Let me preface this review by saying, while I know that the primaries for the bid to become the next President of the United States of America are important, in no world do I appreciate Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. being interrupted by the most Inhuman of Inhumans giving a victory speech so cringe-worthy I had to get up and leave the room to avoid losing brain cells.
Having said that I can say with utmost sincerity that, once I managed to find a legal link with which to watch, “The Team,” in its entirety, I found myself on the edge of my seat with my heart thumping somewhat alarmingly fast in my chest.
“The Team,” was on an entirely different playing field than the other episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D’s back half and is most definitely a season high. Every aspect that makes for a good episode of television was seamlessly incorporated by DJ Doyle into 42ish minutes of stellar entertainment that left me embarrassingly eager for it to be next Tuesday already. “The Team,” was an episode that truly had it all, action, mystery, betrayal, teamwork, and the much-hyped Secret Warriors. The lead-up to Season 3’s seventeenth episode has been somewhat slow but, clearly, it was all part of the show’s grand plan to provide viewers with a twist so enormous that has the potential to completely change everything we’ve grown to know and understand about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Picking up where last week left off, Elena and Joey are called in to help Lincoln and Daisy rescue their team from the clutches of Hydra. As it turns out, minimal training and team bonding is needed in order for this new gang of Secret Warriors to work pretty flawlessly together and extract their kidnapped counterparts within seven minutes of the episode.
Unfortunately, the extraction isn’t quite as Grade A as is initially assumed because Hive got his hivey tentacles in one of the Inhumans and has now infected them to do his bidding and infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. from the inside. How ironic that faux Ward is now causing another member of S.H.I.E.L.D. to pull a Ward and betray their team in the most heartbreaking and vicious of fashions.
Naturally Coulson isn’t too thrilled by the new piece of information regarding this, “Inhuman infection,” provided by Malick and makes the tough call to keep the Secret Warriors on lockdown and take them all off-duty until everyone else figures out WTF is going on.
Only Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would spend nearly a full year hyping up the Secret Warriors only to disband the team in the very episode they come together. This was like a Season 1 flashback to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hyping up, you know, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. only to then bring the entire organization to the ground. Apparently the show’s new MO involves causing as much chaos and destruction to all of the situations it promotes and gets viewers excited for (so help me, do NOT touch FitzSimmons).
The remainder of the episode plays out like a hybrid mystery-thriller as the non-Inhumans, aka the humans, on the base try to covertly figure out which of the Secret Warriors was infected by Hive. As Mack points out, “Everyone looks suspicious if you stare at them hard enough,” which is the case with Joey, Elena, Lincoln, and Daisy. Each one has a moment or two of dodginess that makes it unclear to some (I’m not ashamed to brag about correctly calling the turned-member twelve minutes in) who the potential internal threat may be.
After a scuffle in one of the containment pods makes it seem as though poor Lincoln was the one whose mind was invaded by parasites, the Inhumans are separated and individually tested by Simmons for signs of the infection. Lincoln is understandably upset to be locked away in his pod but is even more understandably upset when his super-girlfriend rolls up and offers to break him out.
Because why would she want to break him out? Simmons’ parasite test will prove their innocence and all will be well… unless, of course, it only proves that he is parasite-free.
Let’s be honest, the lack of Daisy in the first action sequence was pretty damn suspicious considering she’s the leader of the Secret Warriors and (don’t tell Coulson) the lead of the show at this point. Add the fact that she got a random headache post-rescue and it becomes obvious that she was the Inhuman who got Hived during the mission. She explains to Lincoln, as the show explains to viewers via flashbacks, what happened after she split-up from the other Secret Warriors and reveals that she came face-to-face with Hive and promptly decided to follow him after his mind-meld trickery. She killed Malick when he was getting too chatty and the only reason she came back to the base in the first place was to steal some Terrigen crystals and the mysterious orb that was stolen last week.
I’m going to be honest, somewhat obvious or not, the reveal was pretty spectacular as Daisy explained with wide-eyed enthusiasm that she finally feels like she belongs thanks to Hive. She attempts to show Lincoln the light by ironically bringing him to the dark side but, in an interesting turn, he says that it goes against everything that S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for.
Daisy essentially shrugs and says, “Meh,” before getting the things she came for and leaving the base in ruins as she makes her new super villain exit.
Damn Daisy, did you really need to quake Playground into just… ground?
I’d like to think of, “The Team,” as Season 1’s, “Repairs,” on steroids, post-Terrigenesis, with whatever medical term means a helluva lot of adrenaline.
Much of the episode felt more like an espionage show, which served as a fun reminder that these characters we know and love are in fact spies. There have been countless episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D. dealing with the whole, “traitor in our midst,” plotline but this week was most certainly the most successful of the bunch. Largely due to the fact that the majority of the past attempts were really just red herrings and because this was the most impactful reveal since Ward’s double-agent one in S.H.I.E.L.D’s freshman season.
We’ve slowly grown to somewhat understand how powerful of a figure Hive is, but it was hard to really care when said power was being used on nameless figures and Hydra villains. To have Daisy be on the receiving end of the OG Inhuman’s power was a bold move on S.H.I.E.L.D’s part and will really amp up the final four episodes of the season. Because, while we’ve watched Hive grow stronger from a distance, we’ve experienced Daisy grow more powerful from front-row seats… meaning there’s a pretty good chance that this new duo could cause some truly intense mayhem going forward.
Episode Grade: A
- YoYo’s excited recap of the Secret Warriors first mission was hilarious and a fun reminder that not everyone is as used to deadly fights and missions as the core team.
- FITZSIMMONS!!!!!! Listen, I have no problem admitting that those British scientists hold a special place in my heart and COME ON! It was about damn time they got a brief respite from the doom and gloom and finally got a room.
- Coulson’s chat with Malick gave him the best lines he’s had on the show to date. “I wanted revenge, I wanted to feel him die. That’s the sin that gave your devil new life.” “I’ve met gods. Gods bleed.”
- Honestly, as a live viewer the real low was simply not being able to watch it in sequential order. But that’s not H.I.E.L.D’s fault so does it really even count as a low? No. Which means… “The Team,” is the first episode that I can find no fault in. :O
- While it seems fairly obvious what those Terrigen crystals will be used for, how do you think Hive and Daisy will use them?
- Does that mystery orb look like the planet-destroying one from Guardians of the Galaxy or is it just me?
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!