‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Season 3 Finale Review: Who Died In ‘Absolution/Ascension’?
Recap and review of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 3 Finale – Absolution/Ascension:
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been building up to a major death for this entire half-season, and “Absolution/Ascension” certainly delivers, on that account. However, the death came after two hours of major teases and fakeouts that kept the identity of the dead S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in question. Not that I mind, necessarily. The show made good on its promise to give us a gamechanger of an episode, it’s just that the death wasn’t the gamechanger itself. Rather, it’s the aftermath of that death that looks poised to change Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for Season 4.
So Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) was the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the spaceship as the warhead detonated, although he wasn’t alone, as Hive (Brett Dalton) was brought along on the suicide trip. It was the culmination of a series of misdirects spread out throughout the episode, as virtually every member of the primary ensemble played hot potato with Yo-Yo’s cross. One minute, Mack (Henry Simmons) has it, the next minute Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) has it, and later, Daisy (Chloe Bennet) has it. And there are further misdirects within this game of hot potato, as several character suffer potentially life-threatening injuries, whether it’s Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) taking a bullet for Mack, Lincoln getting a firebomb stuck to his side by James/Hellfire (Axle Whitehead) or Daisy getting overpowered in her one-on-one fight against Hive. Basically, everyone was at risk, and the show went to great lengths to keep us in suspense about it. I mean, it seemed clear that Fitz wasn’t going to be killed during the assault on Hive’s compound, but there was still a considerable amount of tension as the other characters, namely Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) worried about him. Really, this episode helped bring the show back around to the notion of this team being more like a family, particularly in the scene where Mack pulls a Good Will Hunting with Daisy, telling her that what Hive made her do wasn’t her fault, and repeating the reassuring words until she breaks down and accepts them. In a way, these types of moments, with Daisy initially rejecting the forgiveness of friends like Coulson (Clark Gregg) only to later accept that she’s truly loved by her team, seems to tease out the notion that this would be the end for the character. At the very least, it seemed to make more sense for Daisy to die in an act of redemption than it did for Lincoln to sacrifice himself just as he was finally gaining acceptance from Coulson.
And yet, I think the show offered a good explanation for why it was Lincoln by tying it into the concept he introduced last week, that every Inhuman has a purpose to fulfill. He believed Lash’s purpose was to kill Hive, but it turned out his purpose was to rescue Daisy. Similarly, Daisy believes her destiny is to die in that spaceship. But Lincoln takes her place by blasting her out of the ship. After telling her he loves her, Lincoln states that this was his purpose all along, since he’s the only member of the team who could fly the manual controls of the ship. In a way, Lincoln and Lash end up having the same purpose, although that purpose is larger than saving just one woman. This is about saving the world, and it results in a scene that is both heartbreaking and strangely heartwarming. Sure, it sucks to see Daisy in complete heartache, crying into the comm while her boyfriend goes to his death in a plane (in fact, it’s kind of a mirror to Peggy Carter’s tearful goodbye to Steve Rogers in the first Captain America movie). But it’s also kind of poignant to see Lincoln and Hive, in their final moments, share a brief moment of bonding over the beauty of the Earth below, and the inevitability of their own deaths. Considering Lincoln hasn’t always been the most riveting onscreen presence, and he probably isn’t the person fans of the show were expecting (although, to be fair, the promos never said we would be losing someone from the core cast of people who’ve been with us since Season 1), I think the show did an amazing job with his final moments. They resonated not just in that moment, but in the flashforward that ends the season.
In a relatively bold move, we flash forward to six months later, as Coulson and Mack are on the hunt for Daisy, who’s on the loose as the Inhuman known to the media as Quake. And she’s been leaving a LOT of destruction in her wake, albeit for a good cause: she keeps her promise to look out for the family of the late Charles Hinton, the Inhuman who died in the fight against Malick in “Spacetime”. Daisy has gone off the grid, and there’s no indication that the usual S.H.I.E.L.D. team is even still together. Case in point, after Coulson and Mack fail to capture Daisy, Mack wonders where he and Coulson will be assigned next. This seems to suggest that either S.H.I.E.L.D. has been dissolved, or control of the organization has been transferred to someone else (perhaps Talbot?). This begs the question of what the catalyst was: is it Daisy going rogue? Was it S.H.I.E.L.D. being infiltrated by Hive, and the ensuing close call for all of humanity? I’m genuinely interested to see where this is all headed, since it appears to tie in with Radcliffe’s new position in a laboratory working (at least according to his own words) alongside FitzSimmons. The season essentially ends on Radcliffe revealing the existence of what appears to be the Life Model Decoys from the comic books. I’m totally onboard with this direction, mostly because I enjoy Radcliffe as a sort of mad scientist version of Fitz. I’m not sure what the overarching story for Season 4 will be, but this finale kept my faith in this show alive and well. This felt like a Marvel movie, and it mostly played out like one too. Here’s hoping Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to deliver in Season 4.
But what did you think of the Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Finale, “Absolution/Ascension”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., read up on the show’s new timeslot for Season 4 in the fall!