TV Recap: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ‘Emancipation’

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‘EMANICIPATION’ PLOT SUMMARY:

S.H.I.E.L.D. is running out of time. By using the remnants of Kree DNA in Daisy’s (Chloe Bennet) blood, Hive (Brett Dalton) is one step closer to creating a new world in his image. But before Hive can enact this change, he’ll need a few more test subjects.

Every season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has had a tie-in to a Marvel movie. In fact, Season 1 had tie-ins for both Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, while also borrowing Extremis from Iron Man 3 throughout. However, as the show has gone on, the significance of these tie-ins has fallen. While Avengers: Age of Ultron did effectively end a multi-episode storyline in matter of minutes, nothing will ever be as game-changing as Hydra returning. But even though I love that episode, it did essentially spoil the big twist of The Winter Soldier for anyone who hadn’t already seen it, including me. That’s a problem. Fortunately, we haven’t had that issue since then. But the flip side is that the references to the movies risk feeling insignificant and pointless.

Captain America: Civil War actually gels with the current arc of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty well, considering parallels can be drawn between the Avengers and the Inhumans. S.H.I.E.L.D. is currently attached to ATCU, which is under the authority of the President, but Coulson (Clark Gregg) tends play it close to the chest, not letting others know too much. The whole organization straddles the line between Team Iron Man and Team Cap. However, while the show fits in with the Sokovia Accords enough, they’re mentioned quite sparingly. This is much more a continuation of what’s been going on in weeks past than something different. Sadly, Marvel is wasting the potential of its TV shows. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. shouldn’t be required viewing, but they could’ve at least referenced the Inhumans in Civil War. And it’s high time an Avenger teams up with Coulson and the gang.

Ironically, despite the majority of this week’s episode not having to do with Civil War, I’ve managed to talk about the tie-in quite a bit. So let’s shift gears, shall we? So, a few weeks ago the series introduced us to a radical group known as the Watchdogs. They’re profoundly anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. and anti-Inhuman, but they’re not big enough of a threat to be major villains. Still, it’s hard to ignore that they’re out there, so what is the show to do? Make them fodder for Hive’s experiments, of course. After going through Terrigenesis, they all look the same, surprisingly. How do they look? Well, do you know what Deadpool’s face looks like? They look like that, though, to be more precise, they resemble the abomination he was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It’s underwhelming, but we know Hive won’t succeed in turning the world into these things, so I guess it’s whatever. To make another allusion, they’re basically Hive’s Putties, Rita Repulsa’s minions in Power Rangers.

That’s all fine and good, but the real focus this week is Lincoln (Luke Mitchell). He’s still in containment after nearly dying from the failed cure. This is for his well being, considering it greatly weakened his immune system, but Lincoln doesn’t care. He wants to see Daisy so badly that he foolishly believes that she won’t betray him to Hive. Or so it seems. Instead of being the complete idiot that the writers expected us to think him, Lincoln is actually part of an elaborate ploy to strike at Hive. So, when the Quinjet arrives, out pops Lash (Blair Underwood/Matt Willig) AKA “Rasta-Hulk.” That’s a huge risk, Coulson, but it makes for a nice surprise.

What happens next is going to be contentious among viewers and comic book readers, I imagine. Not only does Lash prove to be a worthy opponent for Hive, he releases Daisy from Hive’s hold. Afterwards, Hellfire (Axle Whitehead) fatally wounds Lash with the neat Ghost Rider-ish flaming chain trick he shows off earlier, but not before it’s made clear that Andrew’s personality has overtaken Lash’s primal instincts. This leaves me with a couple of questions: when was it established that Lash could remove Hive’s parasites and when did Andrew become able to control Lash? Clearly this is supposed to be a twist, but it’s at a cost. The situation feels like it’s missing scenes explaining these developments and I’m not so sure we’re going to get anything of the sort in the future.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is taking a pretty sizable gamble, curing Daisy before next week’s season finale. Daisy’s reform was always inevitable, but the natural progression of events from a storytelling point of view would have been to wait. The finale will have to satisfy with the death (so morbid) and do something special with Daisy. As for something about Lash, we’ll see. I have my doubts.

The installments since Daisy joined Hive have been getting gradually weaker, which is troubling. I’m really hoping the finale knocks it out of the park.

RATING: 6.5 OUT OF 10 (AVERAGE)

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Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in television and film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky

Aaron Sarnecky is The Pop Break’s Television Editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a TV/Film grad of Rowan University and the fraternal twin of staff writer Josh Sarnecky. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed.