Saturday, 7 May 2016

Review - Agents of SHIELD: 3x19 - "Failed Experiments"

Agents of SHIELD
Episode 3x19 - "Failed Experiments"


Hive’s true plans come to light when he tries to recreate the experiment that created the first set of Inhumans, injecting humans with Kree blood to make them receptive to Terrigenesis. Unfortunately, part of the plan involves him summoning two Kree Reapers to Earth to extract their blood.... 


With Daisy firmly under his thrall, Hive reveals to her the second stage of his plans, which involves replicating the experiment that turned him from human to Inhuman and thus building an army of slaves to take over the world. Unfortunately, the first test subjects (who are apparently the last of Hydra) don't fare too well and are reduced to another excessively gruesome pile of blood and guts. It turns out that the process requires fresh Kree blood – something Hive can get by using the Kree technology buried under James' house, which acts as an emergency beacon and bringing the warrior-like Kree Reavers to Earth. It's great to see the show reintroduce the Kree, and watching these huge blue aliens stomping about the empty town really added a creepy vibe to this episode's plot. It felt a bit Silent Hill at times as the Kree searched for humans, wielding huge axes to bludgeon any unlucky Inhumans that found themselves in their way. While the two creatures were dispatched rather easily, they made for a fabulous visual and subtle tie to Guardians of the Galaxy.

The writers really want to push Daisy into a villainous role for these final episodes – not satisfied by showing her force-choking Fitz last episode, the brutal beating that she laid onto Mack firmly presented her as a bad guy. Sure, they can claim that Hive's mind-control influenced her, but they went to great lengths to mention that elements of the host's own personality remain. On some level, Daisy does want to transform all of her friends into Inhuman Slaves like herself and I am wondering how the character can come back from this. Last Season, she was tricked into siding with Jiaying's Inhumans but quickly came around when she discovered her mother's treachery, but here, she seems a willing participant to some extent and it will be a lot harder for her to return to the team. Given the brutal beating that Mack received, I am now unsure whether he will be the “Fallen Agent” to die in the season finale – it's either going to be one of the new Secret Warriors, or perhaps the series will shock us all and kill off one of the long-term characters from Season One. Perhaps even killing off Daisy, as she attempts to redeem herself for his misdeeds?

While it was cool to see Daisy reference her Kree blood transfusion in “T.A.H.I.T.I” as she offered an alternative to the Kree Reaver blood, it did leave me wondering if there was a plot-hole. After his death in “The Avengers”, Coulson also received a Kree blood transfusion, which presumably would mean that he would be able to experience Terrigenesis if he came into contact with the mist, but when he touched the crystal in “SOS (Part Two)”, his hand begun to turn to stone, implying he was just human and didn't have Kree DNA inside him. I'm sure there's probably some kind of no-prize explanation – perhaps just having Kree blood inside you isn't enough and you need the other elements of the experiment that Holden Radcliffe has been cooking up to become a legitimate candidate for Terrigenesis. While the series normally has a solid hold on continuity and its own internal logic, there are some moments like this where it tends to go a bit screwy. It did also make me wonder whether Ian Quinn ever got his comeuppance for shooting Skye/Daisy back in “T.R.A.C.K.S”. I remember him appearing briefly in the Season One finale, “Beginning of the End”, escaping with the Gravitonium but we never got a proper resolution on either of those plot-arcs once the series started to focus more on the Inhumans.

This was a great set-up for the upcoming season finale, but also a strong standalone episode which had its own unique tone. I loved the scenes with the Kree Reavers walking the streets, as they had a genuine otherworldly feel to them. After placing a few Chekhov's Guns to defeat Hive earlier in the season, this episode defused most of them as he defeated the Kree Reavers and Simmons' anti-toxin failed to work. While there's still time for Simmons' miracle cure-all to kick in and save the day, it seems that SHIELD may have to rely on Lash for help – given Andrew Garner's awfully obvious speech about how he felt he had a greater purpose, I suspect he may be immune to Hive's powers and one of the only ones capable of defeating the creature. Still, it is shaping up to be a strong season finale, with the promise of one team member meeting their end and the question mark over Brett Dalton's involvement with the show – if Hive is defeated, will he leave? Or could there be some awful last-minute resurrection on the cards? And, what about Daisy? How will she be able to live with herself now she knows she is capable of hurting her dearest friends? Before all of that, however, we have a special tie-in episode with Captain America: Civil War, which will reflect the outcome of that film. Considering that it is the penultimate episode of the season, I'm not expecting a huge repercussions but it will be nice for the MCU to impact on the TV series' once again.

Score - 9.7 out of 10

Easter Eggs/References
  • “Only billionaires can build iron suits. Only the military can make Super Soldiers, which can only lead to a war of its own” - Hive cryptically refers to Iron Man and Captain America eventually coming into conflict, foreshadowing the events of Captain America: Civil War.
  • Daisy references being shot by Quinn in “T.R.A.C.K.S” and her transfusion of Kree Blood in “T.A.H.I.T.I”.

  • Which SHIELD Agent will die in space?
  • How will SHIELD defeat Hive, if the Kree and the Antidote have both failed?

Next Episode - "Emancipation"
In the aftermath of the events of Captain America: Civil War, SHIELD feels pressure to reveal their involvement with Inhumans. But with the stakes higher than ever and Hive growing stronger, the team is tested in ways they could never anticipate.

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