Agents of SHIELD 2×22 ‘Beginning of the End’: The SHIEL1

SOURCE: ABC

Agents of SHIELD delivers a fast-paced season finale and plants its roots as a valuable entry in both the Whedonverse of television shows and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let’s take a moment to appreciate how far we’ve come.

The reason the Marvel movies continue to thrive in this era of comic book movies is due to their focus on character. There’s lots of action and humor thrown in the mix, like all classic blockbusters, but because we enjoy seeing these characters on a regular basis. Agents of SHIELD finally accomplished that in the back half of the season.

Coulson’s team have finally grown into a unique set of characters. They’re no longer put together like puzzle boxes. They work as a little family unit (FYI: All Whedon shows revolve around a family dynamic). And for the Post-Winter Soldier episodes, we’ve had to watch this family figure out what their purpose was. But first, we get to watch them kick some ass.

Beginning of the End was filled with all the proper season finale beats you could want in a show like this. Super soldiers, Deathlok(s), Nick Fury, NICK FURY, Skye’s mysterious past, showdown with the Big Bad, etc. Even those Asgardian weapons came back into play! I’d argue that it ranks among one of the more entertaining season finales of the Whedonverse (Disagree? Let me know in the comments!)

I’m slightly disappointed that there will no longer be a hammy evil Bill Paxton next season but I’m also glad the character won’t overstay his welcome. At first, I was concerned Bill Paxton was too over the top in his performance. He was, but having other characters give him odd stares and reacting with “You’ve got to be kidding” helped make it feel less so.

Skye was never one for hand to hand combat but May certainly was. The fight between May and Ward, punctuated by her shooting several nails into his foot and him losing his voice, felt appropriately ferocious. It never forgot to lighten the mood once in a while. “You were never on top” was just hysterical. I’m interested in seeing how Ward develops as a villain now that he has nobody to swear allegiance to.

SOURCE: ABC

SOURCE: ABC

However, nothing will beat the great moment of Evil Bill Paxton reconstructing himself. I practically rolled my eyes like the characters in the show. And then Coulson came out with an Asgardian weapon and blasted him to smithereens before saying “Hey guys! I found it!”

Character emotions and dynamics were never more effective than in the finale. I’m positive that can be attributed to the amount of time spent with them and what they’ve been through in recent episodes. It was effective nonetheless. I have to give a shout out to Ian De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge as Fitz and Simmons respectively. They always had wonderful chemistry but the friendship (and possible relationship) was put at the forefront of their scenes. Fitz being unable to tell Jemma about how he felt but offering to sacrifice himself earned some real noteworthy emotion here. Jemma’s cry of anguish before Fitz opened the window was like a punch in the guy. This lead to both my favorite and least favorite aspect of the episode.

I’ve said time and time again that Fitz is probably my favorite character in the show. That being said I think he should have died. Maybe I’m being nitpicky. I’m glad he survived as he’s a welcome presence. Just think of the turmoil it could have caused the team! Fury and Jemma mentioned that Fitz will never be the same so we’ll have to wait and see what they mean. Oh yeah, Nick Fury came back and it went better than expected.

Nick Fury showing up to rescue Fitz and Simmons was a cheer worthy moment. It was publicized that Nick Fury would return in the finale after a brief cameo in episode 2 so it wasn’t a huge surprise. The manner in which he returned was exciting and unexpected. He rescued FitzSimmons. That’s already got brownie points from me. Then he had an active role in the back half of the finale AND got some speechifying towards the end? Color me impressed. Even Fury got to react to Garrett’s excessive insanity “You didn’t tell me he’d gone this crazy.” Fury realizing that Garrett might have joined Hydra because he misunderstood his one man speech was hysterical.

Garrett: A man can do anything when he realizes he could be something bigger.
Fury: A part. A part of something bigger.

A reappearance by Coulson’s gun in The Avengers was the cherry on top of a pile of cherries. And then even more cherries got tossed on top with Nick Fury telling Coulson that he brought him back because he considered him an Avenger. His orders: to rebuild SHIELD from scratch as Director Coulson. And Patton Oswalt is back to help! Erik Koenig is gone but now we have Billy Koenig. I’m going to go out on a limb that Patton Oswalt is a life model decoy. Doesn’t matter, more Patton Oswalt is always a good thing.

The finale wasn’t perfect by any means. I felt that there was a missed opportunity to bring in Mike Peterson to Coulson’s team. He’s been put on a path to redemption so I’m sure they’ll cross paths again. If they don’t, I’ll continue to complain. The final two teases with Raina meeting Skye’s father and Coulson beginning to write gibberish on the wall just like Garrett were fine. I still felt that the episode should have ended with that great shot of Coulson and his team prepared to start rebuilding SHIELD.

SOURCE: ABC

SOURCE: ABC

Overall, this might be the first episode of SHIELD that I actually loved. It was funny, action packed, and exciting. I’m thoroughly looking forward to what next season brings. But the real testament to this show is that it now has an impact on the rest of the MCU. SHIELD being rebuilt from the ground-up will surely have to affect future films somehow. If that doesn’t prove the show has come into its own, I don’t know what will.

Diego Crespo

Diego champions fallen TV shows that never had a chance to shine. LOST ruined his life for the better. Diego spends his days trying to convince strangers that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the best shows ever made.

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