Danny Hale reviews the fifteenth episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3…
With series creators Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen penning the script and Kevin Tancharoen directing it was no real surprise that this weeks Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stood out. With little preamble our team headed into the field to investigate a call for Daisy. We were quickly introduced to a new Inhuman, a recently homeless man named Charles. If he makes physical contact with anybody both parties are subjected to visions that show the death of another person. It was a cool mechanic and set up the episode nicely; from HYDRA’s amazingly blatant public attack to Edwin getting gunned down and Charles being taken from right in front of Daisy, I was invested right away. We know how empathetic Daisy is and so for her to lose two civilians immediately followed by an ominous vision showing more doom for her friends establishes the stakes and Daisy’s investment in rescuing Charles. Also kudos to Fitz for explaining the 4th dimension; it was a great little analogy and as well as easily explaining space/time for me it also cleverly planted the notion that everything in Daisy’s vision would come to pass regardless of their actions and that thought stayed at the back of my mind for the entire episode.
This week also gave us our first proper introduction to a full strength Hive! With this newly restored body clearly came the creature’s wits; he demonstrated extreme assertiveness and saw right through Malick, reading his fears and desires. The Hive reveals it has Coulson’s artificial hand so he and Malick then make steps to acquiring the company that built it, Transia. Buying such a high-tech company is an exciting plot development and creates great possibilities for future enemies or weapons. Also, seeing the vision of the Hive murdering Transia’s board members was particularly chilling as it followed Fitz’s analogy. It was interesting to see Malick gear up too; I never really expected to see Malick fight, I assumed that was what we had the Hive for but now HYDRA seems to be forming its own team, which I am all for. What really piqued my interest was when Gideon was presented with a human to kill he declined. I started to question was he actually a killer himself? The Hive also made the distinction between shooting someone and feeling the life leave a body with your own hand just to make the act that Malick was about to carry out all the more powerful. Watching TV shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. it’s very easy to be desensitised to characters being killed, especially with the amount of cannon fodder we see meet their end by guns but the Hive’s little speech greatly enforced the weight behind Malick’s murder. I wasn’t sure if it was hearing that Coulson was able to kill a man with his own hands, as if it was a matter of strength, or because the Transia CEO hit him but Malick crushing his skull was nasty. Gideon’s murder coupled with the Hive’s horrific killing of the Transia men is the kind of damage we need to see our enemies inflict in order to create a real sense of threat.
Daisy really shone this week and it’s so nice to see how far she has come and grown since her hacker beginnings as Skye. The interview she had with Charles’ wife was a great scene too; quickly establishing Charles’ character and his powers. Then later, to avoid leaving the base and therefore fulfilling her visions Daisy attempts to train May from memory, teaching her how to take out a room full of enemies as she saw herself do in her vision. Along with being an awesome idea on May’s part it made a great scene too and got me really geared to see May or Daisy kick those guys’ asses for real. Another important note is that it was this scene that sold me on the idea that May would in fact go on the mission and leave Daisy behind making Andrew’s eventual reveal all the more unexpected. Daisy ends up going solo but walks right into Malick in his new gear. As I said it was great to see Malick get physical but I wish he hadn’t gotten the jump on Daisy; I would have loved for her to have gotten to fight him properly. All things in good time I guess! The main question I’m left with now is does Daisy know who is going to perish in the qunijet or has she only seen what we’ve seen? At the very least we know at least one person is going to die.
Since the season returned I’ve been waiting to see more May and this week didn’t disappoint. From her initial outburst over Daisy and Fitz using all the servers to locate Charles’ location to her final moment with Andrew, Ming-Na Wen oozed conviction. May has always been an incredibly strong character on this show and Ming-Na Wen clearly has a deep understanding of her role. Andrew’s return was inevitable but still surprising to happen at such an important time. I absolutely loved that May was still fully intending on going on her mission and stated she felt no attachment to Andrew. It all feeds into May’s “the mission is what matters attitude” while also her defensiveness as a person. It’s solid character writing and a clear by-product of Jed and Maurissa writing the script. I think it was important that Andrew got to explain his condition a bit more and I appreciated that he embraced how he is part Andrew and part Lash. He also maintains Lash has a purpose, a higher calling maybe. This was suggested when Lash first appeared and I was afraid it was dropped but here it is linked to what Lincoln reiterated this week to Coulson that Inhumans are part of a grand design. I’m personally hoping Lash may stick around in some capacity; it could create a very interesting dynamic with May a la Wesley and Illyria on Angel. If this is the last we are to see of Andrew then at least he left handing himself over to S.H.I.E.L.D. (which was actually a very smart idea) and I’m delighted he and May got a moment. Andrew got to tell her how much he loved her and how she was the centre of the greatest moments in his life. May needed to hear that and in some ways got the goodbye she needed.
Spacetime was an incredibly engaging episode overall. Props have to be given to the writers for presenting us with visions of the future while having our characters actually actively avoid the moments in said visions. Then to have everyone fall into place in spite of that and it still be one of the best episodes of the season is just a bonus. Of course Ward/Hive would pull Coulson into the open and out of the base, his appearance may be about the only thing that would have and only Andrew with Coulson’s insistence would have made May stay behind and hand over the assignment. Was it all meant to be? Who’s death did Malick see when Charles touched him? His own? His daughter’s? Whomever, it was enough to make Malick flee and as we saw in the post credits scene, it was enough to make him afraid. With only seven episodes still to air we now have a strong side for the villains and a definite sense of threat. Daisy’s vision of the quinjet nearly confirms we’re about to lose someone else and we’ve only just lost Bobbi and Hunter but all is not bleak; Lincoln followed an order this week! He stepped down when Coulson told him to, he also had taken a fire extinguisher to the head but I choose to believe he learned from his trip with Coulson last week. Progress!
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