Hive decides to reveal himself to the HYDRA inner circle.
The team is sure that what they saw on the monitors during the last mission wasn’t Ward, but the “thing” from the alien planet that Malick wanted to bring back. In order to get some more clues about what it wants, they start running down different leads in order to try to get a clue as to what HYDRA wants. Goes after a facility that HYDRA acquired in their recent hostile takeover, while Lincoln and Daisy head out to talk to an old contact from Afterlife who might have information about Hive. The main team tracks HYDRA’s actions by following Mr. Giyera (the guy who can move things with his mind). After luring him into a power neutralizing room and letting May take him out, they dig through the information about HYDRA’s recent activity. During this time, Fitz-Simmons also figure out that Hive is a parasite that retains the memories of his hosts. That realization, along with seeing Ward’s body forces Coulson to relive the decision he made to kill Ward.
Lincoln and Daisy meet up with a guy who hated Jaiying because she withheld Terrigenesis from him. Turns out that was probably the right thing to do, as the guy was aggressively crazy. However, he did have a Kree artifact that he believed could be used to stop Hive. Apparently, Hive (who had some Latin name before) is believed to be the first Inhuman. After the Kree where banished, humans and Inhumans had to band together to banish him, and the artifact was part of the fight. Lincoln and Daisy trick him into giving up the artifact but, as they leave, he blurts out a secret about a failed relationship in Lincoln’s past. Turns out that Lincoln almost killed an ex-girlfriend. However, he injured her because of angry/drunk driving after an argument, not anything to do with his powers. On top of that, the girl was saved when Gordon showed up and brought them to Afterlife. In return for Lincoln opening up, Daisy reveals the vision she had to him.
While the SHIELD team mobilizes, Hive has come to Gideon’s home and gathered his inner circle in order to reveal himself to them. He’s also been recalling the memories of Gideon’s brother, Nathaniel. The episode flashes back to when the Malick brothers where part of the stone ceremony used to select the “Traveler”, the person sent as a sacrifice to the HYDRA god. After their father’s death, the brothers met with Dr. Whitehall, who revealed that their father had been cheating the ceremony by palming a stone that he hid a copy of “Paradise Lost”, assuring that he was never chosen. Not wanting to be cowards like their father, the two agreed to let fate decide. Predictably, Gideon cheated and his brother ended up being chosen instead. After revealing his true form to the members of the inner circle, Hive reveals to Malick that he has his brother’s memories. Hive begins to speak to Malick as his brother. In order to teach Malick about sacrifice, and to pay him back for his past cowardice, Hive kills Malick’s daughter in front of him.
Eventually, the SHIELD team converges on Malick’s home. Before they can get there, Giyera gets free of the containment unit and makes his way to the plane’s control room. From there, he uses his powers to streer the plane into a hidden hangar. Before Giyera knocks her out, May sends a message to Daisy and Lincoln. With the rest of the team in danger, Lincoln convinces Daisy that it’s time to assemble the Secret Warriors.
- “I knew it would come back to haunt me. I just didn’t think it would actually come back to haunt me.” – Coulson
It’s funny how that worked out very literally for Coulson. It was too bad that he didn’t have more time to really investigate that irony.
- May vs. Giyera
It’s always fun when they let Ming-Na Wen/May get a longer solo fight.
- Literal “kiss of death” from Hive.
Probably the most compelling moment of the entire episode and the only real surprise.
Most likely, the title of this episode, “Paradise Lost”, has a double meaning. The first being the revelation of the stone hidden in the book. The second, was likely an allusion to the fact that Hive’s journey back from Maveth is analogous to Satan’s emergence from Hell in the book. While that’s cool and all, I’m still not clear on what we’re doing with Hive. He seems to have a real identity issue. Now, he seems to believe that he’s Nathaniel as well. He just seems to randomly decide what “person” he wants to be with no real rhyme or reason. I would buy that he’s just Hive but there wouldn’t be any reason for him to be pretend to be Nate if those memories weren’t affecting him somehow. Oh, and we also figured out that he’s a parasite. These are the little bits of information that you don’t question when you just take an episode at face value, but don’t really come together well when you’re thinking about things as a whole.
I feel like most of this episode was more of a set of throwaway events to facilitate the assembly of the Secret Warriors. The whole encounter with the crazy man out in the desert was fun but, ultimately, only served to provide the team with some unknown tool to possibly fight Hive. Similarly, the fight with Giyera and May was fun, but ultimately pointless. Giyera was able to easily free himself from captivity and land bring the plane to HYDRA. It would’ve almost been more believable to think that he intended to get himself captured.
The most interesting parts of the episode were Coulson and Malick working through dealing with the sins of their past. Unfortunately, they didn’t really get a lot of time to action dive into that. Coulson had the one scene with Fitz and a bit of one in the episode open with May to express his feelings about crossing the line with Ward. That speech with Fitz actually seemed like it was going to get interesting but, after his cute one-liner about his decision, Coulson doesn’t have a chance to think because his plane is being attacked by an Inhuman. Similarly, Malick spends a lot of time looking off into the distance while the flashbacks occur. However, once he’s finally confronted with his past, there’s only a moment to truly process things before those thoughts are over taken by the loss of his daughter.
So, this wasn’t as good of an episode as it probably could have been if some of the elements were spaced out a little bit more, but I don’t really have a problem with that. I don’t think I would’ve really wanted to see a whole episode dealing with Malick’s backstory (honestly, this episode felt like it was too much). Knowing Malick’s doomed kind of makes me care less about him. What I am interested in is seeing the Secret Warriors actually united. It doesn’t make sense that they should be able to unite a bunch of people with relatively little training to help them now, but I’m willing to overlook that if we get some more cool superpower combos on screen.