Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 16: “Paradise Lost”
Directed by Wendey Stanzler
Written by George Kitson and Sharla Oliver
Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen
Starring Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Henry Simmons, Luke Mitchell, Powers Boothe, Reed Diamond, Mark Dacascos, Cameron Palatas, Alexander Wraith, Joel Dabney Courtney, Axle Whitehead, Bethany Joy Lenz ABC
Air Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 9pm
This week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.16 “Paradise Lost,” S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra continue along their separate paths towards a final confrontation at the end of the season. While there are certainly some highlights (which I’ll cover in S.H.I.E.L.D.ed Observations below), this episode is very aptly named and is just bad as a whole.
And to cover why it’s so bad, I’d like to share with you my top five reasons in all their spoilery glory.
Top Five Reasons Why This Episode Made Me Want To Sleep
1. “Paradise Lost,” like most episodes, feels like two different shows, filled with too many subplots.
Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) try to recover an ancient Kree artifact while at the same time, working on their relationship; the rest of the agents are trying to track down Giyera (Mark Dacascos) for information, while Coulson (Clark Gregg) is simultaneously trying to cope with the fact that he killed Ward (Brett Dalton) — and is now morally conflicted because Ward’s body is being infected by a parasite; Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) is having flashbacks to 1970 when he and his brother were devoted followers of Hive (the parasite consuming Ward’s body); Gideon Malick is also dealing with Hive and the sins of his past in present day. What’s wrong with all of this? The agents are moving the plot along at a rapid pace, while Gideon Malick and Hive (Not-Ward) reveal a bit of character depth. That might sound good, but the writers seem to have an issue with combining the two: any time the agents are on screen, I desperately want there to be some character development, but instead there is only plot advancement (and even this aspect of the show is lacking as I mentioned last week). When the writers try to advance both plot and characters together, nothing seems fluid, and it is rather forced. Due to the disjointed scene arrangements and lack of character development, I find myself staring at my bed during commercials, wishing I were fast asleep.
2. The character of Lincoln isn’t believable.
In this episode, we find out that Lincoln used to be an alcoholic and almost killed his ex-girlfriend by drunk driving and wrapping his car around a tree, with her in the passenger seat. She survived thanks to Gordon (the teleporting Inhuman from last season), and that’s when Lincoln was taken in by Afterlife. This is yet another way for the writers to force the notion onto the viewers that Lincoln is this uncontrollable, powerful dude. But my problem is that he just seems like a nice, calm guy no matter what he does. I feel like he would probably be a great friend off set. How am I supposed to believe that he can’t control his anger if his acting makes me consider what he’s like outside of the show? That’s not all, though. His relationship with Daisy is probably the weakest link on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Every time I see them together, I wonder what made the writers think these two have chemistry. It’s like watching two strangers speaking with one another, insisting that they’re in a relationship. I don’t get it and I don’t care to see anymore.
3. Hive is not scary.
The artist formally known as Ward has been possessed by Hive, the creature from Maveth. I’m supposed to be scared of this monster, but all I see is Ward — still dressing like Neo from The Matrix (see image above) — who was already evil before his death. We know he’s supposed to be different, be he doesn’t act any different. There’s nothing new here other than the fact that he can disintegrate people, literally consuming their lifeforce with his powers. But why is this scarier than evil-Ward with a gun? Evil-Ward with a gun was just as lethal.
4. Gideon Malick is not scary.
Malick was supposed to be an intimidating, powerful Hydra leader when he was first introduced; and he was. His commanding presence, voice, and high intellect made him a fearful character; but that’s all changed since Hive showed up. Malick is increasingly becoming a coward and less of someone to be feared, because he is the one who is afraid. This sucks because neither of them make good villains anymore. Ward/Hive is washed up and what made Gideon Malick so frightening before has all been stripped away.
5. Stephanie Malick is a useless character.
Malick’s daughter, Stephanie (Bethany Joy Lenz), was introduced a few episodes ago in a final clip, making us believe that she would be important. In “Paradise Lost,” we still get that sense all episode, until Hive kills her because of one of his past meals: Gideon’s brother, Nathaniel Malick (Joel Dabney Courtney). She was used as a plot device to somehow make Gideon Malick’s character move forward — perhaps to the good side or to fall in line with Hive. Either way, it was a cheap and pointless move, because the flashbacks detailing Malick’s betrayal of his brother were already enough to make us see Malick’s cowardice and believe in his fear of Hive.
Like its episode title, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. feels like a “Paradise Lost.” A show that once had so much potential and momentum because of its relationship to the Marvel cinematic universe now feels like passionless storytelling with too much going on and not enough soul. The show is tired and it’s making me tired. Hopefully it’ll recharge before seasons’ end, because I’m surely ready for something new.
– Learning about Malick’s past definitely adds a positive vibe to the episode, probably because it is the only form of character development in the episode that does not seem forced.
– We finally get to see Hive’s true form…sort of. We see Ward’s face begin to change as the camera slowly circles from front to back, culminating in a view of the back of Hive’s head, in what resembles octopus arms.
– There isn’t any development on the relationship of Fits (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) after their hand-holding scene from last week. Though, I am not surprised.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×16 Promo “Paradise Lost”
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×16 Sneak Peek “Paradise Lost”