It's a showdown a season in the making as S.H.I.E.L.D. takes on Hive, and when his master plan is finally revealed, the team must spring into action. Who will live, and who will die? Things heat up in the exciting two-hour season finale of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Episodes 21 and 22 – Absolution and Ascension
Prior to the Agents of SHIELD season finale, Marvel fans were hit with some heavy news. With Agent Carter cancelled and Marvel’s Most Wanted also chopped, Agents of Shield is once again the lone survivor. And it does so with a lot of heart. Moving to the 10 pm time slot next season, AoS yields in a new error for its storytelling, with new freedom to as show runners put it be ‘darker and edgier.’
Absolution and Ascension hit all the benchmarks you expect from a Marvel show. Piling in greater themes and allusions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the two-parter was a roller coaster.
Positives: Brett Dalton’s acting. Dalton has now inhabited many different roles, as the specialist Grant award, to the double agent traitor. He has been the new wave of Hydra and in his latest role, as Hive, a series of people including Will Daniels. All of this is highlighted when the agents deconstruct their memory machine to use it on Hive, who cycles through these past lives. Dalton is really wonderful here, and given the ending, we’ll miss him on his show.
Daisy also had a powerful arc to add to the finale. Reeling from guilt and dopamine withdrawals, she is deeply uprooted. It’s clear no one knows how to handler her, but Coulson comes the closest, explicitly detailing why she has to be locked up for the time being. He also tries to convince her that she is not responsible for the actions she did while brainwashed, but Daisy rips a page from the Winter Soldier’s book, and is driven by that guilt to make things right in the end.
The finale was full of emotional scenes. One of the heaviest was Mack entering Daisy’s confinement and forgiving Daisy. What ensues is a hug from Mack, and it’s the first for Daisy to begin her recovery.
The emotional scenes continue between Daisy and Lincoln. Prior to Lincoln’s sacrifice, Daisy and Lincoln talk about their journey together. Daisy’s motivations for this are to not leave things unsaid, as she believes she is about to make the ultimate sacrifice. Daisy and Lincoln’s final conversation mirrors the final conversation between Peggy and Steve in the first Captain America.
For Daisy, the writing really shined when tackling her addiction. As an audience we witnessed her addiction from its highs to its lows. What makes it more compelling then say, Lincoln’s addiction, is we see her undoing through the aftermath. While we see much of her emotional reaction during the first hour, the show turns on the darker tone in the second hour, where we see Daisy at her wit’s end begging Hive to put her back under the sway. This is a woman facing her addiction and losing, and her only salvation is that she is physically immune to it. In reality, we know this isn’t the case for a lot of struggling addicts. But Daisy turns out to do what many addicts who can’t get a hold of their drug do, she becomes irate. It culminates in one of the best fight scenes of the show has sculpted. Daisy combines the moves May has taught her with her powers. She punches with the force of her quakes, and breaks the ‘bones’ in Hive’s body.
Speaking of Lincoln, the Fallen Agent, it’s both fitting and a bit of a let down that it was him. It didn’t come as too much of surprise given the sole reason he worked for SHIELD was for Daisy. Coupled with the words Hive gave to Lincoln about never being able to give Daisy what she needs, Lincoln saw an opportunity to prove Hive wrong, and there is nothing more powerful then a stubborn love drunk man. If the show hadn’t touted the Fallen Agent so early on, his death may have come with bigger emotional bearing. His death would have hit harder if he has made more connections with the other agents rather then just Daisy.
It was a great choice from AoS to show the explosion as something so insignificant. A lot of the catastrophes the agents work to prevent do not ripple through the rest of the MCU, and this was displayed while showing how
And let’s talk about Agents of Shield using another time jump. At the very end, after Lincoln and Hive have a space bro moment before being nuked, the team spends a second reeling from what just happened. We’re next catapulted into Coulson and Mack tailing a rogue Daisy. She’s been causing havoc, using her powers to steal from banks, but in a Robin Hood kind of way. We learn that she has given the money to Charles, the Inhuman who gave her the vision of the Fallen Agent during Spacetime. Daisy also sets up her father with Charles’ widow Polly. Coulson and Mack are too late to nabbing Daisy, who is sporting a look but more reminiscent of her season one threads. It looks like she’s learned a few new tricks with her quake getaway. In another statement, we learn that Coulson and Mack are taking orders from a new director. Did Coulson step down or are they no longer with SHIELD? Is the new director someone we know or someone we will meet?
That’s not the only part of the finale that sets up storyline for the next season. Dr. Radcliffe is bringing Life Model Decoys to the Marvel Universe. LMD’s are often used with Nick Fury, he’s even used a whole army of them to take down people, there’s also a quite popular fan theory that Nick Fury has been dead for some time but has a million LMD’s that just keep taking the last one’s place. It seems also Fitz and Simmons are also working with Dr. Radcliffe in a surprising move. It seems logical considering both have expressed sentiments about SHIELD not being a great establishment and loosing too many friends. Since we met Dr. Radcliffe in Singularity, I’ve touted the theory that Radcliffe is Fitz’ dad.
Radcliffe’s computer program is also called AIDA, which is a computer program that exists in the Marvel-712 universe, created by Thomas Thompson of Squadron Supreme. Squadron Supreme is a team often associated with the Avengers.
Also to note, this is the first season finale that something bad hasn’t happened to Fitzsimmons. Season 1 the pair were dropped in the ocean, and season 2 Jemma was swallowed by the Monolith, so it was a relief the pair were left pretty unscathed. They were however death flagged early in the episode with Jemma planning a vacation in the Seychelles.
Nearly everyone was death flagged in the episode. Daisy, Lincoln, Elena, Coulson, May… all death flagged. The show pulled this off really well because it caused you to really focus in on these moments. Each agent were either planning something for the future, trying to look past their problems and make good, or had ends of the life recently tied together.
Not only was this finale well paced, but also full of great VFX, such as affectionately named Squidward. There were a good amount of light-hearted and humorous moments such as Fitz impersonating a military general in a motion capture suit (the monkey screams were a great touch), Fitz’ sin visible gun, and Coulson fulfilling the role of Princess Leia’s recording on R2D2. As on and on I can go on about this finale, unpacking more minute details and things done really well, there isn’t more need to.
- So many.
- Fallen Agent theme forced way to hard
- Abrupt time jump