There's a whole lot to process in these final moments...
by Brandon Coulson
Now that the giant two part finale to Agents of SHIELD has come and gone, did it live up to expectations? Did our heroes get the send off they deserved?
Now first off, these episodes did remember to give us multiple instances of that humor and snark we love from the series. Even in the opening moments as the gang waited for a torrent of warriors to storm the ship, and waited, and waited some more, eventually wondering if the Chronicoms are just doing the same outside. That kind of poking the fourth wall and playing with expectations is what we love.
There was a lot to get done though so very quickly we see Gemma injected with something to dissolve her implant and supposedly return her memories of Fitz’s location. Sibyl is back in person though she nor Malick ever really made themselves worthy villains by the end the largest glaring error of this season. Following last week's destruction, we find that the Lighthouse is the only SHIELD base left standing though not for long as Garrett is sent in to line the place with explosives.
Kora is back with Malick and quickly confronts him about her mother though he is able to at least temporarily calm her with the most basic of lies and misdirection that even a child should see through. Again Kora was introduced too late and given far too little for me to really care about her at all so literally making her the linchpin of the plan, as we find out later, just makes the whole climax just a bit underwhelming.
The other running thread that felt too late in its introduction to have weight is Gemma’s memory loss. As Daisy is left to her own devices because Sibyl thinks the odds of her triggering the memories return was a big cheat to not have to fight their way into the ship, and then we spend the better part of the two hours with Deke and Daisy trying to jog her memory. There was a great running joke attached to this though as Daisy is so dismissive of getting Deke back along with Gemma. Between this and his eventual line about her being a better fit with Sousa, it seems the writers are aware that Deke has become a bit of a leftover on the team.
Lots of fakeouts and set-ups for misdirection through the episode. Mack about to unleash hell in a blaze of glory only to have his missiles fizzle against the ships defenses was an hysterical moment which even paid off bigger and better later when they jury-rigged Chronicom bodies with duct tape to become a homemade bomb. They really had Sousa setting us up to think he would be the big sacrificial lamb after finally putting the moves on Daisy and ready to offer himself up multiple times through the episode. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Sousa and I’m glad it was a fakeout but it did leave me wondering if having at least one death wouldn’t have made things seem a bit weightier.
There was some significant drama anyways as once Garret lined the Lighthouse with bombs and then was subsequently trapped by Coulson and Yoyo in a trap both ingenious and somehow also worthy of Looney Tunes, giant red X and all. Here again an obvious set-up for sacrifice as after Garrett is left to die by Malick, Yoyo runs the bombs off to one section saving their lives while still destroying the base, It seemed certain Yoyo wouldn’t survive but nope she's fine ... actually only poor Garrett died after finally turning good and helping the team back to our favorite bar for a SHIELD meetup as he was quickly shot in the head. Sorry li'l buddy, maybe there’s an acting classes in Heaven.
At the bar it’s revealed that Enoch kept busy during his years on Earth and seeded the parts for the machine that, with Gemma’s help, would be assembled to transport Fitz and answer the biggest question of this whole season: how the heck are they going to fix things?
The answer is, as expected, a huge cheat. After dropping a little Quantum Realm reference on us and tying into the MCU film side of things, we found out that this is, like Endgame, an alternate timeline and the original still very much exists and they need to just hop back to it. Not only was this cheap but now we know that the team has ruined an entire other universe and left them to pick up the pieces is kind of messed up, like really messed up!
It did however provide Deke with his moment to shine, staying behind to operate the machine. Deke is set up pretty sweet though, already a rock star and seemingly the new head of that world's SHIELD along with a young, not dead, Victoria Hand (Season 1 callback y’all!). He’s gonna be A-Okay.
Once everyone got back to the original timeline that's when things got weird and a little bit genius. Arriving just before the end of last season, we see this time that the whole team was actually there as their future selves at the temple setting up the pieces that would make their trip possible. Even the blast that they barely dodged last season that took out the temple was actually fired by the Chronicoms chasing the future versions of them … yes, it was a bit confusing. But together with the flashes from Gemma’s memories showing the years, yes years, that she and Fitz worked things out it all did make sense. Bringing Flint and the Monolith in the plan were nice callbacks and the back half of this finale was certainly loaded with information to absorb.
The Chronicoms provided a few more opportunities for some amazing action, however brief, as Yoyo and Coulson went on a vicious assault of their ship leading to the badass moment of the night as May got to drop in to be the Cavalry one last time. While still not up to the standards of the best fights on the series (May vs May still holds that title), it was still great to see some great stunt choreography and Coulson and May working together one last time. Less impressive was Daisy and Malick’s final fight which after a lot of build up was just okay.
The biggest shock of course coming when Daisy decided to sacrifice herself?! Yeah we saw Daisy floating dead in space, thanks for that! Oh, but Kora has magical healing powers … did we know this?! I swear nothing about this was ever established or maybe I’m crazy, but sure, yeah, Kora has all the powers now I guess. She even boosts the signal using May’s empathy to give said empathy to the Chronicom race, in effect making thousands of Enochs.
This felt also very out of left field and I think somehow uploading Enoch or something like that would have felt a bit more earned. But this late in the game, fine, whatever, bad guys are good now and peace in the world, yay.
The last “surprise”, though not really since I literally called it last week, yes Fitz and Simmons have a little girl and a happy ending finally!
Yes, in fact after jumping to one year later we see everyone gets their happily ever after. Obviously from the start that they are holograms and not really together, we get one last glimpse into all their lives after the team has split up. Mack and Yoyo are still agents, Mack apparently upgraded to a helicarrier! They realize every one of them has died or been a zombie at least once. May is a teacher at a SHIELD academy named for Coulson, Daisy and Sousa (reading Cosmos I believe) are off in space with her sister, while Fitz and Simmons live a suburban life. But the last moments of the series are fittingly saved for Coulson and his gift from Mack. Both his control unit and the keys to his baby Lola are presented to him as he goes off to travel the world and decide the next step. Coulson gets to literally fly off into the great beyond.
While not the greatest finale, and certainly with its ups and downs I have to say overall they did a pretty decent job wrapping up seven years of the series. A little more gravitas could have made it truly epic but let's face it, the show had its highs and lows over the years and this was a pretty perfect encapsulation of that. If only we had gotten that cherry on top, an Avengers cameo or even Bobbi and Hunter on the Helicarrier. Just something to make you go wow. But ultimately this was a satisfying albeit rushed ending that gave every character a moment to shine and have a happy ending.
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