The major headline going into this episode was the reunion between Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) and Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet). The two team-up like its 2013, only this time they're trying to thwart the efforts of S.H.I.E.L.D. together. We get glimpses of the chemistry that made SkyeWard so fun to ship; and in my case, cheer for a Ward redemption arc as late as mid-season two. There's just something about these two that's inherently hard to quit, and their newly formed alliance manages to hold our interest, despite feeling rather inconsequential. We know that Daisy's not going to join Hive permanently, so the stakes seem lower than they should for a twist of this nature. Still, the moments we get between our two former lovebirds are creepily enjoyable, and a nice payoff for the shows' questionable decision to keep Ward around for another half season.
Hive spends most of this episode bolstering his ranks with powerful Inhumans, and after weeks of little buildup, it looks like his master plan is finally starting to take form. Team Hive carries a noticeable menacing presence - something that was missing last year from Jiaying and her followers, and Brett Dalton continues to deliver a strong showing, capable of quickly portraying different characters as Hive taps into their memories. Despite my misgivings last week, Chloe Bennet manages to hold her own, although the writers smartly buoy her most dramatic scene with the use of heavy special effects, which usually goes a long way in aiding her performances. It’s unclear how much control Daisy maintains while under Hive’s spell, and to her credit, that’s partly due to the ambiguity Bennet effectively captures in her delivery.
Superpowers are well on display throughout “The Singularity,” and we get a little bit of everything from the show’s current, returning, and brand new Inhumans. Overall, the action is solid per usual; however, there are a couple of confusing sequences towards the episode’s climax - encounters that seem to end too abruptly and without sufficient explanation, almost as if the show's budget ran out mid-shot. Running tangential to the events of this week, FitzSimmons’ "side mission" is awkwardly timed and detracts a bit from the overarching plot. We’ve spent most of season 3B with little movement on the FitzSimmons front, so to have back-to-back episodes placing significant focus on the two seems out of place in terms of pacing.
When a "will they, won’t they" situation finally “wills,” the dynamic of the fictional relationship in question changes, challenging our enjoyment of the characters. The months, sometimes years, spent waiting for two characters to finally realize what we, as viewers, have known all along, is truly one of the strongest bonds a fan can form with a television show. And when the stars align, the muses sing, and the "I've always loved yous" are finally exchanged, we're left with a sense of satisfaction that warms our hearts, almost as if we had a hand in bringing this sense of right into the universe, ourselves. But after the episode ends and the muses stop singing, the warmth begins to fade, and we're left wondering where the show goes from here. Our star-crossed lovers are together at last. Can their relationship remain relevant now that they've scaled the mountain? This is the problem that FitzSimmons now faces. Realistically, the writers stretched out this arc as far as they could without viewers turning on them. One and a half seasons of buildup is a lot in this Netflix era of binge-watching. This week’s FitzSimmons subplot notwithstanding, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has enough moving parts to give both characters substantial future storylines, either as individuals or as a couple.
Finally, in a "blink and you'll miss it" moment, General Talbot's ATCU apparently takes down Hydra’s entire remaining operation, with help from information turned over by a vengeful Gideon Malick. That's right, the Evil Empire of the MCU, whose reign spanned three seasons of S.H.I.E.L.D. and multiple feature films, is wiped off the face of the Earth with close to zero on screen acknowledgement and just a few lines of dialogue. It’s puzzling that such a huge component of the show faces such a swift and quiet exit. It’s likely that this is just a minor roadblock, and Hydra will resurface again soon in typical Hydra fashion. But if this truly is the end, it’s been a good ride for a group of evildoers that erred a little too close to the generic side, but more than made up for it with a strong flair for the dramatic
With three weeks to go, we’re officially entering the home stretch of season three. The Captain America: Civil War crossover airs on May 10th, which means we’ll get at least one more episode dedicated solely to Daisy and the “Fallen Agent” arc. ABC is pushing the “who dies” angle like crazy, and it’s hard to imagine AoS sticking the landing on such a telegraphed ending. Regardless, the ride has been a lot of fun so far, and I’m excited to see where the writers take us. There haven’t been a ton of home runs in this second half of episodes - we most likely saw the season’s best hour back in October with the Simmons-centric “4,722 Hours.” However, consistency is important for a show whose quality can sometimes get swept up in peaks and valleys.
Garrett Yoshitomi is a contributor for A Play on Nerds. He covers Marvel films and television, and enjoys fantasy baseball, Big Brother live feeds, and Anna Kendrick. You can find his tweets @garrettweets