Daisy tries to save her friends, Lincoln makes a grand gesture, and Hive phones home… Kind of.
With a new Hydra controlled town just for his Inhumans, and Dr. Radcliffe at his disposal, Hive reveals his plans to recreate the same Kree experiment that was initially done to him, and will make new Inhumans from ordinary humans. The first volunteers for the experiment are a few of the remaining Hydra leaders, after Malick’s betrayal and Talbot’s destruction of the Hydra infrastructure, who are still faithful to the idea of the Hydra God. Unfortunately, and painfully, for them, the experiment is a failure. Radcliffe discovers that the tests on Hive were using real Kree blood, and his Inhuman blood won’t do the trick. As Hive and Radcliffe work out a way to move the experiment forward, Daisy realizes that turning her friends at SHIELD Inhuman is the only way to save them and bring them back together.
While SHIELD has been keeping an eye out for any clue to Hive’s location, Fittz-Simmons have been working on an antitoxin to counteract Hive’s addictive parasitic effects. However, in order to test it they need a willing Inhuman volunteer to undergo the experiment and risk the antitoxin killing him. Lincoln doesn’t hesitate to step up, willing to risk it if it means helping Daisy. But Coulson isn’t ready to risk losing any more agents. Finally, SHIELD’s facial recognition software, designed by Daisy, catches sight of her in Hive’s town, giving them their location, and an uneasy feeling of a trap. But it’s the only lead they have, and Mack is desperate to get his partner back. With Coulson, May, and Mack heading out on mission, Lincoln takes the initiative to test to antitoxins, which immediately send him into cardiac arrest, and to no avail; the antitoxin is a failure.
On the ground in Hive’s town, May and Mack search the area for any sign of Hive or Daisy, but some other invited guests make their entrance. Using the ancient Kree technology from James, Hive sends a signal to the Kree Reapers, a sect of Kree who remain in stasis orbiting the galaxy until called, and the ones who initially experimented on Hive. Hive and Daisy fight to take down the Reapers, preferably alive in order to drain them of their blood for Radcliffe’s experiments. Hive gives into his one thousand year grudge against them and rips out one’s heart. The second, Daisy manages to incapacitate, painfully, and ready him for draining, until Mack steps in, pleading with Daisy to let him help her. He hopes that Daisy subconsciously set off the facial recognition software as a cry for help, some part of her resisting Hive’s control. But Daisy is convinced, she’s no longer lost, no longer needs SHIELD’s protection. Unable to bring her back, Mack destroys the Kree Reaper’s body, seemingly ending Hive’s plan. In a rage Daisy attacks Mack, punishing him for his actions, for betraying her and her new Inhuman family, and is about to kill him before May steps in, taking a shot at Daisy and escaping with Mack.
It’s no coincidence that “Failed Experiments” is full of disagreements between friends and mentions of a civil war. Daisy and Mack, Hive’s own history of the Inhuman civil war that ended in his exile, disagreements between Fittz-Simmons. Themes in this episode strongly parallel the themes from the Civil War comics, and those expected to be in the film this weekend. However, with the ending of this episode, there came no obvious connection to the film. No hijacked plane taking Coulson and the team to an unknown destination, or premonitions of floating cities and metal men. Agents of SHIELD’s connection to Age of Ultron was fairly weak, but connections in other TV shows have been much stronger, and also more subtle such as mentions of the “The Incident,” referring to the Battle of New York in the Avengers. Perhaps this season will follow suit and not try to force a connection or build up to something expected, and serve as more of an aftermath to Civil War?