Sunday, April 24, 2016

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3, Episode 17: The Team

After a very long wait, this week on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. we finally get to see the debut of Daisy and her Secret Warriors. They were teased at the end of Season 2, and most viewers thought they'd make their debut early on this season, so it's about damned time they showed up. 

The Secret Warriors were quite a fun and effective little team too! It was fun watching them finally cut loose and get to use their powers against HYDRA. The way they worked together as a team was reminiscent of the "money shots" in The Avengers movies, but on a TV budget.

Unfortunately it was over all too quickly. In fact everything about the Secret Warriors moved at a breakneck pace. In the space of just one episode we saw the team come together for the first time, complete a successful mission and then be torn apart by mistrust and suspicion. Jesus, would it have killed them to let them be a team for two or three episodes before ripping them apart? What the hell's the hurry? I'd much rather have spent a few more episodes with the Secret Warriors than see Mockingbird and Hunter interrogated by Russians for an hour.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON!

I kind of felt bad for Malick in this episode. Yes, he's a ruthless, evil bastard, but in the past couple of episodes he's seen everything he's ever worked for crumble into rubble. He lost his beloved daughter, he's been betrayed by the "god" he worshiped his entire life, and he's even seen a glimpse of how he's going to die. I was hoping he would team up with Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. long enough to take out Hive Ward before it's too late. I guess it wasn't to be.

I was also a bit miffed by Malick's underwhelming death. It didn't even happen on camera! We did finally get to see Daisy kill him in a very brief flashback, but still... a villain of his magnitude deserved a bigger sendoff than this.

In this episode FitzSimmons mention that Lucio's brain is completely infected and controlled by Hive's spores, but they believe the process can be reversed. Obviously this was brought up so we don't worry too much about Daisy being possessed, since she'll no doubt be purged of Hive's influence at some point. 

I'm also wondering the writers mentioned this as a potential way of flushing Hive from Ward's system, as a half-baked method of redeeming him and keeping him on the show for another season. I hope not. As much as I like hating the character, better he should go out with a bang than a redeeming whimper.

I still think Lash will have a part to play in the season finale. There's no way they brought him back a few episodes ago just so he could say goodbye to May.

Lastly, this week Marvel Studios announced they've indefinitely postponed their planned Inhumans movie. I was afraid of that, especially after they announced that Sony's allowing them to make Spider-Man movies.

The fact that Marvel Studios doesn't own the movie rights to Spider-Man, the Fantastic 4 and the X-Men is why they've given us such fun and offbeat superhero films like Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ant-ManThey'd no doubt have pumped out a Spider-Man movie every year since 2008 if they'd had the rights, denying us films about more obscure characters.

It's sort of a double-edged sword. Yes, Spider-Man's back at Marvel where he belongs, but at the cost of potentially more interesting movies.

I doubt this news will have any effect on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Inhuman plotline though, as filming on this season no doubt wrapped months ago.

The Plot:
In an effort to rescue S.H.I.E.L.D. from HYDRA, Daisy assembles her Secret Warriors. She signals Joey and Yo-yo (interrupting their respective plans for the evening) and picks them up in the Quinjet. Daisy explains the mission to the team and they parachute (!) from the plane.

Coulson and the others are holed up inside Zephyr One, which is inside the HYDRA base. Giyera and Lucio try to break into the plane. Suddenly the Secret Warriors burst through the wall of the base. Daisy, Lincoln, Joey and Yo-yo all use their powers to efficiently wipe out the HYDRA grunts. They then split up to look for the S.H.I.E.L.D. members.

Daisy finds the Zephyr One, while Lincoln captures Gideon Malick. During the battle Lucio freezes Lincoln. Joey stabs and kills Lucio with a piece of metal, which visibly disturbs him. The Warriors free Coulson and the others, and May flies the Zephyr out.

As the plane flies off, Giyera says he failed to deliver S.H.I.E.L.D. Hive Ward says don't worry about it, as they now have "one on the inside." Naturally we're meant to think he means Malick.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Coulson questions Malick. He says he regrets brining Hive to Earth, as he's now uncontrollable and pursuing his own agenda. He warns Coulson that "a reckoning is coming," and the Inhumans on his team now serve Hive, who almost certainly infected them at the HYDRA base. Coulson isn''t sure whether to believe his mortal enemy or not, but orders Mack to lock down the base.

FitzSimmons examine Lucio's body and discover it's still warm, and exhibiting cellular activity. They put him in quarantine. Meanwhile the Inhumans are puzzled by the lockdown, and want to go home. Daisy questions Coulson, who lies and says he locked down the base because of Malick.

Gradually the Inhumans all start exhibiting twitchy behavior, and grow suspicious of one another. FitzSimmons examines Lucio's brain, and find it's infected with Hive's spores. Just then the power goes out. Mack runs down a corridor and sees the interrogation room door is ajar. He looks inside and sees Malick lying dead on the floor (!), with a S.H.I.E.L.D.-issue disintegration grenade next to him. He dives for cover as the grenade goes off, vaporizing Malick's body. Kind of an anticlimactic demise for such an important villain, but whatever. 

Coulson tries to round up Daisy and the other Inhumans in the common area, but they demand to know what's going on. Coulson fesses up and says Hive Ward can use his spores to control the minds and wills of any other Inhuman, and one of them may be infected. The Inhumans all scoff, but then immediately begin suspecting and accusing one another.

The Inhumans lock themselves in the common room. Joey's determined to get out. Lincoln agrees that's a good idea, and they should all sneak out if possible. Daisy says there's a secret elevator inside S.H.I.E.L.D. that leads to outside.

Daisy was just playing them though, and leads them all into a containment unit and locks them inside. Coulson suspects Lincoln is infected, because they found the Kree Orb in his locker. Lincoln tries to break out, but Daisy blasts him with her quake powers. 

With Lincoln in custody, Daisy feels her first time as leader of a team was a disaster. Coulson tells her it wasn't her fault, but says the Secret Warriors have to be disbanded, because they're vulnerable to Hive Ward.

Daisy goes down to the containment unit to see Lincoln. She tells him she knows he wasn't the one who betrayed the team, and she's there to bust him out. She says the two of them can escape and start new lives somewhere. Lincoln doesn't think that's a very good idea. He suddenly realizes Daisy is the one who's infected. Hive Ward infected her right after she located the Zephyr One in the HYDRA base. She's also the one who killed Malick.

Lincoln tells Daisy to fight it, but she says she's happier than she's ever been. Lincoln refuses to go with her, so Daisy leaves without him. She grabs the Kree Orb and all the Terrigen crystals from the lockup. She then uses her powers to collapse the hanger onto Zephyr One. The ceiling collapses on Coulson and the others. Daisy walks out unharmed.

Meanwhile Hive Ward tells Giyera that it's time to find Daisy, or Skye, as he still calls her. Giyera mentions that Malick was a billionaire, and they have access to his fortune. Hive Ward suggests they spend it.

Thoughts: 
• In the comics, the members of the Secret Warriors were introduced in 2008, in Mighty Avengers #13, and they appeared as a team for the first time in Secret Invasion #3.

The initial membership was Nick Fury, Daisy Johnson, Yo-yo, Stonewall (the son of the Absorbing Man, who's appeared a couple of times on the show), Eden Mesi (a teleporter), Sebastian Druid (son of Marvel Comic character Doctor Druid) and Alexander Aaron (son of Ares, God Of War).

• Interesting to see two Spanish-speaking members on a superhero team. That's gotta be a first.

• Last week we found out that the name of the first Inhuman was "Alveus." This week we find out that's Latin for "hive."

I still think "Alveus" sounds like an allergy medicine.

• I very much enjoyed the interrogation scene between Coulson and Malick, which was a goldmine of great lines:
Malick: "Oh no, Mr. Coulson. It is a god. It’s just not ours.” 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Malick:  “I believed that I could resurrect a god. But instead I freed the Devil.”
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Coulson: "So I hunted down and murdered Grant Ward. Not to serve any good. Not to serve any belief. I wanted revenge. I wanted to feel him die."
Malick: That's the sin that gave your Devil new life. 
  --------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Coulson: "Tell me how to stop him."
Malick: "This god has outlived..."
Coulson: "I've met gods. Gods bleed."
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Malick: I never saw my last rodeo being with S.H.I.E.L.D."
• During the interrogation, Malick says Coulson doesn't know what it's like to be brought up in faith. Coulson says, "We we're C and E Catholics."

OK, I admit I had no idea what that meant, and had to look it up. A "C and E Catholic" is one who only attends Mass on Christmas and Easter. I don't think that's a purely Catholic thing— I think all religions have their C and E members.

• I was definitely surprised by the reveal that Daisy was the infected Inhuman. My money was on Lincoln, especially after he revealed a ton of backstory last week, something which generally spells doom for a character.

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