Spoilers for season three episode 19 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
“Sometimes the world’s greatest miracles happen by accident,” says Daisy a little too ominously early in “Failed Experiments.” It’s an episode that is doing some heavy lifting for what is to come, we should hope. It was sluggish opening up, and didn’t have much payoff.
Yet, it still worked putting us in the mindset of these characters entering the final two weeks (three episodes) of the season. Coulson seems less concerned with saving Daisy, Hive is completely focused on turning the world into Inhumans and the Kree have arrived.
1. Holy Backstory
The episode starts off in a flashback, giving some backstory on Hive, which is like the story of the origin of Inhumans. It’s not totally clear what kind of Kree experiment Hive was. Why make wind-y, parasite-y Hive as separate from the Inhumans?
Or is there a slightly different backstory than we saw before and get in the comics? Is he more of an Apocalypse to the Inhumans? One of the Kree warriors later calls Hive a failed experiment — ding ding ding, you said the magic word — but that’s something that could apply to Inhumans as well.
2. Couple Civil War Notes
We didn’t get the tie-in to Captain America: Civil War that’s been teased, but Hove does the “Jurassic Park” thing where you say the name of the show inside the show with Civil War. It (Hive) says “civil war” at a point when it seems like “war” would have done just fine.
It follows it up by saying, “Only billionaires can build suits, only the military can create super-soldiers. Which can only lead to a war of its own; whereas I look to apply a more collectivist philosophy.” (Collectivist, you say? The demon is a collectivist? Marvel, what are you, DC, with the 60s-ish fear of communism… On the other hand this town bears a resemblance to Flint, and weren’t the Watch Dogs a little tea party-ish?)
Might you be talked about Iron Man and Captain America and a civil war, Hive? It’s so veiled how could we know? Your soliloquy wasn’t awkward at all. Totally natural.
3. And About Hive
Hive seems almost all-powerful back in Maveth. It destroys worlds, jumps planets, has worshippers in Hydra, is a parasite capable of taking over minds.
But the more we see Hive, the less interesting it is.
Plus, doesn’t it seem to wield less and and less control over its subjects? By the end of the episode it wants to bail on Daisy for being unpredictable when it had previously had the ability to plant ideas and make an Inhuman’s purpose Hive’s purpose.
Kree reapers? Yes please. They come and do battle. It’s the first real prolonged look we’ve had at Kree on the show.
5. Daisy Isn’t In There
Everything in the episode works to exhaust the notion that the old Daisy is in still inside the new Daisy. She attacks Mack and might have killed him if it weren’t for Mae coming in and saving him.
But with Hive showing that he doesn’t have complete control at the end, this seems weirdly misplaced. Yes, her purpose is Hive’s purpose and she’s still her own person, but it’s getting increasingly flimsy as we approach the finale.
6. Emergency Evacuation
Don’t those evacuation rooms remind you of Dr. Who?
7. Take Us to Space
With the visions Daisy had earlier in the season we know that we’re heading to space at some point here. There’s been very little indication of how this show is headed to space.
The arrival of two Kree reapers is the first nod toward space that we have. They come crashing into the abandoned Wyoming town Hive has taken over. Space. How are we getting there?
8. Who Will Die?
The whole push that someone is going to die is getting old. They are leaning into it hard in episode previews and teasers, and Daisy said it over and over earlier in the season (actually this is the first time in a bit we haven’t heard her say it).
Saying someone will die in the season finale feels like something out of the 90s designed to drive ratings. With a show like this, the show shouldn’t have to tell us that someone is going to die. There should always be that risk. That’s important to the tension of the show and may actually be a shortcoming the show has had lately. It never feels like there’s real danger when they’re trying to show us danger. It never feels like there’s any chance someone could die.
9. Who Will Die?
Ok, now that the complaints are out of the way, who is going to die? The lack of deaths and departures — unless you’re working on a pilot for another show — makes it seem like a major character is unlikely to pass. One of the Secret Warriors who isn’t Daisy? That makes sense, but would kind of be a low-stakes let down.
Who do you have?