In three action-packed seasons of ABC's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., we've seen characters who can cause earthquakes, melt metal, shoot electricity, predict the future, and more. But none of the powered individuals our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. team has encountered has prepared them for the creature formerly known as Grant Ward. Possessed by an ancient Inhuman known as Hive after being killed by Phil Coulson, Ward now has the ability to… somehow suck out people's life force or something and also grow tentacles out of his head? Honestly, it's a bit unclear at this point. So what are Hive's powers on S.H.I.E.L.D. , exactly?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe's first television series has always had a fuzzy relationship to its source material, pulling some plots (like the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Inhumans, and the Secret Warriors) straight from the pages of the comic books while twisting some storylines to fit its needs (like Daisy's origin story) and inventing others wholesale. Hive happens to be one of the elements that showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen borrowed from Marvel comics — even if his story is, like Daisy's, slightly twisted to seamlessly fit inside the tapestry they've woven. But the fact that he's not a wholesale invention means that we can look to the comics for clues on what's coming next.
As you can see from the above image, Hive is typically depicted a bit more… grotesque… than the handsome Brett Dalton. We got a hint of the supervillain's true form in last week's episode, "Paradise Lost," but have yet to see him in his full tentacled glory. Hive was introduced on the page relatively recently in Marvel history — in 2009, in an issue of the "Secret Warriors" series. But rather than being an ancient Inhuman, this Hive was created by Hydra scientists to be a physical embodiment of the Nazi organization itself; hence the tentacles and, you know, the pure evil.
Rather than being one entity, Hive is (appropriately enough, considering his name) a conglomerate of parasites — a discovery Simmons made on the show last week — and these parasites require a human host around which they can assemble. The comics version of Hive can then launch individual parasites away from itself as projectile weapons, which then take mental control of their targets; on the show, this ability seems slightly modified so that the parasites in question stream out of Hive and dissolve the flesh of its human victim before returning to their host.
But along with the change from Hydra experiment to ancient Inhuman, Hive might also have gained a few extra powers its comics counterpart never had. Last week's episode revealed that Hive retains the memories and personalities of every human host it has ever enveloped. And, in an interview with TVLine, S.H.I.E.L.D. star Chloe Bennet (Daisy) teased that Hive's flesh-eating ability might have a different effect when it encounters an Inhuman:
Speaking of tricks, what can Hive himself do, aside from ooze out the creepy stuff from his hands and his mouth?
I think you'll find that that is more powerful than anything, because that can put people under sway and then he has full control of anyone he does that to. Essentially, he has everyone's power. He has the power of any Inhuman that he does that to.
So, when he unleashes that weird stuff into someone, it doesn't necessarily kill them…?
If they are human, it kills them. If they're Inhuman, it does other things…
Unfortunately, it's possible that Hive already has an Inhuman under his sway. The promo above for this Tuesday's episode, "The Team," teases that "one of these combatants is not what they seem" and warns of a "blistering revelation that will completely shatter S.H.I.E.L.D." So who's the traitor? Well, is there any Inhuman who was recently in close proximity to Hive? Someone who then sought out a mysterious Kree artifact and is now leading a team of Inhumans to Hive's location — despite knowing that assembling an army of Inhumans is exactly Hive's goal? Hmm…
You're busted, Lincoln!
Get ready for an intense episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Tuesday night; this "blistering revelation" may show the true extent of Hive's powers.
Images: Kelsey McNeal, ABC/ABC; Giphy