With less than four episodes to go, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is gearing up for a showdown that will undoubtedly pit Inhumans against the world as Hive tries to take back what he’s lost. And unfortunately, unless Coulson and his team are successful, that’s going to include Daisy fighting against the people she loves. In the aftermath of Daisy’s exit, Lincoln (sprung from quarantine, I suppose) is helping to reboot the system. Turns out that thanks to tests, the team’s confirmed Daisy’s the only one infected, so Elena and Joey have gone off to the cocoon. Mack is rightfully concerned about his partner and feels guilty about not protecting her. Coulson, meanwhile, makes sure the team knows that Daisy’s still one of them despite how she’s acting and alerts them to the fact Hive is building an Inhuman army.
As for May? She flies the damn plane right out of the hangar because she’s a BAMF.
Fitz and Simmons determine from their tissue samples that Hive works the opposite way a parasite would: Essentially, it causes its hosts to become addicted by releasing dopamine in the brain as opposed to simply sucking the life out of them. The bad news is that means given Daisy’s past relationship with Hive and Ward’s memories, Daisy will be harder to pull away. The good news is there’s a man that can help them find a cure for Hive’s infection: Dr. Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah). The bad news about that is he’s in Romania.
Anyway, Fitz and Simmons have more important things to talk about…like that kiss last week. It’s the most adorable professional/awkward convo ever as Fitz tries to figure out what happens now that they’ve kissed — you know, once they become more intimate and do things like have sex. It’s ultimately refreshing and gratifying to see Simmons being so confident and forward when it comes to their relationship, and not just because I’m all for women taking charge in a relationship. But knowing what Simmons went through when she went through the portal and how she’s fought back to regain control of both her life and her relationship, it makes me happy to see her backing this so steadfastly.
Hive has taken Daisy to the place she used to drive her van to when she slept in it during her homeless days. It’s essentially Hive’s way of saying, “Hey, I’ve got Ward’s memories,” before he lets Daisy know that Ward was “very fond of you.” Spoiler alert: Daisy is still glad she’s dead, but she’s aware of how different Hive is from the Ward she knew. He’s still cunning and ruthless, but even with Ward’s memories, there’s no emotional dissonance. Oh, and also? Her name is Daisy, so don’t call her Skye. She does tell Hive about how she found her parents because, lest we forget, Ward has memories, but there are things he wasn’t there for. Well, the good news is that Daisy spent her whole life searching for family, and now Hive wants to take back this planet for the Inhumans. Because hey, they’re in this together.
Coulson checks in with Talbot, who’s not happy about the situation. When May realizes he didn’t tell him about Daisy, Coulson distracts her by showing her Hive’s next possible target: Alisha Whitley (Alicia Vela-Bailey), a.k.a. the girl who can split herself apart, a.k.a. four Inhumans for the price of one.
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Daisy and Hive show up at James’ house, this time with a little more purpose than before. Daisy shows him the Kree artifact, which is apparently missing a companion piece. And when James still fails to cooperate, Daisy breaks the Terrigen crystal. Is James a real Inhuman? Oh, you bet he is. He’s a FIERY Inhuman. (Dare we say he’s…Hellfire?) He quickly gets infected by Hive and reveals he buried the other part of the artifact underneath his trailer. Well, that’s no problem for Daisy, who uses her powers to unearth it. And what is this other part of the artifact, kids? The only thing that can destroy Hive.
Lincoln wants to accompany May and Coulson on the hunt for Alisha because she’s his friend, but May doesn’t want him to because he could be infected. Coulson does allow him to go, but with a caveat: He wears a literal murder vest that they can detonate if Lincoln gets infected. I am all for safety precautions, but either Coulson really hates Lincoln or this is just really cruel. Apparently, May thinks so too because, despite her inherent dislike of Lincoln, she has no problem calling Coulson out for being able to throw away Lincoln’s life where Daisy gets a pass. Lincoln does show up for Alisha, asking if she’s seen Daisy and warning her about Hive. But Alisha’s already been infected, it turns out, and attacks Lincoln in what seems like an unfair fight given there’s four of her and one of him. May comes in to help, and almost gets bested as well…until Coulson seems to come to his senses and everyone’s rescue and kills Alisha’s double before Alisha can kill May.
Turns out that Hive does have Alisha, but Alisha’s not actually with Lincoln and May and Coulson: Hive is making her perform her Inhuman tricks. She’s alive, and now Coulson and company are aware. And Lincoln is officially out of the field according to Coulson until a cure can be found. Coulson apologizes to May for his earlier behavior, and May accepts his apology, but she’s still not happy with him. Coulson admits he forgets that Daisy’s so young and that all he cares about is giving her a family. May rightfully points out Coulson is not her father, even though Coulson admits she’s the closest thing he has to a daughter. It’s not the first time we’ve had confirmation that Coulson’s loyalties are skewed thanks to his bias toward Daisy, but at some point, he has to put aside his emotions and be the director that makes decisions for his team that aren’t distorted.
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In Romania, Fitz and Simmons are briefing Mack on Radcliffe. They’re going undercover as top-level geneticists and pretending they have things to sell, which is a variation of Deathlok’s cybernetic eye. Mack apparently has no idea what scientists are really like, and I applaud our duo for putting him in his place. SCIENCE! Also, Fitz and Simmons look so super dapper dressed up. And let’s put Fitz in glasses more, please. They’re having trouble finding Radcliffe despite all the genetically enhanced people, and apparently you need an appointment to see him. Fitz and Simmons manage to make themselves known and end up killing time at the bar while they wait for Radcliffe to find time to see them.
So naturally, they go offline so they can talk about themselves. Which involves a conversation that is both heartfelt and perfect for who they are — after all, Fitz compares them sleeping together to crossing the event horizon, and would anyone expect anything different? (Honestly, I think Simmons is really turned on by this, and I don’t blame her. SCIENCE! But also, Fitz is really attractive when he’s adorably trying to talk about his feelings.) Simmons also really just wants to do the sex thing already, but it’s time for Radcliffe to see them, and so back online they go.
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Here’s the thing about Dr. Radcliffe: He’ll only meet you if you can prove that what you bring him works and is worth his time. In this case, it’s Simmons and Fitz performing impromptu surgery on a poor civilian to put in the eye they’ve brought. “This seems extremely unethical,” says Simmons before she and Fitz decide to just go for it. And Simmons GOES FOR IT. She sticks the needle in the guy’s eye. Turns out, Simmons is one smart cookie. She figured out the eye was artificial, and the guy in the chair is actually Radcliffe. Why all the smoke and mirrors? He’s selective about who he works with. And he’s not really sold on Fitz and Simmons, who he believes are Hydra. Even though they’re S.H.I.E.L.D. I mean, same thing, right? (He’s not wrong…) His accomplice realizes they’re on comms via Fitz’s glasses, and they come clean about being there because of the Inhumans, which Radcliffe is skeptical of existing.
When a fight breaks out and they’re forced to split up, Fitz holds his own (I mean, really holds his own) and then promises Radcliffe he can give him all the information on Inhumans if he can help. Unfortunately, at that moment Daisy shows up to corner Fitz…and Hive shows up to corner Simmons. Anyone going to guess what Hive is going to do with Simmons? Yep…he forces her to re-live Will’s memories, down to telling her exactly how he felt about her and how he died, all of which makes Simmons more upset. But Simmons can be vulnerable and also hold her own because Jemma Simmons has come such a long way since even the first half of the season. “Just because you stole his memories doesn’t give you the right to be him. Will is dead,” she tells Hive before she shoots him. Daisy, meanwhile, attacks Fitz and threatens him to not try to save her. She’s got a family now. And if he loves Simmons, he’ll leave her alone because someone on the team will die. Mack is taking on James, who is unleashing havoc at the bar with his new fire powers. Daisy and the Inhumans escape with Radcliffe, i.e. the team’s only hope for a cure.
Mack comes back to the room with Simmons, but Fitz isn’t there, causing Simmons to panic. She tells Mack about seeing Hive, and Mack tells her that he’s quite aware of the whole “going offline” trick that Hunter and Bobbi used all the time. It’s nice to see Simmons opening up about her relationship to other team members and Mack just accepting the fact that their relationship is and has always been something more. When Fitz returns, Simmons basically attacks him passionately, and for a moment, we think that Daisy’s words have gotten to Fitz and he’s going to pull back again. But then they cross the event horizon. I repeat: FitzSimmons have officially crossed the event horizon.
Meanwhile, Daisy’s seismic activity has led Coulson and May to James’ house in South Dakota, though they arrive to find it deserted. Coulson realizes the place is rigged to blow and manages to save them by pulling a Captain America: The Winter Soldier move that Steve Rogers would be proud of. (Really, let’s just call it what it is: Coulson wanted a shield. So Fitz finally gave him a shield.) Back at base, May and Coulson watch as Talbot takes down Hydra’s infrastructure. While that’s happening, Hive is showing everyone (Radcliffe included) how their life is going to begin: in a new town. Because of course Hive’s bought them a town.
- May: “No one comes to me with their feelings.” Mack: “Yeah, that makes sense.” Oh the snark is strong.
- “Who’s Aladdin?” I’ll hand it to James for that one.
- Okay, now that I’m thinking about it, that shield tech is pretty damn awesome. I want one.
- So, the end of the episode seemed to confirm that James is Hellfire. I know a lot of fans had theories that Ward would end up being Hellfire (and it was a theory I shared for awhile) when he became Inhuman, and I’m surprised they went with James for that. But I’m NOT surprised they finally introduced the character. I hope he at least gets his due and doesn’t get thrown to the wind like other Inhumans.