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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×20 “Emancipation”

“Emancipation,” was without a doubt the of definition of, “penultimate episode.” We started off slow with a lot of talking that didn’t seem to lead anywhere, do largely to a perhaps unnecessarily heavy focus on integrating the Sokovia Accords into the show, and them BAM!

The final minutes packed in enough action and suspense to indicate that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finale will be a definite game changer.

Spoilers ahead!

The first half of, “Emancipation,” can easily be summarized as: Coulson gives General Talbot a tour of the Playground while Daisy hacks S.H.I.E.L.D’s system and covertly chats with Lincoln about breaking him out via a large screen TV.

That truly is all that happened in the first half hour, with a few glimpses of Hive and the other agents scattered around the S.H.I.E.L.D. base.

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The next fifteen minutes dealt largely with the new breed of Inhumans that Radcliffe manages to create using the combined blood/DNA of Hive and Daisy. This new generation is very creepy and largely resembles the feeble version of Lord Voldemort that gets chucked into a cauldron before becoming the marginally less creepy version in the final four Harry Potter films. Everyone makes this pretty clear but Hive is like a proud father, even referring to the new breed as his and Daisy’s children (gross), and requests that Radcliffe make more. Which means draining Daisy’s blood from her body.

Uh oh.

And then came the last quarter of the episode.

In a fake-out perfectly executed by Lincoln and May, when Daisy hacks a Quin Jet to bring her beau to Hive the Inhumans are met with Lash instead.

Remember, the known Inhuman killer?

Understandably, Hive and Co. are none too pleased with this development, and become even less pleased when they discover that Lash is unaffected by Hive’s powers. In fact, Lash can reverse them and does so when he removes the parasites from good ol’ Daisy, releasing her from Hive’s sway and allowing her the opportunity to return home to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Unfortunately, the action ends up being Lash’s last as Hellfire kills him immediately after Daisy is emancipated from Hive.


And finally we now know at least a little bit of what it is that Hive is planning to do. FitzSimmons figure out that he can infect much of the world’s population if he has the means to release the virus from a high enough range, and Talbot informs the team that Hive does have such a device… the very warhead that Hydra stole from the ATCU so many episodes ago.


As mentioned, much of, “Emancipation,” was bogged down by Marvel’s, “It’s all connected,” motto. While the introduction of the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War was certainly something worth mentioning in a show that now deals heavily with powered people, it didn’t feel like something worthy of the amount of screen time it received. Essentially half of the episode was spent with Coulson giving Talbot a tour of the once secret base, with all other characters being sidelined in the B-D plots of the episode.

Having said that, I’d rather have a filler-ish episode now than be disappointed by a lackluster finale… something I’m not expecting from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after the final moments of, “Emancipation.”

Episode Grade: B-

Episode Highs:

  • The final ten minutes were great. Daisy has been a fun antagonist to S.H.I.E.L.D. the past couple of episodes but I’m glad that she snapped out of her Hive-induced fugue state in time to take him on in the finale.
  • The redemption for Lash was nice to see and, though depressing as heck, I’m glad we got to see that poignant moment with May crying over his body after his sacrifice for Daisy.
  • Lincoln actually did stuff this episode! I’ve been complaining about how he’s been used in 3B so I’m glad he got his moment to prove himself.
  • “Who in tarnation names these things?” Talbot referencing the absurdly named Inhumans.

Episode Lows:

  • Though the final moments were pretty epic, and certainly made for a great lead-in to next week’s two-hour finale, the episode as a whole was pretty slow.
  • CA:CW was a film that actually had the least amount of impact on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which means it shouldn’t have gotten as much attention as it did.

Additional Thoughts:

  • So now Mack is in possession of the Necklace of Doom that we saw floating and exploding in space in that flash-forward… but we see Fitz with it in the promo for the finale. Dang it H.I.E.L.D, never one to make things obvious are you. Who do you think will die before season’s end?
  • What do you think is the most amount of entendres that an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode has had? “Emancipation,” pertained to like… a million things this episode.

What did you think of the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D? Sound off with any thoughts and opinions on Twitter or in the comments below!



About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen