I always feel like ABC does Agents of SHIELD a disservice by having its final two episodes air on the same night. Especially when the penultimate episode, Absolution, was strong enough to warrant having a week to fully appreciate everything it delivered.
Despite his earlier misgivings, Talbot helped SHIELD get access to files to stop Hive from launching his Everyone’s an Inhuman megabomb. Talbot had the line of the night saying Coulson’s plan was ‘Betting on Wrestlemania stupid.’ I bet Talbot is a member of the CeNATION.
One of the bigger disappointments this season has been the infrequent appearances of the Secret Warriors especially Elena Yo-yo has been a lot of fun and Natalia Cordova-Buckley has expertly worked in that speedster swagger. It helps that Yo-Yo isn’t a speedster in the normal sense and has more speed bursts than the prolonged ability to move at super speed. It’s always been a treat watching her in action and her interactions with Mack are doing a much better job in exploring how people would actually come together in this wacky universe. Lincoln and Daisy’s relationship always felt like it came out of nowhere, but Mack and Elana’s is building nicely.
Mack also had a terrific moment with Daisy. For most of the episode, Daisy was beating herself up for being used as a weapon by Hive. Coulson couldn’t get through and Simmons is so over trying to be Daisy’s BFF. Only Mack was able to break through Daisy’s emotional walls to console her as he forgave her for nearly killing him. At the start of the season, this pairing seemed random, but Mack and Daisy’s partnership has been one of the most pivotal character dynamics all year and it was fitting it had such a major scene here.
Holden is my new favorite addition to the cast. He seriously needed to be in the mix a lot sooner. He’s been so enjoyable I could easily see him working as a main henchman villain or an ally to the team.
Even though Hive appeared to have SHIELD physically outmatched and emotionally crippled, Coulson’s crew proved their resourcefulness while not making Hive look like a loser who suddenly forgot how to strategize. The electro therapy trap was pretty ingenious and worked to perfection in scrambling Hive’s various personalities. This at least opens the possibility of Hive being stuck on one personality — Grant Ward, Grant Ward, Grant Ward. Here’s hoping the shock treatment doesn’t make Hive spazz out like he’s Galvatron post Transformers the Movie though.
With Hive discombobulated, SHIELD whipped up a snazzy trap to freeze Hive in carbonite. Assuming he survived the freezing process, he should be in perfect hibernation. Here was where the slight bit of stupidity had to surface since this wasn’t the season finale. Knowing everything they do about Hive, why wouldn’t Coulson and crew immediately launch Hive into deep space so he isn’t a threat to the entire planet any longer?
Simmons and Fitz’s scenes continue to feel out of place with the tone of this point of the season. Booking vacation plans while their biggest threat just got in their custody seemed kind of ridiculous. For all the setting it up, the writers have really botched Fitz and Simmons’ actually starting a relationship.
Easily my biggest annoyance for the episode was the hot potato death totem that is Elena’s cross. We know whoever holds it last won’t just be out the game, but off the show. The writers have gotten a little too cute with it and having characters randomly pick it up throughout the episode was distracting. I still feel like the show would have been better off not promising a character’s death, which in turn would have made that whole premonition more mysterious and potentially preventable.
If we’re taking bets, Lincoln certainly seemed the most obvious candidate after Coulson officially ‘blessed’ his spot on the team before Lincoln said he wants out. But, given how on the nose the cross hand-off has been, Lincoln dying seems a little too likely.
Even though he was desperately in need of a mental health day with his personalities vying for attention, Hive had an escape contingency plan thanks to Mr. Guiyera and James that creates more Inhuman Primitives. The makeup job on the Primitives seems a bit old school Star Trek than a 2016 show, which is weird considering Lash’s design was so well implemented. This is seriously one of the best henchman stables we’ve seen in awhile and AOS missed out by not pitting Coulson’s crew against them immediately after the mid season break.
With Hive free, there’s one last obstacle in Daisy, but she’s torn by her addiction to Hive and wanting to kill him. Since Lash cured her, she can no longer fall under Hive’s sway leading to the big Ward vs. Sky showdown in Season 3 we’ve been anticipating.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Building strong to the season finale, Agents of SHIELD delivered an episode that set the stage nicely for a climactic battle guaranteed to have some casualties.