TV REVIEW: Agents of SHIELD Season 3 Ep. 16 – Paradise Lost
By Jeff Ayers
With the wealth of the Marvel comic universe at the fingertips of the movies and TV shows, it is always a treat when we go back in time and get to see characters and events transpire. This entire season of Agents of SHIELD has been subtly setting up the last head of Hydra, Gideon Malick, but we still don’t know a lot about him. After a quick flashback to the 70’s, we learn that maybe Gideon Malick wasn’t always as gung ho to be in hydra after all, at least no Whitehall’s Hydra. It appears he was muscled into it by his brother, and the remaining members after his father passed away. An interesting turn of events for sure, but only to become compounded when Malick returns home in the present, to find Ward already there with Malick’s daughter. Ward/The Hive has called the inner circle together to reveal his true self, and nothing could be more frightening.
I still believe that Agents of SHIELD have expertly crafted a true super villain in Ward/The Hive, and it just keeps getting better. even though this series had a pretty rocky start in its first two seasons, the one constant has been the arc of Ward. He has graduated from a SHIELD agent and love interest to main character Daisy/Skye, to a double agent, to a Hydra head, and now a veritable Inhuman evil mastermind. It has been incredibly exciting watching this character evolve, and it will only gain momentum from here. It was especially interesting to see The Hive reveal his true form on this episode, even though we only got to see it from behind, it was a nod to the comics for sure.
The most compelling part of “Paradise Lost” was the revelation of the Malick family and what they have done to survive. They have been the custodians of the ancient ritual to pick a “traveler” to go through the portal to the other side, where The Hive lived in exile. Yet, we learn that Malick’s father tipped the scales, with a special notched rock, so that he would ensure that it was never him who was chosen in sacrifice. When Gideon Malick and his brother learned of this information, they talked about how they must proceed, and Gideon deceived his brother, and probably countless others, in the same exact way his father did before him. Well, Ward/The Hive has the memories of all his hosts, and now this has come back to haunt Malick, with dire consequences. In fact, we learn that he saw his own death in his vision at the end of the last episode, so he is increasingly worried that The Hive will find no more use for him.
Speaking of being haunted, Coulson isn’t doing well with the revelation that Ward is back, even though everyone understands he is actually “It”, the monster from the other world, the one Hydra knows as The Hive. Coulson doesn’t kill for revenge, and either does SHIELD, and he blames himself for the predicament the team is in now. Fitz reasons with him, and rightfully so, that Ward deserved to die, yet Coulson holds on to the ideals of SHIELD, and that no life should be taken willingly and joyfully.
The episode also shows Lincoln and Skye heading off to find a mysterious Inhuman who might have information on The Hive. They don’t get much, save for an artifact that looks a lot like the orb from Guardians of the Galaxy, and they open up to one another a little more. Lincoln tells Skye of his past as an alcoholic, and Skye tells Lincoln of her premonition of a team member dying in an exploding Quinjet. It looks like that prophecy will be coming to a head possibly in the next episode.
Finally, we got see some awesome fight sequences between May and Malick’s right hand, the “Inhuman Iron Chef” as I like to call him, played by Mark Dascascos. Mark is a fun addition to the bad guys on Agents of SHIELD, but one thing that has been lacking is his fight scenes. Sure, he can move inanimate objects with his mind thanks to his Inhuman abilities, but in real life, Mark is an accomplished martial artist in many different styles. So it was awesome to see Agent May and him square off in a no holds barred fight. He eventually loses, but ends up getting the best of Coulson and his team in the end. Now its up to Daisy to call in the rest of her “Secret Warriors” to go on a rescue mission, that might just get someone killed.
FBI Score: 9 out of 10. This show can hit the ground running, even with a flashback, and continue to ramp up the pace until the final scene. Even though multiple story arcs are in play, “Paradise Lost” never felt rushed or confusing, and also offered some cool and interesting action sequences, with powers and without.