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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The Team - Review

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The Team,” was written by DJ Doyle and was directed by Elodie Keene, whose many other credits include NYPD Blues, The Closer, Nip/Tuck, Glee, The Mentalist, and NCIS: New Orleans. I loved the structure of this episode, which feels a lot like a good whodunit mystery as well as a superhero story – with aliens thrown in for good measure. Even with all these genres thrown into the mix, the terrific acting from the entire cast is the glue that really holds this show together.

With most of the team captured, it’s up to Daisy (Chloe Bennet) to gather the Secret Warriors to rescue them. I loved their special agent watches! I loved how eager Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) and Elena (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) are to join the team at the beginning of the episode, and how that contrasts with their eagerness to get away by the end of the episode. Daisy does make a good leader as she gives them a pep talk before they take their first jump: “Each of us has been given a gift. Let’s put them to good use!”

Daisy goes to secure the base, while Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) manages to capture Malick (Powers Boothe) who had just arrived with Ward (Brett Dalton). Joey and Elena head to secure the team. I loved them working together – how they were nervous coming up in the elevator and then executed their mission perfectly – Joey melting all the bullets and Elena knocking out and tying up the soldiers.

Giyera (Mark Dacascos) and Lucio (Gabriel Salvador) attempt to take the team. Daisy takes out Giyera and Joey kills Lucio after Lucio paralyzes Lincoln. It’s a reflex action for Joey to save his team, but it’s also his first kill.

Naturally, the team is also trying to defend itself. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) rigs up some chlorine gas to take out the soldiers trying to get in. I loved Mack (Henry Simmons) asking if the door will hold and Fitz answering “Yes. Or we all go blind” – followed by Mack’s concerned “HUNH?” The pounding on the door suddenly turns – hilariously – into a polite knock as Joey and Elena have taken the hallway.

Ward arrives just as the plane takes off – May (Ming-Na Wen) insisting that she can fly the plane even injured. Giyera is concerned that they are getting away, but Ward ominously tells him that it’s ok – they have one on the inside now! I loved that the action was so intense and on so many fronts that it wasn’t really immediately obvious who the inside man was.

Coulson (Clark Gregg) interrogates Malick, and it was great to see these two terrific actors really get some screen time together. Malick appears to go off on a tangent, asking Coulson if he’s ever ridden Arabians. He then tells the story of Stephanie calming an Arabian that threw her. Malick tells Coulson that he thought he could tame a god. When Coulson asks where Stephanie is now, Malick tells him that the Ward killed her. Coulson says he doesn’t sound like a god, and Malick’s response is chilling: “oh, he’s a god. He’s just not ours.”

Coulson tells Malick that he’s not a god – he started out as a slave of the Cree that they named Alveus which is Latin for hive. He’s actually a parasite or a swarm. Malick warns Coulson that his men are now loyal to Hive because he infected them. Malick points out that Coulson sent in four inhumans – how many could Hive have infected?

Malick is remorseful now that he freed the Devil – and Coulson basically agrees when he says that the devil referred to in literature is likely Hive. Malick laments that he sacrificed his own brother and Hive killed his daughter. Coulson is determined to sell Malick on revenge. Coulson takes responsibility for the sin – killing Ward – that gave Malick’s devil new life. But he also tells Malick that he’s met gods and gods bleed. Malick asks what Coulson wants to know, and Coulson tells him to start with everything. We aren’t privy to exactly what’s said in that part of the conversation, so I’m looking forward to some kind of reveal there.

While Coulson interrogates Malick, Mack show Elena around the base. It’s adorable to see that the English we see her practicing in the opening scene was for Mack – and that Mack has been brushing up on his Spanish. Mack shows her the armory, but emphasizes that they try not to kill, most of their weapons don’t kill. It’s heartbreaking to see these two go from how close they are here to the complete distrust by the end of the episode.

Daisy goes to Lincoln who is putting away the Cree orb and the terragen crystals. It’s a nice re-direct that she tells him that she’s pissed off that he took them without letting her know first.

Fitz and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) examine Lucio’s body and discover it to be “dead-ish” which Simmons deems “fascinating!” Fitz, however, isn’t as comfortable with dead bodies – even though he’s actually playing with it when they discover the body temperature is still 98 degrees. Fitz tells Simmons – “Not fascinating! Quarantine.”

There’s a great shot of Coulson walking the hallways after Malick tips him off that at least one of his inhumans is infected. He looks suspiciously at all four as he moves through the hallway. I loved that Mack sees Coulson’s unease and comes up to ask him if everything’s okay – bearing in mind that Coulson also exchanges looks with Daisy. Coulson tells Mack to “quietly lock down the base.”

Coulson briefs Fitz, Simmons and Mack. Fitz wants to believe that Malick is lying rather than to distrust the people who just saved their lives. Fitz and Simmons will use Lucio to develop a test and a cure for Coulson. When Daisy interrupts them, Coulson tells her the base is locked down because of Malick.

I liked how each of the inhumans does something suspicious. Elena wants to leave if they aren’t going to do something. Joey is nowhere to be found and Lincoln wants to sedate May. I did love Lincoln kissing Daisy on the head.

Later as Mack is watching surveillance video, Lincoln is talking to Joey. Daisy is in the firing range and at one point glances at the camera and there’s a weird flash of her eyes. And Elena is clearly zipping around the base, scoping out every aspect of it.

There’s a nice moment with May as she tells Daisy she did a good job leading her team. May tells her it gets harder rather than easier. Daisy says she thinks Coulson is lying about why the base is on lockdown, but May says that if he is, he has a good reason. There’s a nice parallel scene with Coulson later in the episode when they talk about leadership as well.

Daisy laments that they were so good together as a team, and she feels that she failed them. Coulson tells her that’s part of being a leader – you want to protect them but you can’t. He tells her that Hive destroyed the most important part of a team – trust. And isn’t that also what Ward did to Coulson’s team?

Fitz and Simmons conduct the autopsy and I loved how squeamish and petulant Fitz is about it. He mocks Simmons recording, adding “Simmons will make this sound sciencey but for the record, we’re about to split open this guy’s head.” They find the parasite in Lucio’s brain. Malick was telling the truth, but it looks like it doesn’t do permanent damage.

Coulson, Mack, and May strategize. Mack points out that everyone looks suspicious if you look at them long enough. Coulson decides that they’ll have to ice them and then tell them what’s going on after they’re contained. Before they can put their plan into action, the lights go out and Fitz and Simmons find Malick dead just as a bomb goes off.

The inhumans realize that they are being targeted and lock themselves in a room. Coulson takes it as a good sign that they are arguing among themselves – they can’t all be turned. They all suspect each other – Joey and Lincoln point out that Daisy was gunning for Malick, but she says she just wanted intel from the head of HYDRA. Then she says to Lincoln, “Where were you Sparky, during the electrical failure?” Daisy says she knows a way out but leads the others into a trap.

Coulson tells them that he means no harm. One of them has been infected and is under Hive’s sway – it’s out of their control. Daisy has done a perfect job of framing Lincoln. Daisy has been so comfortable with her gift and so convinced of its rightness, that I had to wonder if that made her more susceptible to infection.

Fitz and Simmons continue to work on a cure, but take a moment in Fitz’s quarters. Simmons looks at the picture of outer space on the wall and says, “One of these days we’ll find something magnificent in out space not something trying to kill us.” And that also made me think of Daisy’s vision of the future. Simmons laments that she just wants to help her friends – and then she kisses Fitz.

He’s clearly into it, but breaks away apologizing for rushing her after Will. Simmons scoffs that it’s been ten years and that they can’t waste any more time! She tells him, “I’m tired of seeing our friends ripped apart. I won’t let it happen to us again!” Fitz says, “Who needs space because I’ve got something magnificent right here” – a picture of space! But we all know he means Simmons – and they kiss again. Finally! Even though Fitz has to have one more mention of the cosmos being against them.

Daisy goes to Lincoln to try to convince him to come with her. He’s understandably angry that she framed him, but even more significantly, he won’t abandon S.H.I.E.L.D.  Daisy tells him that she’s never been happier. Hive has filled the void within her, it’s like a bond. And we get a flashback to Ward infecting her. Lincoln comments, “So. This is what Hive’s sway looks like.”

We also flash to Daisy killing Malick. And it makes sense now that he knew Hive would kill him – but it’s not Ward, because all the infected are actually a gigantic connected organism via the parasite. Daisy tells him, “If I’m honest, I might enjoy this.” And I had to wonder if that was Daisy talking or Hive – and some part of Nathaniel even. This also circle back to what Coulson said to Daisy – that he knew she wanted revenge, but they had to be better than that. He knows first hand the damage revenge does to a person.

Daisy tells Lincoln they could have it all, but Lincoln tells her that he doesn’t want any part of it. Daisy leaves him and takes the orb and the terragen. Bennet delivers a terrific performance as Daisy and Hive/Daisy. I loved how far she’s brought this character. And the final shot of her leaving the base and sending both emotional and physical tremors through the building as she pulls the base down on the very heads of her team.

We see Coulson soundlessly and ineffectually pounding on the jammed door, yelling for Daisy even as the ceiling comes down on top of him.

The final scene is Giyera worrying that Malick will turn on HYDRA and help S.H.I.E.L.D., but Ward already knows that Malick is dead. Does he instantly know everything that other members of the Hive know? Ward tells Giyera that HYDRA has evolved – it doesn’t involve humans anymore, I’m betting is one of the new facets. Giyera is concerned that they look after Malick’s fortune. They have $960 million at their disposal to move. Ward remarks that Malick built something very impressive – “Let’s spend it.” And I’m curious to see what he buys!

Some great special effects, as always with this episode. I loved Daisy’s quake and Joey’s melting bullets. And I loved the way the story itself was structured to keep you guessing all the way through. At what point were you sure it was Daisy? What do you think Daisy and Ward will do next? How will Coulson contain them? Let me know your thoughts about the episode in the comments below! And is it too soon to speculate on how all this might figure into the upcoming Civil War movie?

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.
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