Yep, that was all kinds of fun. Action-packed, emotional, shocking and surprising, it pretty much ticked all the boxes on what makes a great season finale. Being a Whedon show it also played on expectations too, momentarily leading us to believe Fitz had copped it before leaving us with an almighty cliffhanging involving Simmons instead. Basically, if you’ve had any love for Agents Of SHIELD at all this season, it was a hell of a pay-off.
There were a few creaky moments: the whole rescue-Bobbi b-plot felt a little underwhelming with Agent 33’s death particularly wasted in a blink-and-you’ll miss it farcical misunderstanding. There were also some horrendously contrived speeches from Jiaying, whose transformation into an überbitch ready to bump off her own daughter sacrificed a certain degree of character development on the altar of melodrama. Oh, and Coulson delivered his quips with his ability to make deadpan sound more like on-life-support-pan.
Otherwise, though this was rollickingly great small screen sci-fi with some lovely subtle touches. Because between all the great fireworks – and there were some exceptional fight scenes to savour – Cal’s redemption and vindication was a satisfying conclusion to his character arc. His decision to kill Jiaying so that Daisy didn’t have to gave the ending an emotional resonance that never felt gratuitous (“You don’t have to live with the pain – I will”); it was completely in character and a great moment of uplifting TV cheese. Because cheesiness can be good, handled in the right way.
The file Coulson hands Skye when he says SHIELD needs to set up a new secret team of super powered agents is marked “Caterpillars”. This is mirroring almost exactly what happened in the Marvel comics universe in 2009 when Nick Fury created and personally oversaw three new “secret” super teams in a title called Secret Warriors. Daisy Johnson (aka Quake) was indeed a member and leader of one of the groups, and the project was codenamed Caterpillars.
Elsewhere there were wonderful little character beats for Mack, Fitz, Simmons and Lincoln. Yes, we said Mack. Finally he proved his worth in this show; his grim determination in battling Gordon matched by his terrible nicknames for everyone and his self-effacing humour. Though it looks like the Fitz/Simmons romance is back on (possibly death pending) it was great to have a brief return of the Fitz/Mack bromance (see Best Line below).
You also have to love the moment when Mack decks Lincoln – even though it looks as if he’s about to come to the light side of the Force – just to save some time. Classic. It looks like there is hope for Mack yet. As for Lincoln, surely he’s being lined up to be one of Agents Of SHIELD’s new “Secret Warriors”?
Great FX on show too, from the superbly choreographed fight between Syke and Xerox/Multiple Woman/Ginger Ninja to Skye blasting the jet off the ship. This was a genuinely eye-popping episode with some impressive production values.
The epilogue scenes were all great fun, especially May sneakily taking her gun on holiday and the chilling tease about next season’s arc; wonder if sales on Omega 3 fish oil pills are gong to rocket? Skye’s visit to her dad was sweet too.
An immensely satisfying conclusion to a season that began patchily before finishing in style.
Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD airs on Friday nights on Channel 4 in the UK.
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|Writers||Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen|
|The One Where||Inhumans vs SHIELD. Lots of fighting. Lots of shocks. Lots of quips. A monolith swallows Jemma.|