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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S3 E10 "Maveth"

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S.H.I.E.L.D. mounts a rescue mission on the castle in order to rescue Fitz, Simmons and Coulson and ensure "It" doesn't come back through. During the rescue mission, and after making her own bid to escape, Jemma frees Andrew in order to protect herself from searching HYDRA troops, but later learns that Lash took the opportunity to kill a dozen Inhumans HYDRA had brought, who were defenseless in stasis, before making his own escape. On the alien world, Fitz locates Will and plans on escaping with him back through the portal. Coulson tracks down the HYDRA team Ward is leading, and a sequence of events leaves Will and Fitz free and making a break for the portal while Coulson captures Ward. Just as the portal opens, Fitz discovers that Will isn't Will, he's "It," who killed Will during Jemma's escape in "4,722 Hours". Fitz attempts to prevent It from reaching the portal, while Ward breaks free and battles Coulson. Coulson defeats Ward and crushes his chest with his robotic hand, killing him. After bullets prove ineffective in stopping It, Fitz uses his flare gun and burns Will's body. Coulson and Fitz make it back through the portal and escape with Mack and Daisy in Lash's flying containment module, just as the Zephyr levels the castle with a missile strike.

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It shows up in front of Malick's car as he's getting away, having taken control of Ward's body to return through the portal before it closed.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Adorkable: Joey's first mission, including his total confusion at most of what's going on (given the multiple overlapping objectives they're trying to achieve) and his delight at using his powers to save both his and Daisy's lives ("I'M BULLETPROOF! HAHA!").
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: As if last episode's torture of Simmons wasn't enough to make us see how low Grant had stooped, he tells Fitz that if anything happens to one of his HYDRA men, he will personally kill Simmons just to get back at Fitz.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Mack is incredulous to the idea of an ancient, powerful alien despite the fact that he and the other agents are waiting for their friends to come out of a portal that leads to an alien world. This is in addition to his dealings with the Inhumans and Kree artifacts, and widely-known ancient, powerful aliens in the form of the Asgardians.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: Coulson's dream of waking up with Rosalind. It's actually a rather common start of Lotus-Eater Machine scenes, and could have foreshadowed "Its" attempt to possess Coulson. Instead, it's only a minute long scene before he wakes up.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All of the main heroes make it out alive and are reunited, while the castle is destroyed with the portal inside and Ward is finally killed once and for all. Unfortunately, it turns out Will died while getting Simmons to the portal, Malick escapes, "It" is now on Earth in Ward's body, Coulson has clearly taken a darker path by his cruel execution of Ward, and Lash has now killed all of HYDRA's Inhuman prisoners and is back on the loose to continue his genocide.
  • Body Horror: We get a pretty good look at Will's broken, necrotic leg when Fitz removes the bandage. Later, when Ward's body is taken over, we see It moving around inside him, like something is slithering between his skull and his skin.
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  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Ward invokes this when Coulson has him dead to rights, noting that he'll never find Fitz without help. But when Coulson does find Fitz...
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Remember that pointy stick Jemma brought back with her from the alien planet? Sure comes in handy to help cut zip ties and tent walls.
    • As demonstrated in the season premiere, the containment cells used by S.H.I.E.L.D. can fly. Lucky for them, Andrew was kept locked in one.
  • Dead All Along: Will died shortly after Simmons went back through the portal, and his body was possessed by It.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: The hypotenuse actually died months ago — before the viewers were even made aware of his existence — but nobody finds out until now.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Once Fitz realizes "It" is in Will's body, he shoots It a few times, causing It to stagger and fall down. Then It gets back up. He shoots It a few more times. It gets up again. Then he grabs the flare gun and shoots It one last time, causing It to catch on fire and stay down. Except there's a convenient dead body pretty close by...
  • Dream Tells You to Wake Up: Seeking revenge for the death of Rosalind, Phil Coulson followed Grant Ward across a portal to an alien world. He fell unconscious with the fall, but fortunately Ward did not realize that he was followed. He had a dream where he was sleeping next to Rosalind.
    Coulson: I thought I'd lost you.
    Rosalind: Nope. I'm still right here.
    Coulson: I don't remember...
    Rosalind: We overslept, which is nice. But now you need to get up.
  • Enemy Mine: Jemma releases Andrew from his cell so he can help her escape. Lash takes the opportunity to kill a dozen Inhumans in stasis crates.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Malick tells Jemma that Fitz won't be coming back, that he was an offering to show "It" the way out. With The Reveal, it becomes apparent that the plan was to have "It" take Fitz's body and, having access to his memories and knowledge, be able to find the portal to return to Earth.
    • Fitz walks around with a open wound on his head for most of the episode, yet "It" never descends on their party like it did when Simmons wounded her leg running from Will.
    • Later, when the HYDRA search party goes to the No-Fly zone, a sandstorm hits, yet "It" never is suspected of being in the area.
    • Many around Will's nature itself:
      • When Fitz first appears, Will doesn't question if he's real, when he's previously shown doubting reality thanks to the creature's power.
      • Will turns down the goggles Fitz offers him, claiming he's used to seeing in sandstorms.
      • He also recognizes HYDRA as "an old name", which is a rather odd choice of words to describe what Will should think is just a Nazi splinter group, but would fit for someone who knows them as an alias of a long-lasting cult.
      • He's also shown to be rather brutal and sadistic in fighting HYDRA, which somewhat jars with the heroic character he was shown to be.
      • Fitz's remark about Will smelling bad seems like banter (albeit slightly snarky banter, given the circumstances), but becomes a lot more understandable when it's revealed that "Will" is a slowly rotting corpse with a necrotic leg wound.
      • "Will's" wording is also off at times — when Ward asks how long he's been on the planet, he replies "Seems like forever", and when he's told they're targeting a portal, he says, "I get to leave?", which makes far more sense for an entity imprisoned on the planet deliberately for centuries, rather than a normal human trying to get home.
      • At the very end, after Fitz fries Will's body with the flare gun, we see It worming Its way out of the charred remains.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Simmons releases Andrew/Lash to protect her from HYDRA. She hesitates until the goons are seconds away from recapturing her. It works, but unfortunately, he soon acts on his instincts.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Will made one months ago when he helped Simmons escape and nobody knew about it until now.
  • If I Do Not Return: Mack orders the team to reduce the castle to rubble if he can't get out with their people.
  • Immune to Bullets:
    • Joey is able to liquefy bullets before they hit him, rendering them useless. While he is wearing a bulletproof vest, and visibly reels back from the force of the shots, his powers certainly help.
    • In an entirely different fashion, It is immune to bullets because Its host is dead. It responds to bullets, but they don't really hurt It.
  • Interrogating the Dead: "It" can acquire the memories of the bodies It takes over. That's how It recognizes Fitz.
  • Killed Off for Real: Grant Ward is finally killed. However, his corpse is then possessed by "It", meaning Brett Dalton will still be sticking around.
  • Kill It with Fire: Fitz ultimately brings down It by lighting It up with a flare gun, thus frying its host to the point of uselessness.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: Andrew convinces Simmons to release him by painting himself as the lesser. Lash is only interested in killing Inhumans, so Simmons is safe, but if HYDRA finds her then they will kill her.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Simmons' facial expression when May informs them that after helping her escape, Andrew/Lash murdered all the captive Inhumans.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • If Coulson hadn't stuck around to kill Ward, It likely wouldn't have managed to escape by taking him over.
    • Fitz takes a detour with the HYDRA team, trying to rescue Will instead of "It". Unfortunately, "It" has taken over Will's body. Fitz proceeds to convince Ward not to shoot Will, separate Will from his HYDRA guards, and lead him straight to the portal.
  • Not So Different: Ward once again mentions how similar he and Coulson are, as they're both seeking revenge.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Ward reacts frighteningly calmly to getting shot in the shoulder by Coulson.
  • Only Sane Man: Mack proves once again why Coulson made him the acting director.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Coulson gets his payback on Ward by crushing his ribs with his mechanical hand.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Once again, the vibrations from the portal machine take their toll on Daisy.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: "It" is actually a grub-like parasite which possesses the dead.
  • Scenery Gorn: The ruins of the civilization on the ancient planet. Fitz takes some photos for documentation.
  • Secret Underground Passage: The original portal equipment in the castle was powered by a hydroelectric generator, but the castle isn't next to a river. Daisy finds the aqueduct that was used to fuel the generator, which the team uses to bypass the security patrols.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Coulson sees the twin moons on the alien desert planet, he says to himself, "I'll be damned. Tatooine."note 
    • Mack calls the Secret Warriors "Power Rangers".
  • Stepford Snarker: Fitz copes with being stuck on a hellish planet with Ward and a bunch of HYDRA agents by constantly snarking at the idiocy of their Evil Plan.
  • Taking the Bullet: Joey dives in front of Daisy when Giyera shoots at her. Fortunately, it turns out that his metal-melting power is strong enough to melt bullets mid-flight, saving both their lives.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The score playing over the slow-mo montage of everyone being reunited on the jet is a reworking of the closing credits music.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Lincoln shocks Giyera to the point that smoke is visibly coming off of him, and would have zapped him a second time for good measure if not for Daisy getting him refocused on the mission.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Coulson removes the robotic hand he used to crush Ward's chest and leaves it beside the corpse. "It" is carrying the hand when It shows up in The Stinger.
  • Third Act Stupidity: Malick is holding Simmons hostage while Fitz is off performing a dangerous mission (reluctantly) on HYDRA's behalf. At one point, Simmons overhears HYDRA scientists making a mistake in their calculations and corrects them, stating explicitly that she helped only to ensure Fitz's safe return. Malick, who has for decades orchestrated an elaborate plot leading up to this very moment, informs Simmons that he has no intention of letting Fitz return alive, thus eliminating any incentive for her to cooperate with him.
  • Title Drop: In a discussion with Simmons about what's coming through the portal, Malick reminds the viewers that "maveth" is written all over the castle walls, and is Hebrew for "death".
  • True Companions: Daisy refuses the order to evacuate with the team and stays with Mack at the portal, first because she can use her powers to open/maintain the portal, and second, because she's his partner.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Malick has one when he sees all of his Inhuman subjects killed by Lash and hears that S.H.I.E.L.D. has taken over the portal chamber.
  • Visionary Villain: Ward becomes one as of this episode, although he doesn't live long enough to act on it. Given the way he acts and the comments by Brett Dalton, it's likely that this is how most of the "true" HYDRA members see themselves.
  • We Have Reserves: Fitz taunts Ward about this, saying that the only reason he was chosen to lead the HYDRA task force to Maveth was because he was expendable, although it doesn't seem to rattle him much. None of the other HYDRA mooks have lines or names, and Malick didn't seem broken up over the failure of the expedition, so clearly they weren't chosen for their great value to the organization.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Will died fighting It while Jemma escaped at the beginning of the season. Fitz spends the entire episode working alongside his corpse, reanimated by It.
    • Grant Ward is finally killed... and is possessed in death by It, which uses him to escape Maveth.
  • Wham Line: When It reveals itself to Fitz.
    It: Will died saving Jemma... from me.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In the cold open, Fitz, Ward, and the HYDRA recon team discover signs of life on the planet... in the form of a massive statue of the HYDRA symbol. Also an In-Universe version as well. One of the HYDRA soldiers is so shocked he falls to his knees, and Ward himself later admits to Coulson that seeing it left him with a sense of purpose for the first time in his life.
    • "It" made it through the portal... with Ward's corpse as a new vessel.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Despite all Malick's talk of It being an ancient, powerful being, It gets taken down with a flare gun and has to find a new host. Simmons suggests that It may have been powerful once, but has since lost much of that power over the centuries. Given It has not had a new host body in some time, It's likely starving.
  • You Are in Command Now: Mack preemptively passes the Director position to May in case he and Coulson don't make it out of the castle.
  • You Have No Chance to Survive: Simmons offers assistance to Malick in order to keep Fitz safe. Malick informs Simmons that he has no intention of letting Fitz return alive. (See Third Act Stupidity above for the consequences.)

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