Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: S.O.S.

They were determined to stop Pierce Brosnan singing ever again
"And I thought my mom was bad when she started watching Fox News."

Where are those happy days, they seem so hard to find. I tried to reach for you, but you have closed your mind. Whatever happened to our love? I wish I understood. It used to be so nice, it used to be so good.

You can't go wrong with a bit of Sweden's finest export, unless it is being butchered by a former James Bond in which case you can most definitely go wrong with a bit of Sweden's finest export. So very wrong. You're probably wondering what any of this has to do with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s cracking season finale. Well, I've decided that this review will be ABBA themed. Why? I have no idea. I gave up getting my brain to explain itself years ago.

Waterloo! The Inhumans were defeated, S.H.I.E.L.D. won the war!

So, thanks to some manipulation, Jiaying's Inhumans went to war with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and since Team Attilan contained no main characters it was a decisive victory for Team C. But it was a victory that came at a cost. And I ain't talking about Beardy from H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. I shouted out “HOLY SHIT” a few times during this episode. The loudest was when Mack chopped off Coulson’s hand. I repeat, Mack chopped of Coulson’s hand. When he caught that crystal I thought that the Kree blood formula in his system would save him. Guess not. So how long before Coulson gets a Luke Skywalker-style cyber hand?

Mamma mia, now I really know how crazy you are!

I’m relieved they didn’t drag out the “which side will Skye choose?” drama. I don’t think I could’ve tolerated an entire episode of Skye being pulled back and forth between her family and the Inhumans (as a wise man once said "family don’t end with blood, boy"). Thanks to Raina (R.I.P. flower dress girl) she quickly learned how far off the reservation her mother had gone. This war was never about protecting her people. It was about revenge, pure and simple. To her, S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA were just two sides of the same coin (a coin that is no longer currency) and she held them both responsible for what had been done to her. She wanted them to suffer and she was willing to sacrifice anyone, including her own family, to enact her revenge.

Cal had a dream, a fantasy, to help him through reality

Unless they haven't worked all the imperfections out of the T.A.H.I.T.I. process, I expect this is the last we are going to see of Cal for some time. That's a shame because Kyle MacLachlan has been a great presence this season and I've loved every scene he and Chloe Bennett have had together. The goodbye scene(s) between them really tugged on them old heart strings. I didn't cry, but I came damn near close at times.

Fitz, I'm still free, take a chance on me

So it looks like a Fitz/Simmons relationship is still on the card. Bummer, I was hoping the show would subvert the nice guy clichĂ© and just keep them as friends. Did anyone else feel this was a little rushed? There hasn’t been much development of this storyline lately. It would’ve been okay if Jemma had asked Fitz if they could finally have the talk they’ve been avoiding. It was heavily hinted that Jemma returns Fitz’s feelings for her, but there hasn't really been a lightbulb moment where she came to that realisation. Part of me suspects the writers rushed this development so that what happens at the end of the episode is that tiny bit more tragic.

If I had to do the same again, I would, my friend, Agent 33

Let's take a moment to talk about the amazingness that is Bobbi Morse. Bobbi is a true spy, who knows and accepts the nature of the work she does. She knows that sometimes they will be required to make difficult choices for the greater good. One of those choices was giving up a safe house that could’ve been empty to maintain her cover and save the lives of over twenty agents. Kara suffered as a result of that choice, and I don't doubt that Bobbi feels bad about it on some level. But she doesn’t regret that choice and wasn't going to apologise for it. Especially not while being tortured by someone Grant Ward has been brainwashing into being his submissive reflection. Instead, after giving Ward a piece of her mind, she broke free of her chains, pulled out the needles in her fingers and stabbed Ward in the neck with them, continuing the grand tradition of Ward getting his ass handed to him by the awesome women of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the finales. Please let it be Jemma's turn next season.

Knowing Ward, knowing you (ah-haa)

I don't think that Ward ever really loved Kara. What I think he was looking for was companionship from someone who shared his world view, someone who would not judge, but support him. Basically what he wanted was himself and that is exactly what he made Kara into. Kara was in a vulnerable state when Ward found her. Rather than get her the help that she needed he decided to remake her in his image, which including his warped idea of closure. For Ward, closure is not about accepting what has happened and learning to move forward. It is about revenge. It is about making those who you believed have wronged you suffer. I'm sure he and Jiaying would've gotten along swimmingly. Rather than take some time to reflect and reconsider the effect his actions have had on the people closest to him, Ward is doing what he has always done and blaming other people for the pain and suffering he has caused. Kara's death is on his hands. Not just because he's the one who pulled the trigger, but because he forced this entire situation. He wanted Kara to be like him and that got her killed. But he isn't going to see it that way. This is all S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fault. So now he's going to take charge of HYDRA's biker gang division and get his revenge.

See that girl, watch that scene, digging the Earthquake Queen

I think it is safe to say that, while not complete, Skye's story has now come to the end of its opening chapters. Everything she set out to do has now been done. She has solved the mystery of her past, met her parents, met better surrogate parents, discovered what she is, mastered her new abilities and become a fully fledged S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Our little baby hacker is all grown up, no longer sitting shotgun. She drives the car now, ready to lead her own team of super-powered agents. I'm so proud of her. Was there really a time when I couldn't stand her? I feel so ashamed of myself.

Beside the victory, that's Simmons' destiny

I get the sense that this was meant to double as a series finale if ABC didn't renew it. There was a touch of finality about most of those closing scenes. Then the shit didn't so much hit the fan as order a full blown nuclear strike against it. Man, it was really careless of S.H.I.E.L.D. and H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. to not mount a salvage operation for those crystals. Is there no room left in the budget for a submarine or even just some scuba gear? Forget people getting powers from fish and chips, I want to know what leaving those crystals is going to do to marine life. Is Miami or any other coastal town going to be attacked by giant mutant clown fish? And what the frak has happened to Simmons? Is she going to become one with the strange Kree liquid rock monster thingy? Will this give her powers? Is she going to be next season's big bad? Oh god, Dark Simmons. I never realised how badly I want that until this moment.

Intel and Assets

--What are the odds that Hunter would've been the one to open that door? As revenge plans go that one relied a little too much on sheer chance. What if a random red shirt had opened it?

--Bobbi saying she couldn't do this any more was obviously meant to set up her spin-off, which probably would've centred on her and Hunter quitting S.H.I.E.L.D. to go and pursue their dreams of pop stardom. Thankfully that isn't happening and they are sticking around so expect her to have a swift change of heart early next season, probably after she finds out Simmons is missing.

--I know Daisy Johnson's code name is Quake in the comics, but I really like Tremors, and not just because it is also a kick-ass movie.

--Cal finally went full Hyde and it resembled Dana Carvey on steroids.

-- May reunited with Andrew and went on her first vacation ever (how typical of May to pack a bikini and gun).

--We got three great fights in this episode. First there was Skye vs May, then Bobbi against Ward and Kara and finally Skye against Gingersnaps and her copies. Can we have a Skye/Bobbi/May melee next season?

--Please say that Henry Simmons is going to be a regular next season? He was one of the stars of this episode (and the season as a whole) and deserves to take his rightful place amongst the main cast.

Coulson: “It’s a big boat with poor signage.”

Fitz: “Science, biatch.”

Simmons: "Oh no, Gonzales would never attack a base unprovoked."

Mack: "Right now I'm in a crack heads first, ask questions later frame of mind."

Cal: “You’re better than I imagined, and I imagined you perfect.”

Four out of four Chiquititas. So that's me done for another year. I'll see you all again in the autumn. In the meantime here's some of Sweden's finest export.

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.


sunbunny said...

I definitely cried at Cal's goodbye. I was super disappointed in his Hyde incarnation though. Not the acting, the little bits of plastic the stuck on his neck which were meant to be veins. I've seen more realistic makeup on children at Halloween.

I'm finally back on Team Mack. I loved him making up with Skye in the cutest way. Tremors! That's just precious. It kind of reminded me Sawyer on Lost and how he had to give everyone nicknames. Tremors. Hehe.

Looking forward to Ward being the official big bad. It was really clear the writers did not know what to do with him this season. I've seen some people say it was ooc for Ward to turn to HYDRA because his loyalty was always to Garrett and not to HYDRA, but Ward is the kind of person who needs people. And people who need people...Wait. But seriously, he's not good alone. He could turn to S.H.I.E.L.D., except he just tried to kill a bunch of them, he can't turn to his family because he succeeded in killing all of them. Who's left?

Great review, as always. :)

Paul Kelly said...

I've been a little unsure about AoS this season. A lot of the main characters were given smaller/different roles, and they introduced new characters I wasn't sure I entirely liked, but the finale was everything I hoped it would be. The Fitz/Simmons nonsense did feel a little unearned, but I thought they handled most of the plot resolutions well. I really dug that they had Skye go back to her hacking roots,too.

I'm also glad that Bobbi and Hunter will be staying on the show. The spin-off idea sounded dreadful to me. Thank goodness they went with Agent Carter instead. Bobbi's cool, but she's no Peggy.

Nice review, Mark.

Billie Doux said...

What a terrific review. Maybe all season finales should have an ABBA theme. ABBA, the most earwormy of pop groups. You can't play an ABBA song and not hear it in your head all day. HYDRA should use them as a weapon somehow.

What I liked most about this finale was Kyle MacLachlan, and I was so pleased that he (1) put Daisy first, and (2) got a happy TAHITI ending. What I liked least was that Ward lived through it and wound up as supervillain fodder. Enough Ward! He's just no Dichen Lachman.

Thanks for another season of reviews, Mark. You've been a Super Trouper.

Korlis said...

Great review! Although I do now have snippets of Abba stuck in my head and I have no idea how to get rid of them.

This finale was a lot of fun and while I've not been totally on board with everything that happened this season, I feel like it pretty much brought everything together. And while the post-Winter Soldier stuff in Season 1 was great, I don't remember thinking the set-up for Season 2 was all that exciting. What they've set-up for Season 3 with Coulson having Skye build a team around powered individuals is really exciting, plus Coulson's inevitable robot hand and whatever will happen with Simmons (Dark Simmons? Yes!) and Ward (possibly bringing back HYDRA as a credible threat, something which ended all too abruptly?).

Oh, and Mack totally won me over with his fire axe-wielding Die Hard impression. If he's a series regular again next time can he keep the axe? Or is that just going to bring back bad memories for Phil?

J.D. Balthazar said...

Small confession, I hate ABBA. Sure their songs are catchy, and I don't really mind them as a group since they themselves have done nothing wrong. I just can't stand them because they get stuck in my head and I can't get rid of them. And these are songs I'm not fond of at all. This is no reflection on your review of course, just a personal hair pulling annoyance of mine.

Moving on, I loved Cal. He was definitely the MVP of the season, and it can be said his redemption was a bit too quick, but at least it was consistent. Jaiying was a really excellent villain, and the family dynamics with Skye have turned her into my favorite character.

That ending was basically a Darth Vader moment, and Cal did it in his own oddly playful way which made it kind of perfect. Him getting a happy ending was also unexpected. I thought he was going to be locked up somewhere, instead Skye got to have a father worth loving and that made the whole arc worthwhile.

Mack should definitely be added to the cast next season.

Darth Simmons could be interesting, but I'm not sure her breaking bad and potentially signing up with Ward is a plotline I want to see. Plus who is to say that Kree device is evil? It strikes me as something that could be used for evil in the wrong hands.

I've never been on board for the Fitz/Simmons romance thing, and the date set up was classic Whedon.

I thought this was a very strong episode, and the set up for next season has me somewhat excited for the first time since the series began.

Fun review Mark, even while shamelessly using lyric which will linger in my head for days.

Jess Lynde said...

I'm not down with the Fitz-Simmons thing, and yes it was rushed. It ended up making me glad she got swallowed up by the weird melty rock at the end. Anything to put the kibosh on her sudden change of heart. And to take her character in a new direction. I wasn't really crazy about what they did with her this second half of the season.

I'm not sure how I feel about Cal being mind wiped. They played it off as a good thing, but it made me sad. Sure, he's out contributing to the world and helping pets, but he doesn't remember his daughter. They took his Daisy from him. Maybe that's a good thing, given all the pain he caused trying to find and protect her. But maybe it's not. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Maybe losing her is what makes it "just" punishment. Or maybe not, if he doesn't know that he's lost her. I really don't know, but I'm reminded of the lovely and powerful Babylon 5 episode 'Passing Through Gethsemane' with Brad Dourif as Brother Edward.

I definitely yelled out "holy shit!" when Mack cut off Coulson's hand. Whoa. I want a scene next season where Mike Peterson and Coulson briefly bond over both being cyborgs. After he gets his new Luke Skywalker hand.

Bobbi was totally awesome jabbing those needles into Ward's neck and kicking his ass. Definitely rooting for more kicking of Ward's ass next season. I'm so glad they aren't trying to redeem him. :)

Tim said...

Thank you for the music, sorry, I mean, review, Mark. Excellent, as they all have been.
If we accept that powers can be bestowed by a radioactive spider, then Terrigen fish and chips certainly doesn't sound too farfetched :-)

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Jess Lynde- it's sad that Cal doesn't remember Skye! He was the BEST actor this season. Don't want him to be gone.
Loved the Fox News slam!
Sad that Rayna died after finding her purpose but I'm glad I don't have look at her anymore.
Great season and great review.

topher darling said...

After a second viewing of the end, I don't think that Simmons was going to get romantically involved with Fitz. She acknowledged that they should acknowledge his declaration of love but she didn't seem to be reciprocating his feelings. I think she was just wanting to talk about it as his friend.

But, in watching the scene, Fitz slips on something and then excuses himself from the room like a goof. I think he accidentally opened the box of goo which swallowed Simmons. I wonder if he's going to know that he's responsible for Simmons being taken and presumably changed (probably into some Marvel version of Illyria).

topher darling said...

After a second viewing of the end, I don't think that Simmons was going to get romantically involved with Fitz. She acknowledged that they should acknowledge his declaration of love but she didn't seem to be reciprocating his feelings. I think she was just wanting to talk about it as his friend.

But, in watching the scene, Fitz slips on something and then excuses himself from the room like a goof. I think he accidentally opened the box of goo which swallowed Simmons. I wonder if he's going to know that he's responsible for Simmons being taken and presumably changed (probably into some Marvel version of Illyria).

Marianna said...

I loved the episode, except (and I can't believe I'm saying this) for Simmons. I agree that the possible romance between her and Fitz seemed forced. What bothered me more than that was the case opening up seemingly as a result of Fitz's clumsiness. Are you seriously telling me this extremely dangerous artifact is protected by a case that can be accidentally opened? (My use of "you" was in reference to the AoS powers that be, not anyone on this site.)

By the way, I believe Ward said he would make sure Hunter was the one to open the door by distracting/killing anyone one else who was going in that direction.

Scott Riggan said...

Just finished the finale and I loved it. Especially considering how much I disliked AoS when it began. Some thoughts:

- Bobby/Hunter spinoff? No, thanks. Bullet dodged, I think.
- Fitz/Simmons? They are a fun team, but not an interesting "couple."
- Shocking moments? Coulson's arm and Simmons' ... demise? Transformation? Whatever happened there, it has me sufficiently intrigued.
- Fish Oil Supplements - Now With Terrigen! Love it.
- Ward? I used to think he was bland and uninteresting. Then, suddenly, his character was very compelling. And now . . . I fear we've come full circle. Meh.
- Abba? Yes, thank you. And, simultaneously, curse you.

Great show, excellent reviews. Thanks Agents of D.O.U.X.!

jenallday said...

Dana Carvey! You just scratched an itch deep in my brains!

I just loved Cal, and his ending was so unexpected. I really though he was destined for a cell.

Lots of screaming at this episode in my house. If we're counting this season as being in MCU Phase Two perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised a hand got whacked off! But I can't keep track of what goes where and it makes me irrationally upset when Coulson is messed with. Looking forward to robot hand though!

"Melty alien rock ate Jemma!" has taken the throne as weirdest thing shouted at my TV. Previously held by "Holy shit she's a Time Lady!" At least this one didn't occur during open window weather, my poor neighbors.