The [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.](tag:722469) hiatus was long and wintry, but season 3 has returned with a fast-paced premiere episode, setting up plenty of plot threads for the second half of the season. We also got to see more of Ward's new Inhuman villain persona, and tensions were teased between Daisy's budding Secret Warriors and the rest of SHIELD. So let's break down all the biggest moments and Marvel Comics Easter eggs from S03E11 'Bouncing Back'!
Episode 11 opened with the interior shot of what seems to be a space shuttle. It definitely looks like something out of scifi shows like Battlestar Galactica, and yet the subheading proclaimed this to be set just "three months from now". This has very interesting implications for the show.
In the Marvel comics, SHIELD wasn't just based on Earth. They had cosmic duties too, delegating with the Guardians of the Galaxy and were involved in many interplanetary storylines. SWORD, a splinter organisation from SHIELD, even had their own space station, and it was pretty cool.
Could Agents of SHIELD season 3 introduce more space-based plotlines? It's certainly possible. After all, the team visited a different planet earlier on in the season, and they're dealing with an "alien invasion" (of sorts) right now. Watch this space (heh), especially because it looks like someone's getting murdered in that shuttle... But back in the present day, Daisy's Inhuman team has a new ally.
Or YoYo, as Mack likes to call her. The newest Inhuman is Elena Rodriguez, known to comics fans as Slingshot, and her powers are pretty cool.
Elena has super speed, but only for as much as she can run in one heartbeat. Then, she slingshots back to where she started. In the comics, Elena is one of the core members of Daisy Johnson's Secret Warriors, so many fans expected her to join the team at the end of S03E11. And yet, after almost the entire episode built up her origin story, Elena decided not to join Daisy's team after all.
However, Mack did leave Elena with a communicator, so that she can stay in contact with SHIELD. It's possible that the latter half of season 3 will show Daisy building up a roster of Inhuman allies, whom she'll later form into her Secret Warriors team.
That's probably a good plan, because with HYDRA's Inhuman god finally returned to Earth, Daisy and SHIELD will need all the help they can get to defeat it.
Ward Is Now Hive
At the Wizard World Comic-con, Elizabeth Henstridge (Jemma Simmons) revealed that the legendary Inhuman HYDRA has been trying to retrieve throughout season 3 was none other than Hive.
"Now Ward is Hive and takes on the memories of people he's killed, so that's going to have some interesting situations."
So the big bad Inhuman is none other than Hive, a monster who has the ability to possess hosts and their knowledge. Although, Hive wasn't actually an inhuman in the comics, but an experiment created by Hydra to embody their ideals. This makes the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. plot a clever reversal of this plotline: Hive still embodies the ideals of Hydra, but those ideals came about because of Hydra's origins as a cult which worshipped this inhuman version of Hive. Neat.
Obviously, the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. creative team have already made some pretty huge changes to the original Hive story. However, the possibility remains that this parasite encountered on the mysterious planet is not the only one: there could be more corpse-possessing worms out there, just waiting to collect information and then merge into one terrifying being.
That would definitely make for an interesting plot in season 3, and an epic final battle with the creature. As for Ward himself, it looks like for now he's still pretty dead. But if what Henstridge says is true, then Hive will start to manifest a personality very like Ward's, before taking on the memories and personalities of other people it kills.
And the rest...
Of course there were plenty of other things we noticed in episode 11.
- Tensions seem to be building between Daisy's team and Coulson - are SHIELD headed towards their own Civil War?
- Jemma and Fitz finally moved past their emotional baggage, but not into a romantic relationship yet. Which means more will-they-won't-they (and they probably will).
- General Talbot's due to make a comeback, after being a thorn in SHIELD's side in season 1, and he's after the Inhumans in the S03E12 preview...
It looks like the battle between Inhumans and regular humans (apart from Daisy's team of course) is reaching its peak, as the Inhumans fight back with full force. Roll on episode 12!