Agents of SHIELD Recap Stephanie Dies

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Family Business

This week on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Malicks spent some quality time with Hive, May went mano a mano with a formidable foe and Daisy made an explosive discovery.

I know there was a lot of chatter about last week’s episode, including the technical wizardry involved in the homage to Daisy’s Season 2 one-shot fight. But damn if “Paradise Lost” wasn’t, for me at least, an all-around more satisfying experience, and one of the best episodes of the season.

Malick has been a solid enough villain this season, but ever since The Man Formerly Known as Ward, Now Known as Hive came into the picture, it has been a good deal of fun to see the old guy feel his sense of authority get chipped away at. This week’s backstory filled in some holes, at least regarding how Hydra over the years would choose who enters the “liquid rock” next (thanks for the lesson, Reed Diamond!), and thus unbeknownst (?) to them get sacrificed to the Inhuman god on the other side.

Yes, once it was revealed that Gideon and Nathaniel’s dad had a way of cheating the “white stone” lottery, you saw coming down Broadway what must have then transpired — Gideon used the trick to doom Nathaniel to Maveth. But at the same time, there was fun in knowing that, as such, the chickens would come home to roost. It was just a matter of when and how Hive would confirm for Gideon that he is, in some part, his brother.

When it became clear that Hive was about to even the score, to teach the Malicks a lesson about “sacrifice,” I thought for certain that we were saying goodbye to Powers Boothe, if only to instead keep around the more demo-friendly Bethany Joy Lenz. (Guys, we lost Adrianne Palicki!) So when Hive instead kissed Stephanie deadly, it came as quite a shock. (And broke my heart to boot; cue old-timey photo of me and Joy in Tree Hill.)

Now, Gideon is as unnerved as ever — though I hope that doesn’t mean he will immediately turn tail and help Coulson & Co.

On par with the Malicks’ hang with Hive, it was overdue for S.H.I.E.L.D. to zero in on Gideon’s No. 1, Giyera, and find a way to level the playing field so that he could receive a proper beatdown from May. For my money, that sequence was more compelling than last week’s one-shot, and extra easy to enjoy given the bright lighting and white backdrop. It was also clever how Giyera eventually escaped his cell, using his powers on a pinched metal belt buckle to leverage open the doors, KO everyone in his path and then single-handedly commander the plane.

Amidst all the above, the show also knew to slow down a minute to allow for some nice work by Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen and Ian de Castecker, as Coulson revisited the death he wished and believed he delivered upon Ward back on Maveth.

Hydra’s capture of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team set up a pretty exciting premise for next week, where the Secret Warriors have a highly organic reason to “assemble” and be the focus, in the name of saving Coulson, FitzSimmons and the rest; I look forward to their best, small-screen version of X-Men. (As for Daisy and Lincoln’s escapade this week: Lincoln’s reasoning for keeping mum about this rogue Inhuman Afterlife castoff barely tracked, and I remain to be sold on how this spherical Kree artifact will play a significant role in Hive’s undoing. I pray he doesn’t turn out to have some Death Star-like weak spot they can easily target.)

What did you think of “Paradise Lost”?