Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Agents of SHIELD reviews here.
Well played, Agents of SHIELD. Well, played.
You knew, didn’t you? You knew I didn’t like Lincoln very much. You knew that, despite your best efforts to inject some interesting personality into him, he was still a bland character. You knew that he was the only one on the team I would be okay with Hive infecting, since literally every other character is too damn likable. And you used that knowledge to play me. You made me think you were going to give Lincoln the Season 1 Ward treatment: take a bland character and make him great by revealing him to be a traitor. And you milked that narrative for all it’s worth, before revealing it to be yet another a bait-and-switch, and the strongest one yet.
All of that made the actual reveal of who the traitor was all the more effective. Daisy is another character who evolved from a generic point-of-view character to one of the show’s strongest assets, and it says a lot about her development that her betrayal was so heartbreaking. Heck, Lincoln himself benefited from that twist. His reaction to Daisy’s betrayal was the most engaging he’s been all season. Even his anger management/alcoholism backstory, which failed to work for me last week, was used effectively in order to sell what Daisy had become under Hive’s sway. And the final sequence, in which Daisy unleashed her full Quake powers and brought the SHIELD base crumbling down, was a fantastic ending.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As a whole, “The Team” was an excellent episode of Agents of SHIELD. The opening sequence with Daisy and the Secret Warriors infiltrating the Hydra base to rescue their teammates was thrilling and fun. The action was on point and made great use of the different powers within the team. And though we haven’t spent that much time with Joey and Yo-Yo, they instantly made their mark, from their cute and funny Spanish-only banter to the combined use of their powers. The Secret Warriors’ official debut was a big success, a great display of their chemistry and effectiveness as a team.
And then it was over just as quickly as it began. If there’s one thing I didn’t like about the episode, it’s the way the Secret Warriors fell apart so soon after teaming up. It’s a consequence of a fast-paced season, which on the whole is a good thing, but the Secret Warriors team-up had been teased all year long, so it was still unfortunate to have the rug pulled out from under our feet so soon. That said, I’m sure they will reunite again, probably in time for the final episode or two.
The majority of the episode dealt with the mystery of whom Hive had infected, and it was really well done. The feeling of mistrust permeated everything, and even I as a viewer was unsure. What Mack said was true: “Everyone looks suspicious if you stare at them long enough.” But Joey and Yo-Yo were so darn likable—and Daisy was our protagonist goshdarnit!—that I really didn’t want it to be anyone other than Lincoln (sorry, Lincoln). And as I said, “The Team” used that to its advantage in the end.
Malick’s capture and eventual death was genuinely surprising to me, considering last week’s episode went to great lengths to subvert our expectations about his demise. It was another case of the season moving at a fast pace, but in this case it worked. Malick had served his purpose, and he had a great last few scenes with Coulson, including lines like “He is a god… just not ours” and “I never saw my last rodeo being with SHIELD.” And thanks to last week’s events, his loss of faith in Hive and Hydra were natural and believable. So long, Malick, you were a good villain.
Finally, Fitz and Simmons were the absolute best in “The Team” (as is often the case). I’m really glad that they’re finally officially together, although Agents of SHIELD has conditioned me to fear the worst whenever that has happened in the past, so… gulp. Still, it was a sweet exchange, and Fitz’s joke about “a picture of space” was a perfect and hilarious ending to that scene that had me legitimately laughing. FitzSimmons really have become the heart of the show.
Speaking of relationships, right now I can imagine SkyeWard shippers from back in Season 1 shouting “Not like this!” Because yes, Ward and Daisy are finally together, albeit in a twisted, demented way. Hive referring to Daisy as “Skye” drove that point home and reminded us that Hive still has all of Ward’s memories, feelings, and traces of his warped, obsessive personality. Infected or not, Daisy is not in a good place right now.
What does all of this mean for Daisy? Well, I sure don’t want her to be the dead character we saw in the flash-forward, especially not after the way so many shows these last few months have handled their characters (Arrow, The 100, Sleepy Hollow, just to name a few). I doubt that will happen, though. Simmons did have a throaway line about how Hive’s infection isn’t pemanent, so I’m hoping that was a case of the writers planting the seeds for her eventual return to normal. Until then, she’ll make a fantastic and powerful adversary to the team.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)
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