Agents Of SHIELD Post-Show Analysis Season 3, Episode 20: ‘Emancipation’
Welcome back to another Agents of S.O.M.E.T.H.I.N.G., where Comics Alliance’s Special Agents Chris Haley and Ziah Grace debrief you on all the things to like and complain about in this week’s episode of Disney’s ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!
This week, Captain America: Civil War has been released in theaters, and suddenly the Agents of SHIELD have to pretend they are in the same world as the movies again! Also, people are fooled, tricks are played, and measures are desperate. “Emancipation” was directed by Vincent Misiano and written by Craig Titley.
Chris: We were running a little behind with last week’s review, so if you missed it, go check it out and a big shout out to the readers who left some great comments there that we’ll probably get into later!
Ziah: Well Chris, this was actually the episode I hoped --- deep down in the secret, hopeful part of me I refuse to acknowledge --- Agents of SHIELD would actually be. Coulson was actually clever, twists were played on the audience, and a character I recognized from comics showed up in an exciting way! We’ll get into my uncharacteristic goodwill for this episode, but first, what did you think of it over all?
Chris: I basically liked this episode. I think I have some thoughts on a few things that bugged me a little, but overall I’d say this was one of the better episodes this season. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if the episodes are better or if I’m just having a lapse in judgment, so it’s reassuring to hear that you also thought this episode turned out okay.
Ziah: We’ve got this year’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (or as I like to call it, “Hey guys, listen here is some actual plot related to things you actually like, give us a shot, huh?”) tie-in this episode, and despite my concern that I needed to see Civil War this past weekend just to do my job in recapping this usually-bad show, it actually didn’t dwell too closely on it. The Sokovia Accords, for the purposes of SHIELD, are basically identical to the Superhuman Registration Act from the comics storyline, and the revelation that Captain America’s against them was in the trailers. So, with that in mind, what’d you think of Civil War, Chris?
Chris: So are you telling me you haven’t seen the movie yet?
Ziah: Oh, no, my concern led to me seeing it, so I’m definitely up on the movie. How great was Black Panther? Also, how great was Ant Man? Wild, huh?
Chris: How great was literally every single part?! I mean, I’m sure there were some things to nitpick, but I very much loved it. Loved it. I don’t want to say I have a podcast about how much I enjoyed it that just dropped, but that is definitely a thing that may have happened.
To elaborate a little on something you brought up though, was it just me or were the Sokovia Accords presented very differently in the movie than in the show? Here they’re basically just the Superhuman Registration Act like you said, but I didn’t get that vibe from them in the movie.
Ziah: Unless I drastically misunderstood the movie, they’re supposed to put specifically The Avengers under UN supervision, rather than getting to do whatever they want whenever they want. But that would be a tough tie-in to Agents of SHIELD, so they did the best they could, I guess.
Chris: Yeah, that was my take on the movie version of the Sokovia Accords as well. I’m sure it’s easy to assume that that was just the part the movie was focused on since it’s what pertained directly to The Avengers, and that things like “registering and testing” and any number of other things that totally aren’t going to backfire down the road could have been included in the many pages of that document Ross handed them.
I guess I just want to try to sort that out because I really liked that that wasn’t what the movie’s version was about, because I hated that idea in the comics… but thankfully, Agents of SHIELD was there to scoop that bad idea back up and run with it.
Ziah: Never doubt that Agents of SHIELD can find a bad idea and run with it.
But on another note: faux-Gambit was actually JT James, AKA Hellfire, from Secret Warriors the whole time! That’s kind of exciting. I’ve got a soft spot for the Alex Maleev/Brian Michael Bendis Caterpillars/Secret Warriors team, so it’s always nice to see them show up somewhere (before the commenters start, yes I know Yo-Yo was one of them, but I was under the mistaken impression that she was the only one that was actually going to appear on the show). He doesn’t really have anything in common with his counterpart besides the general look and a newfound appreciation for swinging chains, but on this show that counts for a lot.
Chris: It is, at the very least, something. We take what we can get around here. What’s he like in the comics? Same question for Yo-Yo… and anyone else who owes their origin to those comics in particular. Who else is in there? Anyone besides Daisy?
Ziah: I’ll answer your last question first: the Secret Warriors team is made up of children of notable heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe. Daisy is Hyde’s kid, but there’s also Phobos (Ares’ son, God of Fear), Stonewall (The Absorbing Man’s son), Druid (Dr. Druid’s son with a monster, I guess? IDK), Hellfire (JT, The Phantom Rider’s grandson), Slingshot (Yo-Yo, The Griffin’s daughter), and Manifold (no relation to Gateway). Of the cast, only Druid and Manifold have shown up in the comics lately, with the former making occasional guest appearances in Avengers and mystic titles, while the latter was a core part of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run.
Chris: I’d wondered where Manifold had been before the Hickman Avengers. Also, thank you for answering my questions out of order to make sure I’m even more confused. I’ll remember this when you have to watch Arrow with me this week.
Ziah: As to their similarities to their comics counterparts, JT is basically a different character altogether. His grandad was The Phantom Rider, tying him to the Ghost Rider corner of Marvel, which I don’t think the show can use? He’s more of a selfish mercenary who hooks up with Daisy in the comics, which isn’t too far from his Agents of SHIELD version, I guess.
Chris: I don’t think he has much of a chance of hooking up with anyone on the show, so that’s a tough break for him. I did like the Ghost Rider chain they gave him though. That looked pretty rad. It’s kind of simple, but it’s effective. You can do more with less if you do the right kind of less, you know?
Ziah: That’s definitely true, and it’s also helped by the fact that they just have to look close to on par with the Nicholas Cage Ghost Rider movies, instead of big budget extravaganzas. But back to JT. Comics-version also ended up working for the bad guys but in a sort-of justified way, so the TV version at least has pretty clearly defined goals.
Chris: I appreciate how fair you’re being to this poor sap.
Ziah: Yo-Yo is a completely different character aside from the powers, since the comics’ version is Puerto Rican and dealing with her dad being the Griffin, while the show version is Colombian and suspicious of authority, except when she decides she’s not.
Chris: She’s multi-faceted. She’s also picked up English very, very quickly, so she’s clearly a lady of many talents. I think she’s probably my favorite character on the show, really. I guess that’s kind of a low bar, but all joking aside, so far I’ve really enjoyed basically everything she’s done on the show. Her powers in the action/fight scenes are fun and liven things up and all of her interactions with Mack and Joey have been delightful. She’s my Agents of SHIELD MVP.
Ziah: You know, I gotta agree with you. She’s been consistently a good presence on the show, and hasn’t done anything too egregiously terrible or rude yet.
Chris: I’m not fond of that “yet.”
Ziah: Speaking of rude, Talbot’s back! I actually really like him, usually because he’s portrayed as the obstacle in SHIELD’s way when he’s actually got a pretty solid perspective and style of accomplishing goals. I bet the alternate reality show where he’s the Director of SHIELD is pretty good.
Chris: Yeah, he’s a fun presence on the show when he does show up and not just because he looks so much like Jesse “The Mind, Body, and Spirit” Ventura. It’s definitely not just because of that. I had thought that he and Coulson were pretty eye to eye on things after their last encounter, but he was back to seeming like he can’t stand all this spy nonsense and not trusting Coulson.
Ziah: To be fair, would you trust Coulson? He’s like the office manager who knows you have a birthday but denies that he’s planning something for you. Just weirdly smirking about a surprise you’re 99% positive you can see getting set up.
So, did this show just make an origin for the Inhuman Primitives? Because I have to say, I did not see that coming. Good thing the Inhumans movie got pulled from the schedule so they don’t have to worry about using the origin, huh?
Chris: Do you have an app or special website that you go to that is only bad news, because I think the only comic/entertainment news and rumors I’ve ever heard you bring up in the five years we’ve been doing these reviews… hold on, I’m being told it’s only felt like five years… but the only news you ever bring up is negative stuff. Like a show isn’t getting renewed or that it’s on the bubble or a movie’s been cancelled. Do you just never hear about the positive stories, or have you just chosen to only bring up the depressing ones?
Ziah: The only positive thing in my life is getting to review these dumb shows with you and Dylan, Chris. Everything else is a reminder of the void.
But seriously, I am interested in the meta-game being played with these shows and how they interact with the movie universe. Obviously they can’t perfectly fold into it, but there’s definitely ways to gel that sometimes they take and sometimes they don’t. Usually they don’t!
Chris: To answer your original question with another question though, are those “get beaten up by the Power Rangers before the real monster shows up” Inhumans a thing from what Marvel has been doing with the Inhumans lately?
Ziah: Well, sort of. The Alpha Primitives have always been a figure in the Inhuman mythos, created as a slave race blah-blah-blah. They’re usually swept under the rug these days because it looks bad to have your new X-Men-ish team keeping slaves.
Chris: I think if I could only pick one thing that I was bothered by in this series, it’d have to be how pathetic the Inhumans on this show are. The Inhumans I’m familiar with from the comics are just super-badass. This Inhuman leader in all black…
... is about a bazillion times cooler than this Inhuman leader in all black...
Ziah: So, let’s talk about Lincoln. This episode actually uses the fact that Lincoln is terrible and hated by everyone, to trick Hive and the viewing audience! This was pretty clever, I have to admit, but Lincoln is still the worst. What’d you think of all these hijinx?
Chris: I liked that they didn’t do the most absolutely obvious thing and managed to subvert our expectations that they’re always going to do the most obvious thing! I also liked that they used Lash for something even if it was only to get rid of him. I also loved that Talbot called him “Rasta Hulk”. I wish we’d thought of that.
Ziah: I actually had exactly the same note. That is a sick burn, and I’m bummed we didn’t get there first. Too distracted by Lash’s desire to gather all the Chaos Emeralds, I guess.
But yeah! The show’s definitely trained us to expect the obvious, easy endings (at least until the last few episodes), so good for them! Plus, Coulson had an actual plan and was a spy! Wow. Will these miracles ever end?
Chris: I didn’t like the idea that they’ve had Lash there this whole time and he apparently had the ability to “cure” people of Hive’s sway/infection. Did he just discover he had that power for the first time in the moment? If so, that’s pretty lucky for Hive and pretty unfortunate for everyone else. Also, for an unstoppable, Inhuman monster that was giving everyone such a hard time earlier in the season, he died pretty unceremoniously. If only they’d known a hot chain was his one weakness when they were busy shooting him with assault rifles.
Ziah: That whole thing was just bizarre. If that’s his grand destiny, why was he going around killing other Inhumans? And if he just wanted to do that, maybe he should’ve killed Hive first? Mixed priorities there for our favorite waste of a SFX budget.
Chris: I also actively hate any time Lincoln starts talking about the grand Inhuman plan and balance and fate etc.
Ziah: Well, don’t forget our Official Drinking Game tally! This was a heavy week for it, so stay safe out there, guys.
Chris: Well, what do you think Z, did we miss anything or had we better just prepare ourselves for what’s to come next week?
Ziah: I think that’s about it. Quick death pool on who dies next week! Commenters, feel free to jump in if you think these should be different.
- Piper (the unnamed SHIELD agent): 1:1
- Fitz and/or Simmons (They hinted at it pretty hard with that space convo): 2:1
- Joey (They really don’t seem to use him very much, but he’s been on-screen): 4:1
- Mac (They’ve got a backup Little Mac, plus it would make Daisy sad): 10:1
- Lincoln (We can only dream): 40:1
- A bad guy, Hive dressed as a SHIELD guy: 100:1
- Anyone else: Nope.
Alright, we’ll see you next week!