With Season Two of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. set to return next week, I thought it was high time that I got around to reviewing the Season One finale. Hope I didn’t leave anyone in the lurch back in May. Prepare for a few spoilers! When we left our heroes, things were looking bleak. Raina (Ruth Negga) and Quinn (David Conrad) had teamed up with Garrett (Bill Paxton) and Ward (Brett Dalton) — and by extension, Deathlok (J. August Richards) — ostensibly to sell super soldier tech to the United States military. But with Garrett’s new cosmic consciousness, those plans take a turn for the worse. Like rip out your rib and stab you with it, worse. Coulson (Clark Gregg), May (Ming-Na Wen), Skye (Chloe Bennet), and Triplett (B.J. Britt) had accessed a “secret” underground S.H.I.E.L.D. hidey-hole (beneath an abandoned barber shop, in a nice little Easter Egg for longtime fans of the comics) trying to upload a program that would give them backdoor access to HYDRA networks, when they were discovered by a squad of Garrett’s enhanced goons. In even more dire straits were Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), who had been dropped into the middle of the ocean, locked inside an airtight escape pod. Showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon have crafted a fast-paced, action-packed, quip-filled finale that brings home everything they’ve been laying seeds for during at least the back half of the season, and especially since the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Having Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) drop by to contribute to the general saving of the day never hurts either. This episode provided an excellent example of literally everything that makes this show tick, when it’s ticking. The opening action sequence is effective, if a little limited by the television show budget, but the climactic and long-awaited face-off between Ward and May really pays off. It’s remarkably satisfying to watch May brutally beat the living hell out of Ward (although she takes some hits, too) until she finally nailguns his foot to the floor (!!!) and then fractures his larynx before knocking him the fuck out with a roundhouse kick. You could practically hear the collective “YES!” from fans around the planet when this actually aired this past Spring. There were examples of the patented Whedon family witty dialogue scattered throughout the episode, with nary a hint of forcing the comedy into the action. By this point in the season, all of the actors have really found their rhythms, and when the snark flies it is funny and natural. From the inspiring “Are you ready to change the world?” speech by Coulson and the “No, but I’m ready to kick some ass” response by May that kicks off the episode’s main plot, to Fury and Coulson mocking Garrett for mishearing Fury’s inspirational speech from years before, to Garrett’s surprising final moment. That last bit was my favorite as we watch a nearly-dead Garrett claw his way into the super-soldier machine and scream in pain as his body is rebuilt and enhanced with Deathlok-level robotics and cybernetics. He stands, more powerful and dangerous than ever and as he begins to deliver a trademark evil villain rant about being unstoppable, he explodes into a pile of goo after being shot by Coulson, who then quips happily, “Hey guys! I found it!” and stolls out with a superweapon from earlier in the season. Sure, it’s murder played for laughs yet again, but the dude was a super-villain bent on killing everyone who got in his way, so I’ll give Coulson some leeway here. It’s not like Garrett was a henchman working to make ends meet or contracted for a job and not privy to the big picture. We still need to have that discussion one of these days. In addition to all this, we also get gut wrenching drama as Fitz and Simmons figure out that to survive their predicament, one of them isn’t going to make it. The moment when Fitz finally gets up the courage to tell Simmons how he feels — just after telling her that he’s going to die for her — was extremely effective. This is thanks mainly to the performances of De Caestecker and Henstridge who make you want to weep right alongside them. That Fitz doesn’t die is almost a relief, except for the fact that he’s probably got brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. The production has kept Fitz’s fate under wraps so far, so all we know is that he made it, but things don’t look good. Finally, with the Big Bad all wrapped up, the final act of the show started setting up next season, with Fury handing off the Directorship of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Coulson, who is now tasked with rebuilding the organization from scratch, the reveal of a new secret base The Playground — along with a new role for Patton Oswalt as Billy Koenig (twin, clone, or Life Model Decoy?) — the site manager, and Deathlok skulking off into the night to try and make amends for the horrible things he’s done. We also get a glimpse of where Raina has disappeared to, when she meets up with a mysterious blood-drenched (!!!) figure she identifies as Skye’s father (!!!), and then before we close up shop, we get a scene of Coulson getting up in the middle of the night and scratching that crazy schematic (or whatever it is) that Garrett was working on (and that we saw on a chalkboard way back in the beginning of the season) into a wall. So Garrett wasn’t just ranting like a maniac. He and Coulson do share a bond having both been injected with precious crazy alien fluids. The question now becomes, does this connect to the Kree and the cosmic awareness we’ve seen with Captain Mar-Vell in the comics, or are all the references to evolution and evolving mean that maybe, just maybe, we’ll be getting into Inhumans territory? They do have a Kree connection, after all. I’m sure we won’t get any answers with next week’s Season Two premiere, but these are some tantalizing clues and if they can maintain the momentum they’ve built up so far, we could be in for a very entertaining ride. Plus, we’ve got Agent Carter to look forward to during their mid-season break! See larger image Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1 [Blu-ray] New From: $38.99 USD In Stock Agents of SHIELD 1.22 “Beginning of the End”4.5Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.