You are here
Home > Review > Episode Review > Agents of SHIELD: Emancipation – Season 3 Episode 20

Agents of SHIELD: Emancipation – Season 3 Episode 20

Daisy tries to free Lincoln from SHIELD.


The world is experiencing the aftermath of the fallout between Captain America and Iron Man over the Sokovia Accords. Coulson is at a bar lamenting the death of Peggy Carter and the fall of Captain America, two of his heroes when he was younger. He doesn’t have much time to do that, because he’s there to meet with Talbot. After the destruction of HYDRA and the signing of the Accords, his new mission is to find out if Coulson is hiding any other powered people within SHIELD. In their new spirit of cooperation, Coulson brings him into the base to show him what’s going on. After being introduced to YoYo, Lash and Lincoln, it seems like Tablot’s blood pressure is going through the roof. It gets even worse when Coulson and team reveal that they are facing a potential world-threatening scenario with Hive. Their meeting is interrupted when they find out that Lincoln has escaped from his cell/recovery room.

Daisy is having her blood drained, which gives her time to get online and poke into the SHIELD systems. Even though Fitz is valiantly trying to keep her out, she’s able to contact Lincoln. After Talbot’s initial visit, she’s able to guide him through “MacGyver-ing his way out” of the base. After a brief confrontation with Mack, Lincoln appears to get on a Quinjet and head off to meet Daisy, who had promised them that they’d run away together. When Talbot comes in yelling about shooting Lincoln out of the sky, the team reveals that the entire thing has been a hoax perpetrated by May, Lincoln and Coulson so that Daisy would reveal Hive’s location to them. Lincoln has finally shown that he learned his lesson about trusting Daisy while she’s under Hive’s control. It turns out that he was right too, as Daisy was planning on delivery Lincoln to Hive so that he could be swayed.

With Daisy’s Kree blood, Hive is ready to take another run at creating new Inhumans. He gets some “volunteers” by setting a trap for the remaining Watchdogs and having James ambush them. BTW, it’s now safe to say that James is the character “Hellfire” after watching him swing around a flaming chain and making certain quips. Like everything else in the MCU, he’s slightly different than his comic book counter part, but the flaming chain pretty much seals it. Hellfire and Hive are able to easily bring the Watchdogs in for the next test run. The men are turned into Inhumans, but they are heavily disfigured and seem to have reverted to a more primitive mental state. Dr. Radcliffe and Hellfire both believe these new Inhumans to be abominations but, like a proud father, Hive thinks they’re perfect just the way they are. He even shows them to Daisy and calls them their children.

shiled-s3e20-talbot-coulson-gin-joint shiled-s3e20-primitive-inhumans shiled-s3e20-james-vs-watchdogs shiled-s3e20-hive-vs-lash

When Hive goes to meet the plane carrying Lincoln, he’s surprised to see Lash when the doors open. That was SHIELD’s plan all along, to send Lash in order to neutralize Hive. Based on past experience, Lincoln and May were betting that Lash wouldn’t hurt Daisy. They also believed that his purpose may actually be to kill Hive. It looks like they were right as Lash’s powers seemed to directly counteract Hive’s. He makes short work of the Watchdog Inhumans and removes Hive’s infection from Daisy, who’s been weakened by too much blood loss. As he’s putting Daisy back on the Quinjet, Lash is impaled from behind by Hellfire, who was out running an errand before. Back to her old self, a weakened Daisy blasts Hellfire away and flies back to the base. She gives the team a report of everything that happened and Fitz surmises that Lash’s purpose wasn’t to kill Hive, it was to save Daisy. While Simmons asserts that that may have come from Andrew as much as it did Lash.shiled-s3e20-daisy-returned

At the end of the episode Fitz-Simmons tell Coulson that they’ve figured out what Hive is likely up to. The believe that he’s going to try to create an airborne version of the compound that turns people into Inhumans. After hearing the theory, Talbot confirms that Hive has the ability to do this because he stole a warhead from the ATCU. In the tag scene from the episode, YoYo meets with Mack, who has been recovering physically and emotionally throughout the episode. To commemorate his rediscovered hope/faith, YoYo gives him her cross, which is one of the items that Daisy saw in her vision.

Favorite/Other/Notable Moments

  1. Talbot pulls back the curtain
    While Talbot is almost a deplorably ignorant character, his reactions make him worth the annoyance. He was a great comic relief in what turned out to be an important and somewhat tragic episode. A couple of my favorite lines of his where, “Rasta-Hulk is your husband?” and “Who in tarnation names these things?”
  2. The episode plays everyone
    The episode does a pretty good job of hiding Lincoln’s plan from everyone. There’s a lot of misdirects about what’s really going on. That coupled with Lincoln’s history for making bad decisions when it comes to Daisy, makes the deception really work. It wasn’t just Coulson playing Talbot and Lincoln playing Daisy, it was the episode playing the viewers.
  3. Civil War Crossover
    So, I’m not sure if it’s really a “crossover” as much as it is an acknowledgement that the events of Civil War actually happened. It actually seemed to be a little bit confusing to me because it sounded like the Sokovia Accords changed. In the movie, they were mostly just talked about with respect to keeping the Avengers under the control of the government. Now, it seems like it’s about registering powered people with the government, ala the comic book Civil War story line.


For an episode that was based around a big deception, this episode talked a lot about the idea of faith and hope. The team needed to get their hope back in a big way after everything that’s been going on. I think Mack and Yoyo hit on why exactly having hope is important when they were talking about the saying, “Evil preys on the weak because it fears the strong”. More directly translated, I think the show was suggesting that a lack of hope would make it easier for Hive to defeat them. Mack was the representation of the team’s hope through the episode. He’s pretty down after seeing the extent of Hive’s control over Daisy and experiencing being powerless against it. Sending Lash in to fight against Hive was really a last ditch effort and, even though Hive survived, it showed the team that he could be fought. It also gave the team back their surrogate daughter.

I was also surprised that they killed Lash off in this episode. I had suspected that he would become a player in the fight against Hive, but I thought it would be for longer than 5 minutes. It was an awesome 5 minutes, but it didn’t seem like it was worth keeping Lash around just for that moment. Yes, he did free Daisy but I feel like there were other ways that she could’ve been saved that didn’t end with such a potentially powerful character being sacrificed. They also missed an opportunity to have May and Lash/Andrew try to do a whole Hulk/Black Widow kind of thing if Lash was going to try to get himself under control.

Now that Daisy’s back, I’m sure there will be some issues with her and the team getting over what she’s done. However, the more pressing issue will likely be that we’ve got to figure out “who’s gonna die”. I’ve gotta be honest, after going through two death cliff hangers on The Walking Dead, “the grave” shenanigans on Arrow, and the Jon Snow string-along on Game of Thrones, I just don’t have the energy or the interest to go through another teaser/cliff-hanger series of events revolving around a potential character death. To be fair, I don’t know if you can blame this show for other shows having pulled similar stunts in such a close time frame, but I feel like you do have to be aware that there’s similar things going on on major TV shows that play to your demographic. So, instead of wondering, “who’s going to die”, I find myself just thinking “I hope they don’t drag this out”. Especially now that they did the whole bit with YoYo handing Mack her necklace. They made the scene so dramatic and pointed that it almost guarantees that it’ll be a misdirect. Obviously, they know that the necklace is a big clue about who dies. There’s no drama if they make it that obvious, so I suspect the next episode will contain suggestions that other people die even if it’s something as simple as Mack giving the necklace to someone else or losing it. Whatever it is, I’m already ready for the show to get past this.