Agents of SHIELD S3: E10 ‘Maveth’ Review
Agents of SHIELD S3: E10 ‘Maveth’ Review
After a group of core characters wound up traveling through a new portal to retrieve an ancient Inhuman from an alien planet last week, we knew things were about to get a little crazy. This week, Fitz (Iain de Caestecker), Ward (Brett Dalton), and Coulson (Clark Gregg) all face some tough decisions on that alien planet while the rest of the team fights off Hydra on Earth.
This review contains spoilers for S3E10 of Agents of SHIELD. Read at your own risk.
Hunter has an excellent take on SHIELD. His idea that the team comes up one one plan, only to have it fall apart so they have to come up with a new plan is the most accurate take on any mission we’ve ever seen go down on the show. Hunter speaks for the audience when he explains this to Joey, but I don’t know if anyone could have delivered the line as well as Nick Blood. He’s got a flair for these sarcastic moments.
Mack is an excellent team leader. While everyone around him squabbles over what kinds of plans to put into action, it’s Mack who gets them all to shut up and do what he says in a way that saves the most lives and gets rid of the most Hydra agents - twice. No one on the team is used to taking orders from him, but they all respect his decision when they realize that he’s the only one thinking like a SHIELD agent and not worrying about his friends. It’s a big moment for Mack, and it only solidifies for me that he actually should be director long term. Maybe one day...
Fitz brings the sass. Fitz is 1000% (no, that’s not a typo) done with Ward’s demands and Hydra as a whole. The way he fires back at literally everything Ward says to him on the alien planet is perfect. It’s obvious that he wants nothing to do with him, but Ward reminds him that Jemma’s only alive if Fitz brings them all back safely.
Jemma has changed so much since season one. In season one, Jemma wasn’t able to get herself out her bonds, let alone sneak around a group of enemies by herself. Interestingly, she was still carrying the shiv she brought back from the planet with her (that we still don’t have an explanation for, really) and used it to cut the tape securing her, slipping away from her Hydra guards at the first opportunity she had. Jemma in survival mode is a thing of beauty - she’s sassy and conniving and ready for a fight. She does make one grave mistake to save herself though - she lets Andrew out of his containment cell, unleashing Lash on all of the captive Inhumans.
Will and Fitz. Despite the reveal that is telegraphed pretty early on, seeing these two interact was a lot of fun. It was refreshing to see someone else tell Fitz that Jemma does love him, because we’re all well aware of his insecurities there. It was also fun to see Fitz level quips at him about his smell since that was something the audience had wondered about as well. I could have done with more bonding and a longer team up with the two of them against Ward, even if Will wasn’t really Will anymore.
Joey is a great addition to Daisy’s team. One of the biggest twists of the night might have been that the entire team made it out alive, but I was most relieved that Joey was able to melt the bullets that he almost took on Daisy’s behalf. He and Lincoln are an excellent start to her team, and I hope we get to see a lot more of Joey in the back half of the season. He’s excited about his abilities, he wants to know all about SHIELD, and he’s terrified about what it means to have superhero powers. He’s the kind of character that makes you love the show. Make him a regular.
The Andrew story is left open ended. I nearly expected the writers to put this story to bed and eliminate Lash to focus on the other big threat in this episode, but instead, he got to escape after killing a dozen Inhumans in stasis. I have a feeling Lash will be very useful to SHIELD if they can get him back in the back half of the season, but will any of Andrew even be left by then?
The insane pacing. This episode jumped back and forth strategically between the alien planet and the team at the castle so quickly, it’s amazing that the writers were able to pack so much plot into the story. The plot moves at a breakneck speed even with so much planning and exposition being unloaded on the audience. Kudos are in order for the editors on this one.
Ward is dead. Sort of. Ward’s storyline hasn’t tied in well with the rest of the show for a long time. Making his dead body the new host for this ancient Inhuman means the writers no longer have to figure out just how to work him in. Brett Dalton has been so good at being bad that I have no doubt he’s going to be amazing in the role of reanimated Ward. The fact that Coulson killed his character when he was defenseless, and Fitz was there to witness it, will likely have repercussions for the two of them down the line. Despite Ward being the villain, Fitz and Coulson live by a code, and it seems unlikely that Fitz is just going to be okay with it, or that the revenge is going to help Coulson deal with the loss of Rosalind. This one story point does so much for the future of the show in one fell swoop. Well done.
How much guilt gets piled on Simmons. Maybe it’s because Elizabeth Henstridge can convey so much in one look, but it seems unfair for so much of the guilt related to the different storylines to be placed on one character. She’s not only “responsible” for Fitz and Coulson going to the planet, but for Will losing his life, for Andrew killing a number of Inhumans, the list goes on and on. The problem is, the writers don’t usually come back around to her feelings, and we see them more and more bottled up. The last few episodes have been the first time we’ve really seen her let go. Let’s hope the events of this episode keep up the trend for the back half.
Hydra not being able to get the Inhuman back. Are we really supposed to believe that over the last few centuries (at least), no one else was able to go in and grab the guy and bring him back through the portal? We didn’t really get an explanation for why it was so difficult. Did the Inhuman just not want to come back with them before? Because it seemed like he killed everyone who came through just for fun. Maybe he needed to come through in a dead body, but with live escorts? Or does Hydra just have really bad scientists who can’t do math as well as Fitz and Simmons? Will this ever be explained? Who knows?
12 seconds could be the difference between life and death. Jemma mentions a 12 second difference between Hydra’s calculations and her own for how long the portal will remain open. 12 is big in the MCU. Tony and Pepper argue over a 12% share of a property in the Iron Man series, Star Lord has 12% of a plan in Guardians of the Galaxy, and even Quicksilver is 12 minutes older than Scarlet Witch. The folks at Marvel sure do like the number 12. Maybe it’s their 42?
The ancient ruins, comprised of nine cities. Interestingly, the city ruins that we see do look very similar to the illustrations of Attilan, the Inhuman royal city, in Marvel comics, but the fact that the ancient Inhuman tells Fitz there were originally nine cities, but the inhabitants couldn’t stop from fighting amongst themselves could be a nod to Thor’s nine realms. Although you’ve got to wonder why the Kree would even use a world inhabited by nine groups of people to imprison a powerful Inhuman.
The parasitic like monster. Straight out of the Secret Warriors comic books that the show has been using so many of its plot points from, this Inhuman looks to be the show’s version of Hive. (So we can probably throw out all of our other theories.) Hive was a creature that was the result of an experiment by Hydra, wanting to create an entity that embodied exactly what the organization was. In the comics, it was actually made of many parasites that did reanimate a dead high ranking Hydra member who was also a double agent, just like Ward. Of course, in the comics, it can possess living people as well, which we didn’t see on the show.
When did Will actually die? I know, we’re meant to infer that he died when Jemma escaped to the portal, but if that’s the case, so much of her standalone episode and story points we’ve seen surrounding it are very inconsistent for my taste, and Agents of SHIELD is usually pretty good about continuity. If Will died when Jemma escaped the planet, a lot of the reasoning behind him being a threat initially is just down to poor writing/editing. If he died earlier in their interactions, like when she escaped from his cage (seriously, there was no explanation for that cage either), or during one of the other times she was caught in a sandstorm, maybe that storyline makes more sense. Also - why exactly was the Inhuman sleeping in Will’s cave set up at all? Just for a change in scenery?
Does the creature need a dead host? It kind of seems that way since we only saw it in a dead astronaut’s suit, in Will, and then in Ward, as far as we know. It seems like an odd stipulation though, especially since it also seems to be the embodiment of what Hydra is. After all, the ancient people on the planet apparently built a Hydra shaped monument to it. And it’s been taking over people’s bodies for centuries. You have to wonder if the “cut of its head, two more take its place” might be foreshadowing something else there. Maybe it can take over more than one person at a time? If so, we could be in for more twists.
Will Lash be used to kill the Hydra Inhuman? Fitz was able to subdue the Inhuman in Will’s body by shooting it and setting it on fire, but it still escaped the destroyed body by slithering away. If it is indeed an ancient Inhuman as we’ve been lead to believe by the show so far, is Lash the only one who can kill it in its true form? They better track him down.
How are Coulson and Fitz going to deal with what happened? After all, SHIELD doesn’t have a therapist anymore. Fitz and Simmons are probably going to a little tense around one another once he tells her that Will died saving her and that Will’s body was inhabited by a monster, but so far this season, they’ve been much better at actually communicating than they have in the past, so they might actually make progress there. It’s Coulson who will likely be closing himself off even more.
What’s Ward going to do with Coulson’s hand? (Should I still be calling him Ward?) Coulson left the hand behind when he crushed Ward’s chest, presumably because he knew it would be a reminder of what he’d done. If the Inhuman has Ward’s memories, will he be using it to torture him? Will he be using what he knows about SHIELD and their Inhumans to go after them?
Grading the episode: The previous two episodes of the series were stronger overall, but “Maveth” definitely kept the audience’s eyes glued to the screen. While most audience members had already figured out that the Inhuman would make its way to Earth, it was more about just how it would get there and who would make it out of the episode alive. There’s enough closure on the storylines that I won’t be biting my nails waiting for the series to return with new episodes, but there is still plenty of information for me to mull over as well. A-
Note: Agents of SHIELD is now on hiatus until March 8. Agent Carter will fill the series’ time slot beginning on January 19 with a two hour block.