Monday, July 4, 2016

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD 3.20: "Emancipation"

“You need a beer. And some faith.”

This episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” saw Daisy finally saved from Hive’s influence, but at great cost to Team Coulson. We learned a lot about Hive’s potential endgame and what may or may not be able to stop him. Team loyalties were especially tested as General Talbot paid a visit to learn more about what exactly S.H.I.E.L.D. has been up to. The Sokovia Accords, featured in “Captain America: Civil War” have just been passed, so the registering of people with powers is on everyone’s mind, and that plus Daisy’s current condition creates a lot of mistrust of and among the S.H.I.E.L.D.-allied Inhumans. Coulson has the unenviable job of trying to convince Talbot that the remaining Secret Warriors aren’t a threat, and Lincoln’s seeming continuous pining for Daisy isn’t helping on that front.

This episode was meant to have a bit of a connection to “Captain America: Civil War” (which is actually pretty decent, even though I’m more of a “Guardians” and “Ant-Man” kind of girl), and right from the beginning of the episode, we see the announcement of the Sokovia Accords. Coulson is watching the announcement on a television at a bar, and General Talbot almost immediately appears. He tells Coulson that he needs to fully disclose everything about S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Secret Warriors to the government. Coulson tells Talbot to get ready. He’s going to get a tour of S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ.

Daisy is being drained of her (partially Kree) blood to further Hive’s big scheme, and while that’s going on, she’s hacking into the camera system at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. Fitz has been keeping up a valiant effort, but he’s no match for Daisy. Radcliffe seems rather nervous thanks to Hive being really impatient, and he tells Daisy she has donated enough blood for one day. Radcliffe suggests to Hive that they need some volunteers to test out his human to Inhuman transformation process, and Hive assures him he has been working on just that. Hive, in fact, has a plan to “recruit” some Watchdogs to the cause. Said Watchdogs are on the hunt because they’ve gotten intel about a local Inhuman. That Inhuman happens to be James, though, and he turns the tables pretty quickly with an exploding chain. Hive then appears to finish the job, telling the Watchdogs it’s time to become what they hate.

Lincoln is still in quarantine to keep him from being infected by Hive, but he really wants out, and he’s really annoying everybody else because of it. May threatens to turn him over to Talbot, and he’s a topic of conversation with FitzSimmons as they try to protect the computers from Daisy. Meanwhile, Coulson brings Talbot to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, and Elena arrives not long after. Talbot wants to put Elena on the Sokovia Accords list, but Elena says that if he did, there would be a price on her head. She does, however, demonstrate her power for him. Coulson does offer that he doesn’t think anything good can come from registering for a list. Elena then goes to talk to Mack, who is very fearful that Hive could infect Elena too. Elena basically tells Mack that he needs to have faith, and if good people don’t keep fighting, evil is sure to win.

When he is by himself in his containment room, Lincoln starts calling out for Daisy, correctly figuring that she has hacked into the camera system and can hear him. Daisy sets up the CCTV so that it shows a continuous loop of Lincoln sleeping, and then they can talk. Lincoln says he wants to be with Daisy, no S.H.I.E.L.D. and no Hive. The conversation gets cut short when Coulson and Talbot approach. Lincoln agrees to register for the Sokovia Accords list and basically do whatever Talbot wants if Talbot will get him out of quarantine. Daisy resumes communicating with Lincoln as soon as Coulson and Talbot leave, and she says she has a way to get Lincoln out. Meanwhile, Coulson and Talbot have moved on to Lash. Coulson thinks Lash could be an asset at some point in the future, but Talbot is dubious.

Daisy reappears on the video screen in Lincoln’s room, and she starts talking him through how to escape. Lincoln is able to get out pretty easily, even though he has to take a guard down in the process. May approaches out in the hallway, but Daisy distracts her by blinking some overhead lights so that Lincoln can continue his escape. Fitz is in the process of explaining that Hive stole something unknown but probably important when he gets an alert that Lincoln has escaped. Fitz does his best, with an assist from Mack, to shut Lincoln out of the computer system, and that does slow Lincoln down a bit. They realize, though, that they haven’t secured the systems on board the Quinjet. When they try to, they realize that Daisy has taken it over, and that’s where Lincoln is headed. Mack tries to stop Lincoln, but Lincoln uses his powers to overtake Mack, and he appears to fly the Quinjet out of HQ.

James brings the captured Watchdogs back to Hive’s base. There, Radcliffe is to experiment on them. He puts them in the chamber, and there are screams, then silence. It’s not immediately apparent whether the experiment has worked, and Radcliffe says they will need to wait and see. Later, James opens the door to the chamber, and he sees that the Watchdogs have turned into basically primitive Inhumans. Radcliffe thinks Hive is going to be upset by this, but he’s not. He has their restraints removed, and they obey all his orders. They’ll do. Daisy informs Hive that Talbot is on the way, and Hive prepares to “greet” Talbot. He also introduced the Primatives to the rest of the gang, calling them his “children.” He wants to create more of them, which means he’ll need more of Daisy’s blood.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Talbot is about to loop the President in on all this when both May and Lincoln appear. Lincoln wasn’t on the Quinjet after all. Lash is. He believes that Lash was specifically made to defeat Hive, so sending him to Hive is sending their best weapon. Lash does indeed put up a good fight against Hive. He’s actually able to injure him in a way that sticks that nobody else can. He also defeats some of the Primitives. Daisy tries to defend Hive but her powers have no effect. Instead, Lash takes the Hive parasites out of her, saving her from the infection. While Lash is carrying Daisy back to the Quinjet, he is mortally struck by James. Daisy gets Lash’s body onto the Quinjet, keeps James off the Quinjet, and radios back to HQ that she’s coming home.

Daisy, surrounded by an armed escort, is reunited with the rest of the team, and she has to deliver the bad news about Lash. Lincoln says that he now believes Lash’s purpose wasn’t to defeat Hive, but to save Daisy. Daisy goes to the med bay, and after some testing, FitzSimmons think that she’s experiencing withdrawals, but she’ll eventually be okay. Most importantly, Daisy is free of Hive’s influence. FitzSimmons also think they now know Hive’s master plan. He wants to set off an explosion that will disburse the pathogen Radcliffe developed and create more Primitives. Talbot offers that Hive now has his explosive – the device he stole from the ATCU facility was a warhead. At the end of the episode, Mack and Yoyo have a conversation about what the future will bring, and she gives him her gold cross necklace. This now brings into question who exactly is in trouble in that flash forward we’ve been seeing.

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