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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×18 “Singularity”

“It’s time we took back this planet, made it the home Inhumans have always deserved.”

And thus, the snowball effect of last week’s game-changing twist begins.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a show that has always steadily churned out plot-moving episodes to lure viewers in before yanking the rug out from under them in the final quarter of the season. It’s seems that things are no different this year as the consequences of Daisy falling under Hive’s sway become prevalent and new threats emerge.

Spoilers ahead!

Picking up where last week left off, the team is frantically trying to physically and emotionally recover from Daisy’s dramatic exit. While Coulson, May, and Lincoln disband to find their recently departed friend, FitzSimmons and Mack try to find a different solution by tracking down the scientist who was looking into a cure against certain Hive-like parasites.

Unsurprisingly, things to NOT go as planned for either of S.H.I.E.L.D’s sub-teams, due largely to the fact that there seems to be just as much internal drama in the organization as there is external. Lincoln is only permitted to go out in the field in search of former Afterlife Inhuman Alisha (who in my mind has the less cool name of, “Multiplying Girl”) after Coulson forces him to wear a suicide vest to prevent him from being swayed by Hive. It’s a pretty harsh demand that even May questions as she angrily declares, “I’ll do your dirty work Phil, but don’t you dare pretend your hands are clean,” after a low-blow that the Director takes at her past actions.

As it turns out, the suicide vest isn’t actually necessary because Hive is nowhere near most of the Alishas. He’s with the OG down in South Dakota where he and Daisy have tracked down the firecracker Aussie to A. Put him through Terrigenesis and bring him under Hive’s control and B. Find the other piece to the mysterious Kree weapon that, yikes, is the only thing that can hurt Hive.

FitzSimmons

Elsewhere, FitzSimmons have successfully found Doctor Radcliffe in a fancy underground club that has more modified humans than glowing cocktail drinks. (If you saw the number of glowing cocktail drinks, you’d understand that there were a LOT of modified humans). The duo manages to score a meeting with Radcliffe but just as it seems that they might be able to convince him to help, they’re separated by some rather massive security guards who are then taken out by Hive and Daisy respectively.

They sure travel fast. Like very quick bees. (Get it? ‘Cause Hive? Nevermind, forget it.)

Poor Jemma comes face-to-face with the original Inhuman of doom and, unfortunately, he decides that it’s Will’s memories that will prove most effective in manipulating her. For a brief moment it seems as though he’s correct, with tears streaming down Jemma’s face as Hive whispers about letting Will go and only wanting what’s best for her, but then she puts a heckuva lot of lead in the body formerly known as Ward and says that just because Hive stole Will’s memories, doesn’t mean he can be him. Because Will is dead with a capital ALL the letters.

And as hard as it is coming across an ex-boyfriend in an ex-nemesis’ body, Fitz was in just as awful a predicament as he was forced to see firsthand how much Daisy has changed since being hived. The scientist is no match for his (former?) friend, who uses her powers of vibration to slowly suffocate him as she gives the classic, “Don’t come after us if you love Jemma and want your friends to live,” speech.

daisy

This scene was actually surprisingly painful to watch because it’s clear that Daisy truly believes what she’s saying, and yet she’s still cognizant of the fact that Fitz is her friend and she doesn’t want to hurt him. But she will. She will hurt him, as she does, and she’s even willing to kill him if he gets in, “our,” way. Our being Hive and his, well, hive. While most people who are on the wrong side give warnings in order to make threats, it’s obvious that Daisy’s warning is genuine. She is all but begging Fitz to stay away, to leave her and Hive alone, because she doesn’t wish to hurt him or anyone else but again, she will.

What I especially enjoyed about, “Singularity,” is the fact that it maintained the espionage tone of, “The Team.” There was certainly a whirlwind of action and poignant emotional moments as well, but the actual spying once again took the forefront and was a fun reminder that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are in fact agents. Particularly enjoyable was the fact that it was Agents Fitz and Simmons who got to emphasize their ever-expanding skill sets and go undercover in S.H.I.E.L.D’s latest low-key, high-stakes, mission.

All in all, “Singularity,” was an episode of television that reminded me why I love (and am, “unhealthily obsessed with,” according to my family) Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As mentioned before, the show has become known for taking it’s sweet time setting things up and then going full-force in the final quarter of the season. It’s a method that I personally have never had much of an issue with because Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does the slow build better than anyone else in the game.

I mean… just take a look at the FitzSimmons relationship as proof of that.

Officially official after 62 episodes! Thank you Thor, my Norwegian god of gods, for lookin’ out.

Anyways, I digress.

“Singularity,” was stellar from start to finish and a large reason for that is because it was so well-balanced. With a show that has a cast as enormous as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’s oftentimes it feels as though certain plots and characters get far more attention than they need while others don’t get the attention they deserve. The past few episodes have done a truly wonderful job at giving each character, and subsequently each actor, their due. There have been emotional and physical moments for all and, best yet, they have seamlessly intertwined together in a manner that has made the show feel like a high-functioning machine that has all of its cogs in the right spot.

What’s even better about, “Singularity,” is the fact that it wasn’t just those on screen who really shined. Kudos need to be given where kudos are due, and that’s to those whose work truly takes the show to another level: the various crews and departments whose faces we don’t see every week but whose hard work gives us jaw-dropping moments.

The VFX was truly top-notch thanks to Mark Kolpack and Co. (May piloting the plane sideways through a sliver of space in the hangar?!) and the episode brought forth a visual that I don’t think anyone will be forgetting anytime soon. Coulson protecting himself with a Captain America-esque shield that came out of his mechanic hand. I mean… c’mon! That is the kind of stuff that makes Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. such a fun show for viewers. Easter eggs are fun but getting whacked over the head with reminders that this is a Marvel production is just as thrilling.

coulsonshield

Similarly, it’s easy forget how utterly talented Ann Foley and her team are when Coulson’s team is so often trapped in an underground base with, quite frankly, terrible lighting. (I shudder to imagine how low their Vitamin D levels are). Couple that with the fact that spies tend to lean towards the darker hued tact gear (quite helpful for all of their espionage needs) and it’s often difficult to appreciate how detailed and meticulous the costuming is on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 FS

Seeing Fitz and Simmons out of their standard Playground attire and in new threads that look more expensive than a truck full of Apple computers had me doing a quadruple take that turned into downright ogling. There is something to be said for being able to craft an entire story through clothing alone and the assured air of confidence and capability infused within FitzSimmons’ undercover ensembles made it abundantly clear, no words necessary, how far the scientists have come since first introduced in their Oxfords and mismatched ties three years ago.

This episode was like throwing kerosene on an already massive bonfire and has me positively pumped for the final four of the season. Writer Lauren LeFranc proved once again why she’s a fan-favorite for the show by providing a solid hour of television that, thankfully, was not interrupted by any orange-faced, toupee wearing, Inhumans.

Episode Grade: A

Episode Highs:

  • The MVP Award is a toss-up between Elizabeth Henstridge and Brett Dalton. Jemma has had some pretty lighthearted stuff over the past few episodes and Henstridge’s comedic skills have been a joy to watch, but her biggest strength has always been crippling audiences with her emotional scenes. The encounter between Jemma and HiveWillWard was a reminder of how easily Henstridge crushes such scenes… and crushes us in the process. Similarly, Dalton as Hive is incredible and is one of the large reasons why I hope the character will stick around next season. Grant Ward was a fine character but he wasn’t interesting enough for Dalton to really shine as an actor. Hive on the other hand is a menacing, manipulative, creepy, and downright frightening character that Dalton is clearly having fun with. The low speaking tones, curious head quirks, and sly smile are only disconcerting because Dalton makes it so. The scene between Dalton and Henstridge was a moment that highlighted the talent of each actor as well as emphasized the power of their respective characters.
  • Hellfire hath arrived.
  • The scene with Coulson and his literal shield was, for a fan of Marvel and the show, an iconic one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
  • “Innovation is the quickest way to a scientist’s heart.” Don’t want to disagree but apparently tailored suits and leather pants are the quickest way to FitzSimmons’ respective hearts.

Episode Lows:

  • I’m not totally sure what they’re trying to do with Lincoln. His erratic behavior is understandable but, at this point, he’s essentially played the same role in every episode he’s been in lately. We get it, Coulson doesn’t really trust him and he’s a potential liability because of his quick temper. I’m hoping that in the final four episodes, Lincoln and his portrayer Luke Mitchell get a bit more to work with.

Additional Thoughts:

  • *Not a thought, just a giddy dance session as a result of Fitz and Simmons finally getting together for real.*
  • I can’t be the only one who though Fitz was REALLY dodgy and suspicious in that final scene. There are so many questions I have about it. 1. Where did he get that black duffel bag? 2. Why did he hesitate when Jemma asked where he’d been? 3. If HE was the one who yelled to meet back at the rendezvous point, why was he allegedly looking for Jemma after Daisy and Hive left? 4. What the hell took him so long to get back to the hotel? I don’t know about you but I’m almost positive there’s something that Fitz is hiding.
  • The PR department is REALLY emphasizing the fact that someone in S.H.I.E.L.D. won’t live to the end of the season. Who do you think will bite the bullet?

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!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen