This Agents of SHIELD review contains spoilers.
Well, another year of Agents of SHIELD has come and gone, and it really is amazing that three years have gone by since Marvel first announced Agents of SHIELD at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con. Since then, Marvel’s TV presence has risen thanks to Agent Carter (sadly, there will be no more) and the magnificence of its Netflix shows. As Agents of SHIELD ends for another season, it is time to reflect on the finale and the season as a whole. Marvel’s inaugural TV series’ third season stays consistent with the entire 22 episodes that aired this past year: it was good, but not great with tons of great character work and emotion but not incredibly high stakes.
Yeah, the fate of the entire world is at stake as Hive tries to set off his Inhuman bomb to turn the majority of the world into mindless Inhuman primitives. And yeah, one of the core agents has to sacrifice his life to prevent the extinction level event from taking place, but be honest, was there ever any doubt to the ending? I mean, of course the world wasn’t going to end, there’s more movies coming for goodness sake, but the whole villainous plot kind of just spun through the James Bond motions until the sacrificial SHIELD lamb is revealed.
Because that’s what this finale is all about: who will die? The entire marketing of the season finale focused on the death of an agent and the entire two hour episode passed around Yo Yo’s cross like a death baton, from agent to agent until Lincoln is left holding the short straw. Remember, all season Daisy has had a prophetic vision that whoever is left holding the cross would be doomed to die. So this week’s finale passes that cross around, first from Yo Yo, then to Mack, then to Daisy, then to Fitz, then back to Daisy, and finally to Lincoln. It is a big tease, especially with all the lovey dovey talk between Fitz and Simmons as the episode telegraphs the death of fan favorite Fitz almost as much as The Walking Dead teases the death of Glenn. But happily, FitzSimmons gets to survive another season as it is Lincoln who sacrifices himself to stop Hive. I like Lincoln, I really do, but I am so relieved it’s not Fitz that makes that ultimate sacrifice that I have a hard time mourning Inhuman electric dynamo.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to like about this episode. I liked how Coulson is so driven to stop Hive because it was the SHIELD administrator that was responsible for Ward being possessed by the Inhuman swarm devil. I like the development of Mack as the heart of the team, and I really like the new dynamic between Yo Yo and Mack. Yo Yo is severely injured saving Mack’s life during the episode and has to have her guts seared back together with an acetylene torch. It is a hard moment to watch but it speaks to the heroism of SHIELD’s newest Inhuman speedster and I ‘m really looking forward to seeing more Yo Yo next season.
Yo Yo isn’t the only Inhuman to suffer a stomach wound. Lincoln gets gutted as well by Hive’s flame producing minion. When Lincoln is wounded, Daisy is more determined than ever to sacrifice herself so Hive can’t detonate his bomb. Daisy has been having that death vision all season and is ready to die. She is suffering withdrawal from being released from Hive’s thrall and is filled with self-loathing because she accepted her Hive possession so much. Daisy went through profound changes this week, but is still unable to punish herself from her perceived sins because Lincoln beat her to the punch. Stealing Hive’s orbiter and blowing himself, the Inhuman making bomb, and Hive to Kingdom Come.
This is a pretty big moment as it means not only the death of Lincoln, but the death of Grant Ward as well. Technically, Ward died mid-season but now his body has been blown to little Hive chunks. Is Brett Dalton really done with Agents of SHIELD? It will be strange without Dalton’s presence on the show. Dalton kicked ass this season as he played a really good primordial alien horror despite his square jawed good looks.
As for the rest of our cast, Coulson doesn’t do much this week other than lead the charge, May basically does nothing at all, in fact, she barely even mentions her husband’s noble sacrifice. Fitz and Simmons are basically there to trick fans into thinking Fitz was going to buy it. Strangely, the morally ambiguous Holden Radcliffe saw more action than May. I really do like Radcliffe as a character as he provides a very different, albeit morally skewed perspective to the world of Marvel.
So Hive is defeated, the Inhuman threat is halted for now, Daisy is left to mourn Lincoln, and Fitz and Simmons are alive and well as Marvel will have a whole new season to tease their demise. We do get a bit of a preview into the future as the show ends with a six month later jump that features a fugitive Daisy running from Coulson and Mack and Radcliffe building a new female AI that is sure to spell trouble in season four. So I guess we will get a Daisy versus SHIELD season and more Marvel robot action next fall.
I enjoy this show, I really do, but I’ve been waiting three seasons now to be blown away. Agent Carter did it in one season and Daredevil did it in five minutes. Agents of SHIELD just pleasantly churns on, providing some great character work, but pretty disposable threats and stories.
But let’s give it some credit as it has provided fans with some truly beloved characters and has survived a turbulent and ever changing network TV landscape to become a staple of genre TV.
So let’s call it 3 stars and say goodbye until next season.
Not much in the finale. But the Radcliffe robot thing has me curious. Could that be Jocasta behind that curtain?
And since the character of Radcliffe premiered in the nearly forgotten Machine Teen comic of about ten years ago, does that mean Agents of SHIELD could see the TV arrival of some version of Machine Man? The more Kirby the better, says I!