TV Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.21 “Absolution” and 3.22 “Ascension”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Season 3 Episode 21 and 22: “Absolution” and “Ascension”
Directed by Billy Gierhart, Kevin Tancharoen
Written by Chris Dingess and Drew Z. Greenberg, Jed Whedon
Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen
Starring Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Henry Simmons, Luke Mitchell, Axle Whitehead, John Hannah, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Mark Dacascos, Adrian Pasdar, Derek Phillips, Lola Glaudini
Air Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 9pm

“Every Inhuman is here for a reason. They each serve a purpose” – Lincoln

Here we are — the two-part season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has arrived and with it, the reveal of the “fallen agent” they’ve been teasing us with for weeks. There’s quite a bit to cover, so let’s get started. Beware: many spoilers ahead!

In the first half of the finale, agents Mack (Henry Simmons), May (Ming-Na Wen), Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), and YoYo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) are sent to a remote island to rescue a group of military professionals being held by Hive and his Primitives — as Dr. Racliffe (John Hannah) calls them — and to stop the launch of the Zephyr — the warhead holding the Inhuman-Primitive mist. Not only are they able to prevent the warhead from being activated, but they’re also able to capture Hive (Brett Dalton) himself via a memory machine that forces him to relive every memory from every host he’s ever held. Placing him in a “Gel-Matrix” cube (do I even have to tell you all of the Keanu Reeves jokes that were running through my head?), they’re able to bring him back to S.H.I.E.L.D’s base of operations.

Moving into the second episode, there are packages in the flight room that are labeled “Absolution, Montana.” The team has been trying to figure out what Hive has been referring to by “Absolution,” and Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) just so happens to be in the room with the shipment, but notices the label a bit too late. The packages explode, releasing the mist into the room. Multiple S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are infected, turning into Primitives, but thankfully Fitz is able to escape. The Primitives, still in the flight room, notice the Gel-Matrix holding Hive and smash it open, releasing him. Hive then takes over a quinjet, but not before battling it out with an escaped Daisy (Chloe Bennet). Getting the best of her, he brings Daisy aboard and the jet takes off, with Hive planning to release the warhead at a very high altitude.

This is where we reach the final act. Fitz and May were able to sneak onboard; however, they’re held at gunpoint by Giyera (Mark Dacascos). Fitz is able to trick Giyera into believing there is a weapon on the jet that will destroy Inhumans, and when he’s caught off guard, Fitz shoots and kills him (wow!).

Soon, the rest of the team is able to infiltrate the quinjet, and Lincoln is hurt in the process. Daisy and Lincoln have the most believable conversation they’ve had all season, as she’s wearing Mack’s S.H.I.E.L.D. jacket and has YoYo’s cross necklace as well (I’ll get to this later). Lincoln realizes that Daisy is going to fulfill her vision of the future and tries to convince her not to; but she doesn’t listen.

Daisy takes off, using her earthquake abilities to move the warhead onto Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) jet. She’s about to fly the ship into space, so the missile can self-destruct away from Earth, when Hive comes in to stop her. Little do they both know that Lincoln had already snuck onboard, and is sitting in the pilot’s seat, wearing the cross necklace he stole from Daisy. He turns around, shoots Daisy with his electricity, knocking her out the door, closes the door shut, and takes off for space.

In the culmination of Daisy’s prophetic vision, Lincoln and Hive sit next to each other as the ship loses communication with the quinjet. As the contemplate death and life, the ship explodes, taking the lives of both Lincoln and Hive.

My Top Three Moments From “Absolution” and “Ascension”

1. YoYo.
Of all of the characters introduced this season, YoYo has been a much welcome addition to the cast. Cordova-Buckley plays the part well and as I’ve said before, YoYo’s chemistry with Mack is undeniable. In the finale alone, she playfully (and rightfully) teases Mack for being extremely slow and she also saves his life by taking multiple bullets to the chest via one of the Primitives. YoYo is the first character to be faced with death in the episode and survive, and I found myself hoping that she would make it out safe. She has become a valuable member of the team, and I really hope she becomes a series regular next season — it might even be enough for me to keep watching the show…maybe.

2. Daisy’s self-loathing.
Daisy is depressed and extremely angry, rightfully so. She blames herself for the damage she’s caused to her team and anyone else while under the influence of Hive. While the rest of her team wants to forgive her, she’s not letting herself off so easy. Almost all of Daisy’s scenes in “Absolution” and “Ascension” consist of most members of the team trying to convince her that even though she’s made mistakes, she is still forgiven and can make things right by doing good. In particular, Mack’s scene is the most touching. He walks into her holding cell, placing his jacket down (with the necklace in it — the one she wears later in the episode and the same one that Lincoln steals from her!). He offers Daisy forgiveness as she tries to shove him away, but like a big, loving brother, he pulls her into his arms and let’s her break down. Mack offers her a love that knows no bounds. The emotions and even the addiction (Daisy tries to convince Hive to take her back, but he’s unable due to Lash’s powers making her impervious to Hive’s control) that she can’t seem to shake are all expertly acted out by Chloe Bennet and very believable.

3. The exit of two major characters.
So, Lincoln is the “fallen agent.” While I did not like the build up to the episode, I will say that his sacrifice made me almost wish he wasn’t the character being killed off! I know, this coming from the person who has hated Lincoln’s character all season. But the writers did a fantastic job with his final moments. He was brave, unwavering, and his final conversation with Daisy was beautiful. Earlier in the season he said that “Every Inhuman is here for a reason. They each serve a purpose,” something later repeated by Hive. Well, Lincoln has figured out his purpose, and he puts it best while speaking his last words to Daisy: “Saving the girl I love and the world at the same time. Seems pretty right to me.”

But Lincoln isn’t the only character that I thought was pretty weak this season. Hive was a huge disappointment for me as the main villain for season three, mainly because he didn’t seem too scary — he just seemed like Ward. But if the writers got anything right in this finale, it was the sendoff of a hero and a villain. The exchange between Lincoln and Hive, gravity defying their power and forcing them to await their fate, the two sit down in the pilot and co-pilot seat, having a conversation about making connections and being human; and in a way, these two Inhumans become more human in death than they’d ever been alive. A truly great ending acted out perfectly.

S.H.I.E.L.D.ed Observations:

– Coulson speaks to Hive as a hologram. When Hive angrily walks through him, Coulson says, “I’ve always wanted to do this: Save me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only…”

– Mack actually made an awesome hi-tech Axe-Gun! It’s amazing.

– The last ten minutes of the episode set up next season by jumping forward 6 months. Daisy, now known by the world as Quake, has gone rogue. S.H.I.E.L.D, especially Coulson, is trying to track her down, but she does not want to be caught. Coulson mentions that they need to report to “the director.” Who the heck is the director if it’s not Coulson?

– Dr. Radcliffe has created an A.I. names A.I.D.A. (as in A.I.D.A. from Squadron Supreme?) and looks to be ready to transfer her mind into a body. Could we have an Ultron-esque villain next season?


Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD 3×21 “Absolution” / 3×22 “Ascension” Promo

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD 3×21 “Absolution” / 3×22 “Ascension” Sneak Peek


  1. I loved the season finale. I thought it was fantastic. I will disagree with about being a weak villain. The way Brett Dalton played him was perfect. It seemed he was playing Ward because his memories are the recent that Hive absorbed when Ward died. But if you go back and re-watch the second half of the season what he did was so subtle and you can see under the surface just how dangerous he truly was. I think the best villain are the ones that don’t seem that dangerous.

    Comment by Stephen Welch — May 19, 2016 @ 11:06 am

  2. Loved this finale, the ending with Hive and Lincoln and the allegory to Lincoln being a Christ-like figure was very powerful and emotional. I think Hive was terrifying in how alien he was, despite his human physical characteristics. All in all, loved this season finale.

    Comment by Alyssa — June 17, 2016 @ 2:45 pm

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