Thursday, April 21, 2016

TV RECAP: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 - Episode 17: "The Team"

"The Team" has been teased as "the one you've been waiting for," since it's plot supposedly involves finally giving the Secret Warriors (i.e. Daisy and the handful of good-guy Inhumans we've met so far this season) a full-fledged mission; in this case to rescue the rest of the cast from being held captive by Hive and Giyera. The sequence where this actually happens is pretty impressive, with the standout business being the chemistry between Yoyo and Joey, even if it does serve to highlight that giving AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D its own mini-Avengers to play with only highlights how much of an also-ran the series feels like in its lesser moments.

But whatever, it's actually a tiny part of the episode, is over quickly and the entire Secret Warriors storyline more or less goes "That's it, next thing!" by midpoint. Gotcha!
No, really. Once the rescue is done and the team is back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ with a willingly-captured Mallick (he wants to team up and fight Hive now to get revenge for his daughter), "The Team" more or less tips its hand and reveals the Secret Warriors' big debut was basically misdirection for the episode's true intent: A low-tech redux of THE THING.

Short version: Mallick tells Coulson about Hive's ability to mind-control Inhumans, so all the non-Inhuman Agents get paranoid and decide they have to covertly lock down the base and try to figure out if any of their allies are infected without telling them. Naturally, this doesn't work and soon enough The Inhumans are in quarantine (Daisy betrays them to her teammates) and now nobody trusts eachother - especially since, in all the confusion, someone killed Mallick. For a moment, it even feels like they've found the infectee... but it turns out they figured wrong, and the episode concludes on the now evil former good guy poised to potentially destroy HQ with everyone inside.

So who's the baddie? Daisy, duh - who else was it going to be?

In truth, this is a pretty damn good episode up to that point. The quandry makes sense, the two Spanish-speaking Secret Warriors are great characters whose actors have a killer rapport, everyone's actions make complete sense and there's a palpable sense of loss to the idea of these people ceasing to trust one another even though there wasn't any other choice to be had. Hell, on paper Daisy being Hive's unwitting sleeper even makes total dramatic sense in as much as it leaves the team in the worst possible situation: The Agents and The Inhumans will have to put their mutual distrust aside to stop this, and the only teammate who truly lives in both worlds has been removed from the equation.

And yet, frustratingly, that also means AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D once again going back to the two wells that have become the most tiresome: The tendency of every damn storyline to lead back to Daisy and "Skye/Ward," a pairing that wasn't interesting when they where both human and is unlikely to be interesting now.

I don't know. I'm trying to work out how this wraps up interestingly short of "death of a main character" or "unlikely actual reprecussions from CIVIL WAR" and the options feel pretty limited at this point. Daisy being "evil" for awhile, the turning out Hive because Coulson/May/Lincoln/whoever somehow gets through to her just feels like a retread of places we already went at the climax of Season 2 but not as good. Supposedly the "Fallen Agent" storyline is going to be stretched out over a 4 episode arc ("The Singularity," "Failed Experiments," "Emancipation" and "Forgiven") with CIVIL WAR happening in the middle, with the season finale "Ascension" hitting one episode later.

I guess we'll see, especially considering Season 4 is already greenlit.