Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The End is at Hand

"I'm wondering if we changed the timelines or if they change us."

In the first part of the finale, the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. assemble for the final mission.

Okay, full disclosure, I've been looking at the screen for several minutes now not knowing how to properly start this review. I have a seven-year relationship with these characters and this two-part finale totally showed me I was not ready to say goodbye to them. So this is how I'm starting this review: by talking about my feelings. Pardon, gentle readers.

What is it that made me so attached to these people? Well, the magic of Mutant Enemy, I assume. I nearly checked out at season three, but with season four the agents won me back and good. It's been a wild ride, with its ups and downs, but it has been so worth it. What counts at the end of the day to me when I think of the legacy of a TV show is how invested I am in the characters, how much I think of them as part of my life, how much I'll miss them when they are gone. And, oh boy, am I going to miss the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

So, where are they when the finale starts? Facing an impossible enemy, much bigger than anything they could stand against. Tiny Zephyr One versus giant Chronicom war vessels. How could they win? It all comes down to will. The will to do the right thing, to pull through, to fight for your family, to beat the enemy no matter what the odds. That's why Daisy goes rescue Simmons, why Mack and Sousa keep thinking of better ways to bring down the Chronicoms, why Coulson doesn't give up on saving S.H.I.E.L.D., even if there are only remnants of it. You do the right thing, that's the mission.

That's also why Daisy doesn't give up on her biological sister. She knows Kora is being manipulated and that there is a chance to make her snap out of her delusion. So she chooses to talk instead of fight. Poor Kora seems helpless, though, and stays behind to try and talk to Nathaniel. Why is she so obtuse? A guy that tortured Inhumans to steal their powers can't be good. He killed her mother, for crying out loud, and she still believes she can talk him out of fighting S.H.I.E.L.D.? Considering the little time the writers had, they did a good job in these final two episodes to bring Kora's story to a conclusion, but her arc most definitely needed more episodes to breathe. It ends up being somewhat rushed and the same can be said about the main plot of season seven.

See, the arc story has been a bit all over the place in the second half of this season. Exhibit A, Nathaniel thinking the Chronicoms were working for him is laughable. His plan was to create chaos and anarchy, and then arise as the great savior and rule the Earth. Why did he believe the Chronicoms would help him with that? And why did the Chronicoms need Nathaniel's help so badly? Yes, he helped them bring down S.H.I.E.L.D., but why don't they just off him afterwards? It's hard to understand why this alliance lasts as long as it does when we didn't even watch it being formed, it all happened offscreen. Both Sybil and Nathaniel showed potential as villains, but in the end the writing fails to live up to the promise. Nathaniel acts over and over again like an annoying, spoiled brat you want off your screen, and Sybil is a poorly defined Chronicom entity whose reasoning is hard to follow.

But while I didn't really care for the villains, I believed the threat they posed. The sense or urgency to defeat them was there and the stakes were as high as ever. There was also a feeling of finality, that this was the endgame, and not just because the writers kept hitting us over the head with this being the final mission, but because of how the story was structured: the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the last episode leading up to the ultimate 0-8-4, with the remaining agents from all over the world gathering together to bring the pieces of an unknown machine.

That tied nicely with the ongoing plot of Simmons' scrambled remnants of memory, as she knew just what to do and assembled the machine basically from muscle memory. It was a very mystifying scene, and I loved how the writing kept making parallels between her mission and her marriage; after all, she built this entire mission with her husband. It's only fitting, then, that he appears in the end, a hurrah moment for every fan that has been longing for Fitz's return, giving the agents a victory (since the Chronicoms wanted so badly to find Fitz and kill him before he could set his plan into motion) and making the first part of the series finale a winner.

Also, Sousa kissed Daisy, so obviously this episode is a winner.

The Finale in Pictures

The penultimate title card.
The special effects on this show, man. They never disappointed.
Deke's subpar imitation of Fitz cracked me up.
Sousa: "Is it possible they are on the other side doing the exact same thing?"
Mack reacting to Sousa kissing Daisy: "Impressive."
Daisy being awesome.
The final piece.

Intel and Assets

- Mack and Sousa were such a fun pair together. With Sousa being a conventional and stalwart guy from the past and Mack being a, uh, conventional and stalwart guy from the present, no wonder they would get along. I LOVED the duct tape master plan! Loved it. Shame we won't get to spend more time with these folks.

- May and Coulson had a nice one-on-one moment, in which she revealed she was still getting used to her new self (the empath May), and Coulson showed appreciation for both her and himself. He is not ashamed to admit he kind of digs this incarnation of his.

- Coulson built in a matter of minutes a device to refrain a superpowered Inhuman from teleporting. Yeah, right.

- There hadn't been a lot of Yo-Yo in the previous episodes, but in this one she managed to save the day in the Lighthouse.

- Major callback to season one with that device that Mack used to knock the Chronis out.

- Upon entering the Zephyr One, Simmons called it home. Stay tuned for part two.

- Victoria Hand kept the same hairstyle for thirty years? Okay, I know they just did it that way so we would recognize her.

- Obviously, the episode title is a reference to Hand.

- I didn't think Garret would bite the dust, not so quickly after what could've been a nice redemption arc for him. Then again, having Hand kill him when he had her killed in the original timeline has a certain dramatic irony attached to it. A synchronicity that borders on predestination, one might say.

- Agent Gamble asked Coulson if he had brought any package. Well, he didn't have a package, but he had a Simmons. :)

- Enoch sent the pieces of the quantum realm machine to different S.H.I.E.L.D. agents throughout the years. I loved how Enoch was a significant character in the finale.

- The final endtag was Sybil declaring that there was 100% chance this was the last time the main team of agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be together. Writers, we get it.

Quotes

Sousa: "Are those space lasers?"
Daisy: "Just lasers that happen to be in space."
Nathaniel: "This is your last chance to give up Fitz's location. The Chronicoms won't be so..."
Deke: "Amateurs? Pedestrian? Hamfisted?

Daisy: "She is not going to stop me from getting Simmons back."
Mack: "And Deke."
Daisy: "Sure."

May: "I remember that room. It cost your hand."
Coulson: "Seemed like a big deal at the time. Now look at me."

May: "I'm still getting used to the idea of you as a techie."
Coulson: "I'm still getting used to the idea of me as just tech."

Simmons: "Why are you wearing that costume?"
Daisy: "It's not a costume. It's for protection."
Simmons: "Can I have one?"
Daisy and Deke: "Yes."

Daisy: "They wanted me to find Simmons."
Deke: "And me."
Daisy: "Sure."

Chronicom: "We are here to take your faces."
Mack: "Lord knows you could do a lot better than the ones you're wearing now."
Sousa: "I'm pretty sure they don't understand sarcasm."

Simmons: "Math is my faithful husband."

Simmons: "I just know they need to be married. Two becomes one. Then three becomes one."

Deke: "What's in there?"
Simmons: "The end or the beginning. I can't remember."

Four out of four married pieces.
--
Lamounier

1 comment:

televisionandotherrantings said...

Kind of interesting move to review the finale before having done the rest of the season but I guess we're living in weird times anyway.

I'm dying on the hill that Season 3 is awesome! Still the best season hands down.

Since Coulson had the schematics for the Gordon teleport trapping device and is a robot himself now I don't really have a problem with him putting all of this together.

I do like how Daisy handled things with Kora but definitely her whole arc was not as strong as it could have been. They definitely needed more time.

DaiSousa for the win!

Garrett got taken out pretty quick. I agree that the Hand hairstyle is a bit convenient (especially when you consider all the hairstyles Daisy has had over the years) but it's not impossible I guess. Also FIRE BAD, TREE PRETTY.

Deke's Fitz impression is probably his funniest moment.