Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Hot Potato of Death Delivers a Memorably Weird Season Finale

Wednesday, 18 May 2016 - 5:56AM
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Wednesday, 18 May 2016 - 5:56AM
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Hot Potato of Death Delivers a Memorably Weird Season Finale
After a long and agonizing wait, we finally know the identity of the Fallen Agent. The descriptions of the finale playing with the 'Hot Potato of Death' were entirely accurate, and despite the impactful storylines playing out over the course of the double episode, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reveled in its weirdness while keeping viewers guessing right until the last moment.

Spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Season 3 Finale Follow


The unlucky character who was sent packing in the season finale was none other than our own Lincoln Campbell. This could actually bode well for the show in the future, and it made for a solid season finale in more ways than one. Lincoln was never quite a fan favorite, since we mostly learned to love him through Daisy's eyes, and he wasn't given much of a chance to develop past being Daisy's love interest. This wasn't the fault of Luke Mitchell, who is as talented an actor as the rest of the cast, but was due more to the lack of romantic chemistry between Lincoln and Daisy on-screen. Daisy was a more compelling character pre-Lincoln, and now that Hive and Lincoln are gone, Daisy has a chance to develop as a character on her own again.

The last few minutes of the episode play out a well executed time jump where we see Daisy disguised and hiding from agents as she meets up with Hinton's family. The Inhuman vigilante hacker vibe suits her, and although it could come dangerously close to reverting to Skye, it's more likely that Daisy just needs some time to work through the events of the past season.  At the very least, her kindness to Hinton's family seems to indicate that she's not headed down a dark path this time, and finally taking on the name Quake is another reason to hope she's finally moving forward again. To top it all off, Daisy/Quake can sort-of-fly now (think more Jessica Jones, less Vision).  
Daisy's new on-the-run lifestyle won't be the only change coming to the show, since Coulson no longer appears to be the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Fitz looks to have been courted for a role with Dr. Radcliffe, who we've apparently decided to forgive for the atrocities he committed out of cowardice.
The finale was another stark reminder of how much I'm beginning to hate double-episode events, since the first episode usually pales in comparison to the second and lags behind in terms of pacing, action, and plot development. The Fallen Agent finale event was no exception to the rule, but it was saved by a pretty fantastic second half of the final episode.
The first episode focuses on the Hive vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. arms race, as the team struggles to stop Hive from detonating the Inhuman warhead. The team traps Hive in a block of sciencey amber gello halfway through the episode, but not before Lincoln gets the chance to slow him down by frying his brain. This scene was a testament to Brett Dalton's acting as the electricity brings his past hosts' memories to the surface, causing Hive to glitch and rapidly cycle through them. Hive isn't so easily stopped, though, and he predictably escapes back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, after his mutant dog army infiltrates the top secret headquarters using the vents. No, really. I constantly suspend disbelief when watching this show, to the point where blue aliens and mind controlling parasitic zombies seem normal, but a top secret organization that deals with alien threats having vents large enough to crawl through? That's stretching my imagination a little too far.

After Hive's escape results in the murder and mutation of a number of nameless shield agents (what happened to Piper?) Daisy finds and confronts Hive. Her addiction to Hive's powers seemingly getting the better of her, Daisy begs Hive to take her back only to realize that she's now immune to the his parasitic charms. In a well-deserved scene, Daisy finally gets to face off with Hive in a memorable fight sequence choreographed by the amazing Kevin Tancharoen.  

During the scuffle caused by Hive's melty men, Elena is seriously injured when taking a bullet for Mack in a scene reminiscent of Quicksilver's sacrifice in Age of Ultron. After a few tense moments, some quick thinking, and a blowtorch, Elena survives. Elsewhere, Fitz kills Giyera in self-defense - with an invisible gun. With all the agents in mortal danger, it was nearly impossible to tell who the fallen agent would be, and this wasn't made any easier by the game of hot potato that was being played with Elena's cross. This drove me a little bit insane at times (and I almost lost it when Fitz picked up the necklace), but it was a wonderfully fun and simple way to keep us guessing (and double-guessing) until the last minute.
For someone that was convinced that Lincoln's death couldn't pack an emotional wallop, I was surprised how emotional Lincoln's exit actually was. Paralleling Steve and Peggy's scene from Captain America: The First Avenger was a good call, and while Lincoln and Daisy aren't exactly Peggy and Cap, it was still a heart-wrenching goodbye thanks to Chloe Bennet's powerful performance.
The religious symbolism in the episode was a little on the nose, with Hive compared to the devil, Elena's cross as a symbol of faith, and Lincoln's sacrifice for "all of our mistakes", but it didn't get in the way of Lincoln and Hive having a strangely poignant last scene. Seeing the two floating together in zero gravity as they watched the Earth from the peace and quiet of the doomed Quinjet before the explosion was a fitting end to the characters.
In true Marvel style, the last scene of the episode seemed to set up a tentative plotline for Season 4. Dr. Radcliffe introduces his newest creation, A.I.D.A. the Life Model Decoy. Although LMDs are very much their own thing in the Marvel universe, this smacks of Age of Ultron (one of the MCU's poorest attempts at a villain). As the season finale just proved though, plot parallels and little nods to the greater MCU suit the show well, and I still have great faith in the ability of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. writers to tell a good story.

Hive might have fallen a little flat this season, especially in light of the hype surrounding the Secret Warriors and the tie-in with Civil War but, to be fair, the show still delivered some outstanding episodes this, so we know the writers are still very much capable of making us "feel all the things". It could also be that the introduction of the LMD as a threat will only last an episode or so before LMDs are reprogrammed and integrated as training devices for… more Inhumans, maybe? And now that Fitz is working with Dr. Radcliffe, I'm hoping we'll get to see more of Fitz and Simmons, especially after their momentous coming together was lost in the noise created by Hive.
The Season 3 finale was a defining moment for the show, and it pulled through exactly when it needed to. Between the multiple nods to the MCU, the return of Mack's new and improved shotgun-axe(!!!), and the reminder that Coulson is still a huge Star Wars nerd, there was a lot to love in the minutiae of this episode. So much has changed for our characters over the course of the season, and I'm excited to see what direction the show takes when it returns next fall.  
Best lines:
"Every time I see his face, I want to punch something."
"I can tell by your moustache that you're a man of importance and not to be trifled with."
"It's not a hunch, it's science.  It's a science hunch."
"I'm just here to here to offer a helping hand. Pun absolutely intended."
"Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."
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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

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