‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ has so many twists and double-crosses this week that you’d almost swear it was a Shonda Rhimes show. (Rhimes certainly adores her shocking plot twists.) Fortunately, it’s not quite as soapy as that might suggest.
With Coulson and the S.H.I.E.L.D. command team trapped aboard Zephyr One as it was hijacked by Giyera and piloted to a HYDRA base, Daisy and Lincoln are left to rescue them. Using a quinjet, they fly around the world to pick up the members of Daisy’s “Secret Warriors Initiative,” which sounds pretty cool and impressive until you realize that it actually only consists of two other people: Joey (the guy who can manipulate metal) and Elena (the speedster who can spring back and forth faster than the eye can see). Elena has (conveniently) been practicing her English enough to carry a conversation now. Joey seems reluctant to get involved and put himself in danger, especially when Daisy makes them all HALO jump out of the jet – something neither he nor Elena has ever done before.
Meanwhile, on the ground, Giyera leaves the plane and reports to Ward. A HYDRA team storms the plane to flush out the S.H.I.E.L.D.ies, who hold them off with a gunfight and then lock themselves into a storage room. (How the hell big is this plane?) May was injured in the last episode and is in pretty bad shape, but Simmons is able to stabilize her. Fitz works on MacGyvering a chlorine gas weapon using supplies in the room.
Daisy and the Secret Warriors invade the base and split up. Lincoln goes all badass and battles a bunch of HYDRA henchmen in a pretty impressive fight sequence that eventually leads him to a room where he finds and captures Gideon Malick. Disenchanted with his HYDRA god, Malick doesn’t resist at all.
The four Secret Warriors converge on the plane. Lincoln is paralyzed by Lucio, the Inhuman with hypno eyes, but Joey kills Lucio with a metal rod through the chest. This is Joey’s first kill, and he won’t feel great about it afterwards.
Fitz uses the chlorine gas to clear out most of the HYDRA goons and Elena races in to mop up the rest. May insists that she’s strong enough to fly the plane. As it takes off and leaves the HYDRA base, Ward isn’t too concerned. He tells Giyera, “Now we have one on the inside.” That sounds ominous. Is he talking about Malick, or does he have a mole in S.H.I.E.L.D. now?
After they return to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Coulson antagonistically interrogates Malick, who seems utterly defeated. He says that he made a terrible mistake in bringing the Inhuman parasite (whose official name is Alveus, which supposedly translates as “Hive”) to Earth. He explains that Ward/Alveus/Hive murdered his daughter and says, “It is a god, just not ours.”
Daisy has a brief argument with Lincoln about swiping a Terrigen crystal for use on their last mission, but forgives him for it. Mack flirts with Elena as he gives her a tour of the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. Joey is pretty shaken up about killing a man. However, when Fitz and Simmons examine Lucio’s body, they find that he’s only “dead-ish” and still maintains a body temperature of 98.6. They immediately put him into quarantine.
Malick warns Coulson that the Inhumans will all worship Hive, who has the ability to control the mind of any Inhuman. He also suggests that some of Coulson’s own people may have already turned. Coulson isn’t sure if Malick is just playing him, but the seeds of doubt quickly grow in his mind. He asks Mack to quietly lock down the base and instructs Fitz and Simmons to work on making a test to see if anyone is under Hive’s spell. In the meantime, he wants to keep the four Inhumans in the dark about what’s going on so as not to tip off a possible traitor.
Daisy immediately suspects that something is up and that Coulson is hiding something from her. She doesn’t like being left out of the loop. Elena also gets very agitated about being stuck in the base, and Joey disappears for a while. Mack watches all of them (plus Lincoln) on surveillance but doesn’t feel very good about it.
Coulson appeals to Malick’s desire for revenge. He tells him, “I’ve met gods. Gods bleed.”
Fitz and Simmons autopsy Lucio. Simmons cracks open his skull and finds signs of a parasitic infection in his brain. That’s how Hive controls the Inhumans. Coulson decides that the only course of action is to ice all four Inhumans until Fitz and Simmons can come up with a cure. He orders them all to a conference room for a briefing.
Before that can happen, the lights in the base go out. Mack rushes to the armory and discovers that a special high-tech grenade is missing. Being that this was one of the rooms he walked Elena through earlier, he suspects that she must be the traitor. Coulson orders him to search through all four Inhumans’ lockers for other clues.
Fitz and Simmons notice that the door to Malick’s cell is open. They peer inside and see Malick lying dead on the floor with the armed grenade next to his body. It goes off, but they escape the blast without any serious injuries. Whoever killed Malick wanted to blow up the body to destroy any evidence of exactly how he died.
At this point, nobody trusts anybody. Coulson and Mack try to round up the Inhumans, but Daisy is adamant that they’re being railroaded. She barricades the four of them into a room, where they even argue amongst themselves, each accusing the others of being traitors. Joey is especially itchy to get out of there, and Daisy agrees that they need to escape and regroup. She says that Coulson has a secret elevator they can use to get out.
Mack finds something in one of the lockers that he believes IDs the traitor.
Daisy leads the three other Inhumans toward the secret elevator, but it turns out to be a trick. She’s really led them into a containment pod where Coulson is waiting for them. He accuses Lincoln of being the traitor. Mack found the Kree sphere doodad in Lincoln’s backpack. Lincoln insists that he’s been framed, and that he couldn’t have been infected at the HYDRA base. Coulson believes that he was infected even before that, when he spotted Ward at the Transia building, and has been a mole ever since. Lincoln panics and tries to fight his way out of the room, but Daisy uses her power to toss him across the room and knock him out.
Daisy says she feels responsible. How could she have not noticed that Lincoln turned against them? Elena is pissed at Mack for not trusting her. Joey wants to quit the team. Coulson makes them all submit to blood tests for the infection and quarantines them individually until the results come back. He drops the bad news on Daisy that the Secret Warriors Initiative is officially disbanded. If Hive has the power to control any Inhuman, the Inhumans (including Daisy) cannot be allowed to be part of the fight. She assures him that they’ll find a way to prevent the mind control: “We’ll come back stronger.”
Fitz and Simmons have a moment where they finally set aside all the obstacles that have prevented them from having a relationship and make out. They’re utterly adorable together.
Daisy sneaks out of her quarantine pod (she designed most of the security protocols) and goes to talk to Lincoln. He again swears that he’s been framed. She knows, because she framed him. Yes, Daisy was infected by Hive. In a quick flashback, we see that she ran into him at the HYDRA base, and he quickly took control over her. She also murdered Malick to prevent him from helping S.H.I.E.L.D. Although she still seems to have most of her original personality, Daisy insists that she’s happier than she’s ever been, and describes the connection to Hive as a “beautiful bond.” She wants to break Lincoln out so they can run off together and join Hive. Lincoln is horrified and tells her that he wants no part of that. Daisy shrugs and tells him that he’ll change his mind.
Daisy steals the Kree sphere and all the Terrigen crystals, then walks to the base’s hangar and causes a quake that shakes the base apart and makes it collapse on everybody inside.
Sadly, my DVR cut off the end of the episode due to broadcast delays when my local affiliate kept interrupting the show with political primary election results. I’m told that the final scene involves Giyera and Hive/Ward talking about how much money Malick’s estate is worth and what they’ll do with it. I guess when you’re an alien supervillain, probate court is probably not something that concerns you.
I’m sad to see Powers Boothe exit the series. Malick was a great character and brought a lot of much-needed menace to the villain side of the equation. (I still don’t care for Brett Dalton as the new Big Bad.) That disappointment aside, this is a pretty terrific episode with lots of suspenseful twists and turns. Daisy being under Hive’s control means that, in a sense, Ward will finally get her as he always wanted. That dynamic should be interesting to watch play out.
I just wish it didn’t take the season this long to finally start pulling together.