Hive’s big plan is… not exactly what we thought it was. And definitely not what Gideon Malick thought it was.
But more importantly: Fitz and Simmons have sex! This is clearly more important than world domination by a flesh-melting sociopathic ancient being with an interest in transhumanism. OBVIOUSLY.
The team struggles in the aftermath of Daisy’s betrayal. No one is dead (killing S.H.I.E.L.D. agents is not on Hive’s to-do list) and the base isn’t destroyed, but Coulson’s leg is badly injured.
Mack blames himself for not realizing that something was up with his partner. A conversation with May confirms that FitzSimmons’ test for Hive infection cleared Lincoln, Elena, and Joey, with the latter two being sequestered off-base, while snotty Lincoln refuses to leave despite being an active danger to everyone around him. Because, y’know, he could fry each of them in an instant if Hive got his hands on Lincoln. But nope, he’s got to stick around because Daisy Daisy blah blah Daisy, or whatever. Ugh, Lincoln.
May awesomely maneuvers the Zephyr out of the base—Daisy used her powers to trap them inside—and they’re on their way to find her. Coulson is very clear that rescuing Daisy is the priority and that she’s Hive’s hostage, not an enemy to be harmed. Daisy, meanwhile, is rendezvousing with Hive at a spot she’d told Ward about. She realizes Hive has Ward’s memories and tells it that she’s glad Ward is dead. Hive describes Ward as “thirsty” and at this point I pause “The Singularity” to laugh for about ten minutes.
Back on the Zephyr, FitzSimmons explain how Hive’s infection works: essentially, it takes over the pleasure centers, making his infected victims near-unstoppable (they can’t be iced) and extremely happy. Hence Daisy’s ecstatic “Come drink the Kool-Aid with me!!!!” speech to Lincoln at the end of “The Team.” Luckily, Simmons explains that they’ve found a doctor, one Holden Radcliffe, who was fired from the agrochemical plant they raided due to his irregular experiments with parasitic organisms. Radcliffe might be able to help Daisy by developing a cure for Hive’s infection. He is a transhumanist, someone who wants to use science to allow humans to become more than human—which, from what I can tell, means he’s exactly the same as the Neolutionists in Orphan Black. Crossover, anyone?
Mack, Jemma, and Simmons get ready to find Dr. Radcliffe. Fitz takes a quick moment to speak to Simmons cryptically in science-ese about their relationship, so no one overhears them and realizes what’s happening. Simmons cuts through the bullshit and asks him if he’s talking about their relationship getting complicated once they have sex. Fitz is adorably flustered and scampers away. May shows up and hands Jemma Chekhov’s gun, which Jemma is hesitant to accept but which she’ll obviously need later.
Meanwhile, on the romantic cliffside where homeless Skye used to park her van, Daisy confides in Hive about her reclaiming of the name Daisy and offers some vague details about her situation with her parents. Hive correctly pinpoints that Daisy craves a sense of belonging, a holdover from her days as a woebegone orphan lass. Hive explains that there’s no need for war if everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid—his goal is to take back the planet, making it the home Inhumans deserve, but to do it without amassing an army. It all sounds fine and dandy, but his whole nonviolence spiel is incongruous with how he’s acted so far. Like, tell all that to Stephanie Malick and the Transia board members, why don’t you?
On the Zephyr, Coulson gets a call from his #1 bro Glenn Talbot, who explains that Malick’s Hydra-related intel (whatever that was) is actionable. Coulson brushes him off, too busy dealing with the Daisy situation, and tells Talbot to take care of it, reporting back when he knows more.
FitzSimmons and Mack prepare to head off to find Radcliffe the transhumanist at a secret fancyfolks club in Bucharest. Fitz and Simmons need to pose as fancy geneticists with fancy biotech in order to lure Radcliffe out, so they get ready to put on formal wear (not labcoats and goggles, like silly Mack assumed) and shop around a version of Deathlok’s exploding eyeball.
Coulson and May prepare to head off to find Alisha, the multiplying Inhuman, to make sure Hive hasn’t gotten to her. Lincoln is pissy (what a twist!) and insists on going along because he and Alisha are friends. Coulson, giving no fucks whatsoever, hands Lincoln an exploding vest and tells Lincoln that he will only be able to come along if he agrees to wear it, accepting that May (who holds the trigger) will blow him up if he’s infected by Hive. Lincoln is upset about this and accuses May and Coulson of both wanting him dead so that they can get Daisy back and he’ll be out of the way, allowing them to be a big-old weirdo family again, which seems like a totally out-of-left-field and insane comment. Why is he so insecure about his place on this team? Is it because he sucks? God, I hate Lincoln.
In Bucharest, Fitz and Simmons head into the club with Mack connected by comms. Through Fitz’s thermowhatevering eyeglasses, Mack sees that nearly everyone in the club is body-modified in some way.
Positioned outside of Alisha’s location, May and Coulson have a brief argument about Coulson pawning off the responsibility of blowing Lincoln up onto May. May also points out that Coulson is all too willing to sacrifice Lincoln but that he’ll move heaven and earth to rescue Daisy, after he forbids May from shooting Daisy if she and Hive show up. May, sweetie, that’s because Lincoln sucks.
Inside, Lincoln finds Alisha, who claims she hasn’t seen Daisy. Simultaneously, we find Daisy and Hive visiting James, the crotchety Australian wannabe Inhuman, in his South Dakota hovel. Elsewhere, Alisha attacks Lincoln, revealing she’s already been “acquired” by Hive, while Daisy and Hive strong-arm James into giving up the missing part of the Kree artifact that he kept back from Daisy and Lincoln. That method doesn’t work, so Daisy busts out the terrigen crystal to change James, making him susceptible to Hive’s powers.
May and Lincoln fight two of Alisha’s doubles. When Lincoln holds one of the doubles, willing to kill it to find out where Daisy is, the other double shoots it in the head, before getting shot by Coulson. Since Alisha feels each of the doubles’ pain, voluntarily killing one of her selves just goes to show how dangerously strong Hive’s influence is. James, now Inhuman, is a fire-starter (or something) and easily gives up the location of the Kree artifact once Hive infects him. Hive then foolishly informs both James and Daisy that this artifact is his only weakness, a decision which I’m sure won’t come back to bite him in his parasitic ass.
FitzSimmons speak with a heavily body-modified woman named Anon, trying to get a meeting with Radcliffe to discuss their eye technology. Anon checks Radcliffe’s schedule on her built-in forearm smartphone and asks them to wait while she checks to see if Radcliffe would like to see them.
Back on the Zephyr, Lincoln is stressing about Alisha having killed one of her selves under Hive’s influence. Coulson takes Lincoln out of the field, to Lincoln’s dismay, citing that Daisy would want Coulson to keep Lincoln safe. Coulson also apologizes to May for handing her the trigger, comparing himself to Hive in his tendency to make May do painful things. He explains that Hive has clearly only amplified Daisy’s existing desire for a family, for connection—something that Coulson hoped to have given her with S.H.I.E.L.D. May gently points out that he isn’t Daisy’s father. It’s so sad. The Coulson-Daisy relationship is the best and also the saddest.
While waiting for Radcliffe in Bucharest, Fitz and Simmons turn off the comms, disconnecting from Mack so they can speak about their relationship privately. Fitz adorably compares their sleeping together to crossing the event horizon and even though exactly zero percent of this science jargon is intelligible to me, I get the gist—FitzSimmons doing the deed is a big, big relationship-changing deal. But they’re both ready for it. So of course, at that moment, Anon shows up to lead them to a surgical room down a scary hidden hallway, explaining that in order to be granted access to Radcliffe, they’ll have to surgically implant their fancy eyeball in the random dude prepped for surgery. After consulting with Mack, they all agree to do it, since Radcliffe’s their only route to curing Daisy. Jemma straight up needles the guy through the eyeball, but it turns out the eyeball is an avian-hybrid eyeball prosthetic and that the subject is actually Dr. Radcliffe himself. So, obviously, this dude is a wacko.
Coulson and May track Daisy and Hive to South Dakota, finding it empty, save the remnants of James’ terrigenesis and the hole in the ground where Team Hive dug up his “One Ultimate Weakness.” Back in Bucharest, Radcliffe correctly IDs the eye tech as Cybertech (a.k.a., HYDRA). He believes they’re HYDRA, and Anon calls for reinforcements using her iPhone arm, destroying their comms and cutting off Mack. Jemma is led away while Fitz continues to try to reason with Radcliffe, offering up his alien expertise to Radcliffe and explaining that he needs Radcliffe’s help to save his friend.
Back in South Dakota, May realizes James’ place is rigged to blow. She and Coulson hop in the hole in the ground and Coulson activates his Captain America-esque arm shield, protecting them from the blast and making a quip about the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. having a shield. Coulson is adorable, Philinda is adorable, and that cybernetic arm shield is the coolest.
Daisy interrupts Fitz’s pleading by blowing the doors off the hinges, while Hive (in his Will-persona) rescues Jemma from Radcliffe’s reinforcements by melting them. Timing on this show has always been a little bit wonky, but seriously, how did they get to Bucharest from South Dakota that quickly?
James, meanwhile, hangs around the bar area, being obnoxious about the body-mod humans “playing dress-up” and causing a ruckus by demonstrating his powers. Mack intercepts him as the body-mod humans scatter, leading to the dialogue exchange of the season (“What are your muscles made of?” “Me?”). Elsewhere, Daisy knocks out Anon and hands Radcliffe off to Alisha. Daisy stays behind to put the fear of god in Fitz by force-choking him into submission, warning him to stay away and stop trying to save her, because she finally has a family. Oh, Daisy. Sad face. She also warns Fitz that she had a vision and that someone in S.H.I.E.L.D. will die.
Brett Dalton is having a ball with all of these personas—he speaks completely differently as Will, mimicking that character’s accent and intonation perfectly, until he creepily slides back into Hive-mode, warning Jemma that it’s in her best interest to stay away, as Daisy says the same to Fitz. The conversation with Hive-as-Will manages to give Jemma closure and a totally badass moment, where she tells Hive that having Will’s memories doesn’t give him the right to be him and shoots Hive three times in the chest, (sort of) fulfilling her promise to shoot Ward. GO JEMMA, GO.
Back at HQ, Coulson reveals to May that Malick gave up all of the intel on HYDRA and that that’s what Talbot has been working on. Coulson gives the go-ahead, and Talbot pulls the trigger, destroying HYDRA’s infrastructure. Talbot quips about the head of HYDRA being cut. It’s unsurprising that Talbot is apparently unfamiliar with Greek mythology—he clearly doesn’t realize that cutting off the Hydra head certainly does not eliminate the problem. In fact, it only makes the problem worse. Duh.
In Bucharest, Mack and Simmons make it back to the rendezvous point and wait for Fitz. Mack reveals that he knows about Fitz and Simmons and reveals himself to be the biggest FitzSmmons ‘shipper of them all. Later, Mack heads off to load the jet and FitzSimmons takes that opportunity to cut the chatter and have sex. Surprisingly hot sex (despite Jemma’s little ice bucket hands), given that these two are mostly just adorable.
Elsewhere, James babbles on to Alisha about what his superhero name should be, as Hive explains to Radcliffe that the rest of the group are Inhumans and that he (Hive) is technically one of the first humans genetically modified by the Kree. Here, Hive dishes out his plan: to enlist Radcliffe’s help to change the course of human evolution—recreating the Kree experiment that resulted in Hive. He wants to make more Inhumans! Dun dun dun.
He also bought them a whole town to do this in. I hereby christen it Hiveville. I’m not sure how the mechanics of buying a whole town, with its buildings and infrastructure in place, works, but Hive sure did it. I guess Malick’s millions actually came in handy after all.