Wednesday, May 11, 2016


I'm of a mixed mind about last night's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. There were many good elements in play, though I'm not sure they paid off in the most satisfying of ways.

For example, this felt like the most seamless of all "movie integration" episodes the series has tried to pull off. The danger of Inhumans has been part of the fabric of this show for an entire season and then some, which actually made the issue from Captain America: Civil War, the question of the Sokovia Accords, feel if anything even more earned here than in the movie. There was also a nice beat in having Coulson acknowledge Peggy Carter.

But on the other hand, we know there's not really going to be much of a lasting impact here from the events of the movie. The Inhumans on Coulson's team either aren't going to register, or it isn't going to stop them from kicking ass if they do. And when Talbot says that this is exactly the sort of thing the Accords were meant for, a situation like Hive, we know that doesn't mean he's going to call in the Avengers. (Mind you, I'm not looking for movie stars to swoop in at the last second to solve problems our TV heroes have been working on for a year. But the internal logic of Talbot's thinking here simply doesn't add up.)

The episode all built to a pretty great moment of turning Lash loose on Hive. Here again, it felt earned by the history of the show. Of what possible use is an Inhuman that mindlessly kills other Inhumans? Well, killing the Big Bad Inhuman and being immune to his powers, of course. It makes sense to me.

But then to have Lash not do that, to instead have him rescue Daisy (a stretch, in his bloodlusty state) use a completely-unhinted-at-before ability to cleanse Hive's "sway" (convenient), and then immediately be offed because one freshly made Inhuman got the drop on him (with a power than in the grand scheme of things isn't as threatening as most)? Well, it was a trifecta of asking too much of the audience. Or of me, anyway. The feeling of "yes, this is what the Lash subplot was all about!" immediately gave way to "wait, this is what the Lash subplot was all about?"

The beats along the way were similarly of mixed effectiveness. Lincoln was being a team player in the end and helping the cause. Good there. But you either never actually doubted him during his "deception," or you believed until the reveal that he was even stupider than you thought where Daisy was concerned. Neither way is a win for the character or the audience. And then there was the friendship-of-sorts previously forged with Talbot. It basically went out the window, undoing previously good developments and leaving Coulson looking foolish for trusting Talbot without any apparent reason for doing so.

So it felt like an unfortunately weak episode to me overall. Maybe not weak in the grand spectrum of television, but certainly weak coming down the back stretch of an otherwise engaging run of episodes. I give "Emancipation" a B-.

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