Agents of SHIELD Emancipation review S3 Ep.20

Continuing a trend established since the first season, Agents of SHIELD is a series that gets stronger the closer it gets to the season finale. Emancipation was one of the tighter, most event-filled of the season’s second half as SHIELD desperately searches for a way to defeat Hive.

Many viewers speculated that the team was going to end up unleashing the captive Lash to stop Hive, which proved a great red herring as Lash shockingly got killed. When Lash confronted Hive and started laying the serious smack down it seemed he definitely had the juice causing serious damage to the previously untouchable foe. Daisy came to help Hive and Lash not only beat her, but removed Hive’s parasites allowing her to regain her senses.[irp]

I only had two issues — one kind of major and the other a not so great coincidence. Lash took forever to gently lay Daisy into the Quinjet as if yelling ‘hey any of Hive’s goons that want to kill me you should probably do it now while my back is turned for a solid 5 minutes.’ The only surprise was James killing him instead of Hive.  And this is the second black guy that’s died on the show trying to help Daisy. #RIPTrip I’m gonna need Mack to stay far away from Daisy next week.

agents of shield emancipation - lash vs hive

Last season, the show had to awkwardly work in some sort of connection to Avengers: Age of Ultron that came across more as an obligation than a natural progression of the main series story. But once again, AOS works best tying into events from a Captain America film.

The Captain America: Civil War tie-in started slowly as Coulson reacted to the death of Peggy Carter in a very genuine manner. He wasn’t over the top bawling, but the loss clearly affected him much in the same way the news of Prince’s death recently rocked the world. It was even better hearing Coulson subtly swell with pride when mentioning to Gen. Talbot there were some heroes who hadn’t signed the Sokovia Accords. I asked Joe and Anthony Russo this, but one of my biggest wants for Avengers: Infinity War is just a small moment where Coulson reunites with The Avengers.

The CW tie-in also worked because, like in the film, you could see both sides of the argument. You could argue it applied stronger to SHIELD than the planet defenders like The Avengers. It wasn’t hard to view SHIELD’s Inhumans from Talbot’s perspective since Daisy and later Lincoln were directly acting against SHIELD’s best interests. Likewise, Coulson has already seen how the government stockpiled Inhumans back when Rosalind was in charge of the ATCU and was right to be leery of the government cataloging the Inhumans. One thing is Colson is definitely #TeamCap.

I still feel Lincoln’s personality is dramatically different from Season 2, but it’s hard to deny these last few episodes have actually made him interesting.  Just when it seemed like he was blindly stumbling into Hive’s trap, we got the nice reveal that he was in cahoots with Coulson and May to set Daisy (and Hive) up with Lash’s arrival.

agents of shield emancipation - holden and hive

Watching Hive and his crew in action this week really made all those episodes where Gideon Malick and HYDRA sat around doing a bunch of nothing with him seem all the more worthless. Hive’s scenes have largely become more interesting with the latest members of his entourage. Between James being the perfect No. 1 henchman and John Hannah’s turn as the demented and fast talking Holden Radcliffe, the Hive segments were really great. Why didn’t Hive hook up with these guys sooner? This trio’s dynamic feels like an old classic 80s cartoon show and it’s proven so enjoyable I kind of don’t want Hive to get killed off now.

Yo-Yo was back this week and it remains odd that any mission would be more important for Coulson than letting his powered agents come and go as they please. Yeah, I know some of it is budget limitations, but at least have them around on standby or something. And she handed Mack the ominous cross we’ve seen floating around in space.

Fitz and Simmons always benefit the most from the season’s wrap up as they’re portrayed less as comic relief and more like the knowledgeable experts in their field. It wasn’t a big deal, but Fitz having a hack war with Daisy was fun. FitzSimmons can dip back to being the bumbling, awkward pair that began the series occasionally, but their portrayal this episode felt more like an adult version of the show’s resident geeks.[irp]

With Lash dead, Coulson’s major ace up his sleeve is gone. But the team gained valuable insight into Hive’s plan. He’s set to unleash a stolen warhead that will unleash the Terrigen Mist on millions. Yes, it’s the same end game as on Arrow, but AOS is doing it better. Next week is the big season finale and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds and who ultimately ends up with the hot potato cross. Basically as long as it’s not Coulson or Mack, who dies won’t be a disappointment. Who do you think gets killed?

Rating: 8.5 out off 10

AOS continues to deliver strong heading to the finale even if Lash’s deserved a better death.

Photo Credit: ABC

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