Agents of SHIELD 3×20 ‘Emancipation’ Review

Keyla Alves Teixeira Agents of SHIELD Leave a Comment

[ABC media]

Official synopsis for Emancipation

“With only two episodes left before S.H.I.E.L.D. loses one of their own, Daisy’s prophecy ticks closer towards a major loss, as the aftermath of the events of “Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War” force S.H.I.E.L.D. to register the Inhumans.”

This week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t take the anticipated hit from its Civil War tie-in, instead benefitting from simply keeping up with the current season’s storyline. Previously, these tie-ins to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe have thrown the season off course, and whilst this season hasn’t been cruising on a high all the way through, it has been trying to keep the excitement alive. Hive’s plan to make everyone an Inhuman wasn’t interrupted by the events of Civil War, with this episode handling the tie in well enough to make an impact before next week’s finale without completely losing sight of what I hope is their endgame.

The intention of the Sokovia Accords in the film was translated differently on the show, with some tweaking to make it fit with their current storyline. For example, if General Ross had shown up instead of Talbot, it would have been a fun Easter Egg for fans, but not necessarily right for the series. By consistently bringing back General Talbot, now in order to enforce the Sokovia Accords, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. benefits from developing his character within the show’s universe. As much as they like to remind us that “it’s all connected”, it’s been proven that the show can’t be a major influence in the films and vice versa – the two have to co-exist while balancing each other out. I might be in the minority, but I actually like that the films are mostly a point of reference for the show. It wouldn’t be any good if any time a Marvel film is released the show gets thrown around in multiple directions.

Admittedly it has been a hard season to keep track of certain plot lines, but this week they became clearer as the show couldn’t really stretch out the mystery surrounding Hive’s plan any longer. This week we needed some instant gratification if we were to stay interested going into next week’s finale. Dr. Radcliffe was somewhat successful in developing his Inhuman serum. I use the term “successful” loosely because, whilst he was able to turn the Watchdogs into new Hive-worshipping Inhumans, they didn’t come out looking particularly pretty. There were jokes online saying that they looked like Deadpool from Wolverine: Origins (not to be confused with the most recent Deadpool film starring Ryan Reynolds). This probably wasn’t intended as a compliment, but I have a feeling that “creepy” is exactly what the show was going for when they worked on creating Hive’s monster “children”. Whilst Dr. Radcliffe has technically been held captive during his time with Hive, the mad scientist seems to love being able to do his experiments. Meanwhile, Daisy looked god awful because they’ve been draining her blood to make those creepy looking Inhumans. I have to say, kudos to the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. makeup team because they always do a brilliant job with what they’re given.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D., Talbot tried to put his foot down and force Coulson into registering all his current Inhuman allies in order to comply with the show’s interpretation of the Sokovia Accords. This prompted one of my new favorite characters on the show, Elena, to return. I was so happy to see her back in action and I hope that she sticks around permanently. Her personality makes her a spitfire and her character development is one of the things the series has actually done right this season. I’m just happy that her character development is making a lot of sense, unlike other characters on this show. Elena had plenty to say about the Sokovia Accords when she showed up at the base, which wasn’t surprising. What’s been interesting to see is how comfortable she’s been getting with the rest of the team.

During this episode, Elena gave Mack her crucifix necklace. The series has been teasing a major character death and whoever is carrying this necklace in the finale seems destined to die on the show. Presumably, the “fallen agent” will be one of the team members, but their identity is still a big secret. I was waiting for the show to do something with that significant clue since the ominous flash forward was first revealed, but even though Mack is currently carrying the necklace he’s not necessarily this season’s “Fallen Agent”.

Coulson and Talbot continued to push back and forth at each other. Talbot showing up to enforce new rules didn’t stop Coulson from trying to find a loophole and/or ignoring this new “inconvenience” completely. This seems like classic Coulson though so it’s not entirely out of character for him. I do wonder though how long they can keep the Avengers in the dark about Coulson. If Hive is such a threat to the world, shouldn’t they at least be notified? Would Coulson even ask them for help if they knew he was alive? I only speculate because I don’t doubt that he may be too stubborn to ask for help so he’d just do what he wants anyway.

What was bizarre to me this week was when Coulson and Talbot went to go to visit Lash. I thought FitzSimmons were going to do everything they could to fix Andrew, so why in the world was Lash still trapped in the last place we saw him? I understand that FitzSimmons has been sidetracked this season with their romantic subplot, but are there no other S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists around that could maybe pick up the slack? I guess it never really mattered since Lash was destined to die anyway.

The biggest shock for me this episode, and a surprising highlight, was Lincoln. As a character, Lincoln continues to be the most unlikable on the show for me. Every week, the show tries to make him more relevant, annoying me to no end, which is probably why I was very surprised to find him tolerable during this episode.

A very sickly Daisy seemingly convinced Lincoln (and the audience) to escape from S.H.I.E.L.D. and go to her. I definitely thought this was Lincoln going into the lion’s den to try and convince Daisy to come back, which would have been really stupid, but that wasn’t the case at all. If anybody is going to just talk her into coming back, it wouldn’t be him. Instead, it was all a ploy and part of Coulson’s plan. The show might be able to save the writing for Lincoln if they keep writing him like this, instead of as the lovesick fool who thinks he’s the most important person in Daisy’s life because he’s been dating her for about three months. Something needed to happen before the end of the end of the season that made audiences start to believe Lincoln was actually relevant.

As it turns out Coulson wasn’t taking Talbot too seriously because of his secret plan either. He’s had one single motivation the last few episodes above anything else: Drop Everything, Save Daisy. I guess, in retrospect, the fact that he was plotting to get Daisy back from Hive shouldn’t really be that surprising.

So while Hive was expecting to get Lincoln on his team, he was definitely shocked (and mildly annoyed) to find that Lash showed up instead! The fight between Hive and Lash was something to get excited about though. They’ve been teasing that Lash was the only inhuman powerful enough to take down Hive so when Coulson’s true plan came to light, I couldn’t believe it was actually happening.

There are a few plot holes regarding Lash though. First of all, why was he killing all those innocent inhumans if his sole purpose was to kill Hive and save Daisy? The parasite wasn’t even on earth at the time that Lash was going on his murder spree, killing all of Daisy’s friends. It’s almost as if Lash was supposed to be their villain for the season but halfway through they changed their minds and decided to introduce Hive instead. That’s a shame because Lash is a fantastic villain from the comics, but like Mr. Hyde last season, he now joins the ranks of wasted villains that either get redeemed and immediately written out or killed off (i.e. Daniel Whitehall).

I didn’t like that Lash was brought back only to save Daisy from Hive’s control right before he was killed. Still, it is great to see her back with the team. At least they didn’t drag out this subplot going into the finale where the team was spending all their time trying to save her.

Now that she’s back, I have a little bit more excitement for next week’s finale, because I have a feeling she’s going to be needed to try and stop Hive. I only hope she’ll be strong enough to fight him after everything she’s been through. What would be interesting though is if they revealed that some of what she was doing while under Hive’s control wasn’t all Hive’s “control”. It would be twisted if we find out that she did actually have some free will after all. Hopefully, now that Hive has lost his favorite follower it will give him the motivation he needs to carry out his evil plan.

Overall, this episode was a bit of an improvement from last week’s outing. This season has just felt really dragged out and I still wish it had been better. However, I am a bit more hopeful that the finale can live up to the hype after this episode. Do you have any theories about who the “fallen agent” is? Send over your comments by submitting them below or find us on Twitter!

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