I’ll do my best to power through.
If you want to avoid spoilers (even though this is a review and discussion about the show), now is the time to exercise that scroll option...
It’s interesting, too, to see how the television side of things tells stories compared to the movie division. One day we will get an Ultimate Complete MCU Box set in the shape of the Infinity Gauntlet that encompasses all three phases of the MCU, including the Netflix series’ and the ABC series’, which will be on sale for roughly an arm and a leg. If you throw in your first born, it will come with a special art booklet and an Ultraviolet digital download code. In that ultimate box set, Kevin Feige will talk about the relationship between the movie division and the television division, and all the ruckus Ike Perlmutter brought.
It’s a dream of ours that the MCU would be one expansive universe (it is) where properties crisscross like New York had a population of 2,000. More and more, though, the overlap appears one sided: the movies do their thing, and the television side does its best to stay connected. If you removed the television shows (YOU BETTER NOT), nothing would change with the movies. Almost no references are made about Agents of SHIELD or any of the Netflix shows. I’m sure that’s by design because the shows don’t make a billion every six to eight months, and the core audience of the shows is going to see the movies, no matter what.
But think about it: After Coulson rose from the ashes, The Dark World happened and the SHIELD team was there to clean up the mess after the fact. Lady Sif knows Coulson is alive, but that’s it, and she promised not to tell anyone, Thor especially. Then Winter Soldier blew our minds, and Fury escaped the initial Hydra death squad with an awesome plasma torch thing. The episode of SHIELD immediately following the movie’s release weekend showed that hey, Fitz made that, and the higher ups kept all the cool ideas for themselves. Then, Fury came out of left field with a fucking Helicarrier in Ultron, and SHIELD immediately explained that the secret Project Theta referenced leading up to the movie was Coulson’s refurbishment of that Helicarrier. After Ant-Man, there was a brief reference to Pym Tech imploding, but has been no mention of that Hydra guy stealing the Cross-serum.
And just like that, last night, General Talbot and the ATCU decapitated Hydra based on Malick’s intel (you don’t cross family! Look out for Miggida Miggida Mac) while Coulson and May looked on. I think the MCU was done using Hydra as the big bad boogeyman behind the scenes (I have heard that Hydra is not an issue in Civil War), and the show was left to explain their demise. And for good reason: Thanos is coming, and Hydra is small potatoes now.
I think the end of Hydra felt shoehorned in, because they’re not the threat any more: Now, the threat is cosmic. Be it Thanos or Inhumans (who may or may not be getting their own movie, although there is already a script), the show has to pivot and react to keep up with the money train that is the MCU. Maybe one day, with Infinity War on the horizon, there will be some more overlap next season. I don’t expect an Avenger (although Cap and Hawkeye have expressed willingness to appear - if the details could be worked out) any time soon, but more inclusion of the television side of things would be nice.
But boy oh boy does this show know how to bring the heat at the flip of a switch (pun completely intended).
1. When this season started, the weapon I didn’t know I needed in my life was a shotgun axe. Well, after last night’s episode, Mack’s shotgun axe is now a distant fucking second to Coulson’s Shield. I MEAN COME ON. Coulson is the best avenger, don’t get me wrong, but now his hand has an energy shield a la Captain America? THAT WAS FUCKING GLORIOUS. I hope that type of technology gets referenced in the movies. It seems like something Tony Stark or Peter Parker would be immensely interested in.
2. Am I the only one that feels like Hive is sort of a budget Apocalypse? I know the development periods are different and this episode was written and shot this year while X-Men: Apocalypse has been in the works for a few years now at a different studio, but the similarities are glaring. We know Marvel was using Inhumans as stand ins for mutants because their lawyers warned them not to use the M word, but this episode Hive was assembling his four horsemen, and their powers are more focused under his persuasion. Skye jammed up the hydraulic bay doors so no one could follow her, and force choked Fitz. Skye had a good handle on her powers before, but not to this extent.
And then there’s Budget Magento, who could move non-biological items so long as they were in his line of sight. He could throw shit at people, but under Hive’s persuasion, he was able to open the containment pod’s doors and pilot the Zephyr One without being in the cockpit (although it was in his line of sight). His control of his powers is more under Hive’s persuasion.
And then there’s Blowhard, the budget Wolverine with a ‘tude and IBS. Lincoln teased him a few weeks ago with a Terrigen crystal, only to rudely yank it away. Skye was tired of Blowhard’s mouth, and just threw the crystal at him. He’s like Johnny Storm, without the charm. He immediately began catching things on fire, but had no idea how to control it. He was breaking out in a really aggressive way. Hive persuaded him (that sounds better than used the old pocket sand to the eyes trick), and he immediately had a handle on his powers.
And then there’s Alisha, the multiplicity Inhuman. Lincoln referenced that she felt every death of her copies, and we know from when Lash hunted her that those deaths take a toll on her. Here, she was able to shoot one of her own copies. Hive’s persuasion has made it easier for her to accept those losses, for the greater good.
And now, Hive is looking for Lincoln. Hive is gathering his four (or five, but who’s counting) horsemen, and wants to make a better world.
3. Brewster’s Millions update: HE BOUGHT A FUCKING TOWN.
4. Can we please mention that glorious tracking shot with Mack and May following Skye’s exit? That was so good! It reminded me of The West Wing when Toby or Sam or Josh or CJ would walk through the, erm, West Wing talking about something right before getting to their destination and BAM, opening credits. It was cool to see the rest of the team (not the A team, but the support staff - It IS Staff Appreciation Day in the US today so don’t forget to thank someone!) and how they were working in the background. A lot of times we see one or two background characters and a few people in a lab, and that’s it (I’m looking at YOU guy last week who summoned everyone to Coulson...) But this week, they were front and center as Mack and May made their way to Zephyr One.
It was a good way to get us caught up, too: Coulson broke his leg. No one goes to May with their problems (obviously). Skye didn’t try to kill anyone, so she still had some control. Etc.
5. Apparently icers don’t work on Inhumans under Hive’s persuasion. I propose this is because the Inhumans are “one” organism with Hive, and the icer round can’t affect every single Hive spore in the Inhumans, allowing them to maintain some control, even if a regular person would be knocked out cold.
And now, that parasite research we learned about has come into play. Checkov’s Research, if you will. Now, not only does the team have to rescue Daisy, they have to rescue Dr. Radcliffe.
We assumed the research was destroyed because Hive didn’t want whatever parasite control methods being developed used against him. We were wrong. Hive things the only thing that can stop him is that interesting Kree device buried under Blowhard’s trailer. He wants Dr. Radcliffe to reverse his research, so Hive can spread his spores over larger areas and persuade even more Inhumans.
And the rest of those Terrigen crystals Skye stole? TOTES going to be an attempted Terrigen bomb.
6. I absolutely loved the awkwardness between Fitz and Simmons when they would try to talk about sex. Dr. Fitz tried to beat around the bush (puns!) but Dr. Simmons called him on it: You mean when we have sex? Fitz’s blank stare was the best part of the episode (aside from Coulson’s fucking SHIELD, of course).
And it was super awesome to see the two of them gang up on Mack at the safe house when he made the lab coat quip. It’s good seeing these two work together so well.
And just like us, Mack realized that this isn’t a new thing: It’s been building for a long time. GET TO IT.
7. Coulson made Lincoln wear a murder vest in the field (because a suicide vest implies the wearer has control, holy shit) and Lincoln was okay with it. That wasn’t the most intense part of that whole situation, though: The hardest part was when Coulson gave the kill switch to May, and she later called him on it. She’ll do Phil’s dirty work, but he better not dare think his hands are clean.
Coulson was being a hypocrite and she called him on it. Lincoln mentioned it before and the analogy and implications have been made in earlier episodes and seasons, but May was right: Coulson was not Skye’s father, and to be her boss, he has to stop acting like it. Being okay with blasting Lincoln away but not letting anyone shoot Skye was a conflict, and he’s Director of SHIELD. There can’t be any of that.
8. Holy shit pissed Lincoln is the best Lincoln. Did you see the way the electricity flowed through him when he had (one of) Alisha in a head lock? That was AMAZING. If Hive ever turns him, look out.
9. Mack’s reaction to all of the people with enhancements, including Dr. Radcliffe’s assistant, was awesome. Mack sure does need to get out more. DAYUM. And that arm tablet was super cool. Fitz just got a new idea for Coulson’s next hand, even though it kind of has something similar built in to the back of the hand. I see great things in Coulson’s accessory future.
10. Dr. Radcliffe was a mad man, and I cringed super hard when Simmons jabbed that syringe into his “eye.” She recognized that it wasn’t a human eye and was confident enough to see if it was a test, but god damn that was hard to watch. How many of you are squeamish about eye stuff? Anyone? Just me? I’m okay with that, because NO WAY. I could never have Lasik, let alone put in contacts, so when my eye sight goes, it’s glasses for me.
11. I really don’t like Skye. Not like I don’t like the actress or character, but just like Ward, the portrayal does a great job of making me not like them. I hope the team saves her soon.
Also, Simmons shooting Hive in the gut was bad ass. She did say she would shoot Ward, after all.
12. When Hive showed off Hackensack, his new town, he explained that Humans were at roughly the same level as the Kree when they created Hive. Humans are just starting to experiment with implants and cyborg technology, and have created Super Soldiers (Cap and Winter Soldier, etc.) At this time, though, the Kree had already had contact and war with other races, and knew about Celestials. I guess it’s all location in the galactic neighborhood. The Kree saw the Celestial influence on human DNA, and used that to create Inhumans. Dr. Radcliffe was on the right track, but wasn’t thinking with genomes. He was trying to enhance, not uplift.
This show is awesome and I’m sad that there are only two episodes left this season!
13. I got to say something: A lot of people complain that I type too damn much (I probably do), but it’s because of this site. It’s because of authors like Charlie Jane Anders and Rob Bricken and James Whitbrook and Meredith Woerner and Mika McKinnon and all the rest that make us think and have fun doing it and start discussions about the most obscure things that inspired me to start recapping this and other shows on this site.
I noticed a while ago that a lot of the comments weren’t really talking about the shows or the content but were more focused on one liners (I’ve done it) and snarky remarks about the authors or other commenters or the articles themselves, so I started dumping my thoughts into large comments to get more people talking about what we all had in common: our interest in the topics of these reviews. I found that I had more and more to say, and it evolved in to what you’re reading now. A lot of words about nerdy shit. Be it Shield or Agent Carter or Walking Dead or Flash or Supergirl, the reason most of us come to io9 and ODeck are to talk about what we love, and the developments in those stories, and the authors and editors at io9 are a big part of that. This may be a Gawker joint, but it doesn’t feel like it. Go wade into the comments of any random Gawker article and compare them to the comments at io9: There is a lot more thoughtful discussion than over there, that’s for sure. We’re a community.
Charlie Jane Anders announced on twitter yesterday that this is her last week at io9 so she can focus on her next novel. I figured since many of my reviews started in the comments of her reviews, I’d take the time to say thanks, and good luck out there! She’ll be missed, but always a part of this community. Also, if you haven’t read it yet, here is one of the most glorious reviews of a movie ever written, and I hope my reviews are half as good as this is: