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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S03 E22: Ascension

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This is it, the season three finale, and the (hopefully) final battle between Hive and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. With their base overrun by Alpha Primitives, Hive setting his master plan in motion, and the team haunted by Daisy’s future vision – who will save the world? Find out, along with my thoughts on “Ascension,” after the jump.

Quake vs. Hive

As noted above, things are pretty grim. But to start we get one of the two things this show does well, even though we get them so rarely – espionage, which they rocked in the first part of this two hour season finale, and superpowered fights, which Hive and Quake give us (in my best Dr. Frank N. Further voice) in abundance.

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Daisy’s first blast smashes Hive into a wall. After that, the villain is no longer playing, no longer talking, this is for keeps. With the strength, agility, and fighting prowess of everyone he’s absorbed, Hive is able to stand up against Daisy’s tremendous concussive power. It’s one hell of a fight. My only complaint is that it should have happened a while ago. A show so disrespected by its network with such low ratings should have moments like this all the time.

Some Like It Hot

Hive prevails, of course, as there are fifty-five minutes left in the episode. With the unconscious Daisy in tow, he, along with Giyera and James, steal the Zephyr with his deadly payload and take off, leaving his new Primitives (the Alpha part is never actually said aloud in the show) to dispose of S.H.I.E.L.D., and that they do. Rather quickly, Yo-Yo takes a barrage of bullets meant for Mack. Bittersweet, but I can’t help but wonder if she’s the only Fallen Agent

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Simmons realizes that the Primitives have limited vision, no vision really except for infrared, so she turns up the heat in the old SSR furnace and presto, humans are now invisible to them. As Radcliffe marvels at all the goodies S.H.I.E.L.D. has, especially Coulson’s cybernetic hand, and campaigns to join, Coulson calls the remote quinjet to save them, and get Yo-Yo medical help. Then Coulson is going to go after the Zephyr – in his words, he brought Hive to this planet, so it’s up to him to stop it.

The Zephyr

Hive’s plan is to ascend in the Zephyr, as in the episode title, into the stratosphere and detonate the bomb, which will gas most of Eastern hemisphere, turning them into his own army of Primitives to do his bidding. Hive and his associates then escape via the flying elevator on board… one can’t help but wonder, is it the same one from Daisy’s dream?

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I suppose it’s a good thing May and Fitz slipped aboard before the Zephyr took off. There’s more whining from Daisy that’s getting a bit old to be withdrawal, thankfully she puts on her big girl pants shortly after this. Then Fitz takes out Giyera with a ruse and an invisible gun – more of this please! Seriously, if you want to be around for a fifth season – more espionage, more superpowered fights, and more invisible guns!

Alveus

Coulson’s quinjet docks atop the Zephyr and the lead S.H.I.E.L.D. agent comes to chat with Hive. The Son of Coul tells a tale of vengeance and distraction, and as we finally see the tentacled face of Alveus, we hear a horrible, terrible idea hatching. Hive will take Coulson’s body and no longer need to be in the shadows… he could rule in the open. That’s when Coulson pulls the rug out from under him, and reveals that he’s a hologram. Great Star Wars bit by Coulson. Like the invisible gun, more of this please, we all love that Coulson is a fanboy just us.

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Holo-Coulson is just a distraction, while the other agents come on board to help May, Fitz, and Daisy. An encounter with James wounds Lincoln, another Fallen Agent… why are the Secret Warriors being singled out? In a moment of singular insanity, lying on the floor bleeding, and with Daisy kneeling beside him crying, that’s when Lincoln decides he needs to break up with her. To quote James in the last episode, “What the actual hell??”

Future Vision

Daisy has the cross, and has become obsessed with her future vision – the quinjet hurtling toward Earth, cross necklace floating in zero-G. The only way to save humanity is to fly the quinjet into space, with the bomb, and with Hive, hopefully destroy them both. She’s sees herself doing it, so she starts the process… only to see blood on the quinjet once Hive has boarded… it’s Lincoln.

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Lincoln electro-blasts her off the quinjet and soars upward with Hive and the bomb aboard. He stole the cross from her. This is his destiny, not hers. It’s almost like the deja vu of Civil War II that hasn’t happened yet. Other than Daisy being emotionally crushed by the explosion and deaths that we don’t actually see onscreen, the one thing that bothered me was the moment Lincoln and Hive share at the end – the quiet almost friendly moment – that was crushing for me.

Six Months Later

After the caption ‘Six Months Later’ we find Coulson on a stakeout. Newspaper clippings in the wall describe an individual known as Quake, possibly hero, possibly villain. We know who that is. Coulson and Mack are watching Charlie Hinton’s wife and daughter, waiting for Daisy to show up. She does, keeping her promise to help them, then escapes before Coulson and Mack can find her. Nice use of her powers to leap.

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It seems as if there’s a new regime at S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson talks of being reassigned and worrying what the ‘director’ will say. Wait, what? Isn’t Coulson the director? When we come back in the fall I have a hunch that things may be a bit different. Six months later is November, and six months after Civil War, things may be very different in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Aida

Our second epilogue involves Radcliffe, not the most trustworthy of people to begin with, celebrating a special event. His AI (Artificial Intelligence), similar to Tony Stark’s Jarvis or Friday, called Aida is celebrating her birthday today, literally, as we see her body behind a curtain. The specs on his computer screen says L.M.D., from the comics – Life Model Decoy.

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The LMD is old school S.H.I.E.L.D. technology in the comics. Folks who have been with us for a while might remember that an LMD was my theory for Coulson still being alive after dying in the first Avengers movie. The most intriguing bit of recent episodes was FitzSimmons’ journey into the cyberpunk underground. If this is where season four is headed – against machines rather than Inhumans and/or Hydra – I’m on board. How about you?

Conclusions

After this past week’s episode of “The Flash,” where a happy ending that would have left audiences joyous is scarred by terror and a teaser of what’s to come, I have to equally balk at the conclusion to this season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Why did we need the ‘six months later’ tag on ending?

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I think anyone who’s still watching the series, that has been plagued by low ratings, will still be watching in the fall. Both of these epilogues (and I use the word loosely because they are more like prologues) could have waited until season four. I would have rather had the relief and hope for a happy ending, than an assurance and a teaser. See you in a real six months…

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About Glenn Walker

Glenn Walker is a professional writer, and editor-in-chief and contributing writer at Biff Bam Pop!. A blogger, podcaster, and reviewer of pop culture in all its forms, he's done stints in radio, journalism and video retail. Ask him anything about movies, television, music, or especially comics or French fries, and you’ll be hard pressed to stump him or shut him up.

Posted on May 24, 2016, in agents of shield, Glenn Walker, Marvel, television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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