A hefty dose of self-sabotage flavors this week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is a shame as a half decent episode, “Failed Experiments” suddenly becomes full of redundant questions.
The moment in question? When Hive tells Dr. Radcliffe that instead of using his expertise in attempting to make Inhumans from scratch, he could hill him, infect the corpse, and gain all necessary memories and skillsets. That’s undeniably a brilliant plan, which only makes the viewer wonder why Hive isn’t just moving from useful body to useful body – it would certainly allow things to get done a lot quicker in his master scheme. It’s almost as if the writers are implying the creature has some sort of emotional attachment to Grant Ward, which is of course completely ridiculous.
On the flip-side, there was some great stuff with Hive this week as his origins were explored alongside more information on the Kree – tying the mythology deeper into the MCU. Originally an ancient tribal human, Hive’s first body was abducted by Kree ‘Reavers’ – bigger, stronger and nastier that your average Kree – and injected with Kree blood alongside other materials to create their first Inhuman. It was only after Hive’s influence over other Inhumans began to cause civil war amongst them that it was banished to Maveth using the Monolith. The Kree Reavers, meanwhile, have been in stasis over Earth ever since.
It emerges that the Kree Orb McGuffin of the last few episodes acts a beacon, re-awakening the Kree in order for them to destroy their “failed experiments.” It’s a sort of “Break Glass in Case of Emergency” scenario. Also very handy given that Hive needs blood from a living Kree to create Inhumans from scratch. We just about kept up. Promise.
With Hive and his Inhuman lackey’s – including Daisy – holed up in their newly acquired derelict mining town, he uses unwilling HYDRA cult members as his and Radcliffe’s first test subjects, resulting in a very sludgy outcome. Speaking of the town, they could really do with that proposed Inhuman sanctuary hastily knocked up back in “Parting Shot”, but the less said about that episode the better.
Meanwhile, back at S.H.I.E.L.D HQ Fitzsimmons continue to work on an antidote for Hives spores, having doubts about its success rate the duo are hesitant to test it on Lincoln as it could potentially destroy his immune system even before they extract his antibody filled blood to fill with spores. In a direct violation of Coulsons orders, Lincoln injects himself with the serum, resulting in a huge electrical seizure which destroys the lab and leaves him almost at deaths door. It was all in vain, the serum doesn’t work when applied to the spores and the team are back to square one.
Elsewhere Coulson and crew conveniently *sigh* catch Daisy on facial recognition cameras and locate the Inhuman town. This eventually leads S.H.I.E.L.D. to witness the showdown between the Kree and Hives gang. Daisy’s brutal, bone-breaking murder of a Kree highlights how far she has come in her ruthlessness, but also how far under Hive’s control she is; this is re-enforced by a brilliantly played, deftly written confrontation between her and Mack.
As her former partner hopes that she is still self aware enough to realize what she’s doing, Daisy responds with an honest and not entirely inaccurate opinion of how S.H.I.E.L.D. are in a sense no better than the creature she serves. The positive, almost desperately caring way Daisy’s viewpoint has been skewed has been one of the strongest elements of the Hive storyline, and her attempted murder of Mack before being shot by May was upsetting as both characters resonate.
Watching Hive relish his destruction of the second Kree was also good stuff, although his swift healing after being hit by a grenade leads us to rather ominous prediction. What if, when S.H.I.E.L.D. eventually triumph, only the parasite spores are destroyed leaving behind an alive and well Grant Ward? Please no. We’d rather have the Most Wanted spin off than more Ward.
Speaking about predictions, what was with that random never before seen S.H.I.E.L.D agent who actually had lines? She turned up and wasn’t redshirted as expected. Probably because she’s blatant set up for the finale. We could practically see the sign that read: I AM THE ONE WHO WILL DIE ON THE SPACESHIP.
Kudos to Hive’s line “Only billionaires can build iron suits, only the military can make super soldiers, it will inevitably lead to their own war.” That subtle Civil War reference is enough to push the distinctly average “Failed Experiments” up a star. We’re feeling generous this week.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is currently airing on E4, Sundays at 9pm