Agents of SHIELD: Emancipation
Captain America: Civil War has come, and this week, Agents of SHIELD found themselves dealing with the fall out from the movie’s main plot point of registering “powered people.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, despite being the head of the bureaucratic agency that technically is part of enforcing the new laws, Coulson, who is the biggest Captain America stan there is, sided with Team Cap that the government shouldn’t be registering his “Secret Warriors.”
Talbot: “The president sent me. The Sokovia Accords are the law of the land now. He’s concerned you may have some Undocumented Enhanced Assets working for you.”
it was a nice touch to start out with Coulson mourning Caps’ new fugitive status and reading Peggy Carter’s obit. (And despite the movie series continued refusals to acknowledge the TV shows, it makes a lot of sense that the trickle down from the accords would cover the Inhumans.) But much like the plot of the Captain America movie was a side show distraction from the main event–that is, pitting the superheroes against each other in a fight, General Talbot’s arrival at the base for an inspection and “taking inventory” of Coulson’s powered peeps was a distraction from the main plot, which featured Daisy tricking Lincoln into breaking out and flying to come see her (and be captured by Hive)–only to reveal that it was Daisy who was being tricked. Lincoln didn’t get off that jet to meet Hive. Lash did. (“Rasta Hulk is your husband?” may have been one of the best lines of the evening.)
Raise you hand if you thought Lash v Hive was endgame for this season? When the fight came a week early, it was a sign that no, the mess would not be so easily cleaned up. A massive disappointment, especially when it became obvious that Lash not only was impervious to Hive’s parasites, but was also a living antidote, curing Daisy by sucking them all out of her. It was all too easy an answer, so the show killed him off, James taking him out with his fire infused chainwhip just as he got Daisy on the QuinJet and they were about to fly back to safety. May’s grieving over his body was a heartbreaker.
Talbot: “Why do you think Lash can defeat Hive? Who in tarnation names these things?!”
In between the Talbot inspections, Fitz and Simmons plot expositioning for the slow people in the back of the room and the tricking of Daisy into bringing Lash to the Inhuman compound, we learned two very important things for next week’s two-part finale. One: that Hive is planning to explode a nuclear warhead filled with the gas to turn thousands and thousands of people into proto-Inhumans. Two: which of our show regulars has (probably) come to the end of their contract.
On the topic of the first issue: We’ve had people making a lot of noise about “What did Hive steal from the ATCU.” Turns out it was a nuclear warhead, because of course it was. not that Hive will be using whatever nuclear compounds it came equipped with originally. Now that he has Daisy’s Kree blood, he can use it to start making Inhumans of his own.
James: “I mean seriously, who follows a stranger down a dark alley dressed as pups. I mean, on principle alone, I can’t let this end well for you.”
It was unclear this week exactly why the experiment to turn the Watchdog vigilante fools into Inhumans did not work as expected. What resulted is not powered people as much as they are, well….a sort of cross between Inhumans and dumb attack dogs. Is it because these are not people who had the ability to turn? Is it because Daisy’s blood–though it has some Kree in it, is also semi human? (Also, side note: if Coulson has Kree blood in him, does that mean he would have turned into an Inhuman instead of dying at the end of Season 2? Maybe cutting off his arm wasn’t necessary!) Whatever the issue, the suggestion seems to be that instead of getting the James, the Alicias and the Daisys , all of whom bring new and interesting dynamics to Hive’s army, he’s just going to get a bunch of mutated half-wits. I cannot see how this is somehow an improvement on the human race that Hive has been talking about.
But then again, it also makes it very easy to choose sides. After all, if Hive is turning humans into Inhumans, giving them awesome and neato powers in the process, there’s an argument that change is not the worst thing. Like with the X-men, who wouldn’t want to be a mutant with cool powers? But if Hive is turning the bulk of the human race into creatures that looks as if they are extras in the movie Jacob’s Ladder, then there is no confusion for the audience at home. And with Daisy now clean of Hive’s powers of persuasion, and back on the side of the good guys, we really need things to be made more black and white, no?
Mack: “What he’s doing is pure evil. I’m talking end times, biblical evil, 2000 years of darkness evil.”
Yoyo: “You need a beer.”
Our other big mystery going into the finale is Daisy’s vision of the blood in the Quinjet and the floating gold cross. It was not lost on me that we saw that shot at the beginning of this half season, and then we saw our latest addition to the Inhuman good guys, Elena wearing one. Since then, i’ve sort of assumed she was marked for death, which felt a bit like a cheat. You introduce a new character with the intention of killing her off 11 episodes later. Lame!
But her budding relationship with Mack has had some fans I talk to convinced it will be him who kicks the bucket, perhaps trying to save her. This theory has gained traction especially in light of the other two actors who were brought in at the beginning of Season 2 moving on to start their own spin-off show, Marvel’s Most Wanted. With Bobbi and Hunter gone, having Mack also be gone from SHIELD, this time by permanent death, at the end of this season leaves holes for the show to do yet another cast reboot around the original core actors. And then Elena gave him that gold cross.
Daisy: “I said MacGyver, not firestarter… You’re going to need that tape dispenser, that pencil, the food tray and a piece of that mirror.”
Misdirection? Maybe. We’ll find out next week in the two-part finale.