By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.
We got some layers added to the new Hydra backstory in this episode, and I have to say it really worked for me. Reed Diamond made a flashback appearance as Daniel Whitehall, and it managed to reconcile the old Hydra story as a science-based criminal organization with the new backstory as a centuries-old cult worshipping and facilitating the return of Hive. It’s good that this scene was squeezed in because I was starting to question the rationality of the two sides of Hydra. Now we know there are factions to Hydra, one that believes in the existence of Hive and one that is grounded in science, even if it is a bit of a mystical science (this is a comic book show, after all). We also learned that these two sides don’t exactly get along. Gideon Malick’s father didn’t believe in Whitehall’s Hydra, and we see the full contempt that Gideon shows when he has to visit the cell of Whitehall in 1970.
My favorite thing about this is not knowing whether the science-based faction of Hydra is still around. We were pretty sure Coulson and company destroyed Hydra in season two, but they seemingly came back. What if the Hydra we saw taken down so surgically by SHIELD was actually the science division and all that remains is the Hive worshippers? I don’t really know what that means for the story, but it leaves us with a group of powerful people worshipping an apocalyptic Inhuman with god-like powers, one that literally destroyed an entire civilization on another planet. There’s a fascinating story to be told there.
Coulson has really traveled down a dark path this season. We probably saw this coming when he killed Ward in the mid-season finale. That’s just not who Coulson is. Sure, he’s killed people as a SHIELD agent, but he didn’t just kill Ward, Coulson beat him nearly to death and then finished him off by crushing his chest. It was such a disturbing move for Coulson that he literally detached his prosthetic hand and left it on Maveth. Now that Ward is back, or at least his body is back, all of Coulson’s misgivings about the actions are coming back to haunt him. Although May and Fitz assure him it had to be done, and that reassurance carries particular weight from Fitz since he was there, Coulson still doubts whether or not it was the right thing to do. I like that Coulson is feeling these things because it shows us that he’s not perfect, he’s just as flawed and troubled as every other character in the MCU. While I didn’t need this revelation to continue appreciating Coulson, it does make him more interesting to watch. Now we’ll see what happens when he comes face-to-face with Hive.
Bring on the Secret Warriors
The moment we’ve all been waiting for is here; the Secret Warriors are going to be unleashed next week. This was an exciting scene, almost as exciting as last season’s “it’s time to call in the Avengers” line from Coulson. While the Secret Warriors aren’t the Avengers, finally showing the team on screen makes Agents of SHIELD a bonafide superhero show with its very own team-up episode. This is exceedingly exciting stuff.
Thanks for reading!