Tonight’s Agents of SHIELD tries to delve into the mind of Gideon Malick, elusive leader of HYDRA, employing flashbacks to show the character as a young man. Meanwhile Daisy and Lincoln track down a rejected Inhuman candidate with knowledge of Ward’s parasite. And the rest of the gang decide to hit back at Malick by taking down his bodyguard, the telekinetic Giyera.
Gideon’s flashbacks help to give a sense of why Malick is the way he is, showing a young man who doesn’t believe in HYDRA’s current leader Whitehall and is determined to be different from his cowardly father. The storyline also reveals more about Hive (this week finally given a name – Alveus), by explaining that he holds the memories of his hosts, including Malick’s brother. The revelation of what Malick did to his brother is quite a strong moment, giving a great insight into his character while also suggesting how he was able to rise through the ranks of HYDRA.
The scenes with Lincoln and Daisy talking to James serve to provide a bit more backstory for Hive. He was once the Inhuman commander under Kree rule, before he rallied the other Inhumans to fight their Kree oppressors. However his fellow Inhumans feared his powers, working with humans to banish Hive to Maveth. It does feel like this information could have been better conveyed, with James revealing possession of some ancient Kree device that will presumably hold more knowledge of Hive.James also drops some knowledge on Lincoln, revealing that he very nearly killed his ex-girlfriend by driving drunk with her in the car. This effectively fleshes Lincoln out as a character but, as with most emotional moments in SHIELD, it is quite quickly cast aside. The show struggles to give enough attention to its characters, something that is becoming more apparent this season. For us to care about who will die in the finale they really need to put in the groundwork with their characterisation.
One of the strongest scenes of the week comes from the confrontation between May and Giyera. It is a very physical fight, with Giyera unable to use his abilities forcing him to use his extensive fighting knowledge instead. May seems quite outmatched in the fight, a rare occurrence to say the least, but is just able to overpower him. Hopefully a rematch is in their future.
After an unsuccessful interrogation, Giyera is able to escape his cage and gain control of the plane, capturing most of the SHIELD agents in a HYDRA base. This leads to a tense cliffhanger with Daisy and Lincoln resolved to assemble their team of Inhumans. Hopefully next week will finally give us a glimpse of the Secret Warriors who have been teased all season.