This Agents of SHIELD. review contains spoilers.
Agents of SHIELD: Season 3 Episode 16
I don’t know if the world was clamoring for the secret origin of Gideon Malick on Agents of SHIELD, but by gum, it gets it as this week’s episode presents the sordid tale of Malick’s HYDRA youth.
I think the major issue that I have with HYDRA as the eternal villains of Agents of SHIELD is that I just can’t mentally connect the hyper grounded HYDRA of Captain America: The Winter Soldier with the ancient alien worshipping cult from Agents of SHIELD Now, the TV series does offer an explanation for this incongruity by explaining that Malick is in command of a rogue faction of HYDRA but still, it’s hard to imagine that this is the same organization that controlled the Winter Soldier and almost took over the world. I’m hoping that this will be the final HYDRA season of Agents of SHIELD as they are becoming a bit stale.
That’s not to say the origin of Malick that nobody asked for isn’t effectively conceived. If you’ll remember, the purpose of Malick’s branch of HYDRA was to bring the ancient Inhuman entity currently possessing Ward to Earth. In order to sustain the creature on that alien planet, HYDRA would send a loyalist as a snack to keep the creature fed. Why they just didn’t kidnap someone and shunt them off into space is beyond me, but there you go.
Every few years, HYDRA would have a ritual where they would get all Shirley Jackson and pick stones to see who would get stargated and eaten. Malick’s father rigged the ritual so he wouldn’t be chosen and a young Gideon continued that tradition. It’s a very good dick heel move really, but it cost him his brother’s life as one ritual came down to the two Malicks.
Ah, but the creature gains the memories of each of its hosts, so the Ward monster remembers what Malick did and this week, the Ward monster decides to punish Malick for disloyalty. Remember Malick’s beautiful daughter from a few weeks back, so loyal to dad? Yeah, she’s dead. Killed by Ward for Malick’s disloyalty. Take that, Powers Boothe. So now Malick will clearly have a redemption arc and betray monster Ward. You’re showing your cards Agents of SHIELD, I see them.
I’m poking fun, Malick’s story is well paced and it isn’t the same old same old, so that’s a plus. In addition, we did get some kick ass action as SHIELD takes on the telekinetic Giyera. Agent May really gets to cut loose on the evil Inhuman and that’s always awesome to see. Sadly, Giyera escapes after SHIELD captures him (you can’t sedate him) and infiltrates SHIELD HQ. This puts SHIELD in very deep poopie, so much so that Daisy and Lincoln must assemble the Secret Warriors to stage a rescue. Of course, Daisy is still plagued by visions of a dead SHIELD agent, but her and her team of super powered operatives must spring into action to save Coulson and company.
Speaking of Daisy and Lincoln, the two heroic Inhumans get a lesson in Inhuman history as they meet a former resident of Afterlife who got the boot for stealing some artifacts. He is all British and crazy and even peppered his yard with land mines. You see, he never was gifted with Inhuman powers so he trades the potential secret to defeat monster Ward for Terrigen crystals. Lincoln totally screws the nutball Inhuman wannabe and ganks the crystals away while keeping the Kree orb that contains the key to defeating Ward. Yeah, not the Kree orb from Guardians of the Galaxy, a different orb. Man, Marvel likes its circular McGuffins.
Also on display this week was Coulson’s guilt over killing Ward. Coulson laments the fact that he killed Ward to feed his own need for vengeance and now feels guilty over the fact that the man he killed has become something worse This bit is a nice balance of drama and humor that gives an edge of reality to a very out-there concept. I mean, the episode is trying to sell the fact that SHIELD’s greatest enemy is a sentient pile of wasps, and by pointing out the sheer ridiculousness of the whole thing, it allows for suspension of disbelief. A nice balance.
Unless the series throws a curveball, it’s pretty clear how monster Ward will be defeated, but through kickass action and humor, even though the destination is becoming rather obvious, the journey is still fun.
Last week, I called the creature possessing Ward the Host because I suck. The character using Ward as a meat puppet is actually called the Hive. The Hive first appeared in Secret Warriors #2 (2009) and was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Jonathan Hickman.
In the comics, the Hive is not an alien and has no connection to the Inhumans. The comic version of the Hive was a HYDRA agent chosen to undergo an experiment where he would be exposed to mysterious pseudopods. The agent bonded with the pseudopods and essentially formed a group consciousness with the creatures. He was used as a HYDRA weapon until the disgusting creature was defeated by the Secret Warriors. The Hive pretty much looks exactly like the brief glimpse we got of the monster’s true form this week. It’s kind of cool that the Secret Warriors are gathering to face a character that first appeared in the Secret Warriors comic series.
Speaking of the Warriors, looks like we finally get the official gathering of the team this week. ABC used the Secret Warriors in a great deal of the season three marketing so it’s kind of weird that the Warriors are gathering for the first time so late in the season.
It occurs to me this week, with Misty Knight set to make her debut on Neflix’s Luke Cage, Marvel will have two bionic hand wielding badasses on TV. Maybe Knight and Coulson can form a club.