Danny Hale reviews the nineteenth episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3…
Kicking off the final four episodes of the season Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. opened with the origin of Hive. We saw how an encounter with the Kree forever changed the once primitive man when he was infused with their own blood sparking his terrigenesis. Present day we learnt that three HYDRA tops remained faithful after Malick’s betrayal and that Hive plans to recreate the procedure performed on him long ago with these officials. ‘Failed Experiments’ lived up to its title and went further to explore Hive’s thrall and its unsettling powers of persuasion.
In the wake of Daisy’s absence and his clash with Alisha Lincoln is beginning to come apart but it must be noted that as annoying as his behaviour may be to some at least his actions are in line with his character and what we expect from him. In short Lincoln hates feeling useless and trapped and needs to do something to help get Daisy back. This leads him to then offer himself up as a subject for FitzSimmons’ anti-toxin, even in the face of probable failure with various and extreme consequences. Fitz and Simmons share the same concerns but ultimately come to alternating conclusions. Coulson gives the final call and refuses to take the risk leaving Lincoln not best pleased and forbidden from taking the anti-toxin. It was nice that this scene opened up the first opportunity for Fitz and Simmons to have a disagreement in work and to see how they handled it outside of that in their own relationship. They handled it very well but granted it was a small disagreement and I’m sure things will only escalate. I loved seeing another glimpse of Fitz and Simmons’ rich history together with the small piece about Simmons’ ex-boyfriend Milton spurring a natural and believable imitation by Fitz. It’s these small moments that reinforce the years these characters have together but more importantly, irked Fitz is adorable.
Mack, somewhat innocently believes that Daisy still harbours some of her goodness within and while she reveres Hive she also retains her own memories and therefore presents a chance to be reasoned with. Mack and May then prepare to lead a team on a hit on Hive once they secure his location. They are accompanied by four volunteers from Operations, two of which were afforded a small amount of screen time, agents Piper and O’Brien. These present two possible additions for our cast especially going into the finale mini-arc. If they are to survive or are simply end of season cannon fodder is yet to be seen. Mack also received a talk from May about getting his head in check; his personal attachment to Daisy is causing him to fret. Mack’s following speech shaped him up to do something reckless but I just hope that he got the heroics out of his system this week and doesn’t set himself up to be killed in the coming episodes.
On the Daisy front her conversation with James highlighted how she feels about her team; as she sees it, they simply don’t “understand” and therefore their actions are caused by their own ignorance. This presents an interesting dilemma; it is clear for us that Daisy is on the wrong side as we can see the horrific acts Hive is performing and those of others in his name but as Daisy believes it she just has a deeper understanding of the world and reality, This presents an intriguing and slightly frightening scenario; one of the most powerful forces that can drive someone is sheer and utter belief and Daisy now harbours that for the wrong side. She has the power, conviction and worst of all the need to carry out Hive’s plans making her a complex and daunting villain for our team. To escalate matters more Hive then signals a band of Kree hunters (reapers) to their location. The aliens crash-land into the midst of our team’s mission and as they are powerful enough to defeat Hive May hopes they can carry out S.H.I.E.L.D.’s job for them. It doesn’t stop her speculating as to why Hive would call in such a dangerous foe however. The answer is that Hive needs live Kree blood for his experiments so tasks Daisy with bringing one in. Daisy steps up and impressively takes down the ‘smurf’ with what I can only describe as a bloodless fatality a la Mortal Kombat. Dark Daisy is awesome.
Back at base, disregarding orders, Lincoln injects the anti-toxin into himself and refuses Simmons’ help to dull the ensuing pain. If anything at least we are seeing how much Lincoln cares for Daisy and just how far he is willing to go for her. We’ve been hearing about his devotion for a while, now I’m starting to believe him. Unfortunately despite Lincoln’s bravery/stupidity Simmons tells him the experiment failed. I personally am not so sure if that’s the last we’ll hear about it but we’ll have to wait and see.
May and Mack’s team reach Hive’s recently acquired town and May beautifully dupes James into spilling the information they need. It was great to see May utilise her other skills besides kicking ass better than anyone else and her efforts reward them with Hive’s location, a nearby abandoned mining facility. On arrival the squad observe Hive’s encounter with his makers. We as an audience finally got to see Hive get physical with an adversary and his win was almost effortless. May and her team then opened fire which only revealed Hive’s unsettling regenerative abilities causing May to order the retreat. Mack meanwhile ran to encounter Daisy and as heartfelt and honest as his attempt at appealing to her better nature was, it was nevertheless unsettling as I never truly believed Daisy would buy it. Sadly in light of Hive’s control of Daisy her human relationship with Mack pales in comparison, reduced to something she can rationalise and set aside. Her attachment to Mack is purely on a human level and it appears Daisy has surpassed this. Mack’s kindness was nearly his undoing here; it may have taken a few minutes and he may have gotten his say but Daisy was ready to kill him right there and then. His attempt was not in vain though as he managed to destroy the live Kree specimen halting Hive’s work. The team narrowly retreat to lick their wounds, Mack’s injuries more serious than others and start to formulate a new plan of action.
Despite airing after Captain America: Civil War’s tremendous opening weekend any reference to its events in ‘Failed Experiments’ were appropriately subtle; I was actually anticipating a name drop and feared it would be completely unnecessary and awkward in its delivery so I was delighted with how it was handled; there’s really no need to pull the MCU into our story right now, there’s more than enough happening. With team Hive post-credits, Daisy well and truly severed her final ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. as she revealed to Hive that she has Kree blood pumping through her veins, as we saw happen in season one and then offering herself to be drained for the cause. On a final note the HYDRA official getting pretty much melted was pretty gruesome; lately this series seems to be pushing the levels of violence they can show. I also loved that May called it out that everyone’s squabbling for blame for Daisy’s defection is tired. May keeping it real. One more week then we say goodbye to someone for good in the two-part finale. I love two part-finales and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. always delivers in its final hours. Now, we await ‘Emancipation’.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/197064794″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=fale” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]