Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 'The Singularity' 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.

Well, Coulson might not have a laser finger, but he does have a pretty nifty holographic shield projector in the back of his new robot hand, and frankly, that's a hell of a lot cooler.

This weeks Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. begins with a sense of pace and urgency following Daisy's attack on the base that makes you believe that the episode is going to be fast, action packed and full of excitement.  Whilst it does have some of these moments, the pace from the start of the episode doesn't carry throughout and there is a noticeable slump in the middle.

Whilst Coulson takes half of the team to try and get to a number of Inhumans before Hive can reach them and bring them under his control Fitzz, Simmons and Mack attempt to track down a scientist who was working on parasite research that could help them to figure out a way of combatting Hive and his ability to influence other Inhumans.

Both plots have their moments of excitement and plot development, but the Fitzz and Simmons story does feel like it drags in the middle during a few of their scenes.  When they enter the club looking for Doctor Radcliffe the episode takes a lot of time getting them face to face with him, and even though the scene where they talk about their new relationship is well written and well acted it does feel a little out of place.

Whilst Fitzz and Simmons are attempting to find Doctor Radcliffe, Coulson, May and Lincoln head out to find Alisha, an Inhuman with the ability to create copies of herself.  Worried that her powers would give a potentially limitless supply of soldiers to their enemy they try to get to her before she can be brought under Hive's influence.

Whilst Coulson wants Lincoln on the team to help talk Alisha round he's worried that Lincoln could become compromised if Hive gets too close to him, so gets him to wear a jacket lined with explosives.  It's an incredibly dark moment as Coulson basically gives May an order to blow Lincoln apart if he becomes compromised.  

I can kind of understand his logic, the icers don't work on people who have been influenced by Hive, and a taser clearly wouldn't work on Lincoln, but giving he order to blow someone apart is a really, really strong decision.  It's also something that May makes a point of, challenging Coulson on the fact that he is willing to sacrifice Lincoln if he becomes infected, but wanting to try and save Daisy.

Bringing up the fact that Coulson seems to feel differently about Daisy than most of the other people under his command is something that the show hasn't really done yet, even though this has been something that has been going on since the first season.  Whilst it might feel ham fisted in most episodes to bring up a subject like this, now that Daisy has essentially joined the bad guys it feels natural and appropriate to do so.

This episode also spends a lot of time with Daisy, and by extension Hive, where we get to see a little more of what is going on other than just simple mind control.  Daisy and the other Inhumans aren't just mindless zombies following around their master, but instead have an addiction to being around Hive get heightened positive feelings it.

It means that Daisy is being motivated more from a deep feeling of belonging and finally having a family than simple mind control, which means that the chances of the rest of the team finding a way to break through that and reach her have become dramatically decreased.  Everything that Daisy has done for S.H.I.E.L.D. and her teammates has come from a similar sense of family, if she's having these feelings about Hive and the other Inhumans now it's going to make her a very dangerous adversary.

This becomes quite apparent when Daisy and Hive attempt to obtain the same doctor that Fitzz and Simmons are trying to find.  Daisy uses her powers to incapacitate Fitzz, pinning him against the wall as she tries to warn him to stop chasing after her and Hive.  Despite trying to get Fitzz and the rest of the team to stop coming after them because she doesn't want them to get hurt she also tells Fitzz that next time she will break his neck.  

Even if the team are able to find a way of breaking the hold that Hive has on Daisy I'm starting to think that she might not end up being the same person she was before he infected her.  Having such strong feelings of happiness and family, then having them ripped away will definitely have a strong negative effect on her.

Whilst Daisy is confronting Fitzz, Simmons comes face to face with Hive in what's one of the more interesting scenes of the episode.  We already know that Hive retains the memories of his previous hosts and that these memories can have an effect on him, from his anger at Malick for what was done to Malick's brother years before.  Now we've learnt that because he possessed Will, Hive has strong feelings for Simmons.

I don't think that Hive loves her or anything like that, but he definitely protected her and seemed to genuinely be pleased to see her.  At the end of the day this thing is a walking god, he has no need to play games or try to manipulate people, so there's no real reason for him to lie to Simmons here.  I think that Will left a mark on Hive, gave him an affection towards Simmons and a desire not to kill her.  Who knows if this is something that the team might be able to exploit at a later date, but it definitely adds a new level of complexity to what could have been a very bland and one dimensional villain.

The episode ends by finally revealing what Hive plans to do, or at least a part of his plan.  He wants to use Doctor Radcliffe to try and recreate the experiments that the Kree did to create the Inhumans centuries before, which will allow Hive to transform ordinary people into Inhumans to add to his army.

'The Singularity' starts with a fast pace and tries to keep it going throughout the episode.  Despite some slower moments the episode does manage to deliver a lot of interesting plot developments, some great character development and some great visual moments.


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