It’s finally here, folks! The grand finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. They’ve had a damned good run this season and I’m really excited for what’s going to happen in these final two hours. From what we saw last time, we can expect some sort of battle between the Inhumans on Afterlife mountain and the now-consolidated S.H.I.E.L.D.. We can also expect Skye to be completely mind-fucked as she tries to figure out what side she’s one. And, naturally, Ward has something going on that involves the victimization of yet another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. So how will it all end? Read on and find out.
This two-parter starts off with a huge bang. We begin where we left off, with Jiaying having just murdered Gonzalez and put a bullet into herself to create the illusion that S.H.I.E.L.D. is responsible. Coulson finds out what’s going on and orders an evacuation of all S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives, but the war is already pending. Gordon – that teleporting blind dude – snags a quinjet and uses its missiles to convince the rest of Afterlife that S.H.I.E.L.D. is after them. This leads to a conflict between Skye and May and the eventual war that Skye’s mom was hoping for.
Coulson tries to keep things peaceful, despite everything that’s happened. The council wants him to go in with guns a-blazin’ but he’ll have none of it. On the other side of things, Jiaying is trying to get her daughter on board their side of the conflict, but a visit to Raina clears things up. Skye finds out that Raina knew all about the shit they’re going through and, when Skye walks in on her mom killing Raina, the lines become drawn. Skye is finally figuring out that her mother is not the nice person she first hoped. To prove it, Jiaying has Skye knocked out and taken prisoner.
Out there in Ward-story-land, we have Grant and Kara (aka Agent 33) dealing with their newly kidnapped Bobbi Morse. Ward is eager to get Bobbi to admit that she was a horrible person by letting Kara be nabbed and brainwashed by HYDRA. But Bobbi has a different opinion on the matter. She thinks the sacrifice was necessary. And so here comes the torture…
Back in S.H.I.E.L.D. central, Coulson decides that their prisoner, Cal, is an important player in all of the goings-on. He tries to grill him, but Cal’s a bit too crazy to respond to anything normal. So instead, he just acts nuts and has a heart attack. It’s then that Coulson has him dragged off to the medical ward. A shot of adrenaline and he’s back to action, though this time he’s fully super-powered from the drugs he’s been taking.
Over at Ward’s camp, Hunter and May go looking for Bobbi. But Ward and 33 have set a trap for them. So when everyone shows up and is ready to party, the fight begins. The end result isn’t exactly what Ward hoped for, however. Kara’s May-disguise leads him to put a couple of bullets into her and Bobbi saves Hunter from a bullet in the face and S.H.I.E.L.D. comes out victorious if not necessarily unscathed.
Back on the S.H.I.E.L.D. boat, Gordon and Team Jiaying invade in full force. Cal recuperates from his health issues and goes on a rampage. Coulson has to face off against him, though some sensible conversation manages to bring the normally psychopathic Cal down to Earth. He then decides to help S.H.I.E.L.D. in the best interests of his daughter’s safety. But Jiaying is still on track. She’s going after the artifact that S.H.I.E.L.D. has that can supposedly destroy all the Inhumans. She also wants to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. overall, using those crystal things to either turn everyone into statues or turn them all into Inhumans. One way or the other is fine with her.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t sit well with Lincoln. Between him, May and Mack, Skye ends up free of her prison and in the field. She’s hunting her mom, eager to stop the war before it gets completely out of control. Mack heads off to secure the crystals and ends up running into Gordon. With a little help from Fitz, however, he manages to pin Gordon down and stop the teleporter from running off with the ultimate prize.
And then the episode takes a moment to pause and reflect. May calls her ex to make one last point-of-contact. Simmons, confronted with the ultimate possibility of death, takes a moment to tell Fitz that maybe a date night isn’t completely off the table. And the world is happy again. For about 5 seconds.
Then we have the final battle! Team S.H.I.E.L.D., along with Cal, charge in to retake the boat from Jiaying and her Inhuman allies. Coulson pays a price for his heroism while saving the lives of his fellow agents. And Skye is finally forced to face off against her mother, though daddy eventually shows up to help out.
In the end, we see Coulson minus a hand, Bobbi and Hunter resolving their issues so they can make it to their spin-off show in time for dinner, Mack changing his mind about leaving (and even getting put in charge of all of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s alien artifacts), May and her ex making amends and Cal and Skye having a final moment before S.H.I.E.L.D. wipes his brain and sends him off to get a real job.
We also get a couple of “Oh Shit!” moments before the episode ends… Ward looks like he’s in line to become the next leader of HYDRA. Skye will be in charge of forming a team of Inhumans. Those crystals that everyone thought were safely secured have leaked into the ecosystem, which means BAD SHIT for the world. And… Simmons gets eaten by an alien rock???
Fuck you Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Way to make me watch next season.
I have to say, this was one of the best season finales that I have seen in a long time. They did a good job of hiding a lot of the secrets until the end, particularly those involving all the Jiaying and Cal “are they evil or aren’t they” elements. They also managed to squeeze in some of those morality questions, so that we had to ask ourselves, at least a little bit – Who really is the good guy here? I was also happy with the way they steered Ward’s character. I’m still eager to figure out exactly what they’re going to do with him come next season.
I’m a bit upset that they decided to kill off Raina, but they did manage to do it in a way that made some degree of sense. Having Skye walk in on the murder wasn’t a typically cliché writing technique, as it made sense. I mean, Raina has future-seeing abilities. Of course she’d be able to predict her own death and what sorts of consequences it would have. It was more like a strategic maneuver against Jiaying than just a shoehorned way to get Skye to doubt her mother.
And the ending moments… Lots of WTF going on there. So many things that we won’t know until season 3 comes about. And, personally, I am very eager to see where all this goes. You’ve done a damned good job of getting me to stop hating you, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
That being said, there were a few things that left me scratching my head. Why on Earth did they need Bobbi to mystically break away from the paralytic poison? I’m guessing it was an excuse to have a fight scene between her and Ward. In other words, it was pointless, clumsy writing. The same goes for having Cal escorted to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s medical facilities without a dozen agents with giant guns following him. The dude is on hyper-steroids, after all. Don’t leave him unguarded!
Then there was Coulson’s appeal to Cal’s sense of humanity. Another silly move by the writers. Again – HYPER-STEROIDS! Cal is filled with enough roid-rage to fuel an entire football league. He’s not likely to respond to reason of any sort, even if his daughter is involved. Unless it involves killing lots of people, of course.
Still, this two-hour finale was truly a pleasure to watch. The bad moments were far out-weighed by the good ones and the writing was excellent, with regards to both the characters and the plot. I’m happy that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has come this far and am very much looking forward to seeing what they can do with a third season. Kudos to you, S.H.I.E.L.D. You’ve managed to turn yourself around quite nicely.