Warning: This post contains spoilers for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! Proceed with caution, agents. If you haven’t yet watched tonight’s episode, “Paradise Lost,” we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Then let’s go.
After last week’s rather heartwarming tale of an Inhuman precog, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gets back to being down and dirty for an episode in which a lot of people pay the price for doing bad things.
“Paradise Lost” could just as well be titled “Payback” for its recurring note of past sins affecting one’s present. Malick, of course, is the Grand Poobah here, as we finally learn the secret origin of Hydra’s last head. It turns out that ol’ Gideon was groomed from a young age to accept the family’s belief in a greater power that it was destined to serve. But, like his father, the young Malick turned coward and couldn’t bare to serve as the Traveler that would help see Hive on his eventual journey to Earth. So in a riff on Cain and Abel, Gideon sentenced his own brother to go in his place, and to his death. Or a fate worse than death, if Coulson is to be believed — since Malick’s brother became one of the many vessels Hive used in his ages-old mission. But because one can’t trust that guilt alone will break a criminal mastermind, Hive takes the next step and feeds off of Gideon’s daughter, killing her too in the process.
Elsewhere, Coulson, having as ripe a sense of guilt as anybody to serve as a secret agent, is indeed distraught to find that his “stepping over the line” to kill Ward out of revenge for murdering his lady love is coming back to haunt him big time. He admits as much in a rare moment of grief in front of someone other than May or Daisy. Fitz here serves as counsel, and it shows how far our socially awkward scientist has come since we first met him. He wears wisdom well.
The third of this week’s sinners is Lincoln, who, we learn though his old Aussie friend (and wannabe powered person) James, was responsible for killing his last girlfriend in a drunk driving accident. Fortunately, Lincoln’s new girlfriend is Daisy, who handles her own demons well enough to accept those in others. Still, it makes me wonder if he’s the S.H.I.E.L.D. member whose death she’s foreseen. Because even if she’s forgiven Lincoln, there’s zero guarantee that this show will.
But before someone heads into space for that eventual scenario, we have the team’s sticky present situation to deal with. “Paradise Lost” ends with everyone, save Daisy and Lincoln, captured by Malick’s former right-hand man, who now answers only to Hive. Though Coulson and co. put up a good fight against him this week (May’s hand-to-hand combat scene is, as usual, terrifically well-choreographed), Giyera literally pulls the rug out from under them by taking control of their jet itself. I’m just curious as to what Daisy and her more-or-less untrained Secret Warriors can do against a foe that seasoned vets couldn’t handle. Might Malick yet earn himself a chance for redemption?
— “You said you killed him.” “I did.” “Well you didn’t kill him hard enough.”
— Nobody pronounces Latin words as charmingly as Simmons.
— “Take your little boy-band hipster scruff and piss off.”
— I’m never less than amazed by the irony that the more power Daisy exhibits, the more relatable she is.
— “So Hydra is in the oil business now? It’s like they’re not even trying to avoid the bad guy cliches.”
— Hive’s natural form is that of a Lovecraftian squid god? If so, I’d prefer the show never show us his true face. Such things, as the fabled horror writer well knew, are better left to the imagination.
— “I knew it would come back to haunt me… I just didn’t think it would actually come back to haunt me.”
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).
Images: Marvel, Disney, ABC