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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S03 E18: The Singularity

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As the four-part Fallen Agent saga begins, as does the countdown to the death of one our Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., things look grim for our team. Betrayed and buried alive by Quake, can they withstand the next attack by Hive and Hydra? Find out in my review of “The Singularity,” after the jump.

The News

S.H.I.E.L.D.’s latest and most destructive enemy (no, not Hydra or Hive) of late has been its own network ABC and their coverage of the Presidential primaries. While the network news interrupts but does show the complete episode, even when it runs overtime causing havoc with DVRs, the local news is more insidious.

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My local Philadelphia affiliate and their Action News just plowed right over the beginning of this episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” leaving viewers to wonder over how our heroes escaped last episode‘s cliffhanger. Action News apparently had tell us everything we had just been told by the network again. When I need local news now I know what channel I won’t be watching.

Crawling from the Wreckage

Thanks to Action News, we open on the S.H.I.E.L.D. base recovering from Daisy’s attack. Apparently Daisy only trapped them inside the base as opposed to burying them alive. While many were injured, no one was killed, much like Action News’ preemption of the episode. Of the Secret Warriors, only Lincoln has remained with the team.

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On the other side, Hive has found Daisy on a hilltop she used to go to as a pre-S.H.I.E.L.D. Skye. She seems to retain free will, but is bonded to Hive. As we learn from FitzSimmons’ research, Hive not only makes Inhumans feel invincible when he infects them, but also alters the pleasure centers of the brain as well. Daisy is, in effect, addicted to Hive, as are all the Inhumans infected.

Holden Radcliffe

FitzSimmons have found an individual who may be able to reverse the process, a Dr. Holden Radcliffe who had been working at the lab with all the death’s head moths a couple episodes back. He wasn’t there when the lab was swept by Hydra because he had been asked to leave because of his unorthodox experiments. It turns out Radcliffe is “a rumored transhumanist.”

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In plain English, he believes in extending and enhancing human life through digital immortality and synthetic forms. Perhaps this will lead to the appearance of the S.H.I.E.L.D. comics staple, the LMD, Life Model Decoy? Speaking of the comics, there Radcliffe was a proponent of androids as military weapons and crossed paths with Machine Teen, who would later join Avengers Academy.

When FitzSimmons are explaining the concept of transhumanism to the team, Lincoln calls the idea of artificial humans “Timely,” which I thought clever as Marvel Comics’ first android was the original Human Torch, glimpsed briefly in Captain America: The First Avenger, and published by Timely Comics.

Targets

As the walls came down last episode we saw Fitz and Simmons finally get together after a decade and share a kiss and an intimate moment. As no one on this show ever remains happy for too long, and Fitz has made much of this potential relationship being cursed, I hate to say it, but I think one of them may be the agent who dies in the Fallen Agent story arc.

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Bad enough that May ominously gives Simmons a gun as she leaves on the mission to find Radcliffe, but I think there might be other clues. I’ve been calling them FitzSimmons of late, because once again as it was at the beginning of the series, they are inseparable and a unit, almost interchangeable. It’s almost as if it’s a prelude to us not needing both perhaps? Not good.

Recruitment

While FitzSimmons attend a high class cyberpunk party looking for Radcliffe, Hive has been busy. The uneasy team of Coulson, May, and Lincoln go looking for Lady Multiplex Alicia only to find she’s been infected before they get there. The rift between Coulson and May is widening, and it doesn’t help that Lincoln is put in a suicide vest to protect him from Hive. Coulson’s almost working harder to break this team than Hive.

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Meanwhile Hive, Daisy, and one of Alicia visit James in the desert. What did I say about him coming back to bite the good guys in the butt? After exposing him to terrigenesis, James gains explosive fire powers, and now being Inhuman is open to Hive’s control. Together they unearth the other piece of the Kree ball James held back – what Hive identifies as the only thing that could stop him.

The Singularity

At the cyberpunk party club, no one is as they seem. Artificial enhancements appear to be right where you’d think they’d be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. FitzSimmons have brought cybernetic eyes, similar to Deathlok‘s, to entice Radcliffe, but first they have that relationship talk. Geekily comparing it to the singularity of transhumanism, they decide to move forward with their relationship as they move forward with the mission.

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An almost obvious android called Anon takes FitzSimmons to see the doctor, and after a rather nasty ‘test’ that’s hard to watch, they meet Radcliffe, played by one of my favorite character actors, John Hannah, from “Spartacus” and the Mummy franchise, among dozens of others. Sadly they don’t have much time to talk…

The Party’s Over

Just as FitzSimmons are starting to make their plea to Radcliffe, Hive and company show up. While Mack and James engage in a firefight/barfight above, the real action takes place in the doctor’s lair below. Daisy attacks and nearly kills Fitz with her Quake powers, telling him to stay away, or she will kill him. Hive’s control over her is disturbing.

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Meanwhile Hive conjures Will to psychologically attack Simmons. The fear of Ward and the love of Will play havoc with Simmons until she uses May’s gun to put three in Hive’s stomach. She tells Mack later that she doubts it did anything, but I bet it felt good. I just wonder what Hive was up to. Was he going to kill Jemma? Or did Will just want to talk to her? And what does Hive want with Radcliffe? Does it have something to do with the Kree tech?

Little Ice Buckets

When Fitz finally makes it back to the rendezvous point, he and Jemma finally consummate their relationship – although, after last episode, it’s difficult to trust any character that is unseen for any amount of time. Jemma’s hands are cold, like little ice buckets, but they power through, much like the A.C.T.U. forces do when they bring down the infrastructure of Hydra. It happens off-screen and with very little fanfare, but the point is that Hive no longer needs Hydra, he can let them fall.

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Coulson and May seem to mend their cracks as they watch Hydra fall. Whether Hive needs them or not, I know and you know it can’t be that simple. This episode had lots of great moments, including Coulson saving May at James’ place, with an energy shield built into his hand similar to the one Captain America carried for a while. I also dug James’ ongoing monologue about what his Inhuman name should be. And what will Hive and company do with a whole town?

Next: The Kree Are Coming!

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About Glenn Walker

Glenn Walker is a professional writer, and editor-in-chief and contributing writer at Biff Bam Pop!. A blogger, podcaster, and reviewer of pop culture in all its forms, he's done stints in radio, journalism and video retail. Ask him anything about movies, television, music, or especially comics or French fries, and you’ll be hard pressed to stump him or shut him up.

Posted on April 27, 2016, in agents of shield, Glenn Walker, Marvel, television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Such goodness! … it’s like watching a movie with multiple and very long (week-long) pee breaks! 😀

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