The final stretch before Civil War!
The episode starts apparently a long time ago, with a Mayan hunter catching his prey. He is startled by a noise, and flees – but trips over a fallen tree and is confronted by his pursuers – two Kree Reapers (remember those guys from Guardians of the Galaxy?). As he narrates his own backstory, we see the original Kree blood experiment to make Hive the man(?) he is today. He explains to Daisy that he and the other original Inhumans were Daisy’s ancestors; he then explains to some people in suits that their ancestors were HYDRA and fought to bring him back. As a reward, they are going to recreate the Kree experiment on them.
At the Playground, Lincoln tries to ask about Daisy, but May shuts him down – they have no leads and Lincoln hasn’t been helpful. Lincoln tries to explain that everything he has done has been out of his love for Daisy, but May just points out that they have all known her a lot longer and to stop trying. In the lab, Fitz and Simmons are working on an antitoxin, but they are afraid it will destroy the host (Daisy). They argue about their experiences last episode, and agree that Simmons had it worse. At least she got to shoot Ward. Realizing that Hive probably can’t be killed, they need the antitoxin now more than ever; but they need to test it first, and have no Inhumans to test it on – until Lincoln volunteers.
After apparent hours of searching, Coulson flags Daisy on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s creepy security cam facial recognition software thing in a small town in Wyoming called Union City. Coulson suspects it’s a trap, because Daisy programmed the software and would never be caught on it. A much more optimistic Mack thinks that Daisy is crying for help. Mack’s theory is that Daisy is still in there and is resisting control, while Coulson refuses to let emotions get in the way anymore. May and Mack are to go to the town, but not to rescue Daisy; to eliminate Hive.
Daisy and Hive walk through the town and chat. Hive compares S.H.I.E.L.D. to the Kree Reapers – constantly supplying soldiers to the never-ending war they are fighting. Hive feels he has transcended beyond an Inhuman warrior – a happy accident (the theme of the episode, given the title “failed experiments”). As they enter the makeshift lab, he explains that he was banished from Earth because of the connection he had with other Inhumans. Dr. Radcliffe and Hive show Daisy their new set-up to recreate the Kree experiment, which is intended to change their DNA and undergo Terrigenesis simultaneously. As Hive says, not everyone can afford metal suits or become super soldiers, which will lead to a war on its own (take a shot). They flip the switch, and instead of undergoing Terrigenesis, the humans…melt. It’s horrific.
May and Mack assemble their team which consists of Agent O’Brien (throwback to Bahrain in “Melinda”) and Agent Piper, two agents that strangely have names and speaking roles. Did they win a contest or are they about to become major characters? As they prep, Mack reveals that he blames himself for what happened to Daisy, which exasperates May because everyone else blames themselves except her. Mack is determined, however, to “make things right”.
In the Playground lab, Lincoln tries to make his case for the antitoxin to Coulson. Simmons believes its too dangerous and Lincoln is trying to make a grand gesture, while Lincoln believes Simmons is exaggerating the risks. Fitz refuses to pick a side, so Coulson decides against letting Lincoln take the antitoxin and tells Fitz and Simmons to explore other options.
In a bar in Union City, Alisha is serving drinks to another Alisha while Quake and Hellfire are playing pinball.
Do Alisha clones really need to drink? Does the real Alisha get hydrated? Can’t Daisy tilt at pinball and cheat?
Everyone is drinking and having fun and James tries to dance with Daisy (a relationship that is comic-accurate, mind you) but she is still pining over, as James calls him, “Stinkin’ Lincoln”. Daisy tries to explain that S.H.I.E.L.D. is just confused and doesn’t understand, but James sees it more simply; they are on the opposite side of the fight, and there is no way this won’t end badly. Daisy says she is going to make them understand.
In Radcliffe’s lab, Hive is pissed that the experiment failed. Radcliffe explains that he needs Kree blood from a living host, and Hive chokes him, calmly explaining that he could take over his body and doesn’t actually need him. Radcliffe pleads that he can make the experiment work and wants to step forward for mankind, so Hive releases him and uncovers the Kree orb and base. He informs Radcliffe that if he was scared before, he should be terrified now.
As Coulson preps May and Mack’s team to kill Hive or run, Fitz and Simmons are discussing their disagreement earlier. They agree to not let work get in the way of their relationship, and have playful banter on the way back to the lab; where they catch Lincoln injecting himself with the antitoxin. He goes full-out Jamie Foxx’s Electro and then fizzles out and starts convulsing on the ground. Simmons tries to inject him with the anti-anti-toxin (the toxin?) but he refuses, saying he can handle it and just wants to help. He apologies for shorting out the computers, and Simmons reveals that – if Lincoln would have listened – he would have known that they have to draw a tissue sample from his brain.
With Mack and May’s team on the ground and Coulson as eyes in the sky, they spot James and recognize him, with May following him to the bar. As May flirts with James, he reveals everything – that Hive is trying to recreate the Kree experiment and create new Inhumans. She finds out Hive’s location and knocks out James with a pool cue. Coulson sees it all on the comms, and Mack hears it all, going to where Hive is hiding. Instead of finding Hive, they find the Kree orb casting some sort of signal.
Meanwhile, Hive calls Daisy to his side. He questions her loyalty, asking if she could kill S.H.I.E.L.D. agents if she had to. Daisy explains her plan to use the Kree experiment to turn her friends into Inhumans, but reassures Hive that she will rip their hearts out if it doesn’t work. Damn, Daisy. Hive reveals to her that “they” are coming – not the ones who made her, but the ones who made him. There is an explosion, and Coulson realizes with horror that the Kree have just crashlanded. Hive explains that the Reapers are more dangerous than most Kree, and asks her to rip out their hearts and retrieve their blood.
As O’Brien debriefs May and Mack on what just landed (and Piper takes a moment to freak out that aliens just landed), they wonder who’s side the Reapers are on. In the field, an Alisha clone fights one of the Reapers and gets killed immediately. The original Alisha tries to take him out, but he quickly disables her too. She tells him that he should be proud of what they’ve become, as he brings his axe down on her, killing the final Alisha.
As Coulson instructs them to follow him but stay out of his crosshairs, the Reaper makes his way towards the church, which Mack realizes Daisy is in there. May protests that those weren’t their orders, but Mack has to try. After a brief, but intense battle, Daisy kills the Reaper and orders Radcliffe to drain it. As May watches Hive fight the second Reaper, Mack approaches Daisy and Radcliffe as they pump the blood. Daisy tells Mack she is going to turn him into an Inhuman to save him.
In a fantastic “Civil War”-like argument, Daisy and Mack discuss the merits of S.H.I.E.L.D. vs the merits of following Hive in a way that I can’t do justice transcribing. Mack decides that if he can’t save Daisy, he can save everyone else, and throws a splinter bomb at the the dead Kree Reaper. As Hive beats the living shit out of the other Reaper, an angered Daisy does the same to Mack. O’Brien places his bet on the Reaper, but May places hers on Hive. The Reaper calls Hive a failed experiment, and Hive reiterates that the greatest miracles were failed experiments. He then uses his spores to kill the Kree as if it were a human, and Coulson orders May to take the shot. May and O’Brien load Hive full of bullet holes and Piper shoots a rocket-propelled grenade at him, but he just heals, so they flee.
Daisy is crying and pummeling Mack’s face to a bloody mess, but he refuses to fight back. He says that she doesn’t have to do this, so she uses her seismic abilities to crush his ribcage and May shoots her. They drag Mack to the extraction pod as a concerned May watches Hive hold Daisy’s bleeding body.
This is going well for everyone.
As Simmons patches up Mack, he tells Coulson that he was right about Daisy. As Fitz tries to wrap his head around Hive’s plan, May tells him that he would have succeeded if Mack didn’t use the splinter bomb. Piper points out that it doesn’t matter, because nothing can stop Hive. Simmons leaves to visit Lincoln in a med pod. She tells him the mission failed about an hour ago, and he explodes into rage that he wasn’t up there helping. She informs him that his immune system can completely shut down and a sneeze could kill him. She tells him that the antitoxin failed and they don’t have a cure for Daisy.
Hive, who has ripped out the Kree’s heart, scolds Daisy for letting Mack escape and destroy their work. They don’t have Kree blood for the experiment, and Hive questions her true loyalties. She says that she is done with S.H.I.E.L.D. and offers her own blood; she was injected with the G.H. serum after Quinn shot her.
But Daisy, that was a serum made from Kree blood, not Kree blood itself. On top of that, the host was dead for centuries. Not to mention filtering the actual Kree blood would be a bit like trying to drain the orange juice out of a screwdriver. This is going to go so horribly wrong.
This was another good episode, trucking along to the finale. I give it an 8/10. It felt a little strange that there were no Civil War tie-ins aside from a throwaway line, but that’s coming next episode – and we’ve got our own fish to fry anyway.
Theories and Speculation
- I can’t decide whether Mack, May or Lincoln are dying in that Quinjet, but it’s definitely one of those three. I feel like they’ve been subtly hinting at May, such as posting the “It’s Gonna Be May” meme at the end of April, and dating the comic-book-cover finale poster “May”. Maybe I’m reading too much into this.