‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Review: ‘Failed Experiments’ Guards a Galactic Kree Showdown
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Failed Experiments”:
The shock of losing Daisy to Hive’s sway has more or less worn off by now, and while members of the team are still dealing with that in different ways, it’s hard not to feel like Agents of .S.H.I.E.L.D. has backslid into a minor lull since, to lean so heavily on the endgame of Hive’s master plan. As of “Failed Experiments” at least, the plan to convert humans to Inhumans has yet to produce a single success, let alone questions of how 4-5 admittedly powerful henchmen and a small army of mercenaries could implement that plan on a global scale. That’s an awful burden to rest on a flat characterization like Hive, whose presence isn’t near enough to compensate.
What’s worse, Team S.H.I.E.L.D. still hasn’t come to a consensus on Daisy’s potential rescue either, that for all the effort to shade her possession with a bit of unconscious resistance, and her intent to convert, rather than kill her former teammates, “Experiments” didn’t really land on either side. It’s a shame, too, as Chloe Bennet puts in some of her best work to face off against Mack, questioning every aspect of her S.H.I.E.L.D. indoctrination over the last few years, and savagely straddle-punching (without killing) her partner. Instead, it felt like tonight’s hour still wanted to pad that conflict out an additional few weeks.
Essentially, “Failed Experiments” then boils down to a failed (and questionably weak) attempt to assassinate Hive, and a failed deviation to rescue Daisy, with little changing but Mack coming around to Coulson’s point of view. The getting there was at least fun, and any hour that brings down some bonafide Kree is an experiment worth taking, considering how well Agents managed to justify the appearance while keeping the lower-budget aliens as imposing figures. And while those random redshirt newbies on the team were strangely distracting inclusion, it was clever to hinge the infiltration on May out-conning
Poochie James, rather than a generic battle.
The mission itself was much more fun than everything back at the base, between Fitz and Simmons continuing to sort out a few details of their new relationship, or the efforts to find a cure very quickly telegraphing that Lincoln would defy orders to infect himself with the pathogen. As with the infiltration itself, nothing really changed in the end, Simmons laying out that her attempts at a cure failed, though I do wonder about the symmetry of both Daisy and Lincoln offering themselves up as guinea pigs against the imposing side.
We’re only three hours from Season 3’s end, and while it stands to reason that next week’s “Emancipation” will likely devote at least a little time to the fallout of Captain America: Civil War, it’s worth keeping optimistic Season 3 will find some better framing of its final showdown than Daisy’s loyalties. Season 1 tended to lean to heavily on the character as well, expositing her importance to main conflict rather than show it, and Hive isn’t doing a much better job of placing stakes where they need to be.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- Maybe … maybe trying to depict ancient humanity on a TV budget wasn’t the greatest idea.
- Good grief, some of these disintegration visuals get grislier and grislier each week.
- I hope we can keep John Hannah around into next season.
- Hive? Ziggy Stardust thing? No.
- As if Hive’s outfit wasn’t Neo enough, slow-motion Kung Fu!
- Incidentally, why not just do the disintegration thing from the start?
- So … the S.H.I.E.L.D. base is fine now?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return on May 10 with “Emancipation,” airing at 9:00 P.M. on ABC.
Check Out 100 TV Facts You May Not Know!