Agents of SHIELD: Emancipation Review

Agents of SHIELD takes a deep dive into Inhumans history in a thematic epilogue to Captain America: Civil War.

This Agents of SHIELD review contains spoilers.

Agents of SHIELD: Season 3, Episode 20

Maybe I’m just on a high from Captain America: Civil War, but man, was Agents of SHIELD good this week or what? I mean, we have a deep dive into Inhumans history, an awesome bait and switch, and a noble sacrifice all in a thematic epilogue to Marvel’s latest film triumph.

If Civil War was the great meal Marvel served up this week, than this installment of Agents of SHIELD is a perfect slice of cheesecake and I swear I’ll never recap hungry again. Sorry guys. Anyway, this week’s episode picks up with a recap of the Sokovia accords and an Iron Man and Captain America name drop. In other words, we join Agents of SHIELD. right after the Civil War credits roll (no we’re not in Peter Parker’s bedroom — or Aunt May’s, mrrrowwwr). We start off with Coulson and company debating what to do about Hive and Daisy when, surprise, Glenn Talbot shows up to put those Sokovia accords into effect. Talbot meets Yo Yo, Lincoln, and even gets a big gaping gander at Lash — because now the government has to catalog super humans. It’s your fault, Stark!

Maybe the rise of Hive and his crew of Inhumans kind of prove Stark right. They are deadly and unregulated and out for their own agenda. This week, that agenda becomes clear as Hive uses Daisy’s Kree blood to transform a pack of Watchdog terrorists into mindless Inhuman brutes. Now, we’ll get to the history of the Inhuman primitives in a moment, but rest assured, there is a comic book precedent for this plot twist. It also raises the stakes as now; Hive can transform anyone into a mindless Inhuman foot soldier.

Which is just one reason that it’s suddenly really bad to be an Inhuman. Hive isn’t the only issue facing the Inhuman population because suddenly, if a person is an Inhuman, now, that person will have to register with men like Talbot. Lincoln isn’t thrilled by this so the electric Inhuman contacts Daisy to help him escape.

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At first, I felt this little plot point was a bit haphazard. I mean, Lincoln saw Daisy take down an entire S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, why would he want to join with her, accords or no accords? A good portion of this week’s episode saw Lincoln trying to escape with Daisy’s remote help. Lincoln even beat the poopie out of an already injured Mack and really, did someone pass a law that Mack has to get his ass kicked on a weekly basis? Poor guy. The whole thing made Lincoln seem really dopey, until the big picture became clear, then this episode went from fun but confusing to extraordinary.

Lincoln frees himself from S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ and commandeers a Quinjet. He is on his way to Daisy when it is revealed that he never left. Instead, May plays Daisy and sends Lash in Lincoln’s place. In one of the more badass reveals in Agents of SHIELD history, Lash stands revealed in front of Daisy and Hive and proceeds to kick the bug juice out of the former Agent Ward. It is a ballsy play by May, sending her transformed ex-husband into the lion’s den (bee hive?), and it pays off — but with a price. Lash frees Daisy from Hive’s control, but in doing so, he is killed by Ward’s fire wielding Inhuman lackey.

Now, May has to deal with the consequences of her play. She lost her husband, but really, she lost him to Lash long ago. Daisy is free because of Lash, a being once seen as a monster. This is high level drama and an amazing use of some of the chess pieces introduced into the Agents of SHIELD game this season. Man, this show raises the stakes the episode after a film debuts, doesn’t it? Remember the episode after Winter Soldier?

Let me tell you, there is a catharsis in finally watching Hive Ward get beat down by Lash. This entire season Hive seemed unstoppable, and now, a tragic monster is finally able to make Ward blink. Yeah, there’s a price, but these actions freed Daisy and now our team is back together.

But for how long? The dreaded death of an agent is coming next week in the season finale. The episode makes it seem that the dead agent in Daisy’s vision will be Mack. Remember her vision? Remember the floating chain and cross? Well, Yo Yo gives that same cross to Mack this week making it seem that Mack might get a great deal more than just his weekly ass kicking next episode.

But as for this week, let’s call this episode of Agents of SHIELD a little victory lap after the triumph that is Civil War.

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Marvel Moments

Of course, the whole episode is bouncing off Civil War with mentions of the events of the film. I’ve said it a million times, I love that sort of cross media synergy.

We have a nice little memorial to Peggy Carter as well this week.

I guess if Coulson appeared in Civil War, he would have been on Team Cap.

And speaking of S.H.I.E.L.D., where the heck is Nick Fury during all of this? Major superhero war? Inhuman crisis? You think Nick would have popped up somewhere.

The Alpha Primitives first appeared in Fantastic Four #47 and were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Primitives were a slave race of the Inhumans whose sole purpose was to labor for their super powered masters. The comic book Alphas were very strong but almost mindless. After a rebellion, Black Bolt freed the Alphas and allowed them to live in peace. Agents of SHIELD has given us a twist on the Inhumans, making them transformed humans that serve Hive. The inclusion of the Primitives is a really nice tribute to some classic Inhuman lore. 

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4 out of 5