AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D: S03E16

PARADISE LOST – 6.5/10.

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In last week’s packed episode Coulson and his team discovered that the Hive had travelled to our world inside of Ward’s corpse, Malick’s loyalty was challenged by a vision of his own death, Andrew completed his transformation into Lash, and Daisy had a premonition that hinted towards the death of a team member. It was an emotionally charged episode that also featured several well delivered action sequences and as such it was always going to be a hard act to follow. Sadly this week’s offering failed to build on that momentum although we did learn more about Hive’s origin and Malick’s guilty past. We also saw Coulson continue to slide down into darkness and the return of a man he killed in cold blood can only make things worse.

The past came back to haunt several characters this week, but none more so than Gideon Malick. It was revealed through a series of flashbacks that the Malick family had long observed the selection ritual to send a “traveller” into the other dimension as an offering to Hive. In a surprising cameo, Daniel Whitehall revealed to a young Malick and his brother that their recently deceased father had been rigging the game for decades. Their father had used a marked stone to ensure that he was never selected to be the sacrifice. The brothers agree to dispose of the stone, taking their chances and remaining “together to the end.” Of course Malick kept the stone and rigged the ceremony resulting in his brother’s selection.

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Having witnessed his own death at Hive’s hands, Malick retreats to one of his homes to be with his daughter, Stephanie. However he is shocked to discover that Hive is already there and has called a meeting of the inner circle. Upon learning that Hive retains the memories of his hosts, Malick becomes even more fearful that he will soon be used as a sacrifice. Hive goes before the inner circle, revealing his true form to them, although not to us. Despite his vision, Malick escapes the gathering unscathed but he is shaken when Hive confronts him, using his brother’s words to address him. Malick confesses his betrayal to his daughter and she orders Hive to punish him for his lack of faith; however it is Stephanie rather than Malick who ends up being sacrificed.

Meanwhile, Coulson and his team do their best to come to terms with their new enemy. Having studied the remains of his victims from Transio they determine that Hive is in essence a parasite. His consciousness exists on a molecular level allowing him to devour his prey and reanimate the dead. Coulson sends Daisy and Lincoln to follow up a lead with a former resident of Afterlife, while the rest of the team investigates a Transio lab that Hive seems to have taken a particular interest in. Upon their arrival they encounter Giyera, he uses his telekinetic power to fend them off until Coulson traps him in an empty room with May. After yet another fantastic fight sequence she manages to pacify him by kicking him in his telekinetic testicles. Not cool May, not cool.

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Daisy and Lincoln’s mission leads them to the home of a reclusive Inhuman named James. Still bitter about jiaying’s refusal to allow him to undergo Terrigenesis, he isn’t exactly happy to see the Inhumans and they have to fight their way through a minefield to get to him. Lincoln bribes him with a Terrigen crystal to extract the information he has on Hive. James reveals that Hive was amongst the first Inhumans created by the Kree but he led the mutiny against them. After the Kree were driven away, Hive became such a threat that the Inhumans turned against him, banishing him to the other dimension. He gives them a Kree artefact but Lincoln refuses to give him the crystal, which inspires James to angrily reveal that Lincoln almost killed his ex-girlfriend before his transformation.

Back on the jet, Simmons reveals to Coulson that Transio were conducting experiments on birds and insects, however Hive has destroyed all the research. She theorises that this could in some way be the key to stopping him. Seeing Ward in any form is a constant torment for Coulson and Fitz witnesses an outpouring of rage from the director. Coulson admits to Fitz that he allowed Ward to win when he took his revenge on him, but the therapy session is cut short when Giyera escapes from his cell. He overpowers the crew and sends the jet crashing towards the ground, landing it in a base of some kind at the last moment. May is able to contact Daisy before being incapacitated by Giyera. Despite her visions, Daisy decides that now is the time to assemble her Secret Warriors.

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This was a reasonable episode of AOS that was marred by a few misfires; most notably the pointless backstory given to Lincoln, it did nothing for the character or the narrative. Similarly while Malick’s arc was interesting to a point it still felt like filler. Hive didn’t need to kill Stephanie to turn Malick against him; the vision of his death had already done that. Besides, we spent a total of four minutes with Stephanie so the impact of her death felt pretty minimal. Hive himself continues to be an intriguing character and James’ story gave us a fascinating look into the ancient history of the Inhumans. With the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. out of action it is now down to The Secret Warriors to save the day, but it remains to be seen if Daisy is leading at least one of them to their doom.

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • A huge chunk of Inhuman and Kree lore was revealed in this episode, it makes you wonder just how involved AOS will be with the Inhumans film.
  • Lash will likely play a large part in the final battle against Hive. Lincoln has repeatedly said that Inhumans’ powers were designed to meet an evolutionary need. Could Lash’s DNA have been created to help the Kree fight Hive?
  • It makes sense that swarm creatures like insects and birds would hold the key to defeating Hive as he is essentially a living swarm.
  • Hive seemed to take pleasure in avenging Malick’s betrayal of his brother. If that is the case and he really does carry the memories of his hosts, what could he have in store for Coulson?
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