Agents of Shield: 3.16 Paradise Lost/3.17 The Team
The last two episodes of SHIELD have made for a thrillingly mixed bag of twists and turns, some leftfield, some kinda predictable. The action has been fantastic and some excellent performances have delivered high drama that was both exciting and deeply touching.
Paradise Lost was the weaker of the two episodes. The introduction of Malick's brother in flashback made the big reveal that the minds of Hive's victims live on no big secret. There was no real surprise in revealing this was a tale of brotherly revenge, though the death of Stephanie was something unexpected - making her character purely functional in the long term - and knowing all that we did made Ward/Hive kissing Stephanie dip into creepy incest territory that was genuinely quite unsettling and dark for this show.
It looks like the MCU is finally shaking off Hydra (though it was nice to see Whitehall back briefly) so it will be exciting to see what villains we can look forward to next season and throughout Phase 3. The Australian Inhuman wannabe James was an interesting side quest and I wonder if we will see him return in a villainous capacity, especially seeing as Daisy and Lincoln didn't leave on good terms.
There was plenty of action and it was fun to see May go up against Giyera, reminding us that never everyone needs powers to kick ass on this team. However, the most exciting element of this episode was that cliffhanger and the call to bring together the Secret Warriors.
It's taken 17 episodes to put the Secret Warriors initiative together and The Team really delivered. They had fun team dynamics and their powers were used brilliantly. It's a testament to the whole production team, writers, directors and fx crews that they gave us so much fun stuff in a relatively short amount of time. And this is where the introduction of powered people becomes an issue - the rescue was over in minutes, potentially giving us too easy an out - that Inhuman powers are designed to fulfill a purpose giving the writers carte blanche to make up whatever they need - robbing the previous cliffhanger of some of it's weight and urgency.
Also, despite Daisy's complaining about how slow the quinjet was, the team in the Zephyr still held the plane for some time before locking themselves in that room. Still, the time it takes to get around the globe didn't seem as variable as it does in Civil War (my only real nitpick about an otherwise awesome movie).
Those complaints are soon forgotten though as the team slowly turned on itself, echoing the plot of Marvel's latest movie sure but also raising another issue. We've waited 17 episodes to see The Secret Warriors together and now they've been disbanded! Ward/Hive had created a mole in the team and Malick was their target. It was a thrilling game of guess who and plenty of fun to watch. Though when it all kicked off I couldn't help noticing the team were concerned with blocking the door but forgetting they had locked themselves in a room surrounded by windows. The twists and turns were exciting but I couldn't say I was surprised by the final reveal.
There was plenty of room for smaller dramas too. Fitz and Simmons getting together was genuinely played, funny and touching. In fact, the whole cast are firing on all cylinders here, with so much going on, they are completely energised and have as much going on as their movie counterparts. With Daisy bringing down the SHIELD base around her colleagues, the ground work has been laid for what promises to be an exciting race to the finish line. Just what does Hive have planned for Daisy as we enter the Fallen Agent story arc.