Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.16: "Paradise Lost"

“He was selfish. He gets it from our father. They were both too afraid to make a true sacrifice.”

There were some interesting advances in the mythology in this episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” We learned a lot about Gideon’s past, and how there is a tension behind the traditional beliefs of those who sought to bring Hive back from Maveth and what Hydra became, even though Gideon straddled both worlds. The rest of the inner circle is informed that Hive exists, and we get to see his true nature. Daisy and Lincoln also pay a visit to a very odd Australian man who is a potential Inhuman who was never turned. The episode had a moving the pieces in place for the endgame feel to it, but there were still some interesting moments. I think the exposition about Gideon’s past was necessary to earn a big moment that happened near the end of the episode. Which I’ll talk about more later, of course!

We begin the episode with a flashback to 1970. Gideon’s father has just died, and he and his brother, Nathaniel, are summoned to see Whitehall. Gideon balks at this, saying his family has never agreed with Whitehall’s Hydra. Nathaniel, however, points to the car waiting for them and says they don’t really have a choice. In the present day, Gideon arrives back at the family home, where he is greeted by his daughter, Stephanie. She lets Gideon know that Hive is already there. Inside the house, Hive appears and says he has called the whole inner circle to the Malick estate to show them is true nature. Gideon seems very uneasy about how Hive seems to have taken over his own home.

At S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, everyone is still reeling from the big reveal that Ward is back, now in Hive form. May and Coulson have a chat about how Coulson is feeling about the situation. Coulson seems genuinely unnerved that he enjoyed killing Ward (not typical for Coulson) and now Ward is back. Daisy and FitzSimmons are studying some of Hive’s victims in their lab when they are summoned to a meeting with Coulson. They think Ward’s body is possessed by the evil creature from Maveth, and they’d be right. Coulson tells the team that he wants to figure out what Gideon wanted with Transia, in the hopes that it will lead them to Hive. The best hope is an agrochemical subsidiary of Transia that a paramilitary group has just taken over. All of the team but Daisy and Lincoln are going to go check out the agrochemical company. Daisy and Lincoln are going to the Badlands to pay a visit to an Inhuman from Afterlife who might have information about Hive.

At the Malick estate, Gideon tells Stephanie that when Charles, the Inhuman from the last episode, touched him, he had a vision of his own death. Stephanie says he should ask Hive for help, but there’s just one small problem. Hive is the one responsible for Gideon’s death, and he knows it. In our next flashback to 1970, the Malick brothers speak with Whitehall. Whitehall wants the boys to choose Hydra over their father’s beliefs, because it comes down to that age-old conflict of science versus religion. Whitehall implies that the elder Malick didn’t really believe in the religion anyway, and he used sleight of hand to avoid being chosen to travel to Maveth. Whitehall encourages the boys to go find their father’s copy of “Paradise Lost.” Back in the present day, Gideon tells Stephanie that he thinks Hive is going to kill him when the inner circle gathers that night. Stephanie tries to reassure Gideon, telling him he needs to remind Hive how important he is.

On their way to the Badlands, Daisy is distracted by the memory of the future vision she received in the last episode, but Lincoln snaps her out of it. We learn a little backstory about who they are on their way to visit. He once showed up at afterlife, raided the archives, and muttered about an ancient Inhuman with resurrection powers. Understandably, he was banished. Lincoln thought the potential Inhuman in question was crazy until Hive actually showed up. James, the potential Inhuman, is quite a character. Daisy and Lincoln try to not use their powers, since James is still bitter about not having his own. He has rigged his property with land mines, however, and when Daisy steps on one, it’s emergency time. Daisy uses her powers to both get away to safety and explode all the landmines. James tries to retaliate, but Lincoln zaps him.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, the team makes progress learning more about Hive. FitzSimmons examine microscopic organisms found on Hive’s victims, and they tell Coulson that they think these organisms are what Hive uses to kill people and reanimate their corpses. Mack interrupts with intel that Giyera is at the agrochemical company. Coulson briefs the team before they head out to try and capture Giyera. Giyera can only control non-biological items in his line of site, so Fitz installs handprint locks on all their weapons. By the time the team arrives at GT Agrochemical, however, the place has been cleared out and they can’t find any information on what the company was up to. All that remains are some very large insects.

At the Malick estate, Hive and Gideon have another conversation. Hive mentions how impressed he is with Stephanie, and Gideon asks if he (Hive) retains the memories of previous hosts. Hive doesn’t answer straight-up, just saying that all will be made clear later that night. In a flashback, we see that Gideon and Nathaniel have discovered the significance of their father’s copy of “Paradise Lost.” Inside the book is a notched white stone that their father used to avoid drawing the black stone and traveling to Maveth. Nathaniel is disgusted, but while Gideon is somewhat disappointed, he convinces Nathaniel to keep the faith and agree to do the choosing ceremony together the way it was supposed to be done. In the present day, Gideon greets the rest of the Inner Circle as they arrive. Hive appears, and they are doubtful that he is who he says he is. Until he reveals his true form, that is.

When James comes to from Lincoln’s attack, he expresses surprise that Lincoln was allowed to undergo Terrigenesis. Lincoln and Daisy tell James that Jaiying is dead and they are representing S.H.I.E.L.D. now. They offer James a terrigen crystal in exchange for information on Hive. James shows them an orb he stole from Afterlife. He has been told it was taken from an ancient Inhuman, Alveus, who was bread to be the leader of the Inhuman army and led the revolt against the Kree. The Kree allied themselves with humans to banish him. Lincoln and Daisy take the orb and leave without turning over the crystal, and James yells about Lincoln killing a previous girlfriend. Daisy and Lincoln naturally have to talk this out later, and we learn that Lincoln was a rather violent alcoholic pre-Terrigenesis. He thinks Afterlife saved him. Daisy also finally tells him about her vision of the future.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. team is packing up what’s left at GT when Giyera arrives. Coulson lures Giyera into a room where a pretty awesome fight with May (which May wins, naturally) ensues. Fitz figures out that Giyera sent all of GT’s data to an abandoned oil field on the Dutch/German boarder as Giyera is placed in a containment unit. Meanwhile, Simmons tells Coulson that GT was studying invasive, swarm organisms so they could develop plants to resist them. She thinks that Hive doesn’t just control the organisms seen on the corpses. The organisms are part of him. Giyera, for his part, isn’t saying anything, even as Mack tries to interrogate him.

At the Malick estate, Stephanie pours some drinks and she and Gideon toast. She shows Gideon that Hive gave her a copy of “Paradise Lost” as a gift. Later, Gideon looks at his father’s copy of “Paradise Lost” as Hive approaches. Stephanie is there too. Hive produces a notched white stone that both Gideon and his father used to get out of traveling to Maveth. When Gideon told Nathaniel they would do the ceremony the right way, he palmed the notched stone and threw away a good stone. Nathaniel, of course, was chosen instead, and Hive has his memories. So he’s none too pleased on multiple fronts. He tells Stephanie that the situation needs to be made right, but he still needs a Malick by his side. It appears that he’s going to consume Gideon and pair up with Stephanie, but the opposite is actually the case. Now, according to Hive, Gideon understands sacrifice.

Unsurprisingly, Giyera breaks out of his containment unit, and chaos ensues. He almost hurts Fitz and is successful in killing a guard. Neither Coulson nor Mack can take Giyera down. He is just too powerful. He heads to the cockpit of Zephyr One and takes control, sending it into a nosedive before safely landing. Before Giyera and his Hydra minions are able to completely take over, May manages to send out a distress signal, which Daisy receives. Daisy panics, but Lincoln reminds her that she has the Secret Warriors for a reason. It’s time to call them in to save the day.

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