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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S3 E19 "Failed Experiments"

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Coulson and his team race to combat Hive's control over the Inhumans, as their enemy's deadly plan for the human race is revealed.


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  • And Show It to You: When Hive questions Daisy on her loyalties, she insists on trying to convert S.H.I.E.L.D., but ultimately says she'll rip out their hearts if she has to. While she doesn't get the chance with Mack, Hive recalls her words and does it to the Kree Reaper he fights. Later, during her fight with Mack, she almost does exactly this, only to get shot and incapacitated by May.
  • Bad Boss:
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    • Unsurprisingly, Hive is one; he's not the type to be understanding with failure. Radcliffe earns a neck lift when his experiment fails, and he's rather terse with Daisy for failing to stop Mack from destroying the Kree and allowing S.H.I.E.L.D. to escape. That being said, he does give them each a second chance.
    • On the flip side, he was going to reward the remnant HYDRA leaders for not being cowards and running away, "unlike Gideon." His idea of a reward was making them the first test subjects to become Inhumans, but he thought Radcliffe had it figured out and is pissed when they die.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attempt to kill Hive accomplishes absolutely nothing besides Mack getting the crap beaten out of him (including several broken bones), and even the latter's attempt to stop Hive's plan by killing the Kree doesn't work, as Daisy reveals that she has Kree blood in her own system.
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  • Bavarian Fire Drill: May pretends that she's a HYDRA security mook in order to trick James into telling her everything he knows about Hive's plans.
  • Body Horror:
    • Hive's original transformation into an Inhuman was quite an unpleasant sight.
    • The three HYDRA leaders effectively melt while screaming in agony during the first experiments.
    • Hive consumes one of the Kree Reapers. Daisy breaks the other's spine so his blood can be harvested.
  • Call-Back: Daisy points out that she has Kree blood running through her veins from the GH serum administered to her back in season one.
  • Character Death: The two Kree Reapers are murdered by Hive and Daisy. Alisha and her copy are killed by the Reapers beforehand.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Hive notes that billionaires making metal suits and the military making super soldiers will inevitably lead to war, and that this focuses power in a small group.
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    • When the S.H.I.E.L.D. strike team is gearing up for their mission, O'Brien (who was one of the agents rescued by May in Bahrain) brings up May's nickname by asking "What's the Cavalry packing?" May responds with her Badass Boast from Season One, "If I need a gun, I'll take one," before Mack criticizes such an approach and hands her a pistol.
    • During the argument about testing the anti-toxin on Lincoln, Simmons says that Lincoln is acting like a lovesick fool trying to make a grand gesture. Fitz looks away at that, clearly recalling the times he did this for Simmons' sake.
  • Create Your Own Villain: If the Kree would've known what a horror they unleashed in creating Hive, they would surely not have gone through with it.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Alisha and her clone don't last long against one of the Kree Reapers.
    • The Reapers dominate Hive and Daisy in physical combat, but are soon flattened when the Inhumans let loose with their other powers.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: When Radcliffe insists that his experiment wouldn't have failed if he had the right materials, Hive angrily asks if Radcliffe is blaming him. Radcliffe tries to say he isn't, before giving up and admitting that it is partially Hive's fault, though not intentionally so. Radcliffe is at least tactful enough to shift the blame to his own overconfidence to curb Hive's wrath.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Hive's commune of brainwashed Inhumans worshiping their charismatic leader is eerily evocative of many real-world cults like the Branch Davidians, The People's Temple, and The Manson Family.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Hive ends up personally killing one of the Kree that was responsible for his original horrific Terrigenesis thousands of years ago.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Daisy warns Mack to leave her be when he tries to get through to her.
  • Easily Forgiven: Zigzagged with regards to Hive's feelings towards the Kree. On the one hand, he's grateful to the Kree for making him an Inhuman and giving him his powers. On the other hand, it's clear Hive is still angry over how terrifying and painful the experience was.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Hive shows remorse for the dead HYDRA leaders becoming the first failed Inhuman experiment test subjects, and is legitimately angry at Radcliffe for neglecting to warn him of the possibility of failure.
    • Radcliffe himself seems to feel sorry for the dying Kree.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Hive vs. the Kree Reapers. May holds her squad back from attacking in the hopes that one of them kills the other (hopefully Hive). Unfortunately, Hive has enough superhuman strength and durability to stand up to, and defeat, a musclebound Kree soldier.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: When Hive sees a Reaper for the first time in over a thousand years, he mentions that they're "smaller than I remember".
  • Failed a Spot Check: Daisy is easily spotted by the security system she set up at S.H.I.E.L.D., tipping them off to her location and Hive's bought town. Coulson thinks it's an Obvious Trap, while Mack believes it's her way of Fighting from the Inside. In reality, it was actually this, and her warning to Fitz that S.H.I.E.L.D. should stay away was genuine. She simply forgot about being discreet because, in her words, she was "no longer thinking like a spy."
  • Failsafe Failure: The Kree artifact was intended to summon the Reapers to end their experiment if the need arose. Instead, their own experiment uses it to lure them in so he can harvest them to continue that very experiment.
  • Fighting from the Inside: When Daisy is caught on camera, leading S.H.I.E.L.D. to Hive's town, Mack contends that she did it on purpose because she wants to be rescued. Daisy claims it was a simple mistake. After being on the receiving end of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from her, Mack changes his opinion.
  • For Science!: Radcliffe is now fully committed in working for Hive because of the scientific potential. He wants it to succeed at least as much as Hive does, but not for the same reason.
  • Freudian Excuse: Hive's backstory is revealed, with the scene where he is painfully made an Inhuman being particularly gruesome.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't actually see the moment when the Reaper kills Alisha, but we see his bloody blade afterward.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Mack tries this with Daisy, but it just earns him a brutal beating and the only reason she doesn't kill him is because May shoots her in the arm, incapacitating her from the pain.
  • Informed Ability: Despite being built up as The Dreaded, specifically using phrases like "the only thing that can kill (Hive)", the so-called Reapers that were supposedly even tougher than Vin-Tak, the Kree Daisy previously fought, are this. They don't manage to do any substantial damage (other than kill Alisha), as both Daisy and Hive make quick work of their respective Kree opponents.
  • Internal Reveal: S.H.I.E.L.D. learns of Hive's plan to make all humans into Inhumans.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Thanks to Hive's influence, Daisy rants to Mack about how S.H.I.E.L.D. has been using her ever since she crossed paths with Coulson, having "rescued" her from the Rising Tide and her parents. Mack counters that nobody made Daisy join S.H.I.E.L.D. and she became a member of her own free will.
  • I Want Them Alive: Hive summons the Kree Reapers because Radcliffe needs a pure DNA source, and as such they need to be captured alive. This goes south when the one Daisy captures is vaporized by Mack's splinter bomb, and Hive kills the other one since he assumed Daisy would succeed.
  • Kirk Summation: In response to Daisy's Hive-induced rant, Mack points out he and Daisy became soldiers out of necessity and of their own free will. Nobody at S.H.I.E.L.D. forced them; they were there because of their own choices.
  • Know When to Fold Them: After seeing Hive No-Sell a 40mm incendiary grenade and Mack nearly get killed by Daisy, May orders an immediate evac for her team.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: May's team doesn't immediately engage Hive, hoping the Kree would do the job for them. Unfortunately, Hive wins.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Sometimes the world's greatest miracles happen by accident." First said by Daisy to Hive to compliment him for being a Defector from Decadence against the Kree. Later said by Hive to one of the Kree Reapers as a Pre-Mortem One-Liner, after the Reaper had called him a failed experiment.
  • Nerves of Steel: Radcliffe has this in spades. Despite being terrified of Hive, he doesn't back down from performing his experiments For Science!, since he believes it is the pinnacle of his work. Even though he is clearly a Non-Action Guy, he barely takes cover when Daisy is fighting the Kree in the same room.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Lincoln, once again, screws up things by taking the incomplete antidote, frying half the computers in the lab and hospitalizing himself in the process.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Despite Coulson's best efforts, three HYDRA heads evaded the strikes carried out by Talbot in the last episode. Hive gathers them together and plans to give them superpowers, but the process is unrefined and every last accounted HYDRA leader is killed instead.
    • James completely lays out Hive's plan for everyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. to hear just because May sweet-talked him a little.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Daisy beats Mack to within an inch of his life after he kills the Kree Reaper that would have allowed Hive's experiment to go forward.
  • No-Sell: Not only do bullets have no effect on Hive, he shrugs off being blasted in the arm with a 40mm grenade launcher that looks like an incendiary round. It does blast a nice-sized chunk out of his shoulder, but it doesn't appear to cause him any pain, and he grows it back in seconds.
  • Oh, Crap!: May and the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team know they're fighting a losing battle when Hive regenerates his entire shoulder after being hit by a incendiary grenade.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: The Kree Reapers are killed by the first man they originally transformed thousands of years ago.
  • Power Incontinence: Lincoln injects himself with the antitoxin and his powers go haywire until he collapses.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lincoln gets nothing but these, such as from May, Fitz, and Simmons, since he's acting like a lovesick fool.
  • Redshirt Army: A squad of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (only two of whom get names) are given an arsenal of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most advanced weaponry in a preemptive strike to take Hive out. While the mission fails, surprisingly enough, all of them survive without so much as a scratch.
  • The Remnant: The town Hive is using as a base now contains apparently all that's left of HYDRA — Malick's personal security forces and the handful of Inner Circle members who escaped the military purge at the end of the previous episode (and those three end up dead from the experiments anyway).
  • The Reveal: The Kree artifact is a beacon designed to summon two Kree Reapers held in stasis, who are tasked with ending the Inhuman experiment.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: The Reapers have been frozen in stasis since the original experiments on the Inhumans were conducted thousands of years ago. A few hours after receiving the beacon, they're back on Earth.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • Hive fails to capture one Kree Reaper and Mack destroys the second one with a splinter bomb, but then Daisy remembers that she was exposed to the GH serum derived from Kree blood and thus can serve as a viable replacement.
    • Lincoln nearly kills himself testing the antitoxin, and not only does it temporarily wreck his immune system, it turns out not to work at curing a Hive-controlled Inhuman.
  • Shout-Out: Continuing with last episode, Hive's plot to turn all humans into Inhumans mirrors that of Magneto's in X-Men. And like in the movie, the first test subjects fail and suffer a death by melting, much like the Senator did.
  • The Stinger: In the place of the usual stinger, a short clip from Captain America: Civil War was shown, with Natasha and Sam fighting through a city street.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table:
    • The Kree did this to the prehistoric man who became Hive.
    • The Kree Reaper has this done to him by Daisy and Radcliffe to drain his blood.
  • Title Drop: The Kree Reaper calls Hive a failed experiment.
  • Villain Ball: The only way Hive can get the experiment to work is with fresh Kree blood. While he clearly is powerful enough to non-lethally defeat the Kree he fights, he consumes him instead and wastes all the blood. Even if he assumes Daisy would be successful, it would have made sense for him to have a backup, but it seems that instead he fell victim to wanting revenge on one of his torturers.
  • Villain Has a Point: Both Hive and Daisy point out that S.H.I.E.L.D. exists to fight wars, and thus everyone in the organization is a soldier regardless if their specialty is mechanics or computer hacking.

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