This weeks two part season finale entitled ‘S.O.S’ is probably the best Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will ever be – it literally takes no prisoners in its dealings with the core characters and no one (at all) is 100% safe. It is extremely fast paced – perhaps frantic in places – and while there isn’t some of the amazingly well choreographed fight sequences we’ve seen in earlier episodes, there is more than enough death and destruction present to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty! This episode didn’t linger to make full use of the threat that the inhumans posed. This despite the fact that we knew very little about them. Jiaying was an effective villain. Like Darth Vader she meant something to someone and she wasn’t just the unapproachable antagonist with the standard ‘I seek revenge’ backstory. If you’ve not yet seen the episode, I can’t recommend it enough – be warned thought that if you continue reading this, there are many SPOILERS as always in my recaps and reviews.
Right lets deal with that elephant first … Ward is a dick and there is absolutely zero chance of his ever getting redeemed. He deserves nothing more than death and I only hope that when it finally happens it is in a particularly gruesome manner suitable to his crimes and attitude. OK now that, that’s off my chest lets get down to the review … by the way, I’m not normally that blood thirsty but aside from his betrayal (last season) and his treatment of FitzSimmons, his actions this episode warrant nothing more a swift and final punishment.
While last weeks episode showed us that Jiaying is not as innocent as she seems my initial thoughts that it was just hatred of H.Y.D.R.A and S.H.I.E.L.D are probably wrong … rather like any ruler (which she is) she has chosen to take whatever actions are necessary to protect her people and in this case she has determined that those actions necessitate the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D itself. She was so obsessed with protecting the Inhumans, that it blinded her own sense of humanity (or inhumanity).
Coulson quickly figures out that the supposed attack is not all its cracked up to be and while he’s immediately curious about Cal and his rationale for being at the base determines that the first priority is getting Bobbi back from Agent 33 and Ward. Coulson and the “council” realize that they need to do something to fight back against the Inhumans and Jiaying but while Coulson is hoping that Skye will serve as a mediator the remainder of the council advocate an immediate counter-attack. Fortunately Mack who’s still on the aircraft carrier backs Coulson in his decision. Meanwhile May and Hunter manage to track down Bobbi’s Quinjet and see signs of the struggle and Cal is interrogated … almost innocently he declares that he’s a trojan horse and has been sent by Jiaying to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. This is actually our first exposure to his Mr. Hyde persona that has been hinted at over the course of many episodes and when the drugs finally take effect on him he transforms into a hulk like creature with supernatural strength.
Back in Paradise we learn that Jiayings healing ability while internal can be “enhanced” by sucking the life force from another being which she proceeds to do to heal herself from the self inflicted gun shot wound that we witnessed in last weeks episode. Skye meanwhile is trying to understand what went wrong and visits Raina where she is told by her that her mother is not as innocent as she’s proclaiming and Raina’s purpose is to actually herald Skye’s ascension to leadership over her mother. Jiaying attempts to stop Raina’s influence over Skye by killing her. However, Skye has seen the murder and for the first time questions Jiaying purpose about attacking S.H.I.E.L.D. Jiaying realizing that Skye will not be easily persuaded has her incapacitated and incarcerated with the gloves that Simmons developed to restrict her powers. She takes Skye with her and then proceeds to attack the S.H.I.E.L.D aircraft carrier along with several other Inhumans. Quickly reducing their defences they manage to take over the majority of the ship but Mack is still onboard and realizes that they are planning on using one of the crystals in the ship to poison everyone. He takes it upon himself to defend this room against all comers after first managing to help Skye escape.
At S.H.I.E.L.D HQ Coulson has managed to “persuade” Cal (by driving a car into him and pinning him in place so that he could talk to him) that Jiaying might not have Skye’s best intentions at heart. Coulson has realized that Cal actually has a good heart and while he’s been convicted of multiple murders – in actuality it was Jiaying sucking the life force from them and Cal was basically left to blame. Cal agrees to help Coulson save his daughter and they set off together to the aircraft carrier to confront Jiaying and the rest of the Inhumans.
Agent 33 and Grant Ward are busy torturing agent Morse. Without any remorse Grant stuffs needles into Morse’s fingers and demands an apology for what she did to agent 33. After an escape attempt Agent 33 tries to kill Morse but can’t do it. Ward decides they should leave and booby-traps the door so the first person walking through it will be killed by a high powered rifle. Grant states he hopes it will be Hunter, so Morse can feel the loss while strapped helplessly in a chair. When Hunter and May finally arrive, Morse manages to tip the chair she’s strapped to over so that the bullet ends up shooting her instead of Hunter … Ward & Agent 33 meanwhile are attacking S.H.I.E.L.D agents and when May realizes that Agent 33 is there, she manages to trick her into going to another part of the building. Agent 33 wearing the mask that transforms her features into May’s is instead shot dead by Ward. Agents 33 death closed the book on Grant Ward ever joining the light-side. I had my doubts at the beginning of the season whether Grant could be allowed to come back without alienating the audience. In hindsight the brief cooperation between him and S.H.I.E.L.D was well handled. Now that he is responsible for the near death injuries Morse suffered he can never rely on the sympathy from either S.H.I.E.L.D agents nor the audience.
Agent 33 (Maya Stojan): Did anyone in the history of this show get a more raw deal than poor Agent 33? She was a nondescript agent (un-capitalized) of SHIELD who got captured by Hydra, brainwashed and turned into a killing machine, then saved by a sociopath who manipulated her into a creepy-love-y-dove-y relationship that may or may not have had real feelings behind it (I think Ward was as close to being genuine in his affection for Agent 33 as is possible). Plus, she had a tragic death, dying at the hands of her beloved, mistaking her for Melinda May, ultimately succumbing to the oft-used plot device that ushered her into the show in the first place. It was one of the most effective and concise arcs on the show, and while her time had come, Agent 33 will be missed.
Finally on the carrier, Coulson and Fitz meet up with Mack. Fitz has designed a quantum entanglement devise that restricts Gordon’s ability to teleport and forces him to remain in the room – while the three still have problems containing him, they are eventually (& by accident) able to kill him when he teleports behind Fitz who was at the time holding a steel rod. Gordon drops one of the Kree crystals prior to falling himself and Coulson leaps to catch it before it shatters on the floor killing all of them – and anyone else left on the ship – but as he grabs onto it, his hand starts to turn to stone. Mack quickly cuts it off before it “infects”his whole body and Jiaying realizing that she is losing decides to escape along with a box of crystals.
Skye rushes to stop her mother, but Jiaying instead starts to drain Skye’s lifeforce stating that she’s obviously not the one to lead her people. While Skye is able to push the Quinjet over the side of the ship Jiaying is gradually killing her until Cal comes up and manages to stop her. While obviously in mental anguish he finally does the right thing and puts her down saving his daughters life in the process. Cal was willing to do anything and everything to repair the damage done to his family, but it was an impossible mission, though Cal managed to save his daughter and his wife from herself.
Finally while we think things are finally golden for our team, we learn that Ward is now planning on creating his own “team” as he dislikes working alone from the remnants of H.Y.D.R.A – one can only assume that he is going to be taking on more of a leadership role in this organization. Bobbi recovering from her wounds tells Hunter that she doesn’t think she can continue on with S.H.I.E.L.D and while this might have been a good segue into the previously mentioned stand alone show with Bobbi and Hunter, now that this has been cancelled, I wonder what is planned for them. Cal has been put through the Tahiti program and given a new life as a Veterinarian (one has to wonder about this as so far everyone that has already gone through that program has also had issues) and Skye is put in charge of a new team that seeks out those with powers. Coulson is trying to deal with his missing hand and while it looks like Fitz and Simmons are finally getting together that’s not to be as Simmons gets swallowed up by the Kree stone held in the glass confinement case. We also see that while we might have thought Skye had disposed of the crystals safely into the ocean – in reality she might have herself instituted the changes her mother was striving for as the crystals decompose into our food supply.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has managed to survive through its second season and while some fans have taken to calling this episode Save Our Show, I, personally have enjoyed all the twists and turns that this show taken us on … I think they didn’t drag things out as long as they did in Season 1 and perhaps they might have almost rushed things a bit too much prior to the launch of Avengers:Age of Ultron, but overall I’m extremely satisfied that this show will be back for a 3rd season. Not all future episode of SHIELD can be like ‘S.O.S’, but it is a start.