It strikes me, when all is said and done, that Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. should have had a thirteen episode first season. Realistically, the back half of the season is where the plot actually was. Since April, the show’s offered nothing but what we’ve wanted out of it. And the finale is no exception.
You can sum up the finale in one word: Payoff. John Garrett, after his resurrection injection, is back on his feet and feeling good. Unfortunately, he’s also gone completely off the deep end, spouting off looney-tunes dialogue about how he can see the tendons of the universe or whatever and carving weird symbols into glass. Bill Paxton rarely gets asked to play a completely unhinged nutball, and he relishes it; part of the fun of the episode is Paxton just saying completely goofy stuff in his trademark growl, and having everyone around him react like he’s bonkers.
Meanwhile, May, Coulson, Skye and Trip escape the army of Deathloks they were trapped by last episode largely by luck; May gets her hands on the big Viking rage stick and brings down the house, literally. Then it’s off to Cybertek, and Garrett.
And at the bottom of the ocean, Fitz and Simmons try to work out how to survive and realize one of them is dead meat. Fitz confesses his love for Simmons and then hits the button that will free her while drowning him. The show doesn’t go quite as far as killing Fitz, but they’ve made it clear he’s got pretty serious brain damage, and odds are pretty good he’s out of the show for good, sacrificed so that his salary can go to supervillains and a set budget.
Back at Garrett’s lair, Ward and May go toe-to-toe, and it ends with Ward not only getting his ass kicked, but his larynx broken. Coulson, meanwhile, finds Garrett, and also that Garrett is super-strong to go with the crazy. Good thing Nick Fury is there with Coulson’s Avengers gun to even the odds!
While Garrett monologues because, again, nuts, Skye finds Mike Peterson’s little boy and lets Deathlok know he can shoot his boss. Which he promptly does, before stomping his face in. You’d think that’s the end of Garrett, face smashed, Cybertek destroyed, but he comes back to life and gets a cybersuit of his very own… just in time for Coulson to disintegrate him with the weapon they found waaaaay back in the second episode, one of the show’s funniest moments.
It ends with a new base, a new Patton Oswalt, and no fewer than three plotlines left open for next year.
- Raina finds Skye’s father, who is a pleasant fellow who bleeds from his hands, and lets him know where to find his daughter.
- Fury tasks Coulson with what remains of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s resources and a job to rebuild it better and with fewer HYDRA agents this time.
- And Coulson, it turns out, might just be as goofballs as Garrett, as shown by him carving an abstract diagram into a wall with a knife. Either that or there’s something to Garrett’s insane ramblings, which considering they both had alien DNA inside them is not good news.
Add to this the fact that next season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be supported by Agent Carter and may crossover, or at least interact with, Daredevil and you have a fairly interesting second season on the way. Really, in the end, the finale is about setting up a second season with actual plot momentum and a stripped down cast: We’re looking forward to it.
Some more thoughts:
- Coulson and Fury snarking Garrett’s villain monologue is hilarious.
- The Ward/May fight was some pretty nasty stuff for network TV. Although we suspect Ward will be fitted with a creepy robot voice soon enough. We’re still 50/50 on Ward becoming the Grim Reaper, though.
- Actually, this was a damn funny episode in general. Where was this comedic sensibility for like half the freakin’ season?
- Congratulations to B.J. Britt, who not only survives the season but the show seems to want to promote to main cast member.
- Wait, nobody told Patton Oswalt Number Two that Ward strangled Patton Oswalt Number One? That seems like the kind of thing PO#2 would want to know.
Any thoughts yourself? Let us know in the comments!