This is it, the exciting season finale of the series that would not die. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has been quite a roller coaster this season with a slow start and a rocky ratings road, but it’s finally found its groove, and is headed toward its exciting climax. Phil Coulson and his Agents of Nothing put it all on the line to take on Hydra and former comrade Ward in “Beginning of the End.” Meet me after the jump for my review of the “S.H.I.E.L.D.” season finale.
The Good News
I have to say, I didn’t think I would be reporting this one. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has been renewed for a second season on ABC. As I mentioned above, ratings have not always been what the network wished, and the show was running a long game storywise, a game that had a very slow start. It will also be moving to the 9:00 PM slot, where it did better the one time it aired there. Despite problems early on, right now the show is on fire, and if that’s not enough, ABC is adding more S.H.I.E.L.D. to its television line-up.
“Agent Carter,” starring Hayley Atwill in the title role, will also be taking to the airwaves as well. The show got its mini-pilot as a one shot short on the Iron Man Three Blu-Ray. Set during World War II, one year after the events of Captain America The First Avenger, Atwill plays Agent Peggy Carter and details the origins of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agency. Reportedly “Agent Carter” will fill the mid-season break of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” next year, and then the stories of the two shows will be tied together.
We open on a man on his first day of work, job training. We slowly learn the company is Cybertek. When asked why he wanted the job, the trainee answers, the incentives program. They walk through typical office space, walling off a worker per desk per computer. We learn that in this run of the mill cubicle office space, each operator is in charge of one unit. Seems good so far.
Then there’s an alert. And the boss, Zeller, shows the trainee monitor screens of our Agents of Nothing breaking into the Havana base. He tells the trainee that “we don’t like these guys,” and it becomes plain that a unit is a Centipede soldier, as our heroes are being ambushed by several. Great on the job training, game on.
The Good Guys
Melinda May reminds us very clearly why she is called The Cavalry as she goes into action immediately. As noted last time, one of the baddies had the Asgardian Berserker Staff, and she takes it from him like taking candy from a baby. From there she disposes of the rest of them while Skye implants her Trojan horse virus finally. As they leave, May buries opponents and staff in the collapsed base.
Thanks to Fitz and Simmons, and the virus, the agents are able to track Garrett and company. Coulson and his team prep for battle. Unfortunately there’s no word from Fitz or Simmons. For the moment, they are still alive. On the bottom of the ocean after being jettisoned from The Bus by Ward, but still alive. There’s only so much air in that escape pod though…
The Bad Guys
The GH-325 has re-energized Garrett and he’s acting a bit peculiar, stronger and more arrogant, and according to him, he can ‘see the universe.’ All of his people – Ward, Quinn, Raina, and even Deathlok are a bit rattled. He’s looking beyond Hydra, he’s envisioning a new world order, for himself.
Garrett really goes south, when as Quinn is touring the Cybertek facility with the US military mucky-mucks he was trying to sell his army of super-soldiers to, Garrett very messily murders one of the generals. It’s not pretty. At this point, we can start taking bets on how long Quinn lasts, and how long before Ward or Raina try to take Garrett out themselves. He’s gone bye-bye.
First Law of Thermodynamics
At the bottom of the ocean, using up what may be the last of their air, Fitz and Simmons wax poetic and discuss what will happen after they die, resigned to their fate. Simmons likes the first law of thermodynamics that dictates energy can neither be created nor destroyed. They may die, but they’ll go on as something else, a dragonfish or a monkey.
And then she gets an idea. They can get out, and get to the surface, but only one of them can make it. Not enough air for the swim to the surface. I hate saying this, but I’d rather lose one than both. It’s a good thing there’s …Nick Fury. Of course, who else would be listening to that dead SHIELD frequency when they sent their SOS. Good call.
The Noise and the Funk
Since finding out that Triplett was not The Clairvoyant, and seeing his grandfather’s Howling Commandos Spy Kit in action, I love him. I hope he stays around for season two. The man just rocks, and more than adequately, he fills the place on the team vacated by the treacherous Ward. He is more than welcome.
Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury has always been about his cool, and his cool under pressure. It’s this quiet but to the point cool that he so beautifully brings to the small screen. His very presence gives Coulson the support and confidence he might not have even admitted to himself he needed. And to Garrett, Fury brings the very threat and menace needed to make the man get serious in his mission. And dare I say it, Fury brings Marvel Cinematic Universe legitimacy to “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Satisfaction and Loose Ends
We do get some of the confrontations we have been waiting seemingly forever for. From May kicking the living crap out of Ward to Fitz and Simmons sprinkling kisses and tears all over each other, and almost everything in between. Skye and Ward, done, along with Coulson and Garrett, and Coulson and Fury, done. And of course justice done for Deathlok against Garrett. I really liked the oh-no-he’s-not-dead Terminator-like resurrection of Garrett, just so Coulson could take him out as well. Cliché but satisfying.
And of course, there are unresolved subplots, loose ends left hanging like giant holes in the wall. They just ruin any décor you can put up to cover them. Deathlok leaves rather than go to his son, preferring to walk the Earth like Caine in “Kung Fu.” I’m sure he’ll be back next season. Fury leaves to do a similar thing. We don’t know how bad off Fitz is. And we are still left hanging as to the true origin of Skye, and her parents the monsters… although Raina, who now also has the gravitonium, visits Skye’s dad at the end of the episode.
As I said at the beginning of this review, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” returns in the fall for a second season, with notably no name change as many folks had suspected. Fury has made Coulson his new Director, and the given him the mission to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s given him secret plans and/or files, and a new headquarters, The Playground, run by the brother of Eric Koenig, also played by Patton Oswalt. What a pleasant surprise, but my first thought was of course, is this an LMD?
I think I know where we’re going next season though, perhaps to outer space. After Garrett came to from taking the GH-325, he drew a map, or inscription, in what looks like an alien language. At the end of the episode, Coulson, also injected with GH-325, reputed to be Kree DNA, draws a similar inscription. Look familiar? We’ve seen it before in the episode “Eye Spy,” where as shown in the image above, it’s mixed with Chitauri. Could this be Kree? Hopefully, we’ll find out next season…