Agents of SHIELD Season Finale Recap and Critique – Ascension

Prepare yourselves, True Believers, the third Agents of SHIELD season finale recap and critique is upon us! Daisy is “dope-sick,” as she termed it in “Absolution” and is in the process of begging Hive to take her back. Hive is suffering from an attack on his psyche that has disrupted his ability to compartmentalize the various personalities he’s absorbed over time. Giyera and Hellfire are en route to rescue Hive from the SHIELD base. Inhuman Primitives are running amok through the base turning several nameless SHIELD agents into Primitives themselves by forcibly exposing them to Holden Radcliffe‘s modified terrigen mist. And, the gold crucifix that figures in Daisy’s Hinton-inspired vision of the death of one of her teammates is in Fitz’s jacket. Now, let’s get to the ultimate Agents of SHIELD Season Three recap …

Agents of SHIELD Season Finale: “Ascension” – My Recap

Daisy kneels in front of Hive and begs to be taken back. She has a serious tentacle monkey on her back and can’t stand the withdrawal. So, Hive, saint that he is, accepts her back into his fold. Much to Daisy and Hive’s dismay, though, after her interaction with the late Lash in “Emancipation,” she is now immune to Hive’s mind-altering infection. Daisy’s frustration builds to a fever pitch and she takes her anger out on Hive. The two duke it out a bit but the stakes are pretty low, especially since this is basically the first scene in the episode. Hive eventually knocks Daisy out and seals her up again in her containment unit.

Mac and Rodriguez attempt to secure the base’s armoury since the freshly made Primitives, who used to be SHIELD agents, retain basic memories of their previous lives. And, unfortunately, these memories include the location of the armoury and how to use the weapons inside. But, as Mac and Rodriguez breach the armoury’s entrance, a Primitive fires several shots at Mac’s chest. He stands stunned for a moment and then turns around to find that Rodriguez, using her super-speedy powers, had stepped in front of him and took the bullet herself. She collapses. The Primitives cut power and Mac and Rodriguez are trapped without the possibility of getting medical attention, so Mac, intent upon doing whatever he can to stop Rodriguez from bleeding out, uses a blowtorch to try to cauterize Rodriguez’s wound.

Meanwhile, Simmons, in an apparent attempt from the writers to have her play a larger role in this episode beyond just being Fitz’s new girlfriend, realizes that heat effectively blinds the Primitives. She turns up the temperature on the boilers and waits with a gun in Coulson’s office.

Mac and Rodriguez, with Radcliffe and Coulson realize that the room they’re in is getting hotter. Radcliffe figures out that Simmons has raised the building’s heat having determined that heat blinds the Primitives. They find Simmons in Coulson’s office. They realize that May and Fitz have made their way to Zephyr One in an attempt to stop Hive from releasing Radcliffe’s Primitive concoction into the atmosphere. Coulson reveals that he has a remote Quinjet inbound, having called it from his prosthetic hand.

Hive, using Will Daniels and Grant Ward’s memories, is able to take off and pilot Zephyr One. On their way to the upper atmosphere, Daisy, May, and Fitz discuss how to take Hive down. Daisy is unsure of herself: she doesn’t think her powers will be strong enough to do the job. May reminds her that it was May who made Daisy and agent, not her powers. As they’re having their heart to heart, Giyera bursts onto the scene and attacks them. Fitz, using what appears to be an invisible gun of some kind, manages to shoot Giyera in the chest. The immediate problem dealt with, the three take a seat as Zephyr One continues to climb.

Fitz gives a shivering Daisy his jacket with the crucifix in the pocket.The Quinjet carrying the rest of the team attaches to Zephyr One and they make their way on board. Coulson uses a hologram of himself to trick Hive into thinking that he’s sacrificed himself in order to cause a diversion. Hive shows his true tentacle face for a bit but turns back into his regular Grant Ward self once he realizes he’s been set up.

Hellfire and Lincoln have it out but Lincoln suffers what appears to be a mortal wound in the process. He and Daisy have a tender moment together: Daisy apologizes for mistreating him while she was under the influence of Hive’s mind control. He forgives her. Coulson’s final solution for their Hive dilemma is to load the warhead on their Quinjet and pilot it into space remotely where it will detonate harmlessly. Lincoln notices that Daisy is wearing the crucifix that figured in her vision of someone’s death.

Daisy uses her powers to finesse the warhead into the Quinjet while the rest of the team concentrates on taking out the remaining Primitives. Mac gets a chance to try out his new and improved shotgun axe and the whole team goes to work taking out baddies. Back at the Quinjet, Hive arrives on the scene. He intends to use Grant Ward’s memories to pilot Zephyr One to the appropriate altitude and release his Primitive compound.

The team’s plan looks pretty knackered but who should appear in the pilot’s seat claiming to have destroyed the Quinjet’s manual controls? Yeah, it’s Lincoln. He swiped the crucifix from Daisy. He zaps Daisy out of the Quinjet as its cargo bay door closes before he, Hive, and the warhead-laden Quinjet take off for space.

Daisy and Lincoln share a final tender moment by way of the Quinjet’s communications system but the line goes dead shortly after Lincoln tells Daisy he loves her. Hive and Lincoln, allies now that death is imminent for both of them, share a final reflective moment. Lincoln releases the gold crucifix, we see a replay of Daisy’s vision, and the warhead vaporizes them.

Morale is pretty low back on Zephyr One but an inquisitive Fitz asks, “So what now?” A “Six months later” title flashes across the screen. We see Coulson and Mac walking down the street and Coulson makes reference to “the Director.” They discuss the target they’ve been tracking saying that today could be the day. We see newspaper headlines that say such things as “Who is Quake?” as a now black-haired Daisy walks onscreen, stops, and talks to a woman with her young daughter. We hear the woman thank Daisy, and Daisy gives the young girl a carved wooden bird saying that the girl’s father made it for her and that he loved her very much. Coulson orders the team to move in on Daisy, she is apparently their target, but she disappears down an alley and quakes herself into the air à la Neo at the end of The Matrix. And, that was it for the third Agents of SHIELD season finale.

Agents of SHIELD Season Finale: “Ascension” – My Critique

Agents of SHIELD season finale
Dr. Hall never got to put on the spandex

Part Two of this Agents of SHIELD season finale was a better standalone episode than its counterpart, “Absolution.” “Ascension” had lots of action, featured the deaths of two main characters, and resolved a storyline that had been ongoing for quite some time. So, not a bad episode. But as an Agents of SHIELD season finale, I thought it could’ve done more. As I said in my recap & critique of “Absolution,” it would have been good to see some familiar faces, like Mockingbird or any of the others.

The “six months later” was odd. I’m glad that this Agents of SHIELD season finale gave us a glimpse into what we’ll be dealing with next season but why six months later? Also, if the new season is going to concentrate on getting Daisy back, that’ll be boring. I will admit, I was intrigued by the idea that Coulson may no longer be Director of SHIELD … does this mean Nick Fury‘s back?

I can also rest relatively easy in the notion that this Agents of SHIELD season finale will be the last episode, at least for a while, in which Brett Dalton appears as the main villain. Whoever comes to haunt the haggard members of Coulson’s team next season, since we’ve already spent almost an entire season with Hive, it’s unlikely to be him again. Personally, I’m hoping for Graviton. Dr. Hall never really got his moment in the spotlight.

Michael Bedford
Michael Bedford
Under intense scrutiny by the Temporal Authorities, I was coerced into actualizing my capsule in this causality loop. Through no fault of my own, I am marooned on this dangerous yet lovely level-four civilization. Stranded here, I have spent most of my time learning what I can of the social norms and oddities of the Terran species, including how to properly use the term "Hipster" and how to perform a "perfect pour." Under the assumed name of "Michael Bedford," I have completed BA's with specialized honours in both theatre studies and philosophy, and am currently saving up for enough galactic credits to buy a new--or suitably used--temporal contextualizer ... for a friend.