‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap: Ascension

The second half of last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finale, “Ascension,” ends right where we left off – with Daisy begging Hive to take her back. Hive is still a tad disoriented, not remembering Daisy’s name for a few moments. When he finally does, he’s eager to take her back – but he can’t. Apparently, Lash made Daisy impervious to Hive’s sway. Go Lash! That’s when Daisy seemingly returns to her senses and attacks Hive with the full might of her Inhuman powers.

The rest of the team, including Radcliffe, regroups inside the base. 28 agents have now been infected. Radcliffe explains they possess adrenaline-induced peak-human strength but poor eyesight. They’re connected to Hive like Daisy was, but they have no original thoughts of their own. Unfortunately, they do retain memories of their previous skills – and the team quickly realizes the Primitives are in the vents.

So Simmons goes to secure the lab, Fitz and May head to the module, and Lincoln and Coulson go to protect the nerve center. Radcliffe, not having a mission, decides to follow the leader.

Back in the hangar, Daisy and Ward continue to fight. She wants him to suffer, but Ward isn’t affected when she stabs him or when she breaks all his bones, easily repairing himself. When the hangar doors open and the plane arrives, Daisy is knocked to the ground and taken by Hive. He explains to Giyera and James this is a precaution so S.H.I.E.L.D won’t blow them out of the sky.

Mack and Yo-Yo head to the armory, where a Primitive pulls a gun out on Mack. But Yo-Yo uses her super-speed to try and stop him, and ends up with a bullet in her gut. Mack carries her to the room where Coulson, Radcliffe and Lincoln are. She’s bleeding too fast and they have no medical equipment nearby, so Mack is forced to cauterize the wound with a blowtorch. Owch!

This action saves Yo-Yo’s life, and has another benefit. Simmons is hiding in another room where a Primitive is about to get her, but he races away when he hears Yo-Yo’s scream. Simmons, wondering why the Primitive couldn’t see her, has an “Aha” moment. She manually turns up the heat, which is an older system.

It’s Radcliffe who figures out why the room is so hot when the other agents complain. The Primitives can see despite their damaged eyes, so their vision must be infrared. That means they can’t see past 110 degrees Fahrehnheit. So the team heads cautiously outside and learn that Radcliffe/Simmons’ theory is right.

Meanwhile, Hive pilots Zephyr straight up to 10,000 feet. Once they drop the warhead, the virus will descend onto most of Europe, infecting millions by dawn. He, Giyera and James will escape the bomb by dropping to safety in the containment model.

Luckily, Fitz and May have stuck onto Zephyr to stop them. Fitz tries to open Daisy’s containment module, but she refuses because she’s a liability. As Fitz goes to get weapons, May reminds Daisy that she’s not a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent because of her powers. She tells Daisy all she can do now is balance out the bad things she did with something good…and suddenly she’s knocked out by a gun. Giyera’s back.

Giyera pulls his gun on Fitz, who claims he has a weapon on the plane designed to kill everybody. So if Giyera kills Fitz, he’s signing his own death sentence as well. But it’s naturally a trick, and Fitz manages to save everybody’s life and kill Giyera all in one go. After all, most Inhumans are bad because of the sway. Giyera was bad to begin with.

So the trio disable the containment module so Hive and his crew can’t get out. But it’s not great news. They don’t have a plan. Plus, while the Zephyr can handle high altitude, it’s not designed for it. The air is getting cold and thin. Daisy is even shaking, so Fitz hands her his jacket – with Yo-Yo’s cross still in it. When Daisy finds the cross, she looks terrified. She and Lincoln are the only ones who recognize its significance.

Back on base, the team learns that Coulson’s robotic arm can also call in a remote Quinnjet. He says they’ll get Yo-Yo to a hospital, contact Talbot to take back the base, but then he’s going to intercept the Zephyr on his own. The agents begin to protest, but Coulson insists the discussion is not up for debate.

On Zephyr, we get the only funny moment of this epiosde when James asks if all the women they infect will look like the Primitives as well. He says he’s merely trying to “manage expectations moving forward” and asks if they can “tweak” the formula in the future. Hive goes to tell Giyera to prep the containment module, which is when a Primitive drags in Hive’s corpse.

Hive sends James to find the agents, then meets the Quinnjet, which has just arrived with Coulson on it. Hive tells Coulson that every Inhuman has a purpose, and his is to do what he’s doing now. He then decides to take Coulson’s body so he can control Coulson’s team, revealing his true creepy ugly octopus-head-like self. Coulson responds that would be fine, except “when [he] gave [his] team the order to stay behind, they just wouldn’t listen.”

It turns out Coulson is just a distraction. More accurately, the Coulson standing in front of Hive was a hologram. Enraged, Hive destroys the illusion.

The rest of the team, including the real Coulson, head to the cargo bay. There, James attacks Lincoln. Lincoln zaps right back and destroys James, but not before James burns Lincoln. Simmons tells Lincoln he’ll be fine as long as he remains still. As Daisy worriedly looks on over Lincoln, the team moves to another section of the room to give them some privacy.

Daisy is sad Lincoln never came to see her in her cell; Lincoln says he knew she needed time. She also asks if she ruined their relationship. Lincoln says they probably need to work on themselves before they can talk about “us.” Daisy begins to sob, saying she can’t live with the stuff she did. Lincoln is incredibly understanding, saying he knows what it’s like to be so addicted to something you’d do anything to get “her” back. He means Daisy!

But this isn’t the most depressing part of the episode – not even close. Coulson tells the team what Daisy already knows: the best way to protect humanity from the virus is to steal the warhead and send the remote Quinnjets to outer space. They need someone on it to override the manual controls to prevent Hive from taking it back to Europe. As the team discusses who to send, Lincoln sees Daisy’s cross and realizes she means to be on the ship. He reminds her the ship will fly itself as long as nobody touches the controls and begs her not to “atone for her sins with some kind of sacrifice.” But he can’t stop her.

Just after Daisy leaves, Hive and the Primitives show up. The team defeats the Primitives then realize Hive went for Daisy. Daisy, strapping the warhead into the Quinnjet, tells Hive that Lash saved her so she could end this. But Hive reminds her he can still override the controls manually.

That’s when Lincoln shows up and says he shorted the manual controls to prevent Hive from doing exactly that. He shocks Daisy, knocking her out of the Quinnjet and back onto Zephyr. He and Hive hurtle to outer space on the Quinnjet.

Daisy immediately calls Lincoln, and the two say tearful goodbyes via the shaky comms. Daisy is devastated, saying it should be her on the jet. Lincoln says he was the only one who could fry the manual controls to make sure this worked, and says, “Saving the girl that I love and the world at the same time? Feels pretty right to me.”

It gets even sadder when Lincoln is cut off as he realizes that was the first time he said he love-…static crackles.

Daisy begs Coulson to turn the jet back, but he can’t remotely access it anymore. She says Lincoln is paying for her mistakes; Coulson says he’s paying for all their mistakes. Back on the Quinnjet, Hive and Lincoln arrive in space and begin to float. Hive seems resigned to his fate, saying he can finally share a connection and experience death, which has eluded him all these years. Lincoln says at least he got to see the world before the two die.

Devastated, the team watches from their point on Zephyr. Simmons asks, “What now?”

At that point, the episode time-jumps to 6 months later. Coulson is in a hotel room, staring at several newspaper headlines pointing out that the earthquake was not a natural disaster, but a person. It turns out Daisy is now super-goth, has gone rogue and destroyed a bank. She gave the money to the wife and daughter of the prophet Inhuman, who she’s meeting that day. The wife thanks Daisy, saying the money helped her relocate because she was treated as a pariah back home. Daisy gives the little wooden robin to the little girl, then gives the mom the information of her friend – probably her father, I’m guessing, by what she says about him.

Coulson and Mack rush to the meeting location to capture Daisy. But by the time they arrive, Daisy is already gone. They’re forced to call in the National Guard as well as the Director, because apparently it’s no longer Coulson.

The episode ends with Dr. Radcliffe, whose name has been cleared despite a few unspecified stipulations. Sadly, Fitz couldn’t join him in celebrating because he’s planning a surprise for Simmons. His A.I., Aida, wonders what he could be celebrating since there’s nothing on his calendar. To which Dr. Radcliffe, responds, “Today’s your birthday!”

And we see a humanoid figure behind some glass doors before we fade to black.

“Ascension” was an intense ending to an equally intense season. From Simmons’ disappearance to discussions of what it means to be human, Agents has been wrestling with some pretty big topics all year. With the introduction of Aida, it promises to continue the intensity next season. I do wonder how this will relate to the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron? After all, that proved AI isn’t necessarily the best idea.

As for the episode itself, I have mixed feelings. First, let’s talk about that death. Agents has been teasing this for weeks now, so I frankly thought this would be more of a major character. The minute Simmons suggested vacation, I thought Fitz would die given everything they’ve gone through. (I’m thrilled they’re finally getting at least some time to be happy together. Also, did anybody else think the surprise might be a proposal?) So when Lincoln was dead, I was honestly a little relieved. After all, he was already planning on leaving S.H.I.E.L.D., and his relationship with Daisy seemed up in the air last episode. I like Lincoln but I’m not as attached to him as, say, Mack, so this wasn’t quite as devastating as I thought it would be.

That said, I was in tears during the Daisy/Lincoln goodbye scene. I’ve been vocal about my distaste for their relationship, but this was an excellently wrought ending to a complicated relationship – and especially poignant given all Daisy’s gone through. She found belonging with S.H.I.E.L.D., then with Hive, and then wanted to find it with Lincoln before it was ripped away from her. I’m not at all surprised she’s acting out 6 months later. That said, I do wonder how this fits into her devastation that she killed all those people initially. Isn’t she doing the same thing now? Still, I’m eager to see Daisy rail against the institution again the way she did in the first season.

I am THRILLED they finaly killed off Ward/Hive for good. Brett Dalton is an excellent actor, but frankly I was getting a little bored. Although Hive did give a fresh character to the face, I’m ready for a new villain. Speaking of, I’m very intrigued to see what role Dr. Radcliffe plays next season. Will he be a hero or a villain or some combination of both, a la Tony Stark in Ultron? Whatever the case, I love his character both ways and am eager to see more of him in a few months.

And finally, I’m fascinated by the fact that Coulson is no longer director, and wonder how this has shaken up procedures at S.H.I.E.L.D.. I assume the new director is Talbot. But how great would it be if it were May behind the director’s desk now? After all, May basically runs the show anyway. It would be nice if she had the title to match.

Liked this? Check out the first half’s recap!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Image Courtesy of Marvel/ABC

The second half of last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finale, “Ascension,” ends right where we left off – with Daisy begging Hive to take her back. Hive is still a tad disoriented, not remembering Daisy’s name for a few moments. When he finally does, he’s eager to take her back – but he can’t. Apparently, Lash made Daisy impervious to Hive’s sway. Go Lash! That’s when Daisy seemingly returns to her senses and attacks Hive with the full might of her Inhuman powers.

The rest of the team, including Radcliffe, regroups inside the base. 28 agents have now been infected. Radcliffe explains they possess adrenaline-induced peak-human strength but poor eyesight. They’re connected to Hive like Daisy was, but they have no original thoughts of their own. Unfortunately, they do retain memories of their previous skills – and the team quickly realizes the Primitives are in the vents.

So Simmons goes to secure the lab, Fitz and May head to the module, and Lincoln and Coulson go to protect the nerve center. Radcliffe, not having a mission, decides to follow the leader.

Back in the hangar, Daisy and Ward continue to fight. She wants him to suffer, but Ward isn’t affected when she stabs him or when she breaks all his bones, easily repairing himself. When the hangar doors open and the plane arrives, Daisy is knocked to the ground and taken by Hive. He explains to Giyera and James this is a precaution so S.H.I.E.L.D won’t blow them out of the sky.

Mack and Yo-Yo head to the armory, where a Primitive pulls a gun out on Mack. But Yo-Yo uses her super-speed to try and stop him, and ends up with a bullet in her gut. Mack carries her to the room where Coulson, Radcliffe and Lincoln are. She’s bleeding too fast and they have no medical equipment nearby, so Mack is forced to cauterize the wound with a blowtorch. Owch!

This action saves Yo-Yo’s life, and has another benefit. Simmons is hiding in another room where a Primitive is about to get her, but he races away when he hears Yo-Yo’s scream. Simmons, wondering why the Primitive couldn’t see her, has an “Aha” moment. She manually turns up the heat, which is an older system.

It’s Radcliffe who figures out why the room is so hot when the other agents complain. The Primitives can see despite their damaged eyes, so their vision must be infrared. That means they can’t see past 110 degrees Fahrehnheit. So the team heads cautiously outside and learn that Radcliffe/Simmons’ theory is right.

Meanwhile, Hive pilots Zephyr straight up to 10,000 feet. Once they drop the warhead, the virus will descend onto most of Europe, infecting millions by dawn. He, Giyera and James will escape the bomb by dropping to safety in the containment model.

Luckily, Fitz and May have stuck onto Zephyr to stop them. Fitz tries to open Daisy’s containment module, but she refuses because she’s a liability. As Fitz goes to get weapons, May reminds Daisy that she’s not a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent because of her powers. She tells Daisy all she can do now is balance out the bad things she did with something good…and suddenly she’s knocked out by a gun. Giyera’s back.

Giyera pulls his gun on Fitz, who claims he has a weapon on the plane designed to kill everybody. So if Giyera kills Fitz, he’s signing his own death sentence as well. But it’s naturally a trick, and Fitz manages to save everybody’s life and kill Giyera all in one go. After all, most Inhumans are bad because of the sway. Giyera was bad to begin with.

So the trio disable the containment module so Hive and his crew can’t get out. But it’s not great news. They don’t have a plan. Plus, while the Zephyr can handle high altitude, it’s not designed for it. The air is getting cold and thin. Daisy is even shaking, so Fitz hands her his jacket – with Yo-Yo’s cross still in it. When Daisy finds the cross, she looks terrified. She and Lincoln are the only ones who recognize its significance.

Back on base, the team learns that Coulson’s robotic arm can also call in a remote Quinnjet. He says they’ll get Yo-Yo to a hospital, contact Talbot to take back the base, but then he’s going to intercept the Zephyr on his own. The agents begin to protest, but Coulson insists the discussion is not up for debate.

On Zephyr, we get the only funny moment of this epiosde when James asks if all the women they infect will look like the Primitives as well. He says he’s merely trying to “manage expectations moving forward” and asks if they can “tweak” the formula in the future. Hive goes to tell Giyera to prep the containment module, which is when a Primitive drags in Hive’s corpse.

Hive sends James to find the agents, then meets the Quinnjet, which has just arrived with Coulson on it. Hive tells Coulson that every Inhuman has a purpose, and his is to do what he’s doing now. He then decides to take Coulson’s body so he can control Coulson’s team, revealing his true creepy ugly octopus-head-like self. Coulson responds that would be fine, except “when [he] gave [his] team the order to stay behind, they just wouldn’t listen.”

It turns out Coulson is just a distraction. More accurately, the Coulson standing in front of Hive was a hologram. Enraged, Hive destroys the illusion.

The rest of the team, including the real Coulson, head to the cargo bay. There, James attacks Lincoln. Lincoln zaps right back and destroys James, but not before James burns Lincoln. Simmons tells Lincoln he’ll be fine as long as he remains still. As Daisy worriedly looks on over Lincoln, the team moves to another section of the room to give them some privacy.

Daisy is sad Lincoln never came to see her in her cell; Lincoln says he knew she needed time. She also asks if she ruined their relationship. Lincoln says they probably need to work on themselves before they can talk about “us.” Daisy begins to sob, saying she can’t live with the stuff she did. Lincoln is incredibly understanding, saying he knows what it’s like to be so addicted to something you’d do anything to get “her” back. He means Daisy!

But this isn’t the most depressing part of the episode – not even close. Coulson tells the team what Daisy already knows: the best way to protect humanity from the virus is to steal the warhead and send the remote Quinnjets to outer space. They need someone on it to override the manual controls to prevent Hive from taking it back to Europe. As the team discusses who to send, Lincoln sees Daisy’s cross and realizes she means to be on the ship. He reminds her the ship will fly itself as long as nobody touches the controls and begs her not to “atone for her sins with some kind of sacrifice.” But he can’t stop her.

Just after Daisy leaves, Hive and the Primitives show up. The team defeats the Primitives then realize Hive went for Daisy. Daisy, strapping the warhead into the Quinnjet, tells Hive that Lash saved her so she could end this. But Hive reminds her he can still override the controls manually.

That’s when Lincoln shows up and says he shorted the manual controls to prevent Hive from doing exactly that. He shocks Daisy, knocking her out of the Quinnjet and back onto Zephyr. He and Hive hurtle to outer space on the Quinnjet.

Daisy immediately calls Lincoln, and the two say tearful goodbyes via the shaky comms. Daisy is devastated, saying it should be her on the jet. Lincoln says he was the only one who could fry the manual controls to make sure this worked, and says, “Saving the girl that I love and the world at the same time? Feels pretty right to me.”

It gets even sadder when Lincoln is cut off as he realizes that was the first time he said he love-…static crackles.

Daisy begs Coulson to turn the jet back, but he can’t remotely access it anymore. She says Lincoln is paying for her mistakes; Coulson says he’s paying for all their mistakes. Back on the Quinnjet, Hive and Lincoln arrive in space and begin to float. Hive seems resigned to his fate, saying he can finally share a connection and experience death, which has eluded him all these years. Lincoln says at least he got to see the world before the two die.

Devastated, the team watches from their point on Zephyr. Simmons asks, “What now?”

At that point, the episode time-jumps to 6 months later. Coulson is in a hotel room, staring at several newspaper headlines pointing out that the earthquake was not a natural disaster, but a person. It turns out Daisy is now super-goth, has gone rogue and destroyed a bank. She gave the money to the wife and daughter of the prophet Inhuman, who she’s meeting that day. The wife thanks Daisy, saying the money helped her relocate because she was treated as a pariah back home. Daisy gives the little wooden robin to the little girl, then gives the mom the information of her friend – probably her father, I’m guessing, by what she says about him.

Coulson and Mack rush to the meeting location to capture Daisy. But by the time they arrive, Daisy is already gone. They’re forced to call in the National Guard as well as the Director, because apparently it’s no longer Coulson.

The episode ends with Dr. Radcliffe, whose name has been cleared despite a few unspecified stipulations. Sadly, Fitz couldn’t join him in celebrating because he’s planning a surprise for Simmons. His A.I., Aida, wonders what he could be celebrating since there’s nothing on his calendar. To which Dr. Radcliffe, responds, “Today’s your birthday!”

And we see a humanoid figure behind some glass doors before we fade to black.

“Ascension” was an intense ending to an equally intense season. From Simmons’ disappearance to discussions of what it means to be human, Agents has been wrestling with some pretty big topics all year. With the introduction of Aida, it promises to continue the intensity next season. I do wonder how this will relate to the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron? After all, that proved AI isn’t necessarily the best idea.

As for the episode itself, I have mixed feelings. First, let’s talk about that death. Agents has been teasing this for weeks now, so I frankly thought this would be more of a major character. The minute Simmons suggested vacation, I thought Fitz would die given everything they’ve gone through. (I’m thrilled they’re finally getting at least some time to be happy together. Also, did anybody else think the surprise might be a proposal?) So when Lincoln was dead, I was honestly a little relieved. After all, he was already planning on leaving S.H.I.E.L.D., and his relationship with Daisy seemed up in the air last episode. I like Lincoln but I’m not as attached to him as, say, Mack, so this wasn’t quite as devastating as I thought it would be.

That said, I was in tears during the Daisy/Lincoln goodbye scene. I’ve been vocal about my distaste for their relationship, but this was an excellently wrought ending to a complicated relationship – and especially poignant given all Daisy’s gone through. She found belonging with S.H.I.E.L.D., then with Hive, and then wanted to find it with Lincoln before it was ripped away from her. I’m not at all surprised she’s acting out 6 months later. That said, I do wonder how this fits into her devastation that she killed all those people initially. Isn’t she doing the same thing now? Still, I’m eager to see Daisy rail against the institution again the way she did in the first season.

I am THRILLED they finaly killed off Ward/Hive for good. Brett Dalton is an excellent actor, but frankly I was getting a little bored. Although Hive did give a fresh character to the face, I’m ready for a new villain. Speaking of, I’m very intrigued to see what role Dr. Radcliffe plays next season. Will he be a hero or a villain or some combination of both, a la Tony Stark in Ultron? Whatever the case, I love his character both ways and am eager to see more of him in a few months.

And finally, I’m fascinated by the fact that Coulson is no longer director, and wonder how this has shaken up procedures at S.H.I.E.L.D.. I assume the new director is Talbot. But how great would it be if it were May behind the director’s desk now? After all, May basically runs the show anyway. It would be nice if she had the title to match.

Liked this? Check out the first half’s recap!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Image Courtesy of Marvel/ABC

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