“Emancipation” does a brilliant job of marrying the Agents of SHIELD storyline to the effects of Captain America: Civil War. SHIELD is still fighting against Hive for the fate of the Inhumans. And to make things just a bit more complicated, Talbot (on behalf of the government) shows up to take an inventory of the Inhumans, as required by the Sokovia Accords (the central conflict of Civil War). Here are my top 5 moments from “Emancipation.”
5. Yoyo and Mack
There’s something about Elena and Mack that just makes me smile. They are almost as adorable as FitzSimmons…almost. They have a couple of great moments in this episode. Mack confesses to being scared, to thinking that there’s no way that SHIELD can win this fight and he doesn’t want to see what happened to Daisy happen to someone else that he cares about. Aawww. But Elena tells Mack that that’s how evil wins…when good people are filled with fear and doubt and run the other way, instead of standing up and fighting against the evil.
In the end of the episode, Elena gives Mack her cross necklace and tells him to have a little faith. While I love this moment and I think that it’s just what Mack really needs to hear, the necklace that she has just handed to him is the necklace we see floating in space in Daisy’s vision of the future….when one member of the team dies. Now, I don’t necessarily think that this means that it will be Mack, but it’s not a good sign.
4. Civil War tie-in
As expected, this week’s episode did a great job of tying in to the new Captain America: Civil War movie and its theme. First, with the opening scene of Coulson mourning the loss of Agent Peggy Carter. I loved Coulson’s emotional reaction to this. It was a great little nod to one of the events in Civil War.
Then there’s General Talbot coming to SHIELD to take an inventory of the Inhumans in conformity with the Sokovia Accords. He tells Coulson that it’s the law of the land now, signed by 117 countries and most of the Avengers. Coulson finally brings Talbot down to the SHIELD bunker in a neat restaurant booth descent thing.
Talbot gets to meet Elena, “Yoyo.” Coulson explains that she is typically in Colombia, using her powers to fight against the drug cartels down there. If her name were to be on a “powered human” list, there would be a price on her head. He meets Lincoln, who is a bit of a hot head. Talbot and Lincoln exchange some hilarious banter, my favorite being Lincoln telling Talbot that he would “fry the mustache right off [his] face.” Talbot tells Coulson he’s met the good, the bad…now show him the ugly. Coulson then reveals Lash to Talbot.
While “Emancipation” does a reasonable job mirroring the conflict in Civil war, I don’t think that it had quite the finesse that the movie did in showing both sides of the conflict equally. I suppose this is to be expected when it’s only an hour long and we don’t have quite the major players in the show. Through the episode, Talbot (Iron Man) is fighting against Coulson (Cap), trying to get him to see “reason” and get these Inhumans registered and on their “protected” list. It’s not going to happen. Coulson seems to be Team Cap (no surprise there). After finally revealing the threat that is Hive and his infection, Talbot finally trust Coulson to not register the Inhumans (yet). Talbot appears, at least for the time being, to be Team Cap now too.
3. “Ugly muffin” world domination
Brilliantly tying the Watchdogs back in to the plot, Hive and James round them up and to use as “volunteers” in Dr. Radcliffe’s next round of experiments. They get locked into a storage container and are gassed with the new concoction. The first time through the experiment with the Hydra loyals, it was an injection. This time around, it’s in gaseous form. When the storage container is opened up, what we see are some creepy looking little creatures. They no longer look like individual people, but all have the same creepy face. James so eloquently calls them “ugly muffins.” Hive likes them, he tells Dr. Radcliffe “They are part of me. And of the Inhuman race.”
We see that they are highly obedient to Hive right away. They put their lives on the line in trying to help and save Hive when he is attacked by Lash. I didn’t really see any trace of Inhuman powers or anything, but they are certainly a great asset to Hive.
Towards the end of the episode, we hear that Hive has a big plan. If he can disperse this gas high enough into the atmosphere, it can affect a significant portion of the world population, turning them into the “ugly muffins,” loyal to Hive. Talbot reveals that Hive has a way, as a fully operational warhead was stolen from an ATCU facility. Daisy gave up a lot of her blood, but was it enough to make that big of an impact, to make enough Inhumans? Will Hive try to get to Daisy and Coulson to try to get more Kree blood from them? Or is he already set with what he needs to turn a large portion of the world in “ugly muffin” Inhumans?
2. Lash vs. Hive
In a great plot twist, instead of Lincoln stupidly flying off to reunite with Daisy, Lincoln and May have put Lash on the Quinjet and sent him off to battle with Hive. Hive is expecting to see Lincoln come off the ship and is ready to “sway” him. Instead he is greeted by the lovely blue face of Lash. When Hive tries to “sway” Lash, Lash uses his blue light powers to resist and stop Hive from infecting him. Lash uses this to burn a big hole in Hive’s chest, which knocks him down and out for a bit. Lash then has to contend with the “ugly muffin” brigade, which doesn’t seem like any match at all for Lash.
When Daisy rushes out to try to attack Lash in an effort to protect Hive, she’s too weak from giving too much blood and falls down. Instead of attacking her, Lash goes to help her. He picks her up and with his blue powers, somehow withdraws Hive’s infection from her. He gets her on the Quinjet and just when things are really looking up, James attacks Lash from behind with his fire chain, and kills him. It seems that Lash had “served his purpose” as an Inhuman (to save Daisy), but with the amount of build up with Lash and everything that he has done, I feel like it was a bit too quick and cheap of a death for him. To me, the way that it was done didn’t hit quite as hard emotionally as I had hoped it would.
While Lash managed to hurt Hive, Hive was not killed….but Lash was.
1. Daisy is free
Daisy has been heading down a dangerous path with Hive. Now that he has seen Dr. Radcliffe’s experiment succeed (sort of), he wants all of Daisy’s blood to create more of these compliant creatures. He essentially wants her to sacrifice herself in order for Hive to create an “ugly muffin” army. Luckily for her, Lincoln and May have tricked her and Hive and have sent Lash there. Lash protects her and frees her mind from Hive’s “sway.” She gets the Quinjet back to the SHIELD bunker. She’s locked up and put under surveillance while her brain is tested. Jemma confirms that Hive’s infection has been removed from Daisy’s brain. Going into the finale, we have a Daisy that is once again free.
When she’s well enough again, how will she react to what she has done for and with Hive? How will she respond in the fight? Will she still feel like Hive is in the right? Will she be loyal to SHIELD again? Will she be angry with Hive? It will be interesting to see what she does in the finale.