HYDRA is more than an evil nemesis. It is also a religion, and HIVE/Ward is its Lucifer. That was the main point revealed this week as the agents try to figure out what Ward’s ultimate goal is. It also showed examples of how the past can come back to haunt two men.
The episode is called “Paradise Lost,” and the classic book plays a big part. It tells the story of Lucifer, and how he was cast into Hell after he lost in a battle for control over Heaven, and then tempted Adam and Eve to ruin Paradise. Parts of that book emerge in the details of this story, but more on that later.
It seems that HIVE/Ward wants to change the world, and make sure, according to Giyera (Mark Dacascos), that only the worthy are part of it.
It’s slowly dawning on Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) that it’s likely he may not be part of HIVE/Ward’s new world, especially when he tells his daughter Stephanie (Bethany Joy Lenz) he has seen his own death thanks to the homeless Inhuman from last week. Ward still acts as if Malick is his friend, and he will be…for now. She, meanwhile, thinks Ward is quite handsome for a superior being. She says Malick should believe in Ward, as he believed in the faith that HYDRA has followed.
We also see flashbacks to 1970, when Malick’s father dies. Young Gideon (Cameron Palatas) and his brother Nathaniel (Joel Dabney Courtney) visit a familiar face, HYDRA official Daniel Whitehall (Reed Diamond) with his original accent and before he became immortal thanks to Jiaying’s body. Whitehall tells the Malick boys to follow HYDRA, and Gideon thinks otherwise. Whitehall thinks HYDRA’s selection of the Traveler (or unlucky guy to be swallowed by the Kree Monolith) is a stupid exercise and that their dad knew it. That’s why he made sure he never got the white stone that chose the Traveler because it had a notch. The boys learn that when they find it hidden in a copy of Paradise Lost. Gideon says the next time the Traveler is chosen, it will be done fair and square. He throws away the marked stone in a pond, and tells his brother they’re together to the end. Right?
Gideon knows what he did, and coupled with the view of the future, he’s getting very worried. His daughter, though, tells him to do what he would tell her to do: “Man up.” Good advice, but did he ever follow it?
Back in the present, Lincoln and Daisy head to a very remote part of South Dakota to meet a near-Inhuman named James (Axle Whitehead) who apparently tried to steal stuff from Afterlife. He got some interesting info about HIVE, though: he was a warrior named Alveus, one of the first Inhumans. He was made to lead an army until the Inhumans, and regular humans, defeated him and sent him to a different kind of Hell. It’s also called Maveth. Get the parallels? James also got an alien object that might help in battling Alveus, aka HIVE/Ward.
James also tells Daisy about Lincoln’s dark side, and how he got a previous girlfriend killed. He explains he had a problem with alcohol and his temper, and it led to a fatal car crash. Gordon, the Inhuman Without Eyes, brought both to Afterlife. This upsets Daisy, but she tries to understand this side of him. She wonders if she might have to use her powers against him if he loses control again.
She also tells him about the vision the homeless Inhuman gave her, namely someone maybe from SHIELD dies in space. Come to think of it, in Paradise Lost, Adam sees a vision of Man’s future after Eden, including the Great Flood, but is also given hope for redemption. The parallels continue.
Back at Gideon’s mansion, Ward calls a meeting of HYDRA’s Inner Circle. He calls for a new world, and shows his true form…which is almost exactly like Lash.
As for the agents, they’re investigating why Giyera and Malick’s men tried to get into an agrochemical plant and some black moths. They manage to lock Giyera in an empty room, except for May. Seeing Ming-Na Wen and Mark Dacascos (aka the Chairman on Iron Chef America) square off in a very intense fight was one of the best moments of the whole season.
Although she beats him, he’s soon able to hijack the quinjet and force them to land somewhere. Looks like the agents are in trouble.
The presence of Ward is casting a major shadow on everyone. Simmons is horrified that he is back on Earth as the new form of HIVE, and what it plans to do. It’s really affected Coulson, when he recalls how he thought he killed Ward back on Maveth. Fitz says it was one of those tough calls Coulson had to make. After all, could Coulson had left Ward alive to be punished? Coulson thinks by killing Ward, out of revenge, Ward did win. “I knew it would come back to haunt me,” Coulson says, “I just didn’t think it would actually come back to haunt me.” It haunted him enough to bend part of a wall.
However, Gideon Malick also did something that came back to haunt him…and punish him.
Going back to 1970, HYDRA has another Traveler draw, and this time Nathaniel Malick is sacrificed to the Monolith. It seems that Gideon didn’t get rid of that marked stone after all. Like his father, he cheated to save his own skin. Not only that, Ward knows it, because he absorbed Nathaniel’s memories after Ward/HIVE killed him. This means another sacrifice, which Ward does by giving Stephanie a literal kiss of death.
At this point, Malick knows he’s already dead. Whatever HIVE/Ward has planned, they are together until the end, only Ward will be left standing.
Lincoln and Daisy, however, are not in HYDRA’s clutches. He tells her not to be scared of her vision, and that it’s time to call in the Secret Warriors.
So, can “Secret Warriors Unite” be just as effective as “Avengers Assemble”? It may be SHIELD’s only hope.