Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013) season 3, episode 20
WRITER: GREG TITLEY
DIRECTOR: VINCENT MISIANO
AIR DATE: May 10 2016
"Emancipation" features the backdrop of events unfolding in Captain America: Civil War, while also moving plot threads for the third season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. forward. The Sokovia Accords, named in respect to the victims of the Ultron attack in Avengers: Age of Ultron, is meant to establish a U.N. panel to oversee superhumans. That underlies the episode itself, and tints certain character dynamics along the way.
Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) debate the idea of superhuman registration, including the Inhuman operatives Coulson has working for him. Coulson, who wants to keep those operative anonymous, brings his counterpart to the base to meet with some of them, to see their powers and explain why he feels they need to be kept off the books. I particularly like the demonstration by Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) of her power - which impresses the military officer, as it should.
Hive (Brett Dalton) is busy. He’s captured several unwilling subjects, members of the Watchdogs group, and leaves them to Radcliffe (John Hannah), whose latest attempt at Inhuman conversion goes awry in a different way, leaving the subjects looking rather familiar to those who have read the comics. They’re essentially Alpha Primitives, a subset well known to those of comics experience as tied into Inhuman society while permanently apart from it. And it turns out they respond to Hive’s influences. It gives Hive a new direction- one that’s decidedly awful and involves a warhead launch at altitude to turn all of humanity into his primitives. A rather Big Bad sort of thing to do.
While everything else is going on, there’s some bait and switch going on through the episode. It involves Daisy (Chloe Bennet), still under Hive’s influence, Lincoln running a gambit of sorts, and an inspired double cross meant to save Daisy and give Hive a whole lot of grief. The director manages to keep track of all of it along the way, showing the audience sleight of hand as he goes along, rather like a magician playing to the crowd.
Hive, Radcliff and James