ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Failed Experiments TV Show Review. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 3, episode 19, ‘Failed Experiments,’ was kind of a giveaway, as far as the title related to the plot; but there were some genuine moments that came from the execution to various plans.
For Hive (Brett Dalton), the plan was to level the playing field in the worst way. This meant combining HYDRA devotion with Dr. Radcliffe’s (John Hannah) Dr. Moreau complex, while also making it about Daisy (Chloe Bennet) getting a grip on her personal feelings towards her former colleagues.
For May (Ming-Na Wen) the heavy lift seemed to also be about getting colleagues to take the situation less personally. Mack (Henry Simmons), for one, was starting to own Daisy’s loss more than Coulson – something she had to address prior to him leading the mission. The fact that some in his unit had speaking roles – making like Colonial Marines before a Bug Hunt – cast greater doubts about the mission’s odds. Red Shirts make for a red flag.
Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) was still in a pretty self-centered place, regarding the Daisy situation. If May didn’t spell it for him, verbally, then he may need a more hands on tutorial. Luckily, his narrow focus translated into voluntary guinea pig bravado – solving a Fitz-Simmons (Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge) procedural impasse. Of course, Fitz-Simmons had its own personal issues to work with & through (hard to keep professional disagreements from being personal, after swapping samples for fun happens). Not that it was a lasting problem; but it did allow them to take their eyes off Lincoln. When a lightning bug acts as dimly as he has, a lack of supervision leads to blown fuses. I’m not sure why Simmons held back on doing what she thought was essential; but plot happens – the guinea pig gig was a go.
Hive’s recollection of being the original guinea pig to this story (turns out he was a Mayan warrior) – along with his assessment of the Human experience – added a benevolence to the character. His admission to maintaining a fear of the Kree – his creators – made him a touch more Human, than godly. Always good qualities to have in a villain.
By the time pretty much everything went titular, however, the Kree had returned – bringing lemons to a super powered pie fight, in order to solve an old recipe failure; Hive arranged this, to make blueberry juice out of lemons, while getting a millennia old chip off his shoulder; Daisy & Mack met at their own impasse, on the way to saving each other from respective engines of war; and Lincoln was still full of good intentions. There was also the question of just how much of May pumping Hive full of rounds was operational professionalism.
With all of Mack’s prep talk about loading up on splinter bombs, and his demonstration of their usefulness in taking out a key Hive asset, you’d think someone in his hit squad would’ve at least tried one on Hive. Even if it didn’t work, that failure would’ve made for a much more convincing run-like-hell argument.
I was tempted to note the Kree as the biggest disappointments of the episode, however; but their less than intergalactic imperial showing was explained as a matter of time & function. No, the real disappointment was that Mack’s Red Shirts lived to die another day, and James (Axle Whitehead) will live to eventually put up or shut up, while my favorite red head… I don’t even want to talk about it. Trying to be professional, here.
The Kree also gave Hive a rare opportunity to flex some muscle(?), while letting Daisy cut loose. She kinda cut loose on Mack, as well (c’mon, Mack, Luke going soft on Vader was one of the low-points of Jedi); but it was the only way he could learn. Surviving the encounter helped with that, of course; but I like to think that it was in service to the scene of both combatants down, with their rescuers shooting eye-daggers at each other, for the disengage. Was it all still professional, at that point?
I’m not sure if Lincoln learned his lesson quite as definatively; but his resistance to reason could have some bearing on the ‘Fallen Agent’ office pool.
‘Failed Experiments’ was largely a success, however, with enough ground both gained & lost, on both sides, to keep the season’s outcome up in the air. Whether certain frustrating character elements can catalyze into something useful, by then, remains the real question.
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