It's no secret that Brett Dalton is the reason I watch Agents of SHIELD. Whether he's good-guy Agent Grant Ward, fugitive/Hydra soldier Grant Ward, or Hive, a parasitic Inhuman inhabiting Ward's body - Brett consistently brings my favorite element to the show. It's no wonder, then, that I'm really hoping Hive gets a redemption arc. After all, with Ward we had a…backwards redemption arc, which I can (and will) rant about for three hours if given the chance. It's only fair to want an actual redemption arc for Hive, right? I stated this to a friend a little over a week ago and was met with an incredulous response.
"He's an evil parasite who kills people. I don't think you're getting a redemption arc."
And I thought they were probably right and I was stretching because I want it so badly - until the episode before last. I actually sat up straight at one point and thought, "Wait a second. I'm not making this up. This actually, legitimately smells like the setup for a redemption arc."
I gave my theory to a skeptical friend who, after listening to a series of bullet points, said, "Okay, I see your point." Now this theory might be totally wrecked before the season is over (and if the season ends with Hive dead and Brett Dalton gone, I'll probably quit the show), but for the moment, I'm clinging to my theory with both hands.
Without further ado, let me give you the very good reasons (from a story-structure standpoint) for my Hive Redemption theory.
• He's been set up as 'the reason Hydra was founded,' but he's had very little to do with Hydra. Hydra may worship him, and they may have chucked food through the portal every hundred years or so, but we're led to believe that Hive wasn't aware of Hydra.
• It would make sense, after having Ward begin as a hero and end up as a villain, to tout Hive as the Big Bad but turn him into a hero (or at least a protagonist) toward the end.
• When Hive has a series of flashbacks recalling Ward's memories, we see several very specific things - we see Ward and the well, and we see Ward and Skye. We see the memories Ward kept closest to his heart, the most emotional, most human memories. These weren't random selections from the showrunners, these were very specific choices, and if Hive is dwelling on them, there's a reason for it.
• Malick's lackeys have gathered five people together so Hive can use their bodies to fix his own. "They're innocents," says another Inhuman, and Hive responds, "Yes, they are innocents." Then he says their sacrifice is for the greater good. These were both interesting remarks because they aren't the kind of remarks made by a villain who thinks he's bad. For instance, Malick doesn't care whether somebody is innocent or not, but Hive can obviously recognize the difference. He also makes a distinction as to why he's killing them - for a greater good. 'Good' is still a key word for him, which I found extremely interesting.
• While watching his eight television screens depicting various catastrophic events on earth, Hive remarks to his guard that humans haven't changed. There's a kind of sadness to what he says and how he says it, like he regrets what he's watching. Again, this kind of attitude has been subtle but constant through what little screen time Hive has had.
• The showrunners chose to place Hive in Ward's body, which means they're definitely planning to play off the resulting emotions - both from Hive and from Ward's old team. And where difficult emotions abound, well…character development abounds, too.
What do you think of Hive? Do you hope he gets a redemption arc, or am I just desperate?