Agents of SHIELD: Paradise Lost review S3, Ep. 16

At this point of the season, the bills are coming due from decisions from the midseason finale I’m still unsure were the right direction for the series. Nevertheless the show is committed. Paradise Lost wasn’t the strongest episode this back end of the season, but it accomplished the mission of setting the stage for Daisy and her Amazing Secret Warriors vs. Alien Ward/Hive.

Half the episode was spent on flashbacks at Gideon Malick’s teen years where he and his brother, Nathaniel, are assuming their inheritance as members of Hydra’s inner circle following their father’s death. The fact that this is the first mention of Nathaniel doesn’t bode well for him making it through the episode. Malick is haunted by the premonition he saw revealing his death at the hands of Alien Ward while reflecting on his past. There was kind of a Godfather part III vibe here with Malick clearly regretting a past transgression and Powers Boothe was fantastic throughout the episode.

Papa Malick had no intention of being the sacrificial offering for the Alien Inhuman now inhabiting Ward’s body. To stack the deck, he slightly defaced the white stone the offering would draw ensuring he’d never pull it. Both Gideon and Nathaniel are horribly disappointed in their father and vowed to undergo the ritual with honor…at least initially. While it was cool seeing him again, it seemed a waste to have Daniel Whitehall reappear just to try and sway the teen Malick boys to join his Hydra faction.

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Gideon clearly realized stacking the odds in his favor wasn’t the worst way to go, but it came at a cost as Nathaniel drew the unlucky stone and was sacrificed. Since Alien Ward retains the memories of all of his victims, Nathaniel’s personality comes to the forefront and he’s ready for revenge. I realize I’m pummeling a dead horse at this point, but with the alien having all of his victims’ memories it really wasn’t essential for him to inhabit Ward or to kill off the show’s best villain just to make him a host body.

After a sorta creepy moment where he kissed Stephanie, Alien Ward/Nathaniel blew his mist into her mouth, killing her. While a decent bit of misdirection, it was another questionable decision. Stephanie seemed a little too eager to suck face with the guy threatening her father and Malick was a strong villain that didn’t need to be made a sympathetic character.

Coulson split his forces again to track some leads on stopping Alien Ward. Lincoln and Daisy meet with one of Lincoln’s old contacts in Australia while May and Mack attempt to bring in Mr. Giyera. May vs. Giyera in an enclosed room featured some nifty action including wall running.

The Australia trip wasn’t especially useful except to out Lincoln’s secret. But sadly, even the reveal of him being a former alcoholic who nearly killed his girlfriend in a car crash doesn’t manage to make him more interesting. They do manage to snag a Kree device though, which should prove the final piece in stopping Hive eventually. Daisy shares she’s seen a vision of one of their teammates dying aboard a space shuttle. That’s really not the kind of information you need to just keep to your boy toy, Daisy.

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One nagging question: Why hasn’t Coulson promoted anyone to active field duty to replace Bobbi and Hunter? It’s not like Season 1 where Coulson had five members. He’s got dozens of dudes walking around at any given moment. Are none of them worth taking into action?

AOS tends to not put the characters in dumb positions so it was surprising Coulson’s crew was made to look so stupid after they captured Mr. Giyera. There was no good reason to let the Inhuman Magneto stay conscious when he refused to give up Alien Ward. A steady stream of knockout gas would have easily kept him under wraps. Instead, Giyera breaks free, takes out the main team and lands the SHIELD jet in a mysterious hanger. May’s able to get a message out to Daisy and Lincoln for help though.

With the rest of the team out of action it’s down to Lincoln and Daisy. Knowing they’re outgunned, Lincoln suggests it’s time to bring in the Secret Warriors or call in Joey and Yo-Yo. Daisy probably should have been a little busier in adding new recruits to the squad. While that seems intriguing, I hate that it came at the expense of dumbing down Coulson’s crew, who seem like they’ll have a very minor role in stopping Alien Ward.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Photo Credit: ABC