Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 'Singularity' Turns us Towards End Game in the Inhuman War

Wednesday, 27 April 2016 - 10:23AM
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Wednesday, 27 April 2016 - 10:23AM
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 'Singularity' Turns us Towards End Game in the Inhuman War
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After last week's anticlimactic Secret Warriors shenanigans, last night's installment of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showed a marked improvement and if the trend continues, we're in for the best season finale of the show so far. "The Singularity" (aka Hive Buys a Town) managed to seamlessly blend humorous quips with a serious tone better than it's done since coming back in early March, and we even got to finally start exploring the reality of a long awaited FitzSimmons relationship.
After Daisy's ground-shaking exit from headquarters last week, S.H.I.E.L.D. was left to cope with the aftermath both physically and mentally. Lincoln insists on helping find Daisy, Hive, and any other Inhumans, because of course he does. So Coulson insists the team's only remaining Inhuman wears a suicide/murder vest, because of course he does. If Lincoln falls foul of Hive's abilities, Agent May is given the order to activate the trigger and removing the threat of Hive adding to his rapidly growing team of mind-warped Inhuman soldiers.

This is a pretty extreme measure for Coulson, and Agent May rightly calls him out on it, pointing out that he would never put Daisy in such a position. Coulson concedes that Daisy is the closest thing he has to a daughter, and as heartwarming as that is, it's not a great weakness for the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. to have. Coulson has been overly protective of Skye/Daisy from day one, and she's always been something of an Achilles' heel for him. I'm sure I am not alone in wondering if this could result in fatal judgment call before the end of the season. And as for giving May the trigger for Lincoln's vest, she chews him out telling him "I'll do your dirty work Phil, but don't you dare pretend your hands are clean". This isn't the first time that Agent May has been given a command that ultimately places the burden of guilt and responsibility on her, and it was good to finally see May confront him about it. All it took was being ordered to murder her ex-husband.
Lincoln and May set off to find the body-replicating Inhuman, Alisha, only to find that she is already under Hive's control. Upon discovering that Hive is one step ahead of them, they do the only illogical thing TV heroes do, and head to the next Inhuman who is, in this case, the beer-swilling Aussie, James. Upon arriving at his ramshackle home, we're unsurprised to learn that Hive and Daisy had already paid James a visit and pulled off the double-whammy of activating his powers while also collecting the other half of the mysterious Kree weapon.

Coulson and May encounter one of James explosive surprises which gives Coulson the chance to show off his ridiculously fun new gadget- a force field shield. As Coulson himself says, "I thought it would be cool if the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. had a SHIELD." plus, any self-respecting Captain America fan should be able to cosplay as extravagantly as they so wish. Once again, the show finds ways to be wonderfully weird, without getting too twee, and this particular moment was a real highlight of the episode.
Meanwhile, James is enjoying his new Inhuman abilities which allow him to turn any object into an explosive by touching it.
I'm honestly glad they returned to James and activated his powers, even if he is under Hive's control. Now that he's officially the Inhuman known as Hellfire, it'll be interesting to see how the character will be incorporated into the show- assuming he survives the season, that is. With these new additions to his Inhuman army, Hive's squad is starting to look more developed than the Secret Warriors could ever even dream of being. Although it's disappointing that the Secret Warriors haven't worked out yet, it's nice to see a group of Inhumans working together- even if they're all under Hive's control.
Speaking of our favorite mind-controlling "maggot", we now know that Hive's mind-control apparently works by flooding his target's brains with dopamine, creating an overwhelming addiction and generally causing Inhumans to feel all warm and fluffy about losing their free will. Because the Inhumans love and adore Hive, this means they'll fight passionately for a common cause, rather than being submissive zombie bots. This has the potential to make them a lot more threatening, but could also serve as key weakness in the remaining episodes.
In order to stop Hive, Fitz and Simmons dress up and go on a date, undercover in an underground transhumanist club (think Neolutionists on Orphan Black). The target for FitzSimmons swanky date isn't to finally kick their relationship up a notch, but instead to recruit the services of Dr. Radcliffe, a brilliant Transhumanist doctor who could hold the key to removing Hive's powers. Radcliffe surrounds himself with what appears to be the well-moneyed and highly modified elite of the Transhumanist movement, with just about every person in the top-secret club possessing some form of high-tech body modification.

Unfortunately, it turns out Hive has the same target, and he's brought Daisy and James to help. When Daisy finds Fitz, she puts him in a Vader chokehold before warning him about her vision and pleading with him to stay out of the way so he doesn't end up being the one who dies. Although Daisy doesn't want to hurt him, she still threatens to snap his neck next time he gets in the way of Hive's plans, so let's not pretend this was a friendly visit.

Elsewhere, Simmons is having an equally unsettling encounter with Hive who accesses Will's memories of their time together, seemingly with no other motive than to mess with her emotions. After briefly falling for Hive's mind-games, Jemma comes to her senses and shoots him a number of times point blank in the gut, buying her just enough time to get away. Based on his track record of killing innocent people, I'm inclined to think that somehow Hive is able to feel emotions for others through his previous hosts, which answers the question we had a couple weeks ago about if Parasitic alien beings are able to feel emotions or not. Perhaps we're seeing the beginnings of a potential weakness that the team could use against him.
Hive kidnaps/enlists Dr. Radcliffe, whose knowledge of genetics and adaptation make him a valuable asset in the parasite's quest for world domination. Dr. Radcliffe seems interested in helping Hive make the world a better place for Inhumans, and probably views it as a way to advance the human species at the same time. Unfortunately, this all means that with a scientist on board, Hive can get his experiments underway and more innocent people are sure to die horribly.
A major game-changing event went down this episode, but if you blinked you could've missed it.  Using the intel they got from Malick before his death, Talbot leads the off-screen charge and takes down hydra's infrastructure. Yeah, "just like that". This seemed an all too convenient way to get rid of an organization like Hydra. The Hydra plot may have run its course in the MCU, but I can't imagine a show like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. without Hydra playing some form of antagonistic role. So is Hydra really done for, or will more heads pop up in some other way? It's likely we aren't done with Hydra for good, but for the moment the show has taken a different path.  
By the end of this week's episode Hive had everything he needed to start his creepy experiments, including an entire town full of research participants/innocent victims. Hive is now also in possession of the only weapon that can stop him, and since he has control over Inhumans it seems that S.H.I.E.L.D. has the odds stacked against them. I'm starting to see why we won't be able to get to the end of the season without a major death. With the groundwork laid down for the remaining Fallen Agent finale episodes, next week promises another dark and exciting episode.  
Best lines:
-Mack: "How's he holding up?"
May: "No one comes to me with their feelings." 
Mack: "Yeah, that makes sense."
-"Do you think scientists only wear labcoats? Are we wearing them now?"
-"I thought it would be cool if the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. had a SHIELD. ."
-"You bought us a house? " "No, I bought us a whole town."
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