And so the first season of Agents of Shield comes to a close. I believe that this finale will be viewed by fans as either very good, or on par with what most of the series has been, meaning decent. Personally? Though it delivered many good moments, and some incredible fan-pleasing moments, “Beginning of the End” did some questionable things that honestly hindered the show instead of pushing it all the way forward.
For the record, I thought this episode was good. I did. But as a reviewer I have to look at how this episode both capped off Season 1 of the show, and set things up for Season 2. Knowing that, I’ll now dig into my review.
There were a lot of moving parts going throughout the episode, many of them worked, some…not so much. Let’s start with some of the bad shall we?
Fitz-Simmons. Yes, I’m starting here, because as we left them last time we honestly didn’t know what was happening to them. Were they floating in the container in the ocean? Were they already dead? The answers were no and no. Ironically, they sunk to the bottom of the ocean because of how Shield built the darn thing. See, ironic!
The seen between these two was both beautiful, heartfelt, and somewhat sad depending on how you view things. Fitz more-or-less shutting down his emotions to deliver the “cold equations” was a nice change of pace for him as we’ve seen him be super emotional in the recent episodes since Ward’s betrayal was discovered.
Meanwhile, Simmons delivered a very interesting interpretation on death and what it meant. How you feel about this depends on what you believe, but you could tell she believed it and it appeared to give her comfort if it was indeed her end…
But it wasn’t! In fact, they both lived. This may be “altered” as we don’t technically know how Fitz is, but seeing them both make it out alive, especially after Fitz FINALLY telling Simmons how he feels makes it feel a little hollow. Again, this could change when we learn about Fitz’s fate, but until then, it was kind of weak.
Which leads to the return of Nick Fury. Was it epic? Sure. Did it make sense? More or less. Did it work? …eh. Many parts of Samuel L. Jackson’s return seemed a little off. Mainly in the Fury, Coulson, Garrett scenes where you could tell they weren’t all in the same room when they filmed this. Also, based on what we’ve seen in the movies, this honestly didn’t feel like Nick Fury. True, he’s busted out one-liners before, but here he was just racheting them off one after another. Honestly? It sounded like instead of Nick Fury, we got Samuel L. Jackson in Agents of Shield!
Then, we got the ending scene where we got a very short, very simple explanation to one of the mysteries this series hinged on. “How and why is Coulson alive?” Again, did it make sense? Yes. Did it work? …double eh. Many times simplicity is the best answer, hopefully that’ll happen with Skye (get to her in a minute!), but for Coulson, and an arc that has lasted 22 episodes it again felt hollow. Great at pushing things forward sure, but hollow.
The third “strike” was Garrett. After his injection of the alien blood healed him, he appeared to truly go crazy. Or at least be so smart that everyone that he was crazy. It was tough to tell. Bill Paxton again gave credence to it, and Ward calling him out on it was great. But after all we’ve seen Garrett evolve from this was a step too far. Then, you have his “exit” from the show with giving us fans a glimpse of what he is in the comics…only to blow him to kingdom come a few seconds later! Was that really necessary? If there’s one thing I can criticize Agents of Shield on it’s not using every character to their full potential. Having Garrett go full cyborg and return in the next season would’ve been great. Instead…he’s dead. Yeah.
Ok, now we can go on to the good. Let’s start with the best part of the episode. Ward vs. May! This has been building for a while, and we almost knew it had to end this way, but oh how it ended! The fight was brutal, well choreographed, and went all over the place! Nothing was off limits, from table saws, to taunting, to nail guns! Yes, I SAID NAIL GUNS!!! Ironically, Ward is still alive, which I appreciate for the record. Hopefully he’ll play a part in Season 2. We’ll just have to see huh? NAIL GUN!!!!!
Deathlok also got some good moments, from “finishing” off Garrett, to showing that he become an anti-hero that we’ll see from time to time. Deathlok in the comics has been both hero and villain, it’ll be nice to see how far down which path we’ll see Mike Peterson walk down.
And of course, the big “reveal” was that Fury wants Coulson to rebuild Shield from the ground up. With Coulson as director! This will be huge for Season 2, as we might get a chance to see more famous Shield comic characters appear (any guesses on who we might see?), and starting a new organization will lend it an angle that none of the other superhero shows can do. What fun! Oh yeah, and Patton Oswalt is back, I’ll save that conversation for another time…
One final good thing was the teases for what Season 2 might be about. Aside from the rebuilding of Shield, and Deathlok possibly going full hero, we have Quinn and the Gravitonium still out there, Raina being Raina, and apparently Skye’s father is still alive.
Of all the characters, Skye is the one that needed the biggest boost in terms of relevance, and though she got a push she was kind of squandered in the finale. If Season 1 had Coulson as the focus, maybe Season 2 will be more about Skye. We’ll see.
In the end, “Beginning of the End” did a decent job of wrapping up everything Season 1 of Agents of Shield tried to accomplish. But, in the process of being crowd pleasing (See: Coulson using the gun from Avengers), they sacrificed some would-be powerful moments and made some questionable decisions. Not a terrible end by any means, but it could’ve been a lot more. Regardless though, I #StandWithShield, and I can’t wait for Season 2.
4 out of 5 Nerds