Warning: spoilers for both last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America: Civil War are ahead!
This past weekend, Captain America: Civil War was finally released in U.S. theaters, plunging most of the MCU’s superheroes into a conflict over ideological differences. If you’ve been watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the last couple years, you know that every time Marvel releases a movie in May, the series ties into that release, and last night’s episode, “Emancipation,” was no exception. While the episode didn’t treat the audience to any cameos from the movie’s cast, the aftermath of the “event” was definitely felt as Phil Coulson and the rest of the team struggled with the new status quo surrounding enchanted beings.
In case you need a refresher on what went down in Captain America: Civil War, this whole thing kicked off with the passing of the Sokovia Accords. After various Avengers “incidents” across the globe, the most recent one taking place in Lagos, Nigeria against Crossbones and his team of mercenaries, the world’s governments decided that they’d had enough of superheroes and other enhanced beings running around unregulated,resulting in the legislation being passed requiring their registration. The Accords are now the law of the land, and for the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, that meant being visited by General Glenn Talbot (played by Adrian Pasdar), head of the ATCU and reluctant ally of the spy organization. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may not have any Avengers in the mix, but what they are plentiful in is Inhumans, and Talbot stopped by on the President’s behalf to convince Coulson to cooperate with the Accords.
Normally Coulson likes to give Talbot the runaround, but this time, he disclosed everything, showing him their hidden base underneath a dive bar and revealing the Inhuman agents they have on hand. However, Coulson was firm on not registering folks like Lincoln and Elena with the government, noting that S.H.I.E.L.D. operates in the shadows, and having their Inhuman allies on a list makes their job harder to do. Unfortunately, the latest developments involving Hive and his followers made it hard for Coulson to make his case to Talbot, who wants the government to intervene in this situation. Things somewhat worked themselves out by the end of the episode, but don’t be surprised if by the end of the season, S.H.I.E.L.D. is forced to comply with the Sokovia Accords and adjust how they utilize their enhanced operatives.
“Emancipation” also touched on the fates of two of Phil Coulson’s heroes: Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, and Peggy Carter, one of the founders of S.H.I.E.L.D. In Steve’s case, he’s on the run after refusing to align with the Sokovia Accords and dealing with Zemo in Siberia. He and his other anti-registration allies are still protecting the innocent on their terms, but they’re now considered criminals, and Steve has also abandoned the Star Spangled mantle. As for Peggy, she passed away at the age of 95, and we saw Steve at her funeral in the movie. With her death and Agent Carter Season 3 looking unlikely, it’s unclear when if/when we’ll see Peggy again in the MCU, but it was obvious that Coulson was upset with her being gone and Steve being a fugitive.
There’s still quite a few loose ends to tie up in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3, but the events of Captain America: Civil War will most certainly continue to be felt in Season 4. Season 3’s two-part finale airs next Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.