‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap: “Absolution/Ascension”

The season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finally answers the mystery of who the “fallen agent” is.  Many agents played “cross-chain-roulette” to keep the audience guessing as to who ends up dying.  We were treated to an action-packed finale pitting the agents against Hive and his Inhumans as he tried to convert a majority of the planet into “primitives” that he would control.  The Inhuman war started by Hive finally concludes, and a few new mysteries are revealed.

The episode begins back on the blue planet where Hive came from.  Coulson and Daisy are in one of S.H.I.E.L.D’s containment units seemingly stranded on the planet.  Coulson tells Daisy that they are the last ones.  This felt a little out of place.  Is this in the future?  Was this a Daisy withdrawal hallucination?  Nothing else in the episode has anything to do with this.  As a result, it felt like filler.  Unless this comes back as a part of the season 4 storyline, it’s kind of a waste.

Meanwhile, everyone is trying to catch up to Hive who has the warhead ready to deploy the virus to turn a significant portion of the planet.  At they try and nail down where Hive might be, they are also interrogating Daisy as to any intelligence as to Hive’s plans.  The only thing that Daisy can’t reveal is what “Absolution” means.  Also, Daisy is somewhat a wreck.  She’s not only feeling guilt over her actions while under Hive’s influence, but she is also going through some serious withdrawal.  The makeup on actress Chloe Bennet was very good, she looked like she needed to check into Promises ASAP.

Finally nailing down where the warhead is, the agents plan how to not only sneak into the facility but also work through government bureaucracy to get the kill codes for the warhead to make sure it doesn’t launch.  In order to get the kill codes, Fitz and ATC must pose as a general using some CGI that would make Andy Serkis proud, and then make sure that Coulson can get the codes in time to stop the countdown.  Coulson reading out all the codes in speed time was very impressive.  Of course, they are successful, which then leads the team on Hive’s base to get the warhead and finally stop him.

On Hive’s base, the agents have to not only free the human hostages (that Hive managed not to kill) but also laid a trap for Hive.  They used the “memory machine” to make Hive forget who he was.  After all, Hive has the collective memories of numerous hosts.  After Hive falls victim to their trap, he becomes momentarily confused as he has flashbacks thinking he is all the previous hosts.  We are treated to a whole bunch of flashbacks to his time as Grant Ward.  This seemed to be a proper sendoff for actor Brett Dalton as well.  

Hive forced Radcliffe to fix the missile, despite him not having any experience in doing such.  Radcliffe’s options are to continue doing Hive’s bidding, or be fed upon, so guess which one he does?  In doing so, Hive makes two of his primitives tag along to keep Radcliffe honest.  Through his interactions with the primitives, he learns that the primitives retain some of their memories from when they were normal humans.  As May finds them, she battles the primitives with total badassery.  A fight between her and Natasha" Romanoff would be epic.  Sick of being under Hive’s boot, Radcliffe switches allegiances and shoots a few primitives.  Actor John Hannah always does a good job at playing slimy characters (his work on Spartacus was legendary), and Radcliffe switching sides works perfectly.  As the agents continue rescuing the hostages, they finally meet up with Hive, but their trap is set for Hive as they trap him in an Amber chamber.  Everything’s good, right?

Back at the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, Radcliffe has now been recruited to join the team as another scientist.  Looks like him, Fitz, and Simmons will be an awesome trio.  ATC General Talbot wants him to figure out a way to reverse the damage he’s done in creating the primitives, but the damage is irreversible.  Meanwhile, Coulson and Mack take turns playing “cheer up Daisy.”  She pretty much spends most of the episode feeling sorry for herself and stating that she’s not worth anyone’s pity or forgiveness.  Mack and Daisy have a great heart to heart where he not only forgives her but finally breaks through her wall enough to get a hug.

As the group prepares to transport Hive’s ambered body, a series of packages arrive titled “Absolution.”  Turns out the package delivered was the primitive-making virus, which begins to turn every redshirt S.H.I.E.L.D. agent into a primitive.  Now the base is overrun by minions of Hive and the core group is on the run in their own base.  The primitives manage to break Hive out, who is now on a rampage.  Turns out Hive is still yet one step ahead of them as he plans to use one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s jets to use as a means to deploy the virus.

In the ongoing chaos, Mack is just about to get shot by armed S.H.I.E.L.D. primitives, when Yo-Yo uses her speed power to take the bullet for him.  This leads to the group needed to huddle down and try to save her life.  This effects Mack as well since we all know she and he were eventually going to be a couple.  Simmons was separated from the group, but she discovers that the primitives cannot see in an extremely heated environment.  They then crank up the heat and then defeat the primitives.  

Daisy manages to escape her holding cell where she confronts Hive.  We all assume that she was out to get revenge, but like a true junkie she just wants some more of Hive.  Turns out that Lash’s “treatment” last week is permanent and Hive can no longer infect and control her, much to her frustration.  This leads to the confrontation we’ve all waited for.  Daisy and Hive have it all out in a battle of powers.  As powerful as Daisy is, she’s still no match for Hive.  After Hive overpowers her, he takes the S.H.I.E.L.D. jet with her as a hostage as he prepares to deploy the virus.

Fitz and May are stowaways on the jet, and Coulson and the other manage to catch up, leading to yet another confrontation on the new jet.  During Coulson and Hive’s battle of words, Hive finally reveals his true alien form to Coulson.  During the chat Coulson reveals that he was stalling via hologram, he gets a chance for the best Star Wars reference in a long time.  During the battle across the jet, Inhuman Giyera loses a draw with Fitz as well and ends up dead.  Hellfire faces off against Lincoln, and unfortunately Lincoln is mortally wounded.  Towards the end of the battle, Daisy realizes that she’s wearing the jacket from the “death vision” and she has the cross chain as well and she realizes that she’s the one destined to die.  However while the agents are discussing what to do next, Lincoln takes the cross and abandons the group as he takes the jet into outer space with the bomb and Hive, ensuring that everyone else will survive.  Hive and he have a heart to heart as they await the warhead to go off.  Lincoln dies a hero saving the planet from Hive and infestation and everyone’s hearts are broken.

We get treated to a time jump, which is pretty much setting up season four.  It appears that Daisy is no longer with S.H.I.E.L.D. as she is on the run from them.  Coulson is no longer the director either as he is mentioning reporting to the director.  Radcliffe has some sort of leadership position as he has his own office.  Could he be the new director?  Finally, it looks like we will be getting the Life Model Decoys!!!  At first we though that actor Patton Oswalt was a Life Model Decoy as he played all three of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, the Koenig brothers, but it looks like that is not the case.  So does that mean that the Inhuman problem is over?  Probably not.  But the show looks like it will be moving into a different direction, with Daisy operating as a vigilante, apparently the Sokovia Accords from Captain America: Civil War are ineffective.  ABC has announced that for season four Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will have a darker tone, and a new 10PM time slot, so the sky’s the limit for where they can go.