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Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review, 1.22 - 'Beginning of the End'
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 05.14.2014

Previously on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: While Ward flashed back to the milestones in his relationship with Garrett, Coulson’s team went searching for them, only to discover that Garrett was the first Deathlok. They got extremely close to Garrett and Ward, but Ward captured FitzSimmons, causing Fitz to use an EMP to try to kill Garrett’s cybernetics. Raina managed to inject her reverse engineered GH-325 into Garrett while Ward was dumping FitzSimmons into the ocean, and it appears as though Garrett is now a supersoldier instead of a dying cyborg. Meanwhile, Coulson, May, Trip, and Skye find themselves surrounded by Deathloks even as Ian Quinn attempts to sell one thousand of them to the US Armed Forces.

Season 01, Episode 22: Beginning of the End

Two men are walking through a cubicle farm, with the one man giving the other man a tour and a rundown of the company. Suddenly, a woman tells the tour guide that they’re in position, and he leads the younger man to a monitor, which reveals Coulson’s team (minus FitzSimmons) in the barbershop basement. There’s also a Cybertek logo in the background. Coulson asks for a light and trip drops a flare, which reveals several Deathlok soldiers and a gentleman wielding the Asgardian berserker staff. Coulson starts firing as Trip gets launched into a brick column, and Skye rushes to the computer to finish installing her Trojan as May easily disarms the guy with the staff, claiming it for herself. May starts swinging the staff with bad intentions and sends one of the soldiers flying through one of the brick columns, which sends a cascade of dust showering down. Coulson tells May to “bring the house down” and she starts laying waste to brick columns and Deathloks alike as Skye completes her installation and Coulson gathers Trip.

The Cybertek manager is talking to Garrett on the phone, relaying that their men are digging themselves out of the remains of the barbershop, but Garrett is completely nonplussed by the situation, throwing his phone and then ripping one of the glass security doors right out of its track in the Bus’ hanger. Garrett calls for a nail, which seems to confuse Ward, Quinn, and Raina, although Raina takes it best. She tells Quinn that Garrett has the sum total of their research coursing through him, and Quinn is worried that the investors won’t want disposable supersoldiers but indestructible ones. Raina says Hydra’s backing means there will be no shortage of volunteers, and if there are, their incentive program will cover the shortfall. Ward is less convinced, as he clearly believes Garrett has lost his mind. He tries to feel Garrett out to see how loyal he is to Hydra, but Garrett is busy using a nail to scratch some type of design into the glass of the door he ripped off of its hinges. Garrett says Ward took care of him and gave him everything he wanted and now Ward needs to figure out what it is that he wants so that Garrett can give it to him, because Garrett believes he can do anything now.

Back at the team’s makeshift base, Skye tells May and Trip that the trojan worked and they now have access to all of Hydra’s systems. Coulson breaks in with some solemn news - FitzSimmons tracker crossed the ocean to New Mexico, but they’re not answering. Coulson says that if Fitz and Simmons were caught, catching Garrett is their only hope of finding them. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the ocean, Simmons wakes up to find Fitz with his arm bandaged. He says the pod was built to be compatible with all S.H.I.E.L.D. crafts, so the walls adjusted their density to match the atmospheric pressure of the ocean, which in turn caused them to sink. Simmons wants to know how they survived the fall, and Fitz says the plane was low enough that he was able to strap them to backboards before impact on the water, although he did break his arm in the same two places he broke his arm in second grade in the process. Simmons is excited about escaping, but Fitz says there’s no escape and even if they did get out of the pod, they’d be in the middle of the ocean with no dive suits and no chance of rescue. Even though he rigged the EKG to send a distress call, it’s on a S.H.I.E.L.D. frequency, and with the organization now defunct, no one is monitoring it. Simmons realizes what Fitz has already figured out - there is no way out, and they’re going to die in there.

Coulson’s team works out their plan to take out Garrett, with everyone realizing that they have no backup. Coulson gives them a motivation speech that Fury gave him, and they all seem to buy into their mission. Aboard the Bus, Ward asks Raina to talk to Garrett, who says he’s fine. Ward and Mike have a brief staredown and Raina enters to talk to Garrett, who is staring at the Gravitonium. Raina says Quinn was promised the Gravitonium as payment, and she thinks Garrett should give it to him. Garrett starts rambling about her plans, and seeing the Gravitonium’s soul (and Raina’s). He assures Raina that the drug didn’t just heal its body, it gave him the clarity to see the world below this world. Raina says she has no loyalty to anyone, just that she wants to see evolution, and she wants to know what she’ll become.

FitzSimmons admit to being scared and hungry, and get into a philosophical debate about death and dying and what comes after. Simmons talks about the conservation of energy as it relates to reincarnation and they seem to be making peace with their fate. Simmons figures out that while they can’t break the glass, they can destroy the seal around it, and they come up with a plan to do just that. And while that creates an entirely new set of problems, the duo are reinvigorated. At Cybertek’s manufacturing facility, Quinn leads the two military men from last week on a tour, including a table that can replace damaged limbs and link them fully in with a soldier’s brain. The military men are dubious at first, but Quinn puts on a hard sell and it seems to be working.

Coulson and Trip look for the best vehicle to make their entrance with, opting for what appears to be an armored personnel carrier. Trip tosses an old-fashioned New Year’s Eve noisemaker into the midst of the Cybertek security force, and it starts broadcasting an alert that sounds like it came straight out of the 1940’s. That allows him and Coulson the opportunity to take out the guards and grab the vehicle that they wanted, which they use to ram through the main gate. They use some of the vehicle’s ordinance to take out some soldiers and then Trip blows a hole in the outside wall of the facility. May and Skye slip in as Quinn tries to assure his military guests that nothing out of the ordinary is going on. Before he can finish, Garrett walks in with Ward and Mike, only for one of the men to threaten to bring “his boys” in and shut Cybertek down. Garrett makes a Busey-esque proclamation and then demands that they give him everything he wants. The general threatens consequences and calls Garrett a son of a bitch. Quinn suggests a demonstration in order to diffuse the situation, but Garrett just uses that as an opportunity to punch his hand into the man’s chest and lift him into the air. He pulls the general’s rib out and lets him fall to the ground before stabbing him to death with it. He tells Ward that it’s the beginning of the end.

Ward accosts Raina on the Bus, telling her that she can’t leave with the Gravitonium, but her assuring him that it was given to her does nothing but set him off. Ward wants to know what she told him and if she’s realized that Garrett’s a psychopath, but she assures Ward that Garrett isn’t lost, he’s just connected. Raina says Ward has always followed Garrett and now he needs to continue to do so, because she and Garrett want the same thing Ward wants: Skye. She says Skye is going to be an important part of the evolution and when the world changes, she could be Ward’s. Ward says Raina is crazy, that Skye detests him and thinks he’s a monster. Raina asks if he’s truly a monster or if that’s what Garrett made him to be. When Ward can’t answer, she says that they know about Skye’s parents and the darkness inside her. She suggests that when Skye’s true nature comes out, he and Skye can be monsters together.

Outside, Coulson and Trip stop just short of the main building when a supersoldier lands on their hood and tries to punch his way into the cab.They get boxed in by supersoldiers on all sides, and Trip is worried about the integrity of the vehicle. Inside, May takes out the Cybertek security team with ICER rounds and Skye brings in a backpack with a bomb. The manager from earlier says they can’t hijack the soldiers because they’ve run all the scenarios. May asks if he’s switched all of the soldiers to default directive, which turns out to be protecting John Garrett at all costs. This saves Trip and Coulson who were readying their weapons. As the supersoldiers move to Garrett, Coulson sends Trip to get the US military backup. Ward tries to get orders from Garrett, but Garrett is totally unfazed by Coulson’s team’s break-in. Garrett gets a phone call that he believes to be from the handler for the supersoldiers, but it’s actually Skye using that phone. They banter back and forth, with Garrett taking a parting shot about FitzSimmons being brave until their dying breaths. He hangs up and sends Ward after Skye.

In the pod, FitzSimmons work out their plan, with Fitz revealing that there’s only enough air in the modified breather for one of them to survive the trip to the surface. Fitz reveals his true feelings for Simmons, which earns him a teary hug and a bunch of kisses, and he forces her to take the breather as he blows the seal. Simmons pulls Fitz to the surface, but there’s nothing in any direction...until NICK FURY pulls her into a helicopter. Simmons wakes up in a decompression chamber and Fury reveals that Fitz is barely clinging to life, but that he’s got a full med team working on him. Fury reveals that he found them by tracking Fitz’ EKG distress signal, but that he was looking for Coulson.

Back at Cybertek, Skye tries to get information from the Cybertek manager, but he refuses to tell her anything. Ward arrives, gun trained on Skye, and assures the manager that Skye won’t kill him because she didn’t kill Ward when she had the chance. Skye takes a shot at Ward using Fitz’ death, but Ward talks about what he found out about Skye’s birth. She says Ward’s weak and just does whatever he’s told and that she hopes Garrett tells him to walk into traffic. Ward says he wants to wake up what’s inside of Skye, but she turns her secret weapon loose on Ward: May, who jumps him and kicks him through a door as Skye tries to incentivize the manager. May and Ward have a decent little fight through a conveniently placed construction area that involves power tools, electrical cords, and people going through drywall. Downstairs, Coulson uses the noisemaker to get Garrett to send Mike away and he punches Garrett in the face, only for Garrett to send him flying with a single punch. Coulson looks up to find Fury and they catch up with each other momentarily before Fury hands Coulson the gun he threatened Loki with in The Avengers, the one made from the technology S.H.I.E.L.D. appropriated from the Destroyer. Coulson easily takes out Garrett’s supersoldiers, and Fury empties his clip into Garrett, who isn’t even fazed.

Back upstairs, May and Ward continue their fight, with May getting the upper hand. Skye demands that the manager tell “the man” what they have on him. Back downstairs, Garrett and Deathlok square off with Coulson and Fury. Garrett falls into the Bond villain trap of soliloquizing when he should be killing his enemies, and he tells Fury that he and Coulson share a bond and that they’re blood brothers. Fury is stunned by Garrett’s lunacy, while Ward puts May through a piece of drywall. He kicks her while she’s down, but she grabs a nail gun, nails his foot repeatedly to the floor, and then punches him in the face. Ward tries to reason with her, so she punches him directly in the throat to silence him, and then hits a Disaster Kick that would make Cody Rhodes proud. Skye starts unlocking doors, and she finds the manager’s wife, who was being held captive, and then her ace in the hole. Downstairs, Garrett banters with Fury and Coulson before ordering Deathlok to kill them. Mike points his wrist rockets at the duo, but upstairs, Skye is with Ace and she pulls a Hulk action figure out of the backpack that supposedly carried the bomb. She asks Ace for a way to let Mike know that she actually has him, and when the manager interjects, she reveals that she’s been communicating with Deathlok the whole time.

Coulson tells Garrett that he only thinks about himself, which is the difference between their two sides. Mike gets the message from Ace (“What are we, dad?” “A team”) and turns his rockets on Garrett, blasting him across the room. As Garrett crawls for a gun, Mike intercepts and stomps his head like a grape. As armed forces operative box Garrett’s corpse up, Coulson explains that without regular Centipede injections and with their cybernetic eyes removed, the supersoldiers will return to essentially normal. May and a pair of soldiers escort Ward past Coulson and he tells Ward that FitzSimmons survived, but that Ward will be torturing himself because Fitz will never be the same. Plus, he’s got to figure out who he is without a homicidal maniac who never cared for anyone else. Mike watches Ace be reunited with his Aunt, but he keeps his distance. Skye wants to know why he doesn’t just go to his son, but Mike says he doesn’t want Ace to see what he’s become. Skye says Coulson wants Mike brought in, but he says that they can access his hardware and track his every move, but he’ll just be making amends. Skye tries to convince Mike that he only did what he did for Ace, but Mike insists that his penance will be for Ace too. He disappears into the night.

Back inside the Cybertek facility, Garrett’s box is open and there’s a dead technician on the floor. Garrett pulls himself onto the table that repairs wounded limbs, and he starts the (very painful) process of getting robotic legs implanted onto his existing ones. He also gets a chestplate and wrist bands to complete the ensemble. Before he can celebrate his apparent victory, he gets disintegrated, by the 0-8-4 from episode two, which is being wielded by Coulson. Back on the Bus, Coulson has his chat with Fury. His anger dissipates when Fury reveals that Coulson was the foundation of the Avengers and that Coulson is the epitome of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s real purpose - protection, whether it’s for one man, or all of mankind. Fury tells Coulson he was the heart of S.H.I.E.L.D., but now he’s going to be the head. He hands Coulson a cube, telling him it’s a toolbox that’ll help him build it back up. He says there’s no one else he’d trust with this, and when Coulson asks how he should proceed, Fury tells him that it’s up to him, since he’s now the director. Fury says he’s going to disappear for a stretch, but that he’ll be everywhere.

In the hangar bay of the Bus, the team reunites with Simmons, who fills them in on Fitz’ condition. As they prepare to exit the Bus, Coulson reveals that the first thing he found in the toolbox were the coordinates that they’re currently at. They’re greeted by Erik Koenig, who actually turns out to be Billy Koenig. He gives them a remarkably similar speech to the one Koenig gave them when they got to Providence (the new base is called “The Playground”). Nice shot of the smaller team as they stand in the Bus, and then a cut to Raina, who enters a dimly-lit room. She places a photograph on side table and a bloody hand picks it up. The photograph is of Skye, and the bloody hand apparently belongs to her father (or mother, though the hand looks decidedly male). Coulson is sleeping but he gets up to look at the design that Garrett scratched into the glass. He grabs a knife and begins carving a design into the drywall. It looks like a much more complex version of Garrett’s design and it fills an entire wall.

Weekly Whedon-isms

“So what brings you to the company?” “The...incentives program?” “Yeahhhh...no one’s turned that down yet.”

“So who do we talk to about getting a haircut?”

“Well if it isn’t the Caval…” “Don’t ever call me that.”

“Trip and I will crest the ridge, use a noisemaker to grab a three-wheel, maybe something with more fireworks, then open a window for you two. You crawl in, grab the dealer, force his hand, he’ll get us the ace in the hole, and Bob’s your uncle.” “Roger that.” “Makes it sound easy.”

“So, what do you say - are you ready to change the world?” “No...but I’m ready to kick some ass.”

“I was actually referring to pre-conception…” “I was joking.” “I know you were joking, that’s funny.”

“Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes...this really hurts my arms.”

“Did you bring your noisemaker?” “Sir. I bring the noise and the funk wherever I go.”

“He’s always been a tender heart. You don’t need to be set to default - you haven’t left me alone all day.” “I was told never to leave your side, sir.” “I love you too.”

“They told us you were dead.” “Good. I’d like word of that to get around.”

“No, I have a weapon much better than a bomb that will absolutely destroy you.” “Why’s that?” “Because you slept with her - she’s really pissed off.”

“Hi, John.” “Hi, Phil.” “Well that’s new. Sir?” “You don’t have to call me ‘sir’, Coulson, look at me - I’m dressed like I live under a bridge.”

“Now’s probably not the right time, but I’d like to have a lengthy conversation with you about that. It might get loud.”

“Reminds me of the old days.” “You were never on top.”

“When was the last time you saw a tag team match with four dead guys?” “I only see one dead guy here.”

“You didn’t tell me he’d gone this crazy.” “He’s really stepped it up a notch.”

“What are you looking for?” “Our Ace in the hole.”

“You remember that speech you used to give us, Nick? About how one man can accomplish anything once he realizes he can be something bigger. Well, now I am.” “A part. A part of something bigger.” “Is that how it went?” “Not a great listener.” “You telling me this whole Hydra path thing you took was because you misheard my damn one man speech?”

“Think he learned his lesson?” “He learned something.”

“Did you get a chance to express all your feelings?” “Is he still breathing?” “I guess she kept some of it to herself.” “He’s having trouble speaking - I think I fractured his larynx.” “Oh, good.”

“But your torture? It’s going to be internal.” “And a little bit external.” “Yeah, a little of that too.”

“There’s a reason why they say ‘cut off the head’. Now, I’ll be unstopp…” “Hey guys, I found it? Told you it would be down here.”

“It was a ‘break glass in case of emergency’ situation.” “Yeah, but that emergency was supposed to be the fall of an Avenger.” “Exactly.”

“Nowhere? You know me better than that, Phil - I’ll be everywhere.”

Reader Referendum

So much good discussion last week! In the interest of including as much of it as possible, I’m going to dispense with my introductions and just get down to it.

Wrestling Fan:
I so desperately want Skye to end up being Fin Fang Foom's child. That would be the most wonderful WTF ever, and explain how her parents were actual monsters.

Sadly, after our first teaser scene at the end of this episode, I think we can rule out Fin Fang Foom as Skye’s father, though I would’ve absolutely lost my mind if that were the case. That would’ve easily catapulted this show to the top of my “Must-Watch” list.

Alex Crowder:
This episode really was fantastic. I also think Simmons has figured out that Skye is not human and that may explain her somewhat secretive nature. Garrett did want her killed, so I think that kills the Hydra theory. Also, Trip really has become an awesome character. Coulson seems to be back to himself too after seeing the footage of him being connected with T.A.H.I.T.I. Interesting episode this week. I do wonder though if May's comment of being up at 5 for training was accepted by Skye. All the characters really are getting good development in the past few episodes.
Everything that happened previously led to the current episode, great writing really. I imagine Mike will change sides finally. They have teased it all season long. I think everyone is excited to see Skye's secret revealed too even the Skye haters(which have died down as the show got better). I could be wrong, but I think the end of Agents of Shield could end up relating to the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Something interesting to consider.
Lastly, I must say I"m glad I stuck with this show through its whole run. Between this and Arrow we seem to get good to great comic shows week after week. Instead of trying to figure out which is better, people should just enjoy both. Either way, next week is exciting for comic fans.

Lots of good stuff here - apparently, neither Fitz nor Simmons are Hydra, Mike did finally change sides, although, true to the Deathlok character, he’s flying solo with unknown goals, and we are experiencing a true renaissance of comic book shows on television, between this show, Arrow, and The Walking Dead. I just hope that the additions of Agent Carter, The Flash, Gotham, Constantine, and the Marvel Netflix series next season spoil what these shows have going for them. From what I’ve seen of the latter two, I’m not as worried about them.

the Mad Redneck:
The one in was a Marine general, not Army. It may have been meant to be Army, and the costume dept, or someone got it wrong, but it was a Marine officer's uniform, therefore, a Marine general. The admiral WAS Navy, so either Quinn is only marketing to the Dept of the Navy, or someone got the Marine's uniform wrong, and had intended to make him an Army general. Sometimes, they get it wrong, like in Incredible Hulk, they had William Hurt's stars on backwards in a single scene. Also, it was never shown WHO, if anyone killed Buddy. We saw Ward fire in the air, but who's to say that it wasn't Garret behind the sniper rifle, either killing Buddy himself, or just watching to see if Ward would do it. Which leads to FitzSimmons not being dead. Ward simply dumped them out of the plane. The box they're in should be water tight, and float. And even if it doesn't, they can still get out and tread water, while the box sinks.

Please don’t ever be afraid to correct me if I miss something - I will fully admit that I may’ve misheard the dialogue and/or misjudged the officer in question’s uniform. That’s why I love having you guys, though, because I can count on you to set me straight. Also, you really do need to see X-Men: First Class - I went into it with incredibly low expectations, and it greatly exceeded them. Definitely washed away the stink of X3 for me.

I really enjoyed this weeks episode and how it's setting up for a interesting series finale. I dug the scene with the flashback of Ward being forced to kill Buddy, whilst deciding what to do with Fitz and Simmons, which shows that Ward has difficulty killing those he has established a positive relationship with face to face... but seems to have less difficulty doing it from a distance or with his back turned to them. As much as I enjoyed Ward turning heel, so to speak, I'm really enjoying seeing him as a conflicted heel who's starting to realise how big an evil scumbag Garrett is.
Also with Mike Peterson being a face who's been forced into being a heel I now feel it will be either Ward or Peterson that'll possibly sacrifice themselves to save the others. When I made the comment about Peterson being killed in the finale I hadn't considered what would happen to his son, but now with Raina showing that she has a deeper purpose for doing what she does I can easily see Raina being the one to rescue Ace allowing Peterson to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Another theory I'm kinda sticking to is Ward being left for dead only to wake up as the new Deathlok. Now that we know Garrett is dying and now possibly a super soldier I think he will definitely be killed off in the finale and it will be Ian Quinn who gets his hands on the former Shield technology they took from the fridge possibly making him the main villain for season two (also not forgetting the possibility of Graviton making an appearance). I also think if Ward does become a Deathlok it'll be down to Ian Quinn.
Additionally I can't see Trip or Fitz being another sleeper agent. With Trip's Grandfather being a former Howling Commando there's no way he's working with Hydra and as for Garrett being his partner previously I think that can be easily explained as Garrett throwing any suspicion off himself by aligning with someone with patriotic ties like Trip. As for Fitz... his character just doesn't seem the type to be capable of that and I just adore how he's the only one that can't accept that Ward is bad now because he's probably the coolest friend geeky Fitz has ever had. Although I do laugh at the notion of Fitz being secretly aligned with Hydra because his real name is Fritz!

Wrestling references - huzzah! I think Ward being unable to kill people/animals he likes at close range while having no problem doing it from a distance is actually a perfect personality trait for the character that they’ve revealed him to be. Rather than simply being a traitorous asshole, he’s a tragic hero whose character flaw (loyalty) caused him to fall from grace. As I mentioned last week, I’m glad he made it out of this season alive, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go with him next season. Thankfully, you were right about Trip, as he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite characters on the show, and I’m glad they didn’t establish his legacy as a grandson of a Howling Commando just to give a turn to the dark side more weight. As for Fitz? I’m glad he wasn’t Hydra, but I’m actually not overly happy with where he’s at when this episode ends. I feel like it would’ve been better to kill him, rather than inflict him with brain damage that takes away basically the root of his character. I guess that’ll potentially give the team a MacGuffin next season, though, as they can try to recreate GH-325 or find another installation with the tech that was used to “fix” Coulson’s brain to actually fix Ward’s.

Some Guy:
Everything seems to be pointing a Kree / Inhuman expansion of the MCU, which would also tie into GotG with Ronan the Accuser and such. And did Garrett become cosmically aware at the end of the episode? Can't wait for season 2 and to see how it feeds in and out of Avengers 2.

(Note: Some Guy originally posted “cosmically awake”, but he clarified in a response that he meant “cosmically aware”, so I edited his comment slightly. -W)

Since it was confirmed that GH-325 came from an alien source, I think it’s safe to assume that the Kree have officially been added to the MCU in advance of Guardians of the Galaxy. I’d love to see the Inhumans brought into the mix as well, just because with Fox owning the rights to X-Men, I think that’s probably as close as we’re going to get to seeing that kind of variety in powers in the MCU. Of course, with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch confirmed for Avengers: Age of Ultron, I guess it’s not totally out of the question. I’m also curious to see how the events of Guardians of the Galaxy play into the start of next season, and if they’ll find a way to tie the last couple of episodes of Avengers: Age of Ultron into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - they almost have to with the latter, right? With Coulson being the new head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and all?

Justice Bringer:
Yeah, this episode just added to my theory that Raina and Skye are Inhuman. Raina's choice in words throughout the episode, especially how she wants to see what’s inside people with gifts when they’re revealed.
I'm highly eager to see how Garrett performs in upcoming episodes because with Raina referring to the GH-325 as the final piece, I'm not sure if she's learned how to recreate Terrigen to induce Terrigenesis or if Garrett's now just as powerful as the other Deathloks. It's worth noting that the Terrigen crystals are the same color as the hybrid formula.

Raina did sound like someone with knowledge of the effect the Terrigen Mists have on people, didn’t she? As I said, I’m anxious to see where this goes, and if we end up getting BLACK BOLT out of this, I’ll be elated.

Ever since episode 17, the show has been firing on all cylinders and the momentum has constantly ramped up. Not sure where they can go after this season because the bubble has literally burst unless they plan on rebuilding SHIELD from the ground up with Coulson and his team as ground zero.

Apparently, that’s exactly what they plan to do, Jeff. I really dig the idea, because I want to see how it affects Coulson’s character, and also how the dynamic amongst the team changes as they develop from this ragtag band into a team with actual support staff in place.

I really think that Mike Peterson should be the one to kill Garrett.

He did his best, didn’t he? And that set up what was easily the funniest scene of this season (and I’d actually put it up there with Hulk sucker punching Thor after they brought down the Chitauri transport in The Avengers for funniest MCU moment).

If it does turn out that Ward at least gave FitzSimmons a fighting chance, I can see him as someone who will kill those he's not close to and without having to think about it, but also the type who might spare somebody he cares for. As for Garrett, he's just a big D-bag that doesn't care. I could almost see Garrett and Ward like Voldemort and Malfoy in that regard.

Whoa, nerd, keep your Harry Potter references out of our cool discussion! In all seriousness, as I mentioned before, I think Ward’s soft spot for people he knows and likes, especially the fact that it had its limits, was an excellent character touch. But you really couldn’t use Vader and Palpatine as a point of comparison? Your geek status took a hit with this one.

Whew! What a turnout last week! We’ve gotten some answers, others we’re still waiting on, but man, what a ride it’s been. Also last week, I asked you who was the most attractive female member of Coulson’s team, and the results weren’t all that surprising to me - Chloe Bennet’s Skye took over 50% of the vote and outpaced her nearest competition, Elizabeth Henstridge’s Jemma Simmons, by 49 votes. Bringing up the rear was Ming-Na Wen’s Melinda May, who garnered only 37 votes. Still though, great turnout, and I appreciate everyone who voted. Personally? I jumped on the Skye bandwagon early in the season, but as things have progressed, I’ve found myself torn between Simmons’ accent and the fact that she’s completely adorable, and May’s stoicism and athleticism (and the fact that she looks incredible for fifty and I’ve got a soft spot for older women). So basically, my answer would really depend on when you asked me, and after last week’s episode, with May in glasses (another soft spot), my vote would’ve gone to May.

Theory of the Week

So what was Garrett (and later Coulson) scratching into that glass? Were they tapped into the Kree Supreme Intelligence and is that how Ronan the Accuser becomes involved in Guardians of the Galaxy? That’s my best guess, but I want to hear what all of you think.


Season Two is officially confirmed, and, from the sounds of things, with Agent Carter set to bridge the gap between the fall finale and spring premiere, it sounds like ABC decided to fix the biggest problem that this show faced in the second half of the season - the repeated, needless breaks between episodes.

Another fun rumor I read is that the events of these shows will also tie in the Marvel Netflix universe, and if you can’t get behind the idea of a Luke Cage crossover, I’m not sure you should read these reviews next season. Because I’m telling you right now, should that actually come to pass, I’ll be the biggest fanboy in the world, and “SWEET CHRISTMAS!” absolutely will be used to the point of annoyance.

Soooooooo….if you were disappointed in this episode in any way (other than the dangling plot threads that are going to play out next season, or that we’ve got to wait several months for new episodes), you’re probably not going to want to read this review. Easily the best and most satisfying episode of the season, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season one finale had it all - plot and character developments that made sense, excellent acting from both regulars and guest stars alike, decent enough special effects, and the perfect combination of drama, action, and humor that this felt like a condensed MCU film. This is the show that we were promised, and I’m happy to say that Marvel/Disney/ABC/the Whedons/etc all delivered. In true Whedon fashion, it took some time for the show to find its groove and then a little more time to finally realize its potential, but if they can build off of the momentum of this last story arc, season two absolutely has the potential to be the best comic book-related show on television.

What is there to say about this episode that isn’t effusive praise? I mean, Bill Paxton as John Garrett was at his over-the-top best, and he proved to be the perfect foil for S.H.I.E.L.D. and especially Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson, who finally seemed to regain his movie mojo this week. Brett Dalton’s Grant Ward continued his string of strong performances and got the beating he’s so richly deserved. Chloe Bennet and Ming-Na Wen were stellar in portraying the women that Ward betrayed, and perfectly illustrated the old adage that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Deathlok/Mike Peterson (J August Richards) got a measure of redemption for his time under Garrett’s control, and the fact that he’ll likely be back in the future is an extremely satisfying prospect. Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker’ FitzSimmons were put into a hopeless situation and still managed to find a way out without having to rely on their field-savvy teammates, though the price they paid was a steep one. And BJ Britt’s Agent Antoine Triplett is quickly becoming one of the best characters on the show.

Oh yeah, and SAMUEL L. JACKSON WAS BACK AS NICK FURY! I’ve seen some people suggest that this show would’ve been better with just an 11- or 12-episode run, essentially leaving out the first half of the season, and while I can see the logic behind that, I just don’t agree with it. Yes, the first half of the season was slow at times, a lot of the characters seemed shallow and uninteresting, and the plots didn’t really appear to be going anywhere, but after seeing everything that’s happened in the past seven episodes (and especially in this finale), I honestly think that all of those early episodes were necessary (if not vital) to the home stretch of this season being so impactful. And kudos to the writers for tying pretty much everything from the early episodes together into a coherent plot, and for tying up a huge portion of season one’s loose ends, while still generating interest for season two. They even found a way to do some fan service and bring Patton Oswalt back! All in all, just a great end to a premiere season for a show that needed 22 episodes to really grow into its potential.

Also, make sure you check back next week, as I’m putting together a roundtable with other writers from the site to reflect on Season 1 and look ahead to Season 2.

The 411: If you left this show earlier in the season, do yourself a favor and go back and watch it. The last seven episodes have been absolutely fantastic, and they paid off all the seemingly unrelated stuff from the beginning of the season. I’ve spent several thousand words recapping just this episode, and if you don’t watch everything that led up to it, there’s no way you’ll be able to appreciate just how good, and how satisfying, it really was.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  9.7   [  Amazing ]  legend


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