agents-of-shield-season-3-secret-warriors

‘THE TEAM’ PLOT SUMMARY:

After Hydra hijacks S.H.I.E.L.D. aerial command with Director Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the crew inside, Daisy (Chloe Bennet) assembles the Secret Warriors to rescue her friends. But unbeknownst to them, Hive (Brett Dalton) has his own operation in mind.

Wow. What an episode!

I might have sounded lukewarm in some of my past reviews, but as I said before, set-up is an important thing for a TV show. It might lead to a handful of quieter episodes, but it’s worth it. The slow burn (disregarding if you’re watching multiple episode in a row on Netflix) is a staple of the great pieces of entertainment we’ve seen over past decade or so. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is no exception to the rule.

While the promos for this week did mention something about a traitor, the main focus was the Secret Warriors coming together to kick Hydra’s butt. The Secret Warriors do, in fact, do that, but the butt-kicking takes up only the first 10 minutes of the episode, or less. The 10-minute segment does contain some good action, showcasing Lincoln’s (Luke Mitchell) powers, for example, but it’s really just the set-up for a bigger plotline. Nice misdirection, ABC.

After a successful raid of Hydra’s facility, Malick (Powers Boothe) drops a bombshell on Coulson (and us). Turns out that Hive can control the wills of other Inhumans. I had my suspicions that something like this was the case, but after a few weeks of silence on the matter, I started to have my doubts. Nope, this is happening, which is awesome! Double agents are good plot devices, as are contagions, so putting them together is twice as good. You can go a lot of places with it.

The rest of the hour is quite reminiscent of the Winter Solider tie-in episode from the first season, when we discovered that Garrett and Ward were Hydra, which is one of my all-time favorite Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes. The difference is that the gang is positive that there’s a traitor and that one of the Secret Warriors is Malick’s killer. I actually thought that this was more misdirection and that May (Ming Na-Wen) would turn out to be the infected agent, given that she was in contact with an Inhuman controlled by Hive.

With Luke’s outing as the inside man taking place with 10 minutes left, I naturally expected a twist at the very end. It was banking on May as a second mole. But I was wrong. Hive’s one and only double agent is Daisy. It should have been obvious, considering that beforehand she doesn’t appear guilty in any way. But the hour throws so much at you that I wondered if all the Secret Warriors were infected at points. The paranoia, like in the Winter Soldier tie-in, is that high. Anyway, kudos to Chloe Bennet for another fine performance. Her turn and explanation of it are stellar.

Despite all the chaos, this episode also has some big developments on the romantic front. I haven’t hid my ambivalence towards the Daisy/Lincoln relationship, and fortunately the show is moving away from in it in favor of a much more intriguing pairing. Once upon a time, Ward had a thing for Daisy; Daisy reciprocated those feelings to an extent, but things obviously hit a roadblock when she learned he murdered Patton Oswalt. This might play a part in upcoming events, considering Hive has Ward’s memories. Fanboys and fangirls, however, are probably more excited to see Fitz-Simmons (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge) kiss for what I believe is the first time.

Anyone who’s complained that there wasn’t enough going on since S.H.I.E.L.D. returned from hiatus should be satisfied now. Not only is a main character doomed to die, one is also now on the dark side. If that doesn’t please you, I don’t know what to tell you. I, for one, am pumped to see more of evil Quake.

RATING: 8.5 OUT OF 10 (GREAT)

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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

Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s Television Editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., 24: Legacy, and Designated Survivor, among other things. He is a TV/Film grad of Rowan University and the fraternal twin of staff writer Josh Sarnecky. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed.