'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' S3E15: Spacetime

★ ★ ★ ★

It's hard to make the flash-forward interesting when it comes to television tropes. Several series make the mistake of blatantly jumping forward for the gimmick and give away false information in order to trick the viewer. The same goes for premonitions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. played around with predestination and premonitions by making each and every vision available throughout the episode a riddle of sorts for the team and audience to decipher. It's used in an intelligent manner that reflects S.H.I.E.L.D.'s scientific roots. While "Spacetime" may not have yielded the impact it probably wanted at the end of the episode, the pacing for the scenes leading up to that point worked in favor of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s storytelling capabilities and remind everyone that this series can crank out smartly crafted episodes that play around with the Marvel universe in unique ways.

This episode centered on Charles, an Inhuman who can send out visions of death to those he touches. The second Inhuman to have a second-sight ability, Charles may look human (unlike Raina) but his "curse" is to have a fear of all human contact. It didn't take long for a member of the team to get whacked by a series of cryptic visions, so when Daisy predicted "her" death and the things leading up to it, the agents did everything they could to ensure that nothing Daisy saw came true. May was supposed to go on the mission and Daisy to stay at the base, Coulson wouldn't use a gun, and all they had to do was keep FitzSimmons away from the snow. (Anyone catch Coulson calling them FitzSimmons or did he refer to them as separate people?) The plan quickly starts unraveling as the visions come true one by one and so do the twists these cryptic messages held for the audience and for the team.

Though May was fully prepped for the mission, Andrew shows up, turning himself in, to reveal that he's turning into Lash permanently this time. There's nothing to explain why he believes this to be so or why the rest of the team agrees, but either way May finds herself having to stay to be with Andrew one last time. They have a heartfelt conversation as Andrew "dies" and say their goodbyes. With Lash trapped in the cage, there's no telling what S.H.I.E.L.D. is now planning to do with the character, though he may wind up escaping again somehow and terrifying the heck out of Simmons. (*Shudders.*)

Agents of SHIELD: S3E15

Hive's established himself as a force of nature whose curiosity about Malick is outweighed by his suspicion of the man who brought him back from the planet. If anything, Hive views Malick as more of a plaything than an ally or servant, trying to guess what Malick wants out of their relationship before giving it to him. Hive's fully aware of Malick's weaknesses as a human and quickly drops him by the end of the episode, but not before giving Malick some upgrades. Using Charles to threaten some corporate executives into giving what they want, Hive's power usage continues to be one of the more interesting Inhuman abilities to be encountered so far and it's never not discomforting watching the flesh be ripped off of the people he targets. Their use of Charles backfires when he not only saves Daisy, but gives Malick another vision. Whatever it is that Malick saw, it's bad enough to question his loyalties to Hive. It wouldn't be surprising if he witnessed a cataclysmic event tied to Hive. This Inhuman is no saving grace for Hydra-kind.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to display a steady pace after the loss of Hunter and Bobbi, proving that they were indeed overcrowded and are able to adapt to their risk-taking. It's a good sign to see the show returning to more scientific roots while making use of the Marvel universe as a whole. S.H.I.E.L.D. used to be more than just about the organization and its spy trappings, which is why this past couple of episodes act as a "reboot" for the series, going back to the format it had at the beginning of Season 1, now independent and experienced enough to carry its own brainy weight.

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