Agents of Shield
AGENTS OF SHIELD – BEGINNING OF THE END (S1E22)

[WARNING: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s season finale ofMarvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Read at your own risk!]

This didn’t go the way I was expecting.  Not in a bad way, but just unexpected and interesting and I guess considering that Whedon‘s at the helm perhaps not really that surprising.  If you haven’t read my previous post – start with that one as that will get you updated on all of the goings on of our favorite team.

I think everyone expected Ward to be “redeemed” – didn’t happen – and Garret to become the new “Big Bad” of the 2nd season – also a no go.  We also all expected Fitz and Simmons to come up with a simple “Get out of jail free” card so that they would be returned unharmed to Scoobie gang … unfortunately that too looks like a false wish and a dead dream.  In all honesty I don’t know if I should really be that surprised – I mean Whedon is the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and anyone who’s watched that show will realize how dark it can get (he killed Buffy quite a few times didn’t he & while she kept on coming back … well there were changes to say the least!).  While we’re not yet at the stage of Game of Thrones levels of death and destruction its still really surprising for a Disney property!

One major disappointment of this episode?  The villians just wimped out … I mean the HYDRA supersoldiers at the end of the last episode were dealt with way too handily by the team – especially considering the difficulties they’d had in previous episodes – and even Garrett’s death was anticlimactic.

Recap

In a nutshell – the good guys win.  Sorry I know that’s a little bit blase but aside from some surprises and twists mentioned below that’s really what it all boils down to.  Now don’t get me wrong – I’m actually a fan of the good guys winning, but this wasn’t really a season ending cliff hanger … rather it felt like an episode that could have been used to end a show and while I know that they were only recently informed of the an extension to the 2nd season – this episode felt like closure to me more than anything else.

OK lets get to it … if you recall from last week, our friends were surrounded by HYDRA supersoldiers and Fitz and Simmons were at the bottom of the ocean.  They villians looked like they were in charge and the first thing you’d expect to see would be an awesome battle between Coulson and the gang vs. the supersoldiers … instead we were presented with an office building and a new intern?  (I’ll be honest I checked the menu on my TV at this point just in case I’d started watching the wrong show!)

It turns out that there isn’t one “handler” for the HYDRA baddies, but rather they are controlled by a  host of ordinary guys and gals who’d all joined up for the “incentive” program.  Of course as soon as they mentioned the fact that some of the supersoldiers had also joined up for the incentive program, it became quite obvious that they weren’t talking about stock options here!  When the controllers contact Garret they inform them that Coulson and his team are trapped and Garret orders them destroyed.

This is probably my first disappointment as the HYDRA soldiers previously had been so hard to take down but this time May quickly grabbed the Asgardian staff and basically demolished a squad of them single handidly while Skye was busy hacking into the HYDRA computer.  After Skye had managed to get her magic USB to do its work, May destroyed the building that they were in, trapping the soldiers in place while the gang all escaped.  I know, they had to escape and May was the only one who really had a chance to do anything … its just that it seemed to easy … moving on.

To Fitz and Simmons … a bit banged up, but still alive, Fitz and Simmons are trapped 90 feet under water and while Fitz has managed to rig up a piece of hospital equipment to send out a distress code on a S.H.I.E.L.D frequency he quickly realizes that no one is listening and they are trapped and going to die.  While we all thought that Fitz would have squirreled away another piece of Howling Commando awesomeness it seems that’s not meant to be and we’re going to lose two of the cutest and nicest characters on the show!

Well don’t fear … they do come up with a solution (of course) however Fitz realizes that even though they can break the glass on their watery cage, there is only one oxygen pack and both he and Simmons will not be able to share it.  Fitz confesses his love for Simmons (finally!) and blows the glass … Simmons (somehow) manages to swim up 90 feet while dragging Fitz behind her and surfaces all alone in the middle of the ocean.  Reaching her hand up – Simmons is rescued by Fury (YAY!!  While we knew he was coming from the brief preview from last week, still really cool to see him) who manages to drag both Fitz and Simmons out of the water.  It seems that someone was listening on the S.H.I.E.L.D frequency after all and once Simmons wakes up in her hypobaric chamber she’s able to inform Fury about the whereabouts of the rest of the team and most especially Garret.

Coulson and the gang meanwhile have come up with a daring and audacious plan … well not really, Coulson manages to steal a jeep and uses it to crash the facility where – surprise, surprise – Garret, Quinn and Ward are showing around the US Generals from last weeks episode.  While Garret is on his own personal power trip and rips out one of the General’s spines and kills him with it (… yikes, Disney?  I think not! ) … Ward makes his big confession that they only joined HYDRA to save Garret and now that he’s cured (aside from the insanity of course) maybe they should leave … after all they aren’t “true believers”.  Garret tells Ward that he should do whatever he needs to make himself happy and then proceeds to order him to bring Skye to him as she’s been busily removing the handlers from the picture.

Coulson now confronts Garret and is somewhat surprised when he is pummeled through the air by him.  Crashing to the ground, Coulson looks up and is astonished to find Fury who had managed to track him down in the “Nick” (see what I did there?) of time.  Fury gives Coulson one of the superweapons developed by S.H.I.E.L.D and then Coulson blasts all of the remaining supersoldiers to smithereens.  Unfortunately the gun seems to run out of juice just when he’s about to shoot Garret (Question: why?  Why does it run out of juice just then?  Why didn’t Coulson shoot Garret first?  It would have made a lot more sense to take him out of the picture wouldn’t it?) but fortunately Fury manages to put 6 bullets straight into him.  Unfortunately this isn’t enough to kill him as Garret gets up and one of the funnier sequences of the show starts as they all banter between themselves.  Eventually like all good things, this too must end and Garret orders Deathlok to kill Fury and Coulson.

Meanwhile …

Ward has managed to track down Skye and when he confronts her saying that they are just the same she manages to distract him until May can get into the right position to land a really solid headshot.  Climatic battle scene here where Ward and May go at it really hard and basically demolish the office and the adjoining new construction space (nice how that was mentioned right at the beginning of the episode).  Lots of power tools and fisticuffs, but eventually May manages to get the upper hand as she literally nails Ward to the floor using a power tool! Knocking him out, Skye is able to free the prisoners locked in the facility – the “incentive plan” mentioned earlier and fortunately finds Deathlok’s son in one of the holding facilities.  Once she’s able to inform Deathlok of this fact he quickly turns on Garret and blasts him with his missiles and then knocks him out.  Yay!!! The good guys win!

In true Marvel fashion however there is just that little bit more …

Fury and Coulson have a confrontation on the bus where Coulson asks why the “extraordinary measures” were used to bring him back as they were supposed to only be used if and when an Avenger was killed.   Fury basically tells Coulson that he is an Avenger too and is also the heart and soul of S.H.I.E.L.D & his new mission is to actually bring S.H.I.E.L.D back – better than it was before.  Fury then disappears (presumably to appear in the next Avenger’s movie!) and Coulson and the gang (including Simmons … not sure about Fitz yet … by the looks of it, he won’t be the same in Season 2 and I expect that one of the storylines there will be his having to deal with not being a genius anymore and perhaps trying to recover that ability) jet off to their new Secret base where they are met with a familiar face.

Raina meanwhile has found a bleeding and burnt man in a strange country somewhere and her words to him are that she has found his daughter.  Saying this she passes him the picture of Skye which is where the season ends.

Overall Thoughts?

Overall a bit of an up and down season.  I had really high hopes for the show from day one and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it but I kept the faith as I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan. After the Winter Soldier and the revelations of HYDRA and Ward’s defection – wow – huge change!  The whole way it all tied together was excellent and I knew my faith had been justified.  Last weeks episode was really good and I was expecting just as much from this one, but there were a couple of jarring notes to an otherwise spectacular finale.  So not perfect I’d say, but still really, really good and something I definitely enjoyed. I love the characters and I really do want to see what happens to them so I hope that next season kicks off properly and takes us in the right direction.

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I'm a geek! I love all things SciFi and Fantasy and have done since I first read LOTR as a kid. Escapism to fantastic worlds filled with weird and wonderful creatures initially for me was via books and comics, but with the recent surge in popularity of this fare in film and television also - I'm in a state of bliss! As the editor of Zone Six, I've been lucky to meet some other awesome authors and writers that share this love and passion. The great Ray Bradbury said - "Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn't exist yet, but soon will .. it will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again."

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