Agents of SHIELD Episode 3.16 Recap: Hive Meets the Inner Circle

The team is trying to figure out what exactly they are dealing with with the return of “Ward,” what it wants, and how Malick is involved. Coulson decides there has to be something Malick needed at Transia, and he links it to GT Agrochemical. The entire team will fly out, but Lincoln and Daisy will split off to speak with an Inhuman who is living off the grid.

The Inhuman is named James, an Australian demolition expert who used to rant about an ancient Inhuman who could raise the dead. He is a troublemaker who is mad that Jiaying never thought he was “worthy” of getting his powers. He was kicked out of Afterlife, stole some stuff on the way out, and now lives off the grid in the middle of the desert. When they arrive at his shack, he warns them away, but they don’t listen and enter his property. There is a click, and Daisy realizes that she has triggered a land mine. If she moves, she loses a leg – and possibly worse. Daisy uses her powers to hold down the land mine until she and Lincoln can get a safe distance away – then she uses her powers to explode another dozen mines on James’ property. When James goes for his gun, Lincoln uses his powers and knocks him out.

James wakes and Lincoln immediately sets about interrogating him. They need information on an ancient Inhuman – and anything he may have stolen from Afterlife. He is not eager to help, so Lincoln sweetens the deal by offering him a blue crystal that would awaken his power. This changes James’ tune and he presents an ancient iron ball, which Daisy identifies as Kree. James says it was designed by the Kree to command an army. One of the first Inhumans snatched it up, and the other Inhumans started to fear him. They joined together with the humans to banish him. James turns over the orb, but Lincoln snatches away the crystal before he can get his hands on it. Pissed off, James tries to put Lincoln in the dog house by telling Daisy he almost killed his last girlfriend. When they are safely on the plane, Lincoln tells Daisy the whole truth: he was a violent alcoholic and his girlfriend was convinced she could save him. After an argument he jumped into the car; the girl went with him. Lincoln wrapped the car around a telephone pole, all but killing his girlfriend. That was when Gordon found them, saved her life, and brought Lincoln to Afterlife. In the spirit of honesty, Daisy tells him about her premonition about one of their team members dying.

On the main airship, FitzSimmons are doing their nerd thing over the data collected from what was left of the Transia’s CEO’s corpse. At first, it looks like some kind of flesh-eating organism. After studying what they find at GT Agrochemical (which is just some dead insects and birds that were being tested on; all the equipment and data is long gone), Simmons thinks they were working on developing pest-resistant crops. More startling is the fact that she no longer thinks “Ward” is controlling the organisms still eating away at the corpse; she thinks he IS the organisms. Basically, he is a parasite.

Coulson is expecting Giyera to meet them at GT Agrochemical, and he is not disappointed. He lures Giyera into a previously-emptied room and locks him in. May is in there, waiting. With nothing inorganic for Giyera to control, he has to rely on his special ops training. May wins, of course, and the team carries Giyera’s unconscious body onto the ship and seal him in a containment unit before he can use his powers. Giyera never gives up, and he spends quite a bit of time focusing his energy on opening the containment chamber’s doors. He finally succeeds, and in the blink of an eye he has neutralized most of the crew, taken control of the ship, and puts it down in an underground bunker in the Netherlands. Before they land, May manages to get out a partial distress signal to Daisy in the other plane. It looks like it is time to call in the Secret Warriors Initiative.

To me, the more interesting part of tonight’s episode involves Malick and his background. In 1970, Gideon’s father died. He and his brother Nathaniel are determined to continue their father’s work with Hydra. Unfortunately, Whitehall summons them to his prison cell, and the boys are forced to go. Whitehall’s Hydra is one of science, and he wants the boys to choose that path, but they are determined to continue in their father’s footsteps, a path that is distinctly more religious. Whitehall taunts them, hinting that their father cheated to survive all the “ceremonies.” As proof, he tells them to look at Paradise Lost in their father’s study.

The ceremony Whitehall speaks of involves the inner circle of Hydra. They all draw stones from a bag, and whoever draws the white stone is “sacrificed” and sent to the other world to seek out this ancient power. The boys find Paradise Lost and discover a secret panel cut into book. In the panel is a white stone with a notch in it. Papa Malick would use sleight of hand to change the stones, so that when it was his turn to draw, he would know which one not to pull. The brothers are shocked that their father was a coward and a cheat. Determined to be better than their father, Gideon and Nathaniel throw the notched stone into the pond.

Now, Gideon is scared. When he returns home, Stephanie informs them they have a guest, who asked her to gather the inner circle. Ward appears and declares it is time to reveal his true self. Gideon pulls his daughter aside and admits that he saw his own death, a brutal, painful death in which he is torn apart from the inside. Stephanie begs her father to tell Ward, thinking he will protect him. Gideon reveals that Ward is his killer. He is convinced he will kill him tonight, in front of the inner circle. Stephanie gives him a pep talk, and wants him to remind Ward how important he is.

Ward is impressed with what a true believer Stephanie is. Gideon asks if he still retains all the memories of his past hosts. Ward promises it will be made clear tonight. The inner circle arrives and Gideon gathers them around, not for a ceremony but a celebration. “I know some of you doubted we could bring back the Hydra god from exile,” Gideon tells them. Ward appears, and confirms that his exile is over. As promised, all the “travelers” will return, and thanks to the Malicks, all will get what they deserve. To prove himself, he shifts into the natural Hive state, which is something tentacley – we only get to see him from the back.

After the inner circle leaves, Gideon shares a cautiously-optimistic drink with his daughter. Ward got her a gift: a copy of Paradise Lost. Gideon is troubled by this, but promises he isn’t questioning Ward anymore. Instead of going to bed, he goes to his study and takes his father’s copy of Paradise Lost from the shelf. Ward comes in with Stephanie, and reveals to her that Gideon didn’t actually throw away the notched stone. He slipped it into his pocket and threw away another stone. He slipped the notched stone into the bag so that he could continue his father’s tradition of not being sacrificed. He didn’t tell Nathaniel, and of course, Nathaniel pulled the white stone in the next ceremony.

Ward asks if it was a deliberate betrayal, or just “fate that it came down to us?” Nathaniel was sent, Nathaniel was “eaten” by Hive, and now Nathaniel’s memories speak to Gideon from the Ward host. “I thought we had a deal,” Nathaniel/Ward continues. Gideon meant the deal he made with his brother, but claims he didn’t have a choice. Stephanie chimes in now, mad that her father lied to her after all these years. Ward assures them he still needs a Malick at his side, and kisses Stephanie deeply. That kiss sucks the life out of her and she drops dead. “Now you understand sacrifice,” he tells Gideon. Then, some good news: that Giyera captured SHIELD’s plane, and that they “balanced the scales today.” He puts a hand on Gideon’s shoulder and assures him they are together until the end. Gideon looks sick.

You can watch a preview for next week’s episode, titled “The Team,” using the player below.