Emancipation – AOS S3E20

ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Emancipation TV Show Review. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 3, episode 20, ‘Emancipation,’ was a shell game, meant to shake up Hive’s (Brett Dalton) sense of certainty, but it may have gone a touch too far, in how Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) gambit may have played to fans, and in conveying just how important Daisy (Chloe Bennet) is to the series.

I expected the Secret Warriors to return, after the Daisy defection, but it was still nice to see the Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) come back. It was even better seeing her help a deflated Mack (Henry Simmons) get out of his funk – just in time for a little Fitz-Simmons (Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge) wish-fulfilment – with a little motivational talk about fear being for bullies.

Bullies like the Watchdogs – also returning to serve a purpose; but not the one they had in mind. If your stated purpose is to take down Inhumans, on account of them being so dangerous, then going after one to have fun with later – back home – suggests you might have a little madness to your methods. That’s okay – ‘Hellfire’ James (Axle Whitehead) was good for schooling fear-driven firing squads, too stupid to know how to be afraid responsibly. Next to Daisy and Lash (Matthew Willig), I was most interested in how his signature attack would come across, on the small screen. One wish down.

Since Hive’s stated purpose is (first X film) Magneto styled unity, burning Hellfire or being Inhuman worm food wasn’t in the cards, for the militia mutts. What they did get may have been our introduction to the Alpha Primitives – source characters I had hoped reserved for the eventual Inhumans film (whenever that will be). We could have both, sure; it’s just that Agents has been something of a designated landing zone, for low hanging fruit that the MCU has no plans for, is all.

Low hanging fruit like Talbot (Adrian Pasdar), I guess, since he seems to have settled into the role of viewer stand-in, whenever Coulson & co. pull a really big fast one.

Nothing like having a government sized Talbot hovering over you for focus, so May (Ming-Na Wen) – despite having personal problems of her own being poked at – had another talk with Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) that should’ve gone without saying. The fact that he never owned up to any of the reasons he was left locked away, when Daisy finally hacked her way into his cell (for superspy Skyping), left me hoping he had finally grown a pair. A pair of cranial hemispheres, that is.

If his acting like a dope fiend after a fix had turned out to be genuine, I would’ve declared him dead weight walking (and talking, and shocking, and various other things… annoying). Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait for an answer – some season-long wish-fulfilment was in order.

Then ‘careful what you wish for’ came blaring through my mind-speakers.

For viewers fretting over the notion that Agents has been entirely too much about Daisy, watching that wish wasted on just her will not salve their soreness. Still, it was nice to see Hive finally on the back foot – just as we knew he’d be, back when the wish didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would be wasted. That wish being wasted by Hellfire didn’t help, either (kind of insulting, if you think about it).

Ultimately, the wish was wasted in order to leave room for the central question of the ‘Fallen Agent’ arc to still hold sway. Our wasted wish was never an Agent; so that had to be ruled out pretty early. I had just hoped he’d be part of the solution, instead of the setup. With certain Agents having gotten over themselves, and a certain Trinket of Destiny having been passed to another, the question looms a little larger. I just hope the answer will come with enough satisfaction to justify this (currently) premature plot-twist sacrifice.

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