After a taxing journey of ups and downs, we’ve made it to the final episode of the premier season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Now, knowing the show has been picked up for a second season, was the finale what the show needed to be pushed into another 22 episode run?
We’re once again picking up where the previous episode left off, as we finish out the Cybertek arc and the season itself. Cybertek, being the one connection amongst everything the team has faced this season, looks to be taking over for Hydra as something bigger and badder that the team will tackle, possibly in the coming season. Despite the goal of selling super soldiers to the government being a little clichéd, there’s no doubt that this could lead to some exciting new villains showing up in the future.
Upon finding that FitzSimmons managed to leave a tracker aboard the plane, Coulson (Clark Gregg) assembles his team with a plan to take down Garrett. While his faith has been tested in recent episodes, he isn’t giving up just yet. He’s still of the belief that he can serve a greater purpose if he’s a part of “something bigger,” as Nick Fury once told him. The whole speech was a bit sappy, but that’s really who Phil Coulson is; a sappy, quirky guy, who just happens to be a badass secret agent, and they did a wonderful job of capturing that here. In just about every way, this episode is about Phil Coulson, and showcases a rebirth of his character. He gets his talk with Fury, he uses his big gun again (this time, he knows what it does), he obliterates John Garrett, and he becomes the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s come to terms with all that went wrong, and has found his old sense of do-good-ness, which is the Coulson we all fell in love with in the first place.
Although we don’t learn Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) big secret just yet, she had an enjoyable role in this episode, as she basically took control of Cybertek’s office, and set Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) free. We still don’t have much reason to care about her, but it definitely seems that they are gearing her up for big things, with the post credit scene and everything Raina (Ruth Negga) has been spouting about monsters and such. What is this darkness inside of her, and why does she have such unwavering morality if that’s the true? Whatever the case may be, we’re sure to find out in the coming season—I’m just hoping we find out before we start caring any less about her.
Since being injected with Raina’s version of GH-325, John Garrett (Bill Paxton) has become some sort of ultra powerful genius. Honestly, I was disappointed by this change in his character, and the whole “I can see everything” bit was laid on a little too thick. The talking in poems, the silly metaphors—it was all extremely annoying. The dialogue was campy and forced, and it was really a shame to see Paxton’s talents wasted on this. At no point could I take him seriously, and frankly, when Garrett inevitably meets his demise, I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to see the character ever again.
Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) doesn’t get to do much at the episode’s start, but he works his way around to finally getting his payoff with Skye when they come face to face. What’s better than their faceoff, though, is when Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) comes in, blasting Ward in the face, leading to a well-scripted brawl between the two. As something they’ve been building toward all season, I’m afraid it didn’t quite live up to expectations. With the way Ward has developed throughout the season, and all of the unknown elements surrounding him, I was hoping for a more shocking conclusion to the battle. Alas, Ward becomes a prisoner of Coulson’s, with his fate yet to be determined. Could he come back at some point in the following season, if the team has nowhere left to turn?
Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), as we last saw, were dumped into the ocean, and while most people probably assumed that their trusty tracker would have served as a way for the team to retrieve them, they’d actually left it aboard the plane. While they’re confined to this tiny box on the ocean floor, however, is when we get some of their best moments. Their talk about death was one of the deepest, most telling scenes we’ve gotten from them, and was a pleasure. As a fan of the pair, I was ecstatic to have my support rewarded with this episode. When Fitz finally admits his feelings for her, we get one of the most tender, heartfelt scenes we’ve seen on the show yet, and Fitz finally gets to be the hero he so badly needed to be. Unfortunately for him, it isn’t long until Nick Fury shows up to steal his thunder.
Sam Jackson’s return as Nick Fury was nothing if not fantastic, but that isn’t something we didn’t already know going into this episode. It doesn’t become clear just how much an appearance by Jackson was really needed, though, until they drive home the point when Coulson finally meets with Fury. Truthfully, with so much of the plot surrounding Coulson’s relationship with Fury, his appearance was a must, but they went above and beyond by including him in a few extra scenes that, while they may not have need him, certainly benefited from him. Needless to say, this was easily the best guest appearance yet, and it’s a shame that it will be a long time before we see Samuel L. Jackson back again, if ever.
It may not have been the best episode, and even felt a tad rushed, but the first season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did something that we were all curious about, and that was setting a path for its future. Coulson’s been tasked with rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. from the ground up, giving purpose to the show’s name yet again… and just what the hell was all of that drawing about? Deathlok is free to do as he pleases, and plans to make up for all the wrong he was forced to do, which surely sets him up to cross the newly redeveloped S.H.I.E.L.D. Patton Oswalt made his triumphant return as Billy Koenig, Eric’s twin brother, which was just a treat. And, even though Hydra may be done, Raina is still out there, and she’s got Skye’s “father” within reaching distance, not to mention that Gravitonium she has in her possession. Will Grant Ward come back to play a role in the show’s sophomore outing? This season may have garnered some mixed reactions, and wasn’t really as exciting as we all hoped it would be, but it’s surely managed to set the table for something bigger.