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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×16 “Paradise Lost”

“Paradise Lost,” was an episode that focused heavily on providing viewers with further insight into the baddies of 3B. With flashbacks and flash-forwards, the episode gave much of its attention to Gideon Malick and the backstory of how he came to be such a proclaimed loyalist to Hydra and the organization’s greater cause.

Spoilers ahead!

As mentioned, much of, “Paradise Lost,” was an informational one that focused heavily on bringing viewers up to speed on the Hydra backstory and Gideon’s involvement. The Malicks have produced generations of Hydra followers, some more loyal than others as we learn through some incredibly revealing flashbacks. Remember that, “pull rocks out of a bag and whoever gets stuck with the white stone is the poor guy/gal that has to be sacrificed and go to Maveth,” game that we saw those ancient Hydra dudes playing in that 3A flashback? Well, as it turns out, Malick himself played the worst game in the history of ever, along with his brother.

Unfortunately, Malick isn’t quite the, “true believer,” that he has claimed to be since we were first introduced to him. He threw a notched white stone into the bag, much like his father did before him, so he could avoid being the sacrifice. You know who was the sacrifice? Gideon’s brother who had just vowed to stick with his bro ‘til the end in a heartfelt chat by a picturesque pond that little Malick thought the notched white stone had been thrown into.

It was basically the ultimate betrayal (certainly makes my siblings stealing my clothes seem like a minor offense) and comes back to bite Malick in the derriere. Because, as we all know, one of Hive’s many gifts includes retaining the memories of all of his hosts… including Gideon’s sacrificed brother. Malick is understandably not too thrilled by this development, partially because it probably isn’t fun having a brother whose death you were responsible return from the dead, but mostly because his actual true believer of a daughter heard of her father’s selfish cowardice and gives Hive the go ahead to, “Do what you have to do.”

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We assume this means Gideon will meet the bone-crushing end that he saw a glimpse of after touching that Inhuman last week, but what actually happens is Hive planting a smooch on Stephanie Malick before promptly using his tentacles to drain the life from her and turning to Gideon with a, “Now you understand sacrifice.”

Elsewhere, the team (save for Lincoln and Daisy who are on a mission of their own) have an equally nasty run-in with Giyera AKA torturer of Simmons AKA former right-hand to Malick AKA current right-hand to Hive. For a moment it seems as though the gang has managed to get the upper hand, with May knocking Giyera out and promptly sticking him in a containment pod, but since he can control any inanimate object within his sight, the Inhuman manages to escape and hijack the plane… piloting it straight into the Hydra base camp with the entire team still on board.

Uh oh. The whole team trapped at Hydra? However will they get out of this predicament? If only Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had an Avengers-esque team that they’ve been promoting since last July’s San Diego Comic Con…

Oh wait…

The Secret Warriors!

The episode ends with Daisy telling Lincoln to call the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D’s Inhuman team in so that they can rescue the others in what will likely be a spectacularly epic fashion.

The theme of the episode seemed to focus on the much repeated, “doing what needs to be done for the greater good.” For Coulson, who has repeated on numerous occasions that he did such a thing in killing Ward, this episode brought forth the important fact that doing what one thinks needs to be done isn’t necessarily the same thing as actually doing what needs to be done. There’s a certain amount of selfishness that can be found behind those rather hollow words, as we see with Coulson admitting that he killed Ward for revenge and Malick’s rigging of the stone drawing that led his brother straight to Maveth. Both men made the decisions that they felt was best for them and then later reasoned that it was a necessity meant to ensure the greater good.

“Paradise Lost,” also mentioned, again, the idea of the true believer. What was most interesting to me where this was concerned is, while we saw Stephanie deemed the true believer of Hydra, on the opposite side of the coin it was Fitz who became the true believer of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson. The younger agent did his best to assure that Coulson made the right decision in killing Ward, claiming the other man deserved it, which was a rather ominous statement that could potentially come back around in the final episodes of the season.

It’s hard to follow an episode as exciting and plot-driven as, “Spacetime,” but, “Paradise Lost,” did manage to provide relevant information while serving as a solid lead-in to next week’s Secret Warriors extravaganza. It looks as though the arguable slowness of this week’s episode will be completely reversed next week as the Inhumans blast their way into Hydra and another possible traitor might blast their way out of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Episode Grade: B

Episode Highs:

  • “I don’t know when, but someone on our team is going to die.”
  • This episode, though not Coulson-centric, gave Clark Gregg the opportunity to play up humor as well as angst. He’s able to joke, “I knew it would come back to haunt me, I just didn’t think it would literally come back to haunt me,” while simultaneously revealing his inner anguish over the incident.

Episode Lows:

  • It was nice getting some Lincoln backstory since he hasn’t really been established as anything other than Daisy’s mentor-turned-beau, but I wish the backstory we did get was a bit more enlightening than, “I drove drunk and almost killed my former girlfriend.” I’m more interested in learning a bit more about the before and after of that, and hope that we’ll see some of that the next time Lincoln’s backstory is touched upon.
  • Considering Giyera escaped pretty much immediately, it seemed as though the episode put a little too much emphasis on all of the precautions the team made to ensure he didn’t Like… I love Fitz’s gadgets but what was the point of mentioning his special guns if they ended up playing zero role?

Additional Thoughts:

  • “He’s a parasite. A parasite that retains the memories of the body he took over.” Coulson’s description of Hive is pretty ominous, so who on the team do you think will be most impacted by the knowledge that the Inhuman has obtained from his slew of hosts? (Will could be bad for Jemma and Ward is obviously bad for everyone, particularly Coulson. And we don’t even know who else was sacrificed and what knowledge they may possess.)
  • I like that the episode clearly pointed out that, just because Daisy saw the vision, doesn’t mean it’s her in the vision. She wasn’t present for half of the visions in, “Spacetime,” so that means it could be anyone on that exploding QuinJet. And lets be real, Coulson is the, “main character,” but at this point Daisy is the main character. There’s zero chance she’s getting killed off in a season introducing the Secret Warriors with S4 already greenlit.

What did you think of the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D? Sound off with any thoughts and opinions on Twitter or in the comments below!

 

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Silje Falck-Pedersen