Agents of SHIELD: 319 “Failed Experiments” Review
Reviewed by Ollie Gregory.
Of all places to drop the ball, you had to do it here…
Okay, admittedly I’m being a little bit too harsh. There was quite a lot to enjoy this episode, but it was by far one of the weakest episodes this season, and blatantly very little other than filler.
The main crux of this episode was that of rescuing Daisy from the evil clutches of Hive and returning her to the S.H.I.E.L.D base. As well as this, we got further insight into how Hive was created and saw him meet his makers (Literally, not metaphorically – he didn’t die).
The start of this episode showed a lot of promise, with a weird hunter boy running through a forest, only to be captured by two blue Sontarans (I know they are Kree). They then proceed to capture the boy and perform some rather gruesome experiments on him. Turns out that what we were actually witnessing was the creation of none other than this season’s primary antagonist, Hive. It was a perfect example of showing, not telling, and it made you feel a small amount of sympathy for the remorseless monster.
And if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, Lincoln kind of grew on me this episode. With Daisy now converted, it’s cool to see a desperate and vengeful version of him, and I kind of hope he’s the one who has to kill Daisy. At the start of the episode he was a bit irritating, doing his usual “I’m Lincoln and I like to moan about things” routine, but from the moment he agreed to have the Anti-Hive toxin tested on himself I began to like the guy. He’s by no means my favourite member of the S.H.I.E.L.D squad (That honour goes to Mack) but he’s not as intolerable and aggravating as he usually is.
Of course, Fitzsimmons were their usual fantastic selves. If there’s anything that you can constantly rely on when watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D it is that Fitzsimmons will both be great. Now that they’re relationship is an ‘official’ thing, the show decided to put some tension between the two. Fortunately, the show decided to continue with its unconventional portrayal of romance, and has the tension come about naturally and not be too much of a big deal. It’s always nice to see something play out in a way you don’t expect, and characters involved in a romantic subplot acting like adults is something that TV has taught me not to expect.
Although this is only really a pet peeve, this episode seemed to be the only episode to introduce a new character and have me really dislike them. This honour went to the new S.H.I.E.L.D agents who teamed with Mack when he went to rescue Daisy. All there comments that were clearly meant to be funny came off as incredibly irritating, and there just wasn’t any point of them. There were a few scenes this episode that really felt like they could have done with a few extra minutes, and by cutting these obnoxious morons, the show would have been able to do exactly that.
Speaking of obnoxious morons, I absolutely love James, AKA Hellfire. His early scenes with Daisy were good fun, and it was great to see some banter between the bad guy team, showing us the contrasting personalities of our heroes’ foes. His scenes that were even better, however, where those he shared with Melinda May. I’ve always found her to be a bit dull personally, with the constantly scowling lone ranger character being all too familiar, but putting her alongside a character like Hellfire and then getting to watch her suppress her rage was really enjoyable.
My biggest complaint regarding this episode was that it simply wasn’t particularly captivating. It wasn’t absolutely terrible, but it did feel a little lacklustre. I never for one moment believed that Hive was going to die, because there’s three episodes left. This was simply Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D treading water, as it gears up for a big push in its last three episodes. There never felt like there were any proper stakes, other than in one scene…
For everything this episode gets wrong, I will admit that the confrontation between Mack and Daisy was a thing of absolute beauty. Fantastically well written, fantastically well acted, again, it felt like an unconventional approach. Daisy still cared for Mack, and genuinely believed she was helping her friends by turning them into Inhumans. The fact she seemed legitimately devastated to learn that Mack wasn’t keen on her plan was a really nice touch, as was Mack’s refusal to fight her. And, admittedly, there was a part of me that believed Daisy was going to beat him to death. For that moment, I was in state of terror, so props to them for that.
But after that it was all downhill. The arrival of the two Kree was the definition of disappointment, and although when mentioned seemed like a huge twist, nothing really happened with them. They looked kind of silly, didn’t have the greatest of fight scenes, and didn’t really advance the plot in anyway. I did however enjoy Hive taking a rocket to the shoulder and barely flinching. That was pretty sick.
So although there were some cool moments this episode, I might go as far as describing it as a Failed Experiment (That was the name of the episode by the way). Alright, it wasn’t that bad, but I couldn’t resist the urge to fit that in somewhere.
It was fine. A little disappointing in parts, but nothing too offensive. I’m neither more nor less amped for the rest of the season. I still don’t know where it’s going to go, which is a good thing, and there’s a number of satisfying options I could see them taking, but they could still very much mess it up. I’m intrigued to see how (or if) it all comes together.