Agents of SHIELD: 3.21 Absolution
Presented as a 2 hour finale in the states here we get the episodes split into two parts. The episode kicked off with a massive "what the f-" moment as Daisy is racked by a horrific dream. She feels guilt for what she did under Hive's sway and finds herself pushing everyone away as she goes through withdrawals. It means Chloe Bennett get's the chance to play some powerful scenes against her co-stars, especially her tearful break down in Mack's arms.
The episode starts at a great, breakneck speed. There is plenty going on in the episode's opening minutes that proves that when this show is firing on all cylinders it can deliver action, drama, humour and style (using the Quinjet as a submarine? Very cool). Following last episode's ruminations on the Sokovia Accords we see the downside of Government oversight firsthand - things take time. However it gives us one hilarious opportunity for Fitz to try out a little acting. It's funny, it has pace. It's exciting, breathless television.
The budding relationship between Mack and Rodriguez has been a slow burn, development. It's a sparky friendship that may lead to something more. This show might not always get it's love stories right, but here it does. This pairing also starts a game of follow the cross as we move towards Daisy's fateful vision.
The also team manage to affect Hive/Ward. It seems like a chance for Brett Dalton to really play, and enjoy his swansong on the show. It also feels like the writers have given Hive a more human feel for the final confrontation. He's really been on quite the journey since episode one, from the boy scout hero to dastardly villain, with a bit of creepy stalker thrown in for good measure. Dalton has been a joy to watch and whilst I know the character has served his time, he'll be missed.
The only part of this episode I didn't buy into completely was that SHIELD would leave the hangar doors to the secret base open the whole time? The pay off of Absolution's meaning was also a little underwhelming. Did they really know that Hive was going to get taken to the base? Or where to deliver the parts too? It was a weak joint in an otherwise fine script.
But, despite the creakiness of how we got there, the episode ended on a strong cliffhanger as Daisy begged to be taken back under Hive's sway. It was a largely successful episode that started well but lacked in the finish as they built up to part two. Hopefully the second half of this season finale can deliver.