This Agents of SHIELD review contains spoilers.
Agents of SHIELD Season 3, Episode 18
As Agents of SHIELD races towards the end of its third season (has it really been three years, time is a cruel bitch), things pick up steam in a very eventful episode. “The Singularity” is one of the episodes that really utilizes the full three years of characterization featured on the series. It’s an episode where fans will realize just how damn much they care about the original cast members. And that’s exactly what’s on display this week, the original cast. Other than Mack in a very fun and effective supporting role, the episode basically centers on Daisy, Coulson, May, Fitz and Simmons. Yeah, there’s a bit of Inhumans fun wedged in with Lincoln, but it’s the original five that shine this week.
Well, not shine, exactly. as Ward and Daisy are in full evil mode. Of course, Daisy is possessed by the Hive entity and now completely controlled by Ward. SHIELD is desperate to save her and send Fitz and Simmons to meet up with a rogue scientist named Holden Radcliffe in order to convince him to find a cure for the Hive infestation. What follows is a obvious but effective Orphan Black riff as the two scientists and Mack must infiltrate a meeting of transhumans in order to win the doctor over to their side. The whole time, Fitz and Simmons are debating whether they should seal their pact of love and have sex (YES!). I really love how they hem and haw until they look at their physical union as an extension of science, a great and unique moment that makes the pair even more lovable.
Sadly, the recruitment doesn’t go very well. Yeah, Fitz and Simmons’ undercover mojo is strong and they are able to meet with Radcliffe, but before they can get anywhere, Daisy and Ward show up to prevent our beloved scientists from making any headway. For reals, my heart was in my throat when Ward cornered Simmons. I mean all the talk about happily ever after usually is a curse for any heroic TV couple, especially a couple as star crossed as Fitz and Simmons. But Simmons has big brains and balls of steel as she empties her side arm in Ward’s gut. The moment is made even more intense by the fact that Simmons’ interplanetary boyfriend’s memory is still somewhere inside Ward. But that doesn’t stop Simmons from busting a cap because the enemy is the enemy and she is a SHIELD agent.
At this same moment, Daisy is Vader choking Fitz and telling him to stop seeking a cure. This really drives home just how lost Daisy is inside Hive because, of course, she would never hurt Fitz like that. And yeah, the episode teases the death of Fitz and Simmons more than The Walking Dead teases the death of Glenn, but it all works this week as everything seems very high stakes, something that can’t always be said about Agents of SHIELD. Heck, this year’s mid-season felt very paint by numbers. But not anymore.
Speaking of high stakes, this week might have seen the end of HYDRA. You see, before Malick bit the big one, he gave General Talbot the intel on all of HYDRA’s secrets. Now, Coulson is able to target all HYDRA’s infrastructure and what began in Captain America: The Winter Soldier ends a bit over a week before the arrival of the third Captain America film. Now, Hive Ward has lost the HYDRA support, but he still has a small but ultra-powerful Inhuman squad of killers and that might be enough. Now, all that time spent with Malick doesn’t seem like a giant waste of time as the corrupt billionaire plays a critical role in changing the fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I mean, we should have known it would take Powers Boothe to bring down the greatest evil in the MU.
But this episode’s main event is the new and deeply disturbing bond between Ward and Daisy. The two have had a complex relationship since day one, but now they are on the same page. Of course, they are possessed by alien insects, but at least they have each other. Having Daisy finally find a sense of family through this unholy union adds an extra layer of strange irony and even stranger tragedy. Daisy finally has a sense of belonging, but it’s with a group of meat puppets.
So HYDRA is gone, Daisy is almost lost, Fitz and Simmons find a scientific formula for foreplay, and Coulson is desperate to find a way to save Daisy, a woman and an agent he thinks of as a daughter. Exciting stuff as we begin to wind down this season of Agents of SHIELD.
One of the coolest moments this week, a moment that will no doubt launch a thousand GIFS and memes, is when Coulson reveals his newest weapon: an energy shield built into his hand, a shield that looks exactly like Captain America’s famous weapon. Steve Rogers used a very similar shield in the 90s when his iconic weapon was lost in the ocean. It is very cool and appropriate for Coulson to wield this weapon as he is, of course, Cap’s #1 fan.
I kind of dig how the introduction of Holden Radcliffe could usher in more cybernetic or robotic characters into Marvel TV. Anything that leads to Machinesmith, Machine Man, or Jocasta is OK in my book.
Speaking of Machine Man, you know where the character of Holden Radcliffe is originally from? Take my hand now, this is a deep dive. Holden Radcliffe was created by writer Mark Sumerak and artist Mike Hawthorne in 2005’s Machine Teen #1. He was a pretty minor adversary and one really has to wonder why Marvel went so obscure with Radcliffe. Why not just make up a character? I mean Machine Teen? For those not in the know, which should probably be everybody, Machine Teen was a younger version riff on Machine Man back when Marvel wanted everything to resemble manga. It wasn’t a bad series to be honest, but it faded just as quickly as it arrived and I swear to Odin, if I didn’t have to research who the heck Radcliffe was, I never would have thought about it again. Machine Teen?
One has to wonder how the postponement of the Inhumans film will affect Agents of SHIELD I mean, clearly the series was building to the film, but will there be a TV payoff to the Inhumans saga? I mean we’ll be knee deep in maybe season seven of Agents of SHIELD before we even sniff a live action version of Black Bolt, Lockjaw, Karnak, or Medusa.