Agents of SHIELD 3.16 Review: “Paradise Lost”

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In a welcome change, we finally learn more about Gideon Malick’s backstory. What drives and fuels his endeavors with HYDRA, his lineage both before and after his generation, and what grip HYDRA truly rules over him. From flashbacks to the vision of his own demise, this episode played as if it would be Gideon’s final bow.

Hive Has Come Home

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Touching on those flashbacks, it turns out that Gideon’s father was not quite as dedicated to the cause as one would believe. While touting the importance of the ancient rituals for deciding who will be called to host Hive, he was using a scuffed stone that would allow him to excuse those duties. He held onto that stone in a hollowed out copy of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. The story of Adam, Eve, and the temptation Lucifer lay before them.

Upon learning this, Gideon and his brother, Nathaniel, vow to stay true to each other. To never falter like their father. Together to the end…

But Gideon fell prey to the same fear the drove his father and before throwing away the stone, switched it out to use in his own ceremony. Nathaniel drew and was chosen as the traveler.

Fear Leads to Anger, Then Hate, Then Suffering

It’s all revealed as a bait and switch, done exceptionally well, to make you think we’d be saying goodbye to Gideon and perhaps his daughter Stephanie would take his place as the new head.

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A gift from Hive to Stephanie held a bitter reality though, a pristine copy of Paradise Lost. Soon, Hive reveals the retention of Nathaniel’s memories and kills her with a wicked kiss in front of Gideon. He’s lost everything to Hive, now. Father, brother, daughter. The fear that drove him also took everything away.

I adored what we learned about the Malick family as it gives much more depth to Gideon, as opposed to just the mysterious and confident baddie that he’s been thus far.

While Daisy and Lincoln are in the field tracking down an Inhuman who may know something about Hive, the rest of the team is attempting to find Mr. Giyera in order to then locate Malick and in turn, learn more about Hive.

Now This Is A Fair Fight

This part of the story, which seemed to voluntarily take the B-plot for the benefit of giving the viewer more information on Malick, had one of my favorite fight scenes of the year. Since Giyera can will objects to his use, he’s lured into an empty room for a one-on-one with May. The clean white room allowed for clear shots of the action and really allowed for some interesting back and forth between the two combatants.

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At first, the focus on Coulson, May and the rest of the team seemed like exposition, until Daisy and Lincoln had a bit of a heart-to-heart in the closing moments of the episode. Lincoln’s past is explored as he admits to Daisy, albeit not voluntarily since James (the aforementioned Inhuman they were tracking) was so willing to throw him to the wolves, about what happened to him before he was at Afterlife. Having already revealed his problems with temper and alcohol, he reveals that after a drunken argument with his then girlfriend, he nearly kills her when he wrecks the car he’s driving. Daisy is supportive, and in solidarity to reveals that in her visions of the future, someone on their team will die.

I really appreciated learning more about Lincoln’s past, he’s been played as secondary but now that he’s part of the team it helps us to care a lot more if something were to happen to him.

If we’re talking secrets, though, it all leads to the suggestion of calling in the Secret Warriors. Next week, FINALLY, our new team assembles.

Agents of SHIELD airs on Tuesday nights at 9/8c on ABC.

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