Agents of SHIELD: 316 “Paradise Lost” Review
Reviewed by Ollie Gregory.
This instalment of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D gives us our first ever proper insight into the character of Gideon Malick and the reason he is the way he is, while we also got to see a scared version of Malick, something we’ve yet to see this season. As well as this, the show further established just how cool Hive really is, and when I say cool, I mean utterly despicable. As well as this we learnt more about who Lincoln used to be, and Coulson seemed to be going through some mental things. There was a lot going on this episode, some might even say too much.
In terms of what this episode did well, it managed to perfectly convince the audience of what an absolute monster Hive is. Brett Dalton has done a remarkably good job of making the possessed body of Grant Ward a very different character than the alive Grant Ward. He carries himself as a man with power, and if you’ve seen him use his abilities, then you’ll know exactly why. This creature is completely without empathy or mercy. He is happy to literally tear the flesh from his victims without a moment’s hesitation.
Him and Gideon’s work together is some of the best this season. After being shown his skin being ripped from his flesh when he was touched by Charles last episode, Malick is a man on the edge, and Hive’s comfortableness and peacefulness clearly isn’t doing Gideon’s mental wellbeing any favours. The scene at the very end of the episode, in which Hive pretends he’s going to kill Malick, only to actually kill Malick’s daughter (Bethany Joy Lenz) was an absolute thing of beauty, and really cemented Hive’s position as the season’s big bad. I wasn’t a huge fan of Stephanie this episode, so I was a picture of horrified and released when Hive killed her instead of her father.
Originally when I found out that in this episode Coulson would be pairing Daisy with Lincoln I was bitterly frustrated. I think I’ve got it in me to like Lincoln, other than when he’s with Daisy. I found myself enjoying what the two of them were involved in. For starters, I absolutely loved James, played by Axle Whitehead. I think i’ve made it clear that I absolute adore cocky idiots, and James was no different. As if James’ cockiness and rude manner wasn’t enough to make me like him, Lincoln got repeatedly more and more annoyed at his stupid antics, so much so a grin appeared upon my face. It’s nice to know someone can make Lincoln feel how Lincoln makes many of us feel.
Although, despite me often complaining about Lincoln, I found him quite good this episode, and enjoyed the insight into his past. It wasn’t quite as dark a story as I hoped it would be, but I certainly enjoy a Lincoln who is less squeaky clean. The way Daisy began to lose trust in him, was interesting, and I hope it is something that carries on, as Daisy becomes more and more suspicious of him. I believe that if they gave Lincoln something to properly do, other than kiss Daisy, then the audience might grow to like him, and this episode seemed a step in the right direction.
There was also a nice little story going on where the team were trying to take out Mr Giyera, played by Mark Dacascos, the telekinetic inhuman who isn’t actually telekinetic, and can just move inorganic matter. It’s a bit of an odd power, and a very specific one, but it does him a weakness which the team cleverly take advantage of, locking him in a room with May, empty of any other objects. The fight scene between the two is good, but the first shot had an emphasis on May drawing blood, which was cool, but then there wasn’t any blood for the rest of the fight, which felt a bit odd. As well as this, May only won by going for a low blow, which is alright I guess, given that the show went on about the training Mr Giyera received, but it still seemed a bit rubbish for someone who had earned the nickname, ‘The Cavalry’.
Clark Gregg also had a chance to flex his talents as Coulson began to have a conscience crisis, wondering whether what he’d done to Ward had been the right decision. As well as this, we kept seeing the same shot of that blowing up space ship, but didn’t receive any more information about what it all means. Daisy did say that she knew that one member of the team would die, but is that just because the body had a shield symbol on its shoulder? If so, could it not just be anyone in a S.H.I.E.L.D costume.
While the episode had a lot to offer, it transcended into a bit of a mess, as plot threads tangled themselves, and the episode cut from different story to different story. The first twenty minutes were pretty good, but after that it became a bit jarring. Revelations were good, and it will further this season, but as a whole this episode wasn’t the sum of its parts.