Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Marvel Television

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 03×22 – Ascension

image
Source: Spoilertv.com

Part two – the end!

Let’s recap what we know of the finale. We know that a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent will die. One agent will sacrifice their lives by flying a Quinjet to space. They will be wearing a S.H.I.E.L.D. jacket and be holding a cross necklace. The problem is, over the last few episodes, no one has been able to hold on to the damn necklace or jacket for very long. I call this the “Hot Potato of Death”. In this episode, more and more potential candidates will arise. Because of this, I will list the candidates as well as the most likely based on how their fortune turns.

Current “Hot Potato of Death” candidates: Leopold Fitz.
Most likely to die: Leopold Fitz.

The second part of the finale reasonably picks up at the dramatic point part one left us at: Daisy is on the Zephyr, begging Hive to take her back under his sway. Hive tries to remember Daisy, and then attempts to release his spores on Daisy – before recoiling. Whatever Lash did to Daisy, it made her impervious. Daisy is furious, and while causing an earthquake, hits Hive with a full force seismic blast. She does her best to put him through the thick cement wall.

The team reconvenes. Mack requests a status report and finds out that 28 agents are now Alpha Primitives thanks to Hive. They feel the rumblings of an earthquake, and Fitz notices a malfunction in Daisy’s containment unit, so May and Fitz leave to check it out. The remaining agents interrogate Dr. Radcliffe about what his Primitives are capable of. He explains they have enhanced strength and poor eyesight. They are under Hive’s sway, but exhibit no original thoughts – however they retain skills from their previous life. This means the ex-agents know the base inside and out. They hear the Primitives in the vents, so Mack and Yo-Yo leave to secure the armory and Simmons leaves to secure the lab. Coulson and Lincoln go to secure the ‘nerve center’ of the base, and leave Radcliffe there alone.

Fitz and May enter Daisy’s cell and realize that she has left to try and stop Hive; meanwhile, she is trying her best. Hive and Daisy have a well-choreographed fight scene involving Daisy’s S.H.I.E.L.D. training and seismic powers, which ends with Daisy blasts a knife into Hive’s heart. She pulls it out and stabs him repeatedly as he unflinchingly apologizes for not being able to sway her. She uses her powers to crumple him against the wall, but he quickly corrects himself. Alien parasites have no use for bones! Daisy is distracted as a HYDRA quadcopter flies into the hangar, and Hive takes this opportunity to knock her out. As Giyera and some Primitives help get the Zephyr ready to become their new missile, James has a chat with Hive, who explains that Daisy is not back on the team, but her presence on the Zephyr will ensure that S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t blow them out of the sky. As for the remaining Primitives, as many as possible will stay behind to take out what’s left of our S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.

Coulson and Lincoln are making their way through the base, and Radcliffe shows up. When in doubt, follow the leader! Simultaneously, Yo-Yo and Mack are making their way to the armory. Mack barely has time to notice the grate of an air vent on the ground when a Primitive turns the corner of the armory with an assault rifle and shoots Mack. Mack is riddled with bullets, but is miraculously unharmed. Behind him, Yo-Yo falls down, shot. She sped in front of him and took the bullets for him.

Current “Hot Potato of Death” candidates: Leopold Fitz, Elena Rodriguez.
Most likely to die: Elena Rodriguez.

Coulson, Radcliffe and Lincoln make their way to the server room, where some Primitives cut the power. They are chased through the hallway by the Primitives, and run into Mack holding Yo-Yo. They run to Mack’s mechanic workshop and close the door just in time on the rampaging Alpha Primitives. Mack explains what happened, and Lincoln points out that May, Fitz and Simmons are still missing. Lincoln clears off a table, and they lay Yo-Yo down. She’s bleeding out badly. Mack blames Radcliffe, but Radcliffe points out again he made the Primitives to spare his own life. As the Primitives are trying to break down the door, they realize their best bet without a medical bay is to cauterize the wound with a blowtorch. Lincoln gets prepared to do it, being a doctor; but Yo-Yo wants Mack to do it. As Mack presses the flame to her, she screams in pain.

On the Zephyr, Giyera is prepping the warhead. Between Will and Ward, Hive has all the flight knowledge he needs to take it into the air, and works the aircraft out of the hangar. They begin their ascension. Hive explains that once they get high enough to disperse the Terrigen in the air, they will drop down in the containment module that is currently holding Daisy. Giyera sets the timer and everything is going to plan for the bad guys – except for Fitz and May hiding in the plane.

Simmons has escaped the lab and is hiding in the boiler room from some very menacing Primitives. One gets very close to her face, but doesn’t seem to see her. Elena screams, and he runs off towards the noise. Simmons realizes it was the heat that made him “blind”, so she cranks up the furnace.

In the workshop, Yo-Yo is stabilized. Mack tells her not to take a bullet for him, and she explains that she tried to catch them, but was too slow.

Current “Hot Potato of Death” candidates: Leopold Fitz.
Most likely to die: Leopold Fitz.

Browsing the workshop, Radcliffe is impressed with a prototype of a robotic prosthetic hand. He correctly deduces it must be Fitz’ work, and asks if he has a working model yet. Coulson holds up his left hand and Radcliffe fangirls over Fitz. Lincoln declares that Yo-Yo is burning up, which may be a sign of infection, but Mack points out it’s just hot as hell in the workshop. He questions if the Primitives cranked up the heat, and Radcliffe realizes that Simmons cranked up the heat because she must have deduced that the Primitives have infrared vision. He goes to leave to workshop, and Mack is concerned that he is going to leave based on a hunch. It’s not a hunch, it’s science!

….It’s a science hunch.

I feel like Joss Whedon has returned to the show, and specifically writes the character of Dr. Holden Radcliffe.

Radcliffe opens the door, and after an intense staredown with a terrifying Primitive, he makes his way further into the base. Coulson decides to follow him, considering he has no idea where he’s going.

Meanwhile, May and Fitz sneak out of the floor panel on the Zephyr and make their way to Daisy’s containment unit. Fitz tries to open the module, but Daisy tells him not to, because she’s a liability. Okay, Daisy, that’s enough of that. He leaves to get some weapons. Daisy has a heart-to-heart with May, and confides that her powers are nothing against Hive. May doesn’t give a damn about her powers – they didn’t make her a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, May did. (Technically, it was Coulson.) Daisy claims there is no good in her left, but May points out that Lash saved her for a reason. She says that all Daisy can do now is balance the scales and do some good. Shutting everyone out is not the way. May is about to confess that she actually cares about Daisy, when an oxygen cannister takes her out. Giyera is here.

Giyera summons a rifle to him, and points it at Fitz. Fitz, begging for his life, claims that if Giyera kills him he will die. He promises he has a weapon in place on the plane that is totally designed to kill Giyera and he isn’t lying at all. Fitz can’t tell him what it is, but he won’t see it coming. Daisy tries talking Giyera down, but he says they don’t have a connection anymore. He then tells Fitz that he swept the plane and didn’t see anything – but Fitz swears it’s real and he just can’t see it. Giyera demands he shows him, so Fitz slowly sets down the object he is holding. He tells Giyera that he doesn’t want to hurt innocent people, and those under Hive’s sway aren’t evil – well, except Giyera, who was a murderer before all this. He then shoots Giyera with the cloaked gun that he secretly had picked up (keep an eye out, you can see him do it!).

He did tell him he wouldn’t see it coming.

But we never found out what the “R.” stood for in “R. Giyera”!

Fitz frees Daisy from her module, and Fitz, May and Daisy make their way through the plane. Fitz notes that the air is getting thin, so they should limit their movements to keep warm. He takes off his S.H.I.E.L.D. jacket with Yo-Yo’s cross necklace in the pocket, and puts it on Daisy to keep her warm.

Current “Hot Potato of Death” candidates: Daisy Johnson.
Most likely to die: Daisy Johnson.

Coulson, Lincoln, Mack, Radcliffe and Yo-Yo make their way through the base to Coulson’s office, where Simmons is hiding, ready to attack. She tells them that May and Fitz snuck on to the Zephyr, and then explains her plan to turn up the heat (something Radcliffe practically takes credit for). Simmons notices Yo-Yo is hurt, and asks what happened. Yo-Yo claims Mack lit her on fire.

Well, yeah, kind of.

They realize their exits are all blocked, but Coulson has a few tricks up his “sleeve” – he uses the computer embedded on his robotic hand to summon a remote Quinjet. Coulson makes sure everyone is clear; he is taking the Quinjet alone. Simmons and Mack start protesting, but Coulson says it is not up for discussion. He isn’t going to lose anyone else. As the Quinjet lands, Radcliffe expresses admiration for the way S.H.I.E.L.D. does things.

Current “Hot Potato of Death” candidates: Phillip Coulson, Daisy Johnson.
Most likely to die: Phillip Coulson.

On the Zephyr, the concentration involved in flying is helping Hive recollect his thoughts and think clearly again. James has an unsavory thought; everyone is going to look like Alpha Primitives once the bomb goes off, right? Even then ladies? Not to sound ungrateful, but can they tweak the formula down the line? Hive ignores him and sets the coordinates. He is about to leave to tell Giyera to prepare, when a Primitive drags in Giyera’s dead body. Hive angrily tells James to find the stowaways, as he hears Coulson docking the Quinjet on the Zephyr above.

Fitz, May and Daisy hear the Quinjet docking. Fitz remarks that he hopes whoever is on the Quinjet knows what is about to happen. Daisy finds the cross necklace in her pocket, notices she is wearing a S.H.I.E.L.D. jacket, and remembers her vision, realizing she is going to die. She says she knows exactly what happens next.

Current “Hot Potato of Death” candidates: Phillip Coulson, Daisy Johnson.
Most likely to die: Daisy Johnson.

Hive approaches to find Coulson alone, wearing a S.H.I.E.L.D. jacket (!). He says he ordered the rest to stay behind, so no other agents die due to his lapses in judgment. Coulson tells Hive he is prepared to die. If he blows up the Zephyr, millions will be turned into Alpha Primitives – but at least they won’t be under Hive’s control if he’s dead. Coulson is willing to die, admits it’s his fault he unleashes this, in his words, “Ward Reboot Nightmare Hellbeast” on the planet. Hive announces he is going to take over Coulson’s body and tell the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that they won and Hive is defeated. He turns into his true form finally – an absolutely fantastic movie-quality CGI tentacle monster that looks like a Star Wars take on Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean. Hive does the classic “We’re not so different, you and I” speech, but Coulson points out one difference: Hive’s followers have to obey him, but when Coulson told his team to stay behind, they didn’t listen. Mack, Simmons and Lincoln snuck onto the Zephyr wearing S.H.I.E.L.D. jackets. Sure, Coulson is willing to die, but he doesn’t want to. This hologram projection of him was just the distraction. Before Hive has time to destroy the projector, the hologram of Coulson gets to fulfill his dream of saying “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi! You’re my only hope!”

Current “Hot Potato of Death” candidates: Phillip Coulson, Daisy Johnson, Jemma Simmons, Lincoln Campbell, Alphonso Mackenzie.
Most likely to die: Daisy Johnson.

The team makes their way to the cargo bay, when James grabs Lincoln and pulls him into a room. They fight, and May takes him out. Daisy and Fitz approach, and Daisy and Lincoln smile at each other – before Daisy notices James had attached a bomb to Lincoln. It explodes.

Current “Hot Potato of Death” candidates: Phillip Coulson, Daisy Johnson, Jemma Simmons, Lincoln Campbell, Alphonso Mackenzie.
Most likely to die: Lincoln Campbell.

The team props the dying Lincoln up against a wall and Jemma gets to work immediately trying to clean the wound. She tells him he needs to remain as still as possible until they can properly dress the wound. Daisy apologizes for turning against Lincoln, and he forgives her. Crying, Daisy asks why he didn’t visit her in her cell. He tells her he’s been there, and she needed time to pull herself back together. She asks if she ruined “them”, and Lincoln admits that they just need more time to work on themselves before they are ready for a relationship. Daisy says that she can’t live with the stuff she’s done, and Lincoln empathizes. He was an alcoholic once. He knows why Daisy went to face Hive alone. She lies and says she tried to fight him, but he stops her. He knows why she went to face him alone. He’s hit rock bottom before. He knows what it’s like to be so addicted to something, that you’d do anything to get her back.

Oh, he’s talking about Daisy.

Coulson explains his plan to the team, and Daisy explains the plan to Lincoln. Coulson is going to load the warhead onto a Quinjet, and someone is going to fly it into space, dispersing the pathogen harmlessly. Lincoln notices Daisy is wearing the cross necklace, and recognizes it as the one Daisy described in her vision. Daisy says she is accepted fate, but Lincoln begs her not to. He tells her it will fly itself if no one touches the controls. He knows what she’s thinking, but she has to keep living, even if she doesn’t want to live with what she’s done. He makes her promise that she won’t try to “atone for her sins”. She doesn’t.

Meanwhile, Coulson says that the team needs to decide who is going to sacrifice themselves, and who is going to stay behind to fight Hive and the Primitives. Mack decides he will stay behind – he built his shotgun axe for a reason.

SHOTGUN AXE! SHOTGUN AXE!

Simmons notices that Lincoln is lying against the wall alone, and asks where Daisy went. Lincoln tearfully explains that he couldn’t stop her.

Current “Hot Potato of Death” candidates: Phillip Coulson, Daisy Johnson, Jemma Simmons, Lincoln Campbell.
Most likely to die: Daisy Johnson.

A bunch of Alpha Primitives make their way into the room, and the team is fighting them off. Even Fitz and Simmons are holding their own, and Mack is kicking ass with the coolest shotgun axe. WHile this is happening, Daisy has made her way to the cargo bay and secured the warhead. Hive approaches the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in the fray, so they finish them off to turn their attention to him – but by the time they take out the Primitives, Hive has already gone after Daisy.

Daisy uses her powers to move the warhead onto the Quinjet, and Hive steps out of the shadows. He tells her that she was easy to find; he smelled her blood.

Wait…

Daisy tells him that every Inhuman has a purpose, and Lash saved her to kill Hive. The coordinates on the Quinjet are set, and it’s going to space, with Hive on it. She hits the button and the bay door starts closing. Hive points out that Ward is still in his head; he’ll just manually override the controls. Daisy notices a trail of blood on the floor.

Wait…

Lincoln sits up in the pilot seat and tells Hive that that is the reason he had to come – to short-circuit the manual controls. He hits Daisy with a blast of electricity that knocks her out the door as it is closing, and blasts off as Daisy screams.

Current “Hot Potato of Death” candidates: Lincoln Campbell.
Most likely to die: Lincoln Campbell.

Daisy runs to the control room and radios Lincoln. He tells her this is his purpose – he was the only one who could fry the manual controls. He had to make sure Daisy didn’t do this herself. Daisy claims that this is her destiny, and reaches for her cross necklace. Lincoln apologizes for stealing it from her, and reveals it in his hand. Everything goes slow motion as Daisy’s realization sinks in. The rest of the crew arrive and realize what is happening. Daisy starts sobbing and claims it should have been her, and tells Lincoln that he can’t just die for her – it’s wrong. He responds that saving the girl he loves and the world at the same time feels pretty right.

As the Quinjet ascends higher in the atmosphere, the remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. agents scramble to the controls to see if there is anything they can do, but the remote system is not responding. The communication system starts breaking up. Daisy is crying harder than we’ve ever seen, and she tells Lincoln that she can’t just say goodbye; there is so much she needs to say. Lincoln agrees, but realizes that he just did – for the first time ever, he said he loved Daisy.  His communication is cut off before he finishes the phrase “I love you”. A single tear rolls down Lincoln’s cheek as the Quinjet loses power and he hits Zero Gravity. He turns around to Hive, and tells him that he can try to sway him, but there’s no turning back. Hive calmly responds that they will already share a connection as they die together.

As a sad, slow rendition of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. theme starts, Daisy is begging Coulson to remote access the Quinjet and turn it around. Coulson explains that they can’t – and even if they could, Lincoln wouldn’t want them to. Daisy tearfully realizes that he is paying for her mistakes. Coulson corrects her; he is paying for all their mistakes.

It’s an interesting idea – making Lincoln a martyr like this. The cross imagery, the idea of faith and having a purpose, sacrificing himself to atone for everyone’s sins and kill “the devil” – it all feels very biblical.

Lincoln floats to the back of the Quinjet next to Hive. He remarks that he’s glad he got to see the world. Hive says it is beautiful, but smaller than you’d imagine. He just wanted to make it a better place. Hive just wanted to feel a connection – but Lincoln must feel that, sacrificing himself for such flawed beings. Lincoln responds that they are only human. As Daisy towards the monitor, Lincoln lets the cross necklace float away. We see the iconic shot we’ve seen many times before. Earth is in the distance. The Quinjet is in space, emergency systems blinking. A cross necklace floats past. We see the shoulder of a S.H.I.E.L.D. jacket. Hive and Lincoln close their eyes.

Coulson, Mack, Daisy, Fitz and May watch silently and solemnly as there is an explosion in the distance. Daisy breaks down into uncontrollable sobbing. Coulson and May share a meaningful glance. Simmons, crying, asks “So what now?”

SIX MONTHS LATER.

In a hotel room, there is a large board with newspaper clippings and a map with locations pinpointed on it. The clippings read things like “Quake – hero or rogue?” “Quake caused by person, not natural disaster” and “Quake takes down bank”. Coulson is looking out the window with binoculars as Mack enters with sandwiches. Coulson is watching a girl and her mom – a mom who eagle-eyed viewers like me will recognize as Polly Hinton, the wife of Charles Hinton (the Inhuman who could give visions of the future). That would make the little girl Robin, who Daisy promised to protect. Coulson is sure that “today will be the day”, but Mack isn’t.

A woman approaches the pair on the bench. Polly thanks her for the money, – it was too generous. We see that she is talking to a goth/punk Daisy (or is she Quake now?). Quake approaches Robin, and gives her a carved bird. She tells her her dad made it. In the hotel room, Coulson mobilizes all units. Quake tells Polly she wants to introduce her to a friend of hers who runs an animal clinic. (Her dad!) Polly tells her she is too kind, but she says she is just keeping a promise. She walks away as S.H.I.E.L.D. vans approach.

As Coulson and Mack’s strike team try to chase her, she leads them into an alley and uses her seismic powers to launch herself onto a nearby rooftop. Coulson orders the agents to seal the perimeter – but notes that they won’t find her. He tells Mack to notify the director that they didn’t catch her again.

The director? If Coulson’s not the director, then who’s the director?

In our post-credits scene, Radcliffe is celebrating with his A.I. named A.I.D.A. (who is actually from the Squadron Supreme comics. Artificial Intelligence Data Analyzer!), as today is the last day of hearings. He asks when Fitz is arriving, but A.I.D.A. tells him that Fitz declined, and is planning a surprise for Simmons. No matter, he isn’t celebrating because of the hearings anyway. He has something else to celebrate. A.I.D.A. points out there is nothing else on his calendar. He says he wishes Fitz and Simmons could have been here, as this was based on an old S.H.I.E.L.D. program. He initiates L.M.D. Phase One.

L.M.D. PHASE ONE! (I’ll explain why that’s big in a second).

Radcliffe says that Fitz and Simmons have had a lot of friends die – but maybe they didn’t have to. A.I.D.A. asks if they are celebrating the inclusion of Fitz on this project. He says no; today is her birthday. We see the silhouette of a woman behind frosted glass.

Okay, before we get into the review part of things, I just want to talk about Life-Model Decoys (L.M.D.s) and why they are a huge deal. In the comics, one of the biggest and most iconic parts of S.H.I.E.L.D. as an organization is their use of Life-Model Decoys, which are robotic clones used as decoys for S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Every high profile S.H.I.E.L.D. agent has one, even most Avengers have one. This is such an ingrained part of S.H.I.E.L.D. lore that when Coulson was announced for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., what was everyone’s first guess? Either an L.M.D. died, or Coulson is now one. What was the first go-to fan explanation for the identical Koenigs? You guessed it. Go back and re-watch the Avengers, and you’ll even find a nice reference to Life-Model Decoys, when Tony Stark tries to get out of talking to Coulson by claiming to be one. The fact that they are actually coming to S.H.I.E.L.D.  now could have huge implications and sets up for an exciting season four.

This episode was one of the best of the season. It’s not perfect, but I loved so much about it. The “Hot Potato” was handled well, and Lincoln’s sacrifice was poignant. I loved the biblical parallels, I loved Hive’s true face, I loved Chloe Bennet’s acting. The calm, quiet final moments where Lincoln and Hive just have a heart to heart as they die is one of my favorite points of the series. This is an easy 9.5/10, even if I was wrong about May dying.

Crackpot theories and speculation

So many things happened!

  • Now that we have L.M.D.s, which character will they bring back from the dead, as Radcliffe hinted they might? Did someone die in the last six months? Is Lincoln coming back? Ward? Is this how they will bring back Bobbi and Hunter, now that Most Wanted was not picked up?
  • Who is the director now that Coulson has stepped down? It’s not Mack or Daisy. Could it be May? Is it a new character? Cobie Smulders announced that she would like to become a series regular for season two after How I Met Your Mother ended, but her character had ended up quitting S.H.I.E.L.D. just before. Later it was revealed Maria Hill is still secretly working with S.H.I.E.L.D. in some capacity – is Hill the new director? It happened in the comics.
  • If Life-Model Decoys were based on old S.H.I.E.L.D. technology, are the Koenigs L.M.D.s after all?
  • Is Dr. Holden Radcliffe going to become a series regular?
  • Garrett and the writing on the wall set up for them finding Afterlife and Jiaying. Jiaying and the Monolith set up for them finding Maveth and Hive. How will Hive introduce the new villain? Could it be Radcliffe, whose love for science regardless of ethics tends to get him in trouble?

SaveSave

Leave Your Comment Here!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: