Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 21 & 22 Review: “Absolution” & “Ascension”

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has had a long three years of indecisiveness, hit or miss episodes, and rough decisions, but in season three, things finally felt like they were starting to pay off and that despite there being tons of missteps along the way (Bobbi and Hunter…..), we were getting into a solid groove. I can’t say that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been my favorite show, but I appreciate a lot of the character and story decisions that they have made to keep me interested and liven things up.

The back half of season three has all been building to the big mystery of who on team S.H.I.E.L.D. will die? The show did a nice job of throwing plenty of red herrings our way and honestly keeping that plot point pretty secretive. Yes, there were obviously certain characters who were more likely to go down than others, but throughout the entire episode I sat there unsure of whether it would be May, Fitz or Lincoln. I’ll discuss the actual death later on, but I have to applaud the show for not completely telegraphing it’s end game.

The battle against Hive has been a big build up and has felt like the final face off against Ward, Hydra and everything in S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s past. I am extremely ready to move on from Grant Ward because the character has extremely overstayed his welcome, but I was happy to see the show incorporate Hive even though we only got to see his true form (which looked pretty damn amazing) for a quick minute.

After a rough first season, S.H.I.E.L.D. chose to change its approach and decided to transition Skye into famous Marvel heroine, Daisy Johnson. Despite being pumped about seeing a big comic book character on screen, I personally felt that it was a rough transition that was unearned. Instantaneously it was as if Daisy had thrown her old life and identity, the one she had known her whole life, out the door, because it was convenient for the show. Yet, in being mind-controlled by Hive in these last couple of episodes have been messing with her mind and identity, a lot.

One of the highlights in these two final episodes for me was watching this struggle unfold in a way that reminded me of Jessica Jones. Daisy even explains it herself as having her mind scooped out of her head without her being able to do anything about it. She never lost consciousness, which makes it all the worst to know you’re hurting the people you love completely against your will. On the other end of things, Hive’s control became a drug, and to see her deal with that back and forth mixture of withdrawal and guilt was a nice touch for her character to deal with. The moment that Daisy hacks her way up to the Zephyr bay to confront Hive, I wasn’t sure if she was crawling back to him or ready to take him out for what he did to her. In reality, it was probably a mixture of both until she physically got in front of him.

I thought that S.H.I.E.L.D. delivered really good scenes tonight between the characters and Daisy. Mack telling her he forgave her and giving her a hug was the true display of a friend and the conversation with May I mentioned earlier was emotionally painful. Then there were her final interactions with Lincoln before his final heroic moment. His speech about understanding addiction felt surprisingly truthful and realistic for one of the show’s most unbelievable characters.

It’s a shame that the show couldn’t have done more with Lincoln this season, but I think they made the correct call in choosing to kill off the weakest character and the most exhausted character. I never felt an attachment to him and it left his death extremely unemotional for me. Even his final exchange with Daisy felt like a cheap rip off of Captain America: The First Avenger’s final moment between Steve and Peggy. The final moments between Lincoln and Hive was a good scene because both characters had come to terms with their fate and went out knowing there was nothing to fight for anymore.

The time jump at the end was an interesting choice because it quickly pulls viewers away from the emotional weight that Lincoln’s sacrifice has on Daisy, but maybe they did that knowing there wasn’t much to feel towards Lincoln and didn’t want to overdo it. However, the show decides to leave us in a very interesting position. Daisy has decided to go rogue from S.H.I.E.L.D. and return to her life as a vigilante. I really like the idea that she’s taking the time to re-discover who she is as an individual. Ever since she was roped into S.H.I.E.L.D. Daisy has been attached to something; in the first season it was her romance with Ward, the second dealt with re-connecting with both of her parents, and this season put her in charge of all Inhumans of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I’m glad that Daisy is going to return to her roots for a little while, but I just hope that the vigilante plot is different enough from the other Marvel shows to feel fresh.

Despite some odd decisions, I thought that this was the strongest Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finale so far in the series. I really enjoyed both episodes and think that it leaves the show in a good place that feels like we are finally moving forward past the sluggish aspects from the first two seasons. I saw these episodes as Daisy’s final confrontation with the most troubling parts of her recent past. Lincoln and Ward both definitely needed to go and were the weakest characters in my opinion, but now that Marvel’s Most Wanted has officially been scrapped, I don’t see why the show’s two best characters wouldn’t return. The introduction of Life Model Decoys at the end was really cool and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. accomplished enough here tonight to really make me intrigued at what’s to come.

Other Moments:

  • Life Model Decoys are a nice introduction, but I might stop watching this show if it’s an excuse to bring Ward back onto the show and as a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. again.
  • Yo-Yo… did we learn nothing from Age of Ultron?
  • Fitz’s invisible gun was amazing and I love that his character continues to become cooler each season.
  • Once again, I’m glad that we at least got to see real Hive for a brief moment rather than not at all!
  • Is Fury back? Did May takeover as Director? Who do you think it is?

Everyone, what did you think of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season finale, drop some comments or connect with us on Twitter because we love to hear your opinions!

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