Things kick into high gear this week as we barrel towards the finale of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., offering us one of the best episodes of the season and one hell of a twist ending. Head here for Doug’s review of episode 17, and read on for the biggest moments from ”The Team”.
1) Secret Warriors Assemble!
After being teased for nearly a year, the Secret Warriors assemble for the first time this week! Well, sort of. Though the marketing made a big deal out of this being the episode that finally sees the Secret Warriors unite, we’ve seen versions of them in action together already. Before the winter finale, we got Daisy, Joey, and Lincoln taking on HYDRA at the Castle along with Mack (who has apparently been booted from the team after working with Daisy all year to set it up). We then got Yo-Yo in on the action when she was introduced in the mid-season premiere and the team took on the corrupt Columbian government and Inhuman baddie Lucio. So while it’s exciting to see Daisy, Lincoln, Yo-Yo (sorry, Elena), and Joey all fight HYDRA goons together, it’s not a completely unique experience. And that’s probably for the best, because it’d be pretty disappointing if the first time we ever saw Daisy lead a group of Inhuman S.H.I.E.L.D. agents into battle against the forces of evil ended with the team disbanding. Easy come, easy go I suppose.
Like the previous missions they’ve been on, it was incredibly exciting to watch all the Inhumans utilize their various skills to get the job done. Daisy’s powers are always reliably cool, and Yo-Yo’s enable a lot of fun moments for the character and audience. Joey also continues to show off how powerful he can be when he stops a barrage of assault rifle bullets in midair. But I’ve gotta give the MVP to Lincoln. Yes, that Lincoln. While he may be the blandest member of the team (a turtleneck, really?), his improved hand-to-hand combat training got some focus tonight and the writer and director wisely chose to incorporate in his electrical abilities. We’ve seen Daisy do this to great effect a number of times, but this is the first instance of Lincoln using his powers in a controlled way. He doesn’t just zap people, he actually uses the electromagnetism of his powers to throw the guards around. Hopefully S.H.I.E.L.D. will continue showcasing the Inhumans’ abilities in these clever and dynamic ways, rather than using the “stand still and let CGI do all the work” method that was on display earlier this season.
2) Trust No One
It seems that good things can never last. The Secret Warriors barely have time to pat each other on the back in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner before the whole initiative goes to hell. It’s not just the facility lock-down and Inhuman blame game that fractures the team. Everyone’s got a lot to work through before they can properly function as a well-oiled machine. Lincoln’s still working on his anger issues and the stresses of running missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. has showcased some of Yo-Yo and Joey’s problems as well. Yo-Yo resents being locked up, and though she seemed on board with everything, she’s got a temper and prideful streak of her own that prove she’s not super capable of working within the confines of a super-secret governmental spy organization. And then there’s Joey.
One of the key problems with the Secret Warriors plot is that the show has sold us on the idea that any Inhuman S.H.I.E.L.D. recovers is ready to be an agent. Sure, Daisy started as a hacker before graduating to bad-ass spy, but that doesn’t mean everyone should choose that path. While Lincoln’s seemingly made his decision to go from doctor to warrior, and you could argue that as a freedom fighter Yo-Yo is still in a similar role, Joey was a construction worker. He went through S.H.I.E.L.D. training to hone his new abilities, but did any ever stop to ask him if he wanted to be a fighter? This week, he’s thrust into the chaos of a mission, and while he performs admirably, he also takes a life when he stabs Lucio in the heart. That takes a toll on him and it’s a while before anyone even bothers to notice the obvious: that he’s shaken. The escalation of the Hive infection threat and the human agents moving against the Secret Warriors only increases his feeling that he’s not cut out for this. While I don’t see him completely leaving the show in the episodes to come, I would like if the writers offered him the chance to work more in the lab or around the base. Not every S.H.I.E.L.D. agent or Inhuman needs to be a warrior, and the show and character can only grow stronger if they acknowledge this truth.
Aside from all of that, the plot worked well this week, injecting more classic spy action into the proceedings. It’s interesting that the more this series has pushed into superpowers and cosmic beings territory, the more we’ve seen traditional spy narratives used. It’s a great mix, helping to keep the more fantastical elements grounded and allowing the show to live up to its name and titular organization’s M.O.. With Captain America: Civil War highlighting the conversation of vigilante justice versus governmental intervention, S.H.I.E.L.D. is in a unique place in the MCU to weigh in on this discussion, especially given the added layer of Inhumans and their place within society. Hopefully the groundwork laid in this episode will continue paying dividends as we head into the final episodes of the season.
3) Evil SkyeWard
There’s not a lot to go on when it comes to the twist at the end of the episode, but Daisy being under the control of Hive will certainly be one of the major factors in the remaining episodes this season. Given that, this won’t be the last time I discuss it. For now, let’s just say that I didn’t see that coming. I was all ready to believe Lincoln had been infected, especially given his previously mentioned bland characterization. It would have provided a nice opportunity to shake up his personality and motivations. But having Daisy be the mind-controlled traitor offers up a whole heaping helping of conflicts. She’s got a history with virtually every character on the show, so naturally her betrayal (even if it’s unintentional) is going to have dire consequences and lead to some tense moments. What’s more, we now have an altered version of Season 1’s go-to coupling, SkyeWard. She’s not Skye anymore, and he’s certainly not Ward, but it nevertheless puts us in to some creepy and potentially problematic territory. We’ll have to wait until next week to see how their interactions play out, but regardless of where this plot ends up, it’s certainly going to have ramifications moving forward.
So, what did you think? Let us know in the comments what your favorite moments were and what you’re hoping to see next week. You can check out the promo for episode 18 titled “The Singularity” here and for all things Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., follow along here. For more MCU related news and features, make sure to follow us on Twitter.