Agents of SHIELD: 3.18 The Singularity
The Agents pick up the pieces from Daisy's devastating attack on their home base in a fun, action packed episode that packs some exciting sci-fi ideas. Daisy could have killed them all but didn't, perhaps she isn't entirely the fallen agent marketing wanted you to believe.
Despite the previous episode's dramatic reveal, there is a lightness of touch here as the team assess the damage. May's "no one comes to me with my feelings" line is priceless - her wit matched by her impressive piloting skills and some equally impressive effects work. It's a fun, spark intro to the episode that shows energy and momentum.
Fitz and Simmons awkward conversations about looking after each other ("you mean, once we have sex?") was every bit as frank, funny and tender as they have been throughout this season and provided a very human story in an otherwise fantastical adventure. To see them finally consummate their relationship was cheer worthy for those rooting for the pair since day one. The scene between Simmons and Hive, was also particularly effective, by turns creepy and an empowering moment for her.
It was great to see John Hannah here (though had guessed it was him in the chair all along). He's a fun actor who has equal dramatic and comedy chops, clearly enjoying his role here. The writers finding interesting complications for our heroes to deal with that explore interesting ideas. It was nice to hear Tony Stark called "the futurist" in Civil War and it's exciting to see some more out there, fantastical sci-fi ideas being expressed. The transhuman bar is genuinely exciting bit of sci-fi and ripe for a few gags. One has to wonder if the writers have maybe been playing a bit of Deus Ex.
But it's not to say the episode isn't without flaws. The show is starting to suffer the same problem that plagued some of the early MCU Phase 2 films - why aren't they calling the Avengers in? Coulson is acting like kind of a jerk with Lincoln's murder vest whilst refusing to see harm come to Daisy. Lincoln doesn't yet feel part of the team here, but whilst I can understand his frustrations he too needs to get himself together. I never quite feel invested in his story. Coulson realises on some level he is no better than Hive. Whilst I think that's unfair, he's certainly operating in the shades of grey that Fury did when he was running SHIELD.
The main issue is Ward's team turning up out of the blue as and when the writers needed them to. Whilst I'm all for big dramatic reveals as Coulson and Ward/Hive move their chess pieces, it was never really satisfyingly explained how Hive was able to get where he does. And with so much going on, some elements suffered. Talbot and the ATCU finally cutting off all the heads of Hydra was massively undeveloped and considering the role they have played in the MCU to date, the end of Hydra seems to have come with a whimper instead of a bang.
This episode also saw some improvement over previous installments, particularly the return of James, now given Inhuman powers and it seems, better writing to work with as he is a much more interesting character in this episode and genuinely funny. Also having a blast was Clark Gregg as Coulson who in a crowd pleasing moment revealed his light shield ("I thought it would be cool if the Director of SHIELD had a SHIELD"). Captain America had something very similar in the late 90's/early 00's and it was very cool to see that idea play out here.
Overall a fun though flawed episode with pace, energy and a great sense of humour.