On the other side of things, we have Coulson and May racing against time to reach out to their Inhuman contacts before Daisy can lead Hive to them. Lincoln insists on joining them in spite of the danger he’s in if he were to go up against Hive. Coulson agrees on one condition: Lincoln must wear a suicide vest (well, murder vest, technically) as insurance in case he is turned by Hive. Not only that, but Coulson puts May in charge of the trigger. May and Coulson have something of a heart-to-heart over this with May calling Coulson out on his tendency to use May as a blunt instrument to take care of the things he’d rather not deal with directly, and Coulson immediately waffles and acknowledges that he’s out of line. It’s another example of how frustrating Coulson’s story has been this half-season. His motivations can turn on a dime at any moment, and his actions these past several weeks have been wildly inconsistent. I don’t like this weird descent into villainy that Coulson has taken this season, but if they had actually structured an arc around it I might be game to explore that. But there is no arc. He changes not only from episode to episode, but even from scene to scene with no rhyme or reason beyond the immediate concerns of the story. Again, it’s more evidence of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s willful disregard for any kind of properly constructed long form storytelling. It comes across as being highly improvisational, as if no one in the show has any idea where this is all supposed to be heading.
That said, there is fun to be had with the story this week. The trio first attempts to reach out to Alisa Whitley (the Inhuman with the ability to replicate herself from Season Two), but find that she’s already under Hive’s influence. The fight between Lincoln an Alisha is a good one with Lincoln’s reluctance to hurt her creating an interesting dynamic. It’s a reluctance that Alisha doesn’t share, and when Lincoln captures one of her replicas, she executes it, even though doing so would cause her immense pain. Alisha gets away, and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. shift focus to James, the Australian Inhuman candidate who had been denied terrigenesis by Jaying. Once again, though, Hive has beaten them to the punch, giving James the power to turn ordinary objects into explosives and forcing him to reveal the other part of the ancient Kree technology he has been hiding.
The two stories converge at the transhumanist club when Hive and Daisy show up to kidnap the scientist who had developed the anti-parasite technology. The two of them tussle with Fitz/Simmons. Daisy holds Fitz at her mercy and threatens to kill him if they pursue; Hive, on the other hand, calls upon the memories he’s stolen from Will (Simmons’ bf from Maveth) to appeal to Simmons’ emotions. The two of them escape, leaving Fitz/Simmons behind to pick up the pieces. Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, we find out as almost an afterthought that Malick gave Coulson everything before he died, and in one fell swoop, General Talbot and the ATCU destroys all of HYDRA’s remaining facilities. Of course HYDRA’s not dead – they never really are – but hopefully it’ll be a while before they return.