‘PARADISE LOST’ PLOT SUMMARY:
Key elements of the Malick family’s history with Hydra are revealed via flashbacks. In the present day, S.H.I.E.L.D. gathers information on Hive (Brett Dalton) while Gideon (Powers Boothe) reluctantly welcomes him into his home.
When we last saw Malick, he was visibly shaken. At the time, I thought this was because his right-hand man, Giyera (Mark Dacascos), had elected to stay with Hive, signifying that Hive’s orders override Gideon’s. But it should have been obvious to me that the vision he received was troubling him, not Giyera. And it was, as in this episode we learn he supposedly saw his own death. Death is an understatement though; according to Malick, he’s destroyed at the cellular level.
Given how unpredictable Hive still is, he could kill Gideon for any number of reasons, but Malick initially believes Hive is plotting to off him as a show of power to the other Hydra higher-ups. As we see more flashbacks, however, something else appears to be the case. As an aside, the show doesn’t usually have flashbacks, instead saving them only for important information. But, honestly, that’s fine; some of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s best episodes have included flashbacks.
As for the content of these flashbacks, there’s some good stuff. In the past Hydra has been shown to be quite cult-like and this episode fleshes it out more. Phrases like “true believer” get thrown around, for instance. Previously that meant that a member really cared about Hydra’s goals and wasn’t just in Hydra for personal gain (so, not Ward). Now it’s come to mean a member of Hydra intent on doing Hive’s will. Since there was no mention of Hive until this season, it makes sense that Daniel Whitehall (Reed Diamond) did not care about bringing back Hive. The Malicks did, but the wrinkle is that both Gideon and his father were too afraid to knowingly sacrifice their lives.
With all that on the table, we come to the big twist of the night, which is that Hive has the memories of Gideon’s brother, Nathaniel (Joel Courtney), who Gideon betrayed. Whether or not Hive kills Gideon’s daughter (Bethany Joy Lenz) because he’s taken Nathaniel’s pain to heart is up in the air. It might just be punishment for Gideon lying about being fully committed to him. He’s the villain, but I was pulling for Gideon in this episode. There’s something sympathetic about a man fighting against his inevitable demise, plus he worked so hard to get Hive to Earth. He’s alive for now, but assuming his interpretation of that vision is correct, his days are numbered.
Speaking of death, last week I said that none of the main characters are going to die, but Daisy (Chloe Bennet) says otherwise; whoever is in that spaceship is part of the team. Honestly, this is exciting, in a morbid kind of way. A character’s death can have a big impact on a show, depending on who it is. Of course, we can rule out Director Coulson (Clark Gregg) right away, and probably Daisy as well. But anyone else is fair game. Seeing as Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) are doomed to never to be together (if you ask Fitz), it could very well be one of them. If that is the case, it’ll tear fanboys and fangirls apart. Expect to see to #NoSimmonsNoSHIELD or whatnot trending on Twitter. It would be a heartbreaking end to a relationship I’ve genuinely started to care about this season. However, someone like Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) is just as if not more likely to perish.
If Lincoln is the one to bite the dust, it won’t a big deal for me. I don’t hate the guy, and his powers are neat enough, but I’m not invested in his romance with Daisy, even though I mostly understand where it’s coming from. And he doesn’t need to have the confusing violent past detailed in this week’s episode (which the writers will have to tread lightly with). Either he and Daisy will work it out, or he’ll die. Those are the only options. And if he dies, it won’t affect the direction of the show all that much (unlike Ward’s, for example).
My only other comment, besides that I wish we knew what Hive looks like, is that fight between Giyera and May (Ming-Na Wen) is pretty cool (though Giyera’s powers are oddly specific to inorganic matter). May wins due to hitting him below the belt, which might feel cheap, but that’s one thing they teach you in karate class.
All in all, we’ve got another solid episode, one that made me feel for the bad guy. Just stopping trying to make care about Lincoln so much, S.H.I.E.L.D., because it’s not working.
RATING: 7.5 OUT OF 10 (GOOD)
Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in television and film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky