ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. usually manages to toe the line between liberal ideology and hardcore reality. Their latest story arc takes the characters to a Matrix-like alternate world where the writers can make up any reality they want. In this case, it’s a world where we still have to deal with the “nevertheless, she persisted” line like it means something.
The April 18th episode “No Regrets” continues the plot of Daisy (Chloe Bennett) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) entering a Matrix-like simulation world called the Framework to rescue their team who have been kidnapped and brainwashed into believing the new reality. In this episode, Daisy has been captured inside Hydra, which rules in this new world, and proceeds to be tortured by her former friend Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) for the location of her team. Being the hero, of course, she refuses to give up her friends which earns the viewers this scene.
Fitz: Lies. That's all she gave us. Beaten to within an inch of her life. Nevertheless, she persisted.
Aida: Let's see if she'll open up to me.
Fitz: You? Why?
Aida: You and I have different methods. It's why we work so well together.
Fitz: I'll stay, then.
Aida: Actually, I heard there was an issue with Project Looking Glass. I'd like you to check in with Security, see what happened.
Fitz: Of course.
Even if I did admire Elizabeth Warren, this reference couldn’t be anything other than tasteless. What universe would it be proper to compare the physical and emotional torture of a young unarmed women to a 67-year-old Senator who…interrupted Mitch McConnell while he was trying to enforce Senate rules? It’d be like comparing the “bravery” of Wendy Davis’ filibuster to Anne Frank. I just assumed there would be standards, but then again, since the line has been tagged by feminist movements to refer to everyone from Ruth Bader Ginsberg to Malala Yousafzai, maybe I'm wrong.
But since I clearly don’t like Elizabeth Warren, I can be honest. The line is stupid. It was stupid when Mitch McConnell said it. It was stupid when the Democrats co-opted the phrase to fundraise because it means nothing, and it’s even worse co-opted here. When the entire story is based on creating an alternate reality where anything can go, the fact that the writers must borrow liberal selling lines becomes more pathetic than it already was.
And for the record, yes, I firmly believe that even a fictional character is braver than Elizabeth Warren.