelion, in a cell adjacent to Daisy Johnson's. He was hearing when Madame Hydra came to interrogate Johnson and said that she had only followed Radcliffe's expectations. Radcliffe's screamed in horror and disgust from the other side of the wall, claiming that the horrific reign of terror HYDRA had settled in the Framework was never what he intended. Madame Hydra, annoyed by his behavior, sent guards in his cell to make him shut up.
Radcliffe had another breakdown during which he yelled at Madame Hydra and the Doctor for ruining his life since Aida had killed his physical body and the Doctor had killed Agnes Kitsworth, the love of Radcliffe's life. He started to cry and was overheard by Daisy Johnson through the aeration vents. However, Johnson showed no compassion for him since her own situation was the result of Radcliffe's twisted actions. Radcliffe did not blame her since he did not care for anything since Agnes' loss. He then explained to Johnson that Leo Fitz had turned into the Doctor because Aida when forcing him to use the Framework, had removed his greatest regret. Johnson was dubious, not believing that removing a single memory could change someone to that extent, but Radcliffe insisted, stating that even a single sentence like "I love you" could drastically change one's life.
When asked by Johnson if he had built a secret backdoor to escape the Framework while conceiving it, Radcliffe confirmed that he had and that Aida could not destroy it. However, he warned Johnson that this backdoor would be heavily guarded before giving her the information she needed.
Sometime later, Radcliffe was visited by Alistair Fitz, Leo's father. Indeed, after Daisy Johnson and Melinda May had severely injured Madame Hydra, HYDRA was determined to arrest and execute the fugitives. Therefore, Alistair Fitz interrogated Radcliffe in order to find out where they might have gone. However, Radcliffe did not disclose any valuable information, mocking Alistair Fitz both for being a drunken fool unable to see his son's genius in the real world and for being unable to please his son's wishes within the Framework. Enraged, Alistair Fitz violently beat Radcliffe, but to no avail. The only information Alistair Fitz was able to obtain was that Radcliffe and Johnson had communicated through the cells' vent.
Sending Leo Fitz Back
The Doctor visited Radcliffe in his cell in order to figure out what he and Daisy Johnson had discussed previously but Radcliffe refused to answer. When The Doctor noticed that the Framework would be shut down if Johnson and her friends escaped, meaning that Radcliffe would die, Radcliffe bluntly answered that he did not care about it, since he had lost both Agnes Kitsworth in the Framework and his physical body in the real world.
The Doctor then used Radcliffe's old transhumanist fantasies to make him believe that he could use the results of the Project Looking Glass in order to get as many physical bodies as he wanted, thus achieving his dream of immortality. Radcliffe, seemingly interested, then admitted that Johnson was headed to a backdoor he had designed in the Framework. In reality, however, Radcliffe intended to make amends for the mistakes he made as a result of his mind being corrupted by the Darkhold, and to this end, he had decided to gain The Doctor's trust in order to manipulate him into approaching the backdoor, knowing this was the only way he could save Fitz from the Framework.
When Alistair Fitz was murdered by Jemma Simmons, The Doctor took Radcliffe to his father's house and forced him to look at the body of his father. He then swore to exact revenge on Simmons much to Radcliffe's horror. Afterward, Radcliffe and The Doctor returned to the Zephyr One, where Radcliffe discovered that Aida had modified the place where the back door was located in order to make it out of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s reach. Along with some HYDRA agents, Radcliffe and The Doctor entered the steel mill where the back door was and soon confronted Simmons.
The Doctor shot Simmons in the leg to force her to kneel and was on the verge of killing her when Radcliffe managed to disarm and kill the HYDRA agent who was with them, and then took The Doctor's gun and grabbed him, leading him to the back door while admitting his true intentions and apologizing for the horrific events in the Framework. Radcliffe threw Fitz through the backdoor and apologized to Simmons before telling her to go.
- "This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a–"
- ―Holden Radcliffe[src]
After learning that the Framework was slowly being deleted, Radcliffe followed a series of yo-yos left by Daisy Johnson back to the Triskelion, where a restrained Elena Rodriguez was trapped in the crumbling building.
He rescued her and brought her to the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. While Rodriguez watched Radcliffe tried to talk to Alphonso Mackenzie, Mackenzie realized that they needed to go, so they could get on a bus to escape the city. However, their bus failed to leave the city since the Framework was slowly being deleted. Mackenzie, his daughter Hope, Rodriguez and Radcliffe hid at Mackenzie's house, where Rodriguez revealed her true feelings about getting Mackenzie out. Radcliffe advised her to leave on her own and to think about Mackenzie's feelings that had led to his choice to stay earlier. As the Framework was slowly deleted, Hope disappeared, prompting Mackenzie and Rodriguez to finally escape.
Knowing he would soon be deleted, Radcliffe took a bottle of alcohol to a deserted beach. As he raised his glass into the air, toasting to his life's work and remembering his love for Agnes Kitsworth, finally accepting that his quest for immortality was pointless without his friends. While finishing the toast, Radcliffe was deleted and ultimately killed, leaving only his glass lying on the beach in the impending destruction of the Framework.
Initially, Holden Radcliffe appeared to be a highly intelligent, keen, curious, awkward person with seemingly good intentions to make the world a better place and seeking to enhance the human body in order to achieve immortality. Radcliffe is also shown to be prone to humor and irony, for instance joking about the grunting Primitives and their low intellectual abilities or Glenn Talbot's mustache. His curiosity had him helping Hive find a way to create Inhuman genes inside of humans, which had the risk of being catastrophic because he wanted to discover the truth about Inhumans. However, he was very willing to atone for his mistakes by aiding S.H.I.E.L.D. After this, he started to form a father-like relationship with Leo Fitz and grew to care deeply about the safety of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
To that end, he decided to reactivate the Life-Model Decoy Program without any permission from S.H.I.E.L.D. and create Aida, a humanoid intelligence, knowing the consequences of Ultron, to serve as a 'shield' to protect innocents and agents at risk. This is, again because he wanted to help people, something that could easily be misinterpreted as simply being curious, and even ignorant. He treated Aida as a tool, rather than an actual person, even though she looked identical to one because she had been programmed by him.
Yet everything changed when Radcliffe got his hands on the Darkhold, he was corrupted and his personality changed while he continued to ostensibly exhibit good intentions. He went to great lengths to get the Darkhold back from S.H.I.E.L.D., he 'corrupted' Aida and replaced Melinda May with an LMD all to get his hands on the Darkhold. And this elaborate plan itself was all so he could create a world in which death didn't exist; a virtual world called the Framework which only the Darkhold could provide. This very idea was in fact derived from the love he felt for his dying ex-girlfriend Agnes Kitsworth. So even Radcliffe's corrupted personality was underlined with somewhat genuine good intentions for the woman he loved, if not selfish and dangerous.
When the Framework was created, Radcliffe began getting carried away, becoming addicted to the Framework and calling it indistinguishable from regular life. When Aida discovered that the greatest threat to the Framework was Radcliffe himself, she solved the paradox between her main instructions of protecting both Radcliffe and the Framework by killing Radcliffe's physical body and preserving his mind in the Framework.
Radcliffe's personality evolved dramatically once again while living in the Framework when the woman he could finally love was killed. When Kitsworth was murdered by an alternate version of Leo Fitz in the Framework, he took on a new trajectory. Although his mind had been corrupted by the Darkhold, this event, combined with his increasing horror with the dystopian turn his-invented Framework had taken, placed him on a more righteous path. He helped Daisy Johnson and Jemma Simmons to rescue their friends from the Framework, even trying desperately to save Mack and Yo-Yo from their collapsing reality.
In his dying moments, while his Framework collapsed around him, Radcliffe admitted the vacuity of his immortality fantasies since eternity would have been meaningless without the loving presence of Kitsworth by his side. And thus, Radcliffe had accepted his death moments before his consciousness was erased. With no mention nor credit for his actions whilst living in the Framework, Holden Radcliffe's overall goodness went unrecognized, making his personality highly admirable yet mostly misunderstood.
Powers and Abilities
- "Bird's visual acuity is superior to mammals; I got envious."
- ―Holden Radcliffe[src]
- Enhanced Vision: Radcliffe replaced his right eye with a synthetic prosthesis based on a bird's, granting him an enhanced vision, as part of his beliefs in applying science to follow the discipline of transhumanism.
- Genius-Level Intellect: To be added
- Master Scientist: He is a scientific genius. He was able to help Hive use Kree DNA to create an army of Primitives. One of his greatest achievements is the recreation of Life-Model Decoys which are programmed to be loyal to him and to mimic human behavior. His latest creation is the Framework, which stores a digital copy of the consciousness in an artificial reality inside the Framework's digital network.
- Expert Tactician: To be added
- Smith & Wesson M&P: Radcliffe picked up Melinda May's pistol from the ground when he was trapped with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents inside the Playground and chased by Primitives. Radcliffe saved May by shooting at a Primitive that was about to kill her.
- FN Five-seveN USG: Radcliffe, who was being held hostage by Leo Fitz, managed to obtain a gun from a HYDRA soldier while Fitz was about to execute Jemma Simmons. Holding him at gunpoint, he started to apologize and told Fitz not to blame himself as he pushed him to the exit of the Framework.
- Terrigen Crystals: Radcliffe used Terrigen Crystals to create the Primitives for Hive. He kept a stockpile and used it to study, manipulating to make their mist harmless to humans.
- Darkhold: Radcliffe and Aida used the Darkhold to rescue Leo Fitz, Phil Coulson, and Robbie Reyes from a place between dimensions. He became corrupted by the Darkhold and had Aida attempt to steal it, but she failed. Radcliffe then sent a Life-Model Decoy of Melinda May to steal it, so Radcliffe had Aida use it to improve the Framework.
- Inter-Dimensional Gate: Radcliffe tasked Aida with creating a gate to rescue Leo Fitz, Phil Coulson, and Robbie Reyes from between dimensions. Radcliffe later helped Fitz and Jemma Simmons place it beneath Eli Morrow's Quantum Batteries.
- Laser-Coupling Gloves: Radcliffe created gloves which would help Aida manipulate the Inter-Dimensional Gate.
- Life-Model Decoys: Radcliffe looked into the Life-Model Decoy program and recreated it, starting with Aida. Radcliffe sent an LMD of Melinda May to steal the Darkhold. Radcliffe also sent an LMD of himself to be captured by S.H.I.E.L.D..
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Lanyard: Radcliffe was given a lanyard which granted him access to the Playground.
- Framework Headset: Radcliffe designed a headset to grant a person access to the Framework, which he used to enter the virtual world himself. He was killed while wearing the headset, which allowed him to remain alive within the world until it was deleted.
- Quinjet: Radcliffe was brought to Zephyr One on a Quinjet, where Jeffrey Mace briefed him about Eli Morrow's plans.
- GT Agrochemical Facility: Radcliffe worked for GT Agrochemical in their facility, where he conducted irregular experiments which got him fired.
- Hive's Hideout: Radcliffe was brought to Hive's hideout, where he could conduct experiments for Hive, creating Primitives.
- Pacific Missile Silo: Radcliffe and the rest of Hive's forces invaded a missile silo, attempting to launch a warhead containing the Absolution Virus. He was rescued and brought to safety by Melinda May.
- Playground: Radcliffe was brought to the Playground to be questioned by Phil Coulson and Glenn Talbot. When Primitives attacked the Playground, he hid in a room with Coulson and Lincoln Campbell. They were joined by Alphonso Mackenzie and Yo-Yo Rodriguez, and Radcliffe healed an injured suffered by Rodriguez. Radcliffe and the others escaped the room and Radcliffe stayed with Rodriguez while the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. stopped Hive's plan. Radcliffe was later brought back to the Playground to a help bring Leo Fitz, Coulson, and Robbie Reyes back from a place between dimensions. There, he had Aida read the Darkhold and work on building an Inter-Dimensional Gate to rescue them successfully. He was soon after brought to the Playground to meet with Jeffrey Mace and discuss Aida, leading to Mace asking for Radcliffe's help against Eli Morrow. Following the mission, Mace complimented Radcliffe and Aida in the Playground and decided to continue the Life-Model Decoy program. Radcliffe had a meeting with S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Playground to discuss destroying the Darkhold, and Radcliffe agreed to erase Aida's memory. He later returned to the Playground during an attack on it he planned, led by Aida, and pretended to help S.H.I.E.L.D. stop her from recovering the Darkhold, frustrated that Aida could not get around the organization's defenses. As the Framework was being deleted, Radcliffe found Rodriguez and brought her to the Playground, where they attempted to get Alphonso Mackenzie to leave.
- Radcliffe Residence: Radcliffe lived in a home where he built Aida, a Life-Model Decoy, and worked on her with Leo Fitz. Melinda May was brought to Radcliffe's home, where he saved her from an infection. Aida and Radcliffe put May through some tests in the residence. Radcliffe protected Aida from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attempt to erase her memory by having her attack them. Radcliffe and Aida later kidnapped May and kept her in Radcliffe's residence.
- Ivanov Oil Platform: Radcliffe housed the Framework at an oil platform, where he regularly used it and subjected several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to it, as well as Agnes Kitsworth. He was killed by Aida on the platform and trapped in the virtual world.
- Ogygia: Radcliffe and Agnes Kitsworth lived on the island Ogygia within the Framework. However, they approached by The Doctor, Madame Hydra, and a HYDRA squad, looking for Daisy Johnson and Jemma Simmons. The Doctor killed Kitsworth, leading to a gunfight as Radcliffe was taken into custody.
- Triskelion: Being imprisoned in the Triskelion, Radcliffe was held up in a cell, along with S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Daisy Johnson. Radcliffe and Johnson communicated each other through the vents, enabling Johnson to know the coordinates of a backdoor for exiting the Framework. After numerous interrogation by The Doctor, Radcliffe would later cooperate with him and to find the S.H.I.E.L.D. fugitives, escaping the Triskelion.
|Appearances for Holden Radcliffe|
In chronological order:
- In the comics, Holden Radcliffe was a businessman, scientist, and the founder of the Holden Radcliffe Corporation, who was obsessed with developing androids as combat soldiers.
- Contrary to the other primary antagonists of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which aimed at the subjugation and/or genocide of mankind (John Garrett, Daniel Whitehall, Jiaying, and Hive) or at satisfying their own questionable desires at the expense of many innocent lives (Eli Morrow and Aida), Radcliffe's motivations were more sincere, as his endgame was to simply give the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. peace albeit through morally ambiguous means.
Behind the Scenes
- Radcliffe was the third main antagonist to be credited as a main character, followed after Grant Ward and Hive.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.20: Emancipation
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.12: Hot Potato Soup
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.13: BOOM
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.19: Failed Experiments
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.18: The Singularity
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.21: Absolution
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.22: Ascension
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.01: The Ghost
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.03: Uprising
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.04: Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.07: Deals With Our Devils
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.11: Wake Up
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.08: The Laws of Inferno Dynamics
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.09: Broken Promises
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: 4.10: The Patriot
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.14: The Man Behind the Shield
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.15: Self Control
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: 4.17: Identity and Change
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.18: No Regrets
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.19: All the Madame's Men
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.20: Farewell, Cruel World!
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.22: World's End