The battle between the Agents of SHIELD and HIVE/Ward and his plans for an Inhuman world came to a climax this week. Sure enough, an agent does make the ultimate sacrifice, and someone else will not be the same again.
First off, we pause for a moment of silence for Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell), an Inhuman who could have made a great doctor. Instead, he sacrifices himself to stop HIVE/Ward (Brett Dalton) only because Daisy was so determined to do that herself.
It was interesting — the finale started with both her and Coulson in a containment unit, apparently in Maveth. It turned out to be part of the withdrawals from the sway H/W had on her. It may symbolize her fear that their efforts to stop H/W will wind up killing them.
Daisy is in a containment room, and Simmons has been talking to her about what H/W has planned. The others still feel the sting from what Daisy did to them, and she’s aware of that. When Mack says he forgives her, she can’t accept that. It’s a great scene, and a heartbreaking one. It’ll be the first of many. Daisy can’t forgive herself for what she did under H/W’s control, considering herself a criminal who should stay in a cell.
Meanwhile, H/W is planning to infect a major part of the world with terrigens to create an Inhuman world. He says he’s doing it to make the world better, and that he wants absolution. The agents are able to stop his first attempt by getting some kill codes and by getting past red tape thanks to some CGI trickery that Talbot (Adrian Pasdar), of all people, approves. They’re also able to slow down H/W by zapping his brain so that he recovers his Ward memories. He’s even trapped in gel with the help of Radcliffe (John Hannah), who’s decided he doesn’t want to be part of H/W’s plans.
Lincoln also admits that while Coulson thinks he can be a good SHIELD agent, he’d rather not stay with the team. That may be a hint of his ultimate decision.
The warhead is still in play, though. Thanks to Giyera (Mark Dacascos) and James aka Hellfire (Axle Whitehead), they managed to disconnect it from the rocket, and take over a Zephyr plane so it can be used to explode in the atmosphere. They’re also able to get H/W free with the help of some new Inhumans who used to be SHIELD personnel. Daisy actually approaches H/W and begs him to take her back. She just wants the pain she feels to go away. However, it turns out Lash made her immune when he removed H/W’s sway over her. He’s still able to grab her as a hostage to keep SHIELD away.
While this is happening, fans are trying to keep track of the Necklace of Doom, the cross they saw floating in Daisy’s vision. Mack has it for a while, then Daisy has it. She thinks that proves she has to sacrifice herself to get true absolution. May insists that Daisy must try to atone for her sins. After all, May has done some very unfortunate things for the greater good, and she’s tried to balance that, too.
It looked for a while that Elena (Natalie Cordova-Buckley) may be doomed when she used her speed to take a bullet that was fired at Mack. The crew was barely able to save her.
Eventually, Coulson decides to get a quinjet after H/W and the Zephyr, and he plans to do it alone. They have quite a confrontation where H/W shows his true self, and ponders taking over his body. Too bad Coulson was really a hologram as part of a distraction. Daisy’s able to reprogram the warhead, even though H/W is there. She’s willing to make the sacrifice, but her destiny isn’t what she thought. Lincoln arrives to take over the Zephyr and zap Daisy away from danger. He and H/W face their fate together. HIVE/Ward wonders why humanity should be saved, with all their flaws, but Lincoln says “they’re only human.” It’s also interesting that they’re also two guys Daisy really liked, and now they’re going together.
Below, Daisy desperately tries to find some way to save Lincoln, but it’s too late. It’s another tragic scene that looks quite familiar, especially to those who remember a young woman tearfully expecting a certain captain to keep a dancing date after World War II, knowing it would not happen.
So why did Lincoln die for Daisy’s mistakes, or as Coulson says, “all our mistakes”? He knew what Daisy was feeling. He was an addict once, had anger problems that cost him a girlfriend. Eventually he emerged from that, and became a better person. He wanted to show Daisy she can be better, too, and can still help people. He wasn’t sure what he would do after leaving SHIELD, or whether he could be better. So, he made the ultimate sacrifice.
That decision will put a major impact on the Agents of SHIELD, especially Coulson. His need for revenge against HIVE/Ward led to him coming to Earth, and he had to deal with him once and for all. That will affect him for the rest of his life.
As for Daisy Johnson. she is no longer SHIELD. She is no longer Daisy, or even Skye.
What happened to her may have been worse than death. All she wanted was to have a connection with someone. First, she had one with Ward before he turned to the dark side. Then, she had it with the agents. Once HIVE/Ward connected with her, she turned her back on SHIELD. She also questioned what being an agent has done to her converting her from a hacker to a soldier. Now, because of the guilt from what she did while under H/W’s control and losing Lincoln, she decides she’s better off alone.
She’still helping out Inhumans and their families. That includes Polly Hinton (Lola Glaudini), the wife of Charles Hinton, the homeless Inhuman who predicted the future. Daisy promised she’d look after his daughter. However, she’s also running from SHIELD. Her survivors’ guilt has caused her to generate damage and attention. No doubt the authorities want to use the Sokovia Accords to send her to that underwater prison the Avengers know about. Couslon and Mack are trying to find her, but they have to report to the new director of SHIELD.
As for Radcliffe, he has a new project. It’s making androids to possibly wind up as future SHIELD agents, or at least that’s the plan. They’re also called Life Model Decoys, and he’s hoping Fitz and Simmons can help.
So, season four may deal with whether Daisy can be an independent hero despite SHIELD trying to get her back, and if Man can build a better soldier. That could be more controversial than “enhancing” people.
Entertainment Weekly has an interview with showrunners Jed Whedon (who wrote the finale) and Maurissa Tanchareon about why they chose Lincoln as the Fallen Agent, their decision on the fate of Ward, and what will happen next. They talk even more about that in the Hollywood Reporter.
Also, here are interviews with Luke Mitchell in EW and Brett Dalton (who hopefully will be back on TV fast) at the Hollywood Reporter, plus one more EW article on the last day of filming for the current season.