Agents of SHIELD: Review: Season 3 Episode 18: The Singularity

SHIELD 3.18Reeling in the wake of their recent betrayal, the team set out to try to secure other inhumans before Hive can recruit them into his army. Meanwhile, Fitz Simmons look to enlist the help of an eccentric scientist who may hold the key to stopping their foe.

There’s a feeling that the whole world has gone askew in this episode, with Daisy not only siding with the Hive but apparently doing so willingly, even delightedly. In the wake of this, and other developments, it seems fitting that the romance that we have waited nearly three full seasons to see would get its first tentative steps towards concrete reality.

Yes, while Coulson, May and a suicide-vested (or more accurately Murder-Vested) Lincoln get out into the field to try to stop another familiar Inhuman from the past from being slipped the Hive Cool-Aid, everyone’s favourite awkward British scientist double act finally get their chance to slip out of lab coats and goggles and into something a little more chic. They attempt to infiltrate an exclusive ‘transhumanity club’ in search of scientist Holden Radcliffe (guest star John Hannah), a man whose tampering with humanity in search of perfection was deemed too much even by his former employers – the very company torched by Hive last week. In the field, observed by Mack, they take the opportunity for a little ‘comms malfunction’ to have a serious chat about what next.

This is uncharted territory for both characters, and yet despite the shades of awkwardness, it never feels unnatural, even with Fitz’s wonderfully poetic analogy as to what their taking their relationship forward will entail. Here we have two young people who have been in love with each other since long before either would acknowledge it, and the situation and dialogue feel 100% appropriate to that sentiment.

On the flip side, it feels all kinds of wrong watching Daisy declare how happy she is to be standing next to (what at least looks like) Ward and to feel a sense of belonging and family. The writers play with our emotions a little more in a confrontation between Daisy and Fitz/Hive and Simmons, each encounter making the viewer squirm and scream with denied false hope alternately as they progress.

Meanwhile, General Talbot (remember him?) is insistently trying to reach Coulson all episode, and as we near the end, we find out why. Malick, it turns out, really did give up every bit of intelligence that he had on HYDRA, and Talbot is co-ordinating a massive operation to cut off the heads simultaneously worldwide. It’s oddly appropriate that this development feels so underwhelming – as Coulson says, it should feel like a massive victory, but next to what the team is currently facing, it feels like a mere footnote.

The sting has echoes of last week, not really contributing much other than to allow Hive to brag about how much money (presumably Malick’s) he has been spending.

Verdict: The momentum from last week is pulled back only slightly as the show takes another opportunity to focus on relationships. The parallels work well and the feeling of impending doom is growing nicely towards what promises to be a thrilling finish. 8/10

Greg D. Smith

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