Friday, 15 April 2016

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 'Paradise Lost' Review

This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for the episode to be discussed, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.

'Paradise Lost' spends some time taking a look at the villains of the series and delivers some exciting and unexpected new developments as the Inhumans take centre stage.

When Gideon Malick returns to his home following the events of the last episode he discovers that Hive is already there and waiting for him, having summoned the council of Hydra heads to meet with him.  From this first moment the episode begins to build up the idea that this would be Malicks last episode, especially as his daughter Stephanie describes Hive as being 'handsome'.

This theme continued throughout the episode, where all of the scenes involving Malick suggesting that Hive would kill him by the end.  We even get flashbacks to Malick as a young man, where we discover that he had a brother who was sent through the obelisk to the planet where Hive was trapped after Malick betrayed his trust.

As we learn that Hive retains the memories of those he has possessed in the past Malicks paranoia that Hive wants to kill him begins to grow, so by the time the two of them have their dramatic confrontation the scene is tense and full of menage.

I have to admit, at one moment I found myself expecting Hive to kill Malick and that Stephanie would step up to become his partner.  So when Hive kills Stephanie I was genuinely shocked.  Everything about this episode was built the way most shows would go when killing off a character, giving them more screen time, giving them flashbacks, it was all textbook for Malicks death.  The fact that the writers chose to subvert this expectation is a pleasant surprise.

Whilst Malick was dealing with Hive, Coulson, May, Fitz and Simmons track down Giyera and try to take him captive.  Knowing that he can use his telekinesis to move no organic material the team devise a trap that will lock him in an empty room with their secret weapon, Melinda May.

The fight between May and Giyera, or if you're an older geek Chun-Li and Kung Lao, is really, really good, as the fight doesn't rely on anything but else but the combatants to make it engaging.  With no weapons, props or scenery to add to the fight the choreography had to be top notch here, and they succeeded in spades.  I'm not sure if Ming Na performs her own stunts and fights, and it's hard to tell if it's her the whole time here, but MarK Dacascos is definitely doing his own work and he's still as good as ever.  To be honest, I've been waiting to see Giyera actually get his hands dirty since seeing Dacascos in the role, and his first foray into physical action has been worth the wait.

Unfortunately for the team Giyera escapes from captivity aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. jet and takes over the vehicle, incapacitating everyone on board as he does so.

During all of this Daisy and Lincoln have been tracking down a member of Afterlife, a potential Inhuman who never went through terrigenesis, who Lincoln believes may have information on Hive.  Despite some initial unwillingness to cooperate the two of them manage to find out that Hive was actually the first Inhuman created by the Kree thousands of years ago, and that he led the Inhuman uprising against them that drove them from Earth.

The two of them also manage to get their hands on a piece of Kree technology, a metal orb that Hive once had in his possession centuries before.  It's still not clear what's inside the orb, though it does bear a resemblance to the orb featured in Guardians of the Galaxy that contained an Infinity Stone.  Does this orb have an Infinity Stone inside it?  Probably not.  

Revealing another of the Infinity Stones on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would definitely be a big moment for the series, and would help to make the show feel a little more important in the Marvel cinematic universe and could encourage more people to watch, but I doubt that they would leave something as important to the overall plan to the series.

The episode ends with Daisy and Lincoln finding out that Giyera has the rest of the team captured and the decision to bring together the Secret Warriors to mount a rescue mission.

'Paradise Lost' brings a lot of answers and background to the series and fleshes out more of the backgrounds and overall mythology of the MCU in an entertaining and engaging way.


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