Recap and review of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 3 Episode 18 - The Singularity:
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is plot-driven most weeks, but this doesn't mean the stories come at the expense of character development. Case in point, the FitzSimmons pairing has arguably been the backbone of the entire series. "The Singularity" allows those characters to take center stage in an episode that's less about bringing a fellow agent back from the dark side, and more about figuring out how that betrayal prompts new realizations within the characters overall.
The main thrust of the story is the mission to track down a Dr. Radcliffe who may/may not be able to create a cure that will liberate Daisy (Chloe Bennet) from Hive's influence. It's not exactly a riveting setup, but it gives the entire ensemble clearly-defined goals, so that the stories in the episode don't feel disconnected from one another. As an added bonus, we got some pretty memorable setpieces, such as Mack (Henry Simmons) taking on James, the Inhuman from Afterlife who gave the Kree orb to Lincoln (Luke Mitchell). Here, he's turned into an even more powerful Inhuman by Hive (Brett Dalton), since he can now make pretty much anything explode. Meanwhile, May (Ming-Na Wen) and Coulson (Phil Coulson) are fighting others caught under Hive's influence, with Coulson revealing a pretty badass holographic version of Captain America's shield that protects he and May from falling rubble. All of these scenes add a lot to the episode, and they also offer opportunities for exploring character.Credit: ABC
For instance, when Lincoln learns that Coulson is fitting him with a suicide vest, which is more like a "murder vest" (since Lincoln won't be the one controlling it), it brings their inherent distrust of one another to the surface. For Coulson, this is a measure of last resort to prevent Lincoln from being taken by Hive, if it comes to it. But for Lincoln, it's just more proof that Coulson views everyone on his team as expendable except for Daisy. And May doesn't necessarily disagree, calling Coulson out on his blindspot for Daisy. To his credit, however, Coulson admits that it isn't so much that he's trying to replace Daisy's father, but rather that she's the closest he's ever had to a daughter. It's something I'm not sure we needed spelled out, since Coulson's recent loss of Rosalind Price has left him emotionally vulnerable, a vulnerability made worse by Daisy's betrayal. But I'm glad the show did spell it out, because it reminds the viewer that Coulson hasn't lost his humanity just yet. He makes the hard choices, and while they're usually for the greater good, he occasionally makes choices focused on personal interest. And while it's not something a S.H.I.E.L.D. director should be doing, I don't know that he's necessarily wrong to do it either. And yet, for everything Coulson and his team tries to do, they still don't get Daisy back this week (not that I necessarily expected they would).Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless
In their mission to save Daisy and return her to sanity, Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) also take a moment to go over their own relationship in detail, turning off their comms so Mack won't hear. It's interesting that Fitz compares sleeping with Simmons to an Event Horizon, since their relationship has always come across as something Fitz has been pursuing more than Simmons. The cold feet are understandable, considering this has the potential to completely change what Fitz and Simmons are to one another. It's hard to go back from something like that, which is why it's so heartening to hear him tell Simmons that they need to stop thinking about it and just do it already. Granted, to get there, they have to survive this undercover mission to meet Dr. Radcliffe. And it goes about as well as you might expect it to, which is to say, not every well at all. Hive arrives on the scene to torment Simmons with memories of Will, while Daisy goes all Darth Vader on Fitz, using her powers to pin him to the wall in a choke. Daisy, who's been in desperate need of a family ever since losing both her father and mother last season, doesn't want S.H.I.E.L.D. trying to tear her away from this one. She gives Fitz one last warning, saying that if he tries to interfere again, she'll break his neck. Meanwhile, Simmons shoots Hive in the stomach three times to escape. Basically, it was a really close call for both Fitz and Simmons, which is why their hook-up at the end of the episode is as cathartic as it ends up being. They were nearly ripped away from one another, so their passion feels earned here, even more so than it does from their years of waiting to consummate their feelings for one another. Sure, they ultimately failed in their mission to save Daisy, but they became united by finally sealing their relationship physically, and achieving a deeper intimacy. I'm interested to see how these characters change as a result, if at all.Credit: ABC
As for the Hive problem, well, it's a good news/bad news situation. On the plus side, General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) and his men have neutralized Hydra forces worldwide thanks to the intel received from the late Gideon Malick. On the negative side, Hive is continuing to rope in pledges, whether it's James, Alisha (the Inhuman who can replicate herself), and Dr. Radcliffe, eliminating the hope for a cure. To make matters worse, he's enacting a large-scale plan to recreate the experiment that turned him into the god he's become. He's done this by purchasing an entire town using Malick's money. What does the experiment entail? We have no idea. But Hive warns that it's something that will absolutely terrify them. So...sounds like fun?
Ultimately, I liked "The Singularity" for how it's shaping the story for these final few weeks of the season. I'm wondering if it might actually be bolder to kill Daisy off than to have her redeemed, although I'm not entirely certain that killing Daisy is something this show would ever do. I guess we'll find out soon enough. But for now, my money is still on either Fitz or Simmons being the S.H.I.E.L.D. member who dies in the flashforward. I don't know why, just an instinct. But I do hope I'm wrong, because I'd miss the FitzSimmons pairing like crazy. If nothing else, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn't be the same without them.
But what did you think of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 18, "The Singularity"? Sound off in the comments!
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