[This is a review of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3, episode 17. There will be SPOILERS.]
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been alluding to the Secret Warriors - a Marvel Comics team of powered individuals led by Quake - since the second season finale. Then, during the break between seasons 2 and 3, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. officially confirmed Secret Warriors would be a major part of the upcoming year, but the first run of episodes leading into the show's midseason finale largely revolved around Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) attempting to recruit Inhumans members and receiving pushback from fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Still, the Secret Warriors slowly began to take shape and an early iteration of the team featured Daisy leading Lincoln (Luke Mithcell) and Joey (Juan Pablo Raba).
Now in 'The Team', directed by Elodie Keene and written by DJ Doyle, the first official team-up of the Secret Warriors took place with Daisy and Lincoln calling in Joey and the newest member Elena a.k.a. Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley). The Secret Warriors assembled to rescue the rest of Director Coulson's (Clark Gregg) S.H.I.E.L.D. team after their plane was captured by Hive's (Brett Dalton) right hand man Giyera (Mark Dacascos). However, once the Secret Warriors recover the plane and capture Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe), it's revealed that a threat may be hidden among the Inhumans on the team.
Getting the Band Back Together
With the decision to assemble the Secret Warriors acting as the cliffhanger from the previous episode, 'The Team' opens with Daisy and Lincoln picking up Joey and Elena, who had returned to their lives following their previous dealings with S.H.I.E.L.D. In the case of Joey, he was in the middle of a date, while Elena was shown to be learning English. These scenes, and the dichotomy between the Secret Warriors members who work with S.H.I.E.L.D. on a daily basis versus those that don't, set the stage for a conflict in the group later in the episode.
Additionally, these scenes bring levity to what was a more serious episode than fans may have expected from the much-anticipated Secret Warriors team-up. Joey and Elena aren't regular S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and, as such, they share a bond (helped along by their shared ability to speak Spanish) that they aren't able to with Daisy and Lincoln. The result is that they're able to bring a lighter tone to the beginning of the episode, while Daisy and Lincoln worry about their friends. The balance works in a similar fashion to Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Hunter's (Nick Hunter) banter during their mission in 'Parting Shot', but is quickly discarded for the more serious turn of 'The Team'.
The Secret Warriors?
All in all, the Secret Warriors lead a very short mission before 'The Team' becomes an episode about a secret double agent hidden within their ranks. Given the long buildup, and Daisy's devotion to assembling the team, the Secret Warriors team-up is underwhelming as they spend very little time working together in order to free the captured agents and they split off into their own groups almost immediately. Additionally, though the various fight scenes show each member of the Secret Warriors team in action, the scenes are brief and fail to elevate the episode in any meaningful way.
Still, 'The Team' is about the Secret Warriors, but simply in a way that's unexpected. When Malick tells Coulson that Hive is able to infect Inhumans and influence their minds, it leads the human members of S.H.I.E.L.D. on a hunt for a possible double agent. Their paranoia and fear is escalated by the weak bond between the Inhumans, who are each struggling in their own ways after the mission: Joey killed Hydra Inhuman Lucio (Gabriel Salvador), Elena doesn't trust government agencies like S.H.I.E.L.D., and Lincoln and Daisy deal with the aftermath of their visit to the former Afterlife resident.
The ensuing conflict between all the members of the Secret Warriors, who are also fighting against the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, again showcases Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. adeptness in adapting its Marvel Comics characters to a compelling drama within the spy genre. The viewer is led through the mystery of the double agent, suspecting each member of the Secret Warriors along with all the characters on screen, allowing the eventual reveal to feel earned, and tragic, when it arrives.
Bennet's portrayal of Daisy has been an important grounding point for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in season 3. She has led the charge in S.H.I.E.L.D. toward helping Inhumans and aiding her fellow agents in learning about them as well. Now, in 'The Team' she again helps to elevate the drama of the episode, perfectly playing the distraught leader, the agent/girlfriend to Lincoln, and the mentee to Coulson - all leading to the reveal that Daisy is the double agent in S.H.I.E.L.D. who killed Malick and framed Lincoln.
The scene in which Daisy reveals her connection with Hive to Lincoln is well-acted and heart-wrenching, though perhaps more because she was the most devoted member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Secret Warriors than due to her betrayal of Lincoln. Still, Daisy's newfound loyalty to Hive and the revelation of her deception will be a compelling turn for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and paves the way for an exciting showdown between Hive's new Hydra and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents leading into the season finale.
As a supposed Secret Warriors episode, 'The Team' is somewhat underwhelming since the team of powered individuals aren't given too much time to flourish or brandish their powers in any memorable way. But, as another compelling spy-geared episode under Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s belt, 'The Team' is much more successful. Still, hopefully we'll be able to see a more satisfying team-up of the Secret Warriors at some point down the line.
Share your thoughts on the episode and theories about what’s to come in the next episode in the comments section!
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues with ‘The Singularity’ Tuesday April 26th at 9pm on ABC. Check out a preview below: