“The Singularity” begins with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. having already dug themselves out from the cave that Daisy created during the finale of the last installment. To be honest, I was a tad disappointed with how quickly this was resolved, especially considering it all happened off screen. From the way that the show had established this scene last week, you almost believed that some of the Agents weren’t going to make it out alive following Quake’s quake. It’s ultimately a minor complaint, but it almost seems as though the show needs to brush up on its pacing once again and not speed past potential pitfalls. Anyway, Mack takes quite the authoritative stance on making sure that everyone is all right, alongside Coulson, which is good character development to be sure. Mack had something of a stumble from the earlier episode that focused on the Watchdogs, as they attempted to fill in more of his backstory, but badass, take-charge Mack makes for an interesting, fresh addition to the cast.
Coulson brings the Agents all together and lets them know that Daisy has been taken over by Hive. A great approach to Phil’s character is his caring more about some of the Agents over others, such as his favor of Daisy and his nearly outright hatred of Lincoln, which is a weakness of his. Coulson doesn’t even bring up the idea that killing Daisy may ultimately be a necessity to his teammates, something he’s later called out on by May in a tense scene. On the Hive front, Daisy is chatting with the former Agent Grant Ward while under his influence, and it makes for quite the interesting exchange. Rather than go through the traditional route of mind control, Hive’s powers make it so that Inhumans become addicted to Hive. Daisy and others running under the Hive banner want him to survive simply because it makes them feel better than they ever have before, so the argument can be made that everything they’re doing isn’t technically 100% mind control. This should definitely make for some interesting ethical discussions later on, especially with some of the actions that Daisy has taken so far.
After looking at all the angles, Fitz and Simmons tell the rest of the crew about a man named Holden Radcliffe, a “transcendist” who believes the next step in human evolution involves shoving robot parts into human beings, albeit much more gracefully than how I just described it. Radcliffe, thanks to his background in robotics, may just have the cure for Hive’s control over Inhumans. If you’re wondering, Holden Radcliffe is a Marvel character, so check the notes at the bottom to see just how obscure the show can go (which honestly I appreciate!) These scenes with Fitz and Simmons attempting to infiltrate the world of these new cyborgs is frankly adorable. Now that the scientific whiz kids have finally accepted that they should be in a relationship, they discuss consummating their relationship to hilarious effect. Eventually they do of course, but not before the pair meets with Radcliffe and a nasty moment of Simmons jamming a syringe into his eye — even though it’s revealed to be a fake.
Back on the Coulson front, Phil informs Lincoln that he will in fact be able to join everyone in the field to help save other Inhumans, but only if he wears a suicide vest filled with nanites in case Hive takes control of his body. May calls Phil out on this, as I mentioned earlier, letting him know that she’ll do the killing for him, but won’t let him walk away thinking his hands aren’t covered in blood. It’s certainly dramatic but it feels organic, and it’s a relief from the constant secrets that the team kept from one another in earlier seasons for no apparent reason. Lincoln confronts the Inhuman, Alicia, who has the ability to split herself into many copies a la X-Men’s Multiple Man. Unfortunately, Lincoln is too late and Alicia has been visited by Hive and is under his control. Alicia’s doubles are killed fighting Lincoln, while the real Alicia stands by Hive.
Hive and Daisy have also visited with James, the drunk Australian from last week, who turns out to be one of the Secret Warriors from the comics, after being infected with the terrigen mists. Yes, Hellfire has arrived and he’s able to make a number of quips about which name he should ultimately go with. James also gives Daisy and Hive half of a piece of Kree tech that Hive reveals is the only thing that can kill him (which is a terrible thing to tell anyone regardless of whether they’re on your side). From here, the villainous Inhuman team catches up with Fitz and Simmons with Radcliffe and a big fight ensues. Hive’s encounter with Simmons is genuinely frightening, and her relationship with Ward obviously makes things that much more dire here. Daisy meanwhile is keeping Fitz pinned to a wall using her powers, letting him know not to try to save her as she has finally “found a family.” Mack fighting Hellfire makes for the one humorous encounter in these final minutes, and it’s certainly welcome.
The episode ends with Hive telling his new Inhuman army that he has bought them a hotel for some reason, as Radcliffe joins their side. Aside from the weak opener that pretty much tosses last week’s conclusion to the side, this was a very good installment of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., continuing a nice rhythm of solid entries from the much overlooked Marvel Cinematic Universe series.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
Agents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.
– Holden Radcliffe was a villain in “Machine Teen,” a Marvel series in the 2000s that was meant to be a revision of the previous Marvel character, Machine Man. Talk about obscure!
-Hellfire in the comics is quite a bit younger than the television series, and his powers weren’t Inhuman in nature. Rather, he got them from his ancestor “The Phantom Rider” (think Wild West Ghost Rider) in a mystical chain he imbued with supernatural fire. Ultimately, I think this is a drawback in incorporating Inhumans, and this is similar to the X-Men concept, in that you somewhat take away some of the cooler origins to just make them a given race.
– May: “No one comes to me with their feelings.”
Mack: “Makes sense.”
– Coulson: “It thinks if it breaks our legs we’ll stop fighting, but it doesn’t know how stubborn we are.”
– Fitz: “Things are about to get complicated.”
Simmons: “You mean once we have sex?”
– Coulson: “If it becomes a thing, I’ll let you know.”
– Fitz: “You can go beat him up and drag him out cause you’re all big and strong.”
– Lincoln: “So it’s a murder vest??”
– Daisy: “Are you drunk?”
James: “I’m Australian so yes.”
– Mack: “Man I need to get out more.”
– Simmons: “Are you comparing us sleeping together to the event horizon?”
– Coulson: “I thought it would be cool if the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. had a shield.”
– James: “What are your muscles made of?”