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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Emancipation

“Desperate times, desperate measures.”

It dawned on me this week that I’m far more attached to the characters on this show than the show itself.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is at its best when it focuses on those characters. When we saw vanilla Grant Ward suddenly and shockingly turn out to be what he was and the shockwaves that caused through the team. When we had to watch Daisy find her parents and the mingled joy and horror of discovering who they truly were. When we finally learned what “The Cavalry” means. These past few episodes, there haven’t been moments like that.

What we’ve been dealing with is a villain intent on turning the entire population into monsters. That’s not going to happen. I find myself constantly comparing this season’s end to the previous one. Jiaying’s goal was to kill all humans. We knew she wasn’t going to achieve that, because, among other things, that would leave a single character on the show. But we, or at least I, still cared about the team defeating her. It was the emotional story between her and Daisy that kept me tuning in. How would Daisy be able to deal with her mother’s betrayal? Would she be forced to kill her to save the world? How could she possibly cope?

This season’s ending does not have that. Hive is so wooden he makes vanilla Ward look zany. I believe Brett Dalton has the acting chops, I just don’t think they’re giving him anything to work with. And what emotional connection does the team have to Hive? He looks like Grant Ward, he contains the remnants of Jemma’s space boyfriend, true, but no one seems particularly conflicted or emotional about destroying him. It’s an old fashioned defeat the bad guy before he ends the world scenario. That sort of thing worked on Alias or Buffy but it doesn’t work here and it’s not the show’s fault.

The way the MCU is set up, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. plays second fiddle to the movies. The movies gross billions worldwide, while the show’s viewership dwindles. They’re not about to change the formula. The team reacts to the events of movies while the Avengers don’t even know Phil Coulson is alive. Literally. That’s how it is. The idea that they’d do something that fundamentally changes the MCU on the show is a little far-fetched. Again, this isn’t the show’s fault, but it is guilty of forgetting that when attempting to set up a giant end of season fight.

The show attempted to make the story personal by dropping the fact that one of the team will die, but it just hasn’t struck fear in my heart for whatever reason. And I’m now confident it won’t be Mack. Elena gave him her necklace, the necklace we saw in the original flash forward of the death. The way shows like this usually work is that the person most marked for death is the person least likely to die. Plus, I’m sure it won’t be Daisy because when she had her vision of the death, she told Coulson “Someone on our team will die,” wouldn’t she know if it had been her? That saves my two favorite characters. The show wouldn’t be stupid enough to kill off May (as if that’s even possible) and they often operate under the delusion that Coulson is the show’s main character so that leaves Fitz, Simmons, and Lincoln. All of which are in a happy relationship, always a danger sign on a Whedon-associated show.

All this negativity aside, I did really enjoy the final part of the episode, where Lash attacked Hive and saved Daisy. It even sort of makes sense, what with him saying “I am the cure” way back at the beginning of the season. It still doesn’t explain why he was killing random Inhumans before Hive was even on earth, though. And I wish we’d gotten to see more of May reacting to his heroic death. The one shot we got of her face was beautifully heartbreaking.

Intel and Assets

--Cute moments of the episode include Coulson asserting with complete confidence that his Daisy is worth 100 regular Inhumans.

--New nicknames: Hothead, Sparks, and my favorite, Swayze Daisy.

--A couple of mentions of the events of Captain America: Civil War, but far less than I was expecting.

Lincoln: “I could fry that mustache right off your face.”

Talbot: “I don’t care if that thing used to be Gandhi. Why on God’s crusty pie is it here?”

Talbot: “Why do you think Lash can defeat Hive and who in tarnation names these things?”

two and a half out of four Swayze Daisies
sunbunny, who is infinitely grateful to Mark for letting her switch up the reviewing schedule


  1. Actually, my least favorite part of the episode was the Lash fight. He moved so slow! I just wanted him to kill Hive already! Which I assume would have also freed Daisy.

    Who in tarnation names these things indeed.

  2. I forgot to say one more thing. I think Daisy's vision could have been of herself because her previous vision was of her own death without her realizing it, but I doubt it is. Don't forget that Elena and Joey are also part of the team so they could be on the chopping block.

  3. Lol if Fitz or Simmons dies I don't think I'd be able to continue watching the show. I do agree about the show's end-of-the-world plots never making any sense since it's all set in the MCU which is already large and complicated as it is, with perhaps a gazillion overarching plot holes to boot. I can't help but think about how easy it would be for Coulson to ring up one of his old friends from the Avengers to bring HIVE down. I bet it would be all in a day's work for either one of them. I know they probably couldn't get Captain America or Iron Man on the show, but maybe someone like Hawkeye or Falcon or Black Widow? Black Widow doesn't get her own movie, she might as well get her character explored via SHIELD. I've always loved the concept of this show, the stories about the spies who get to clean up the Avenger's messes, but with the show it's always more of a hit-and-miss sort of a thing. The writers really need to think their storylines through. Anyway, I enjoyed the fight between Papa Smurf and Darth Sidius, I just wish it was more action-packed and less dramatic, with all those annoying sexist overtones as a female warrior gets scooped up and literally saved by a buff looking man on steroids.

  4. I agree that they should have mined a bit more drama with Lash and May, but that might be because it wasn't Blair Underwood under the make-up.

    Talbot, and the reaction to Talbot, so made me laugh. The mustache line was almost as funny as the God's crusty pie line.


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