There was a lot going on in this two hour season finale, to say the least. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has always been at its strongest when building up — and following through with — their end game. This episode is no different. As Jiaying continues to play the Inhumans against S.H.I.E.L.D., the two factions begin their misguided fight. Skye takes out May and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with her powers, Gordon teleports onto a Quinjet and takes down some agents himself, while S.H.I.E.L.D. retaliates. The war between S.H.I.E.L.D. and this group of superpowered figures is certainly an interesting route for the finale to take, and though I wondering why Jiaying had become so ruthless in her actions, all is revealed in this episode. While the action and the various characters are all given good screen time, it still tends to get a little too fast at times, but it still makes for an adequate dance in terms of balancing subplots.
Coulson, in the meantime, is carting a certain Cal/Mr. Hyde back to base to begin questioning him, only for Cal to have a heart attack! Coulson quickly has Fitz and Simmons administer adrenaline to Cal, fully changing him into the supervillain, Mr. Hyde. Of all the actors, Kyle MacLachlan continues to be the one who seems to be having the most fun with his role. From gleefully singing “Daisy, Daisy, Give me Your Answer True,” to slinging curses at Phil while pinned by a car, you can’t help but feel the infectious nature of his performance, and go along for the ride. Who didn’t laugh when Cal told Simmons that he was a married man? The heart-to-heart chat that Phil and Cal eventually do have feels true to life, and they reach an understanding where Cal agrees to help Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. take down his now crazed wife.
In the world of the Inhumans, Jiaying is establishing her control among her people, and the Afterlife, by eliminating anyone she deems a threat — including Raina, who she kills in front of Skye. At this point, the stage is set, and there are no more lies that can cover her tracks. I think the main theme of this season (which applies to Jiaying, Skye, and so many other members of the cast) is that of closure, and this episode does a great job of accomplishing closure itself. Skye’s family has been the strongest aspect of this season, taking what was once considered by many to be the weakest character of the show, and integrating both elements from the Marvel Universe proper and a family dynamic with three dimensional, interesting characters to boot. Though I would say that I wish Jiaying’s motivations and temperament had been hinted at a bit more in past episodes, I think she was still a well-rounded antagonist, and her power of sucking the life force from others to keep herself alive made for a nice twist. Also, the idea of her being driven mad by Whitehall’s experiments was a worthwhile one for her motives.
While these plotlines are all intersecting, Bobbi/Mockingbird finds herself in the clutches of Ward and Agent 33, who, much like the others, are seeking closure, albeit of the insane variety. As a method of catharsis, Ward wants Bobbi to admit her wrongdoing in allowing Agent 33 to be manipulated by Hydra. When Bobbi refuses, Ward administers an anesthetic that stops Mockingbird from feeling pain, and begins jamming needles under her fingernails. Ouch. As she continues to refuse admitting to anything, Coulson and crew catch wind of where the demented duo are and send May, Hunter, and a team of agents to free Bobbi. Mockingbird, at one point, tries to make her escape in a well-choreographed fight scene with Ward, only to be tied to a chair with an automated heavy duty rifle pointed at the door for her escape. As May and Hunter break in, Ward accidentally shoots and kills 33, believing she’s May, and Bobbi is shot by the rifle attempting to save Hunter, and the team takes her back to HQ to save her as Ward escapes. Keeping up?
Then, the Inhumans, in full force, attack the S.H.I.E.L.D. boat (for lack of a better term) and take down the agents on board, wanting to bring as many agents there as possible in order to potentially transform, or just kill, the remainder of the organization. The rest of Gonzalez’s original crew are killed, outside of Bobbi and Mack of course, and I was a tad disappointed that nearly everything that came from that original S.H.I.E.L.D. “Civil War” didn’t really amount to much in the end. Would things have been so different had it not happened at all? To be fair though, at least it helped to bring the story to the point of conflict with the Inhumans fighting S.H.I.E.L.D., as we become privy to a whole bunch of super-powered foes teleporting, multiplying, and firing electricity at the agents. From here, all of the agents are brought into play with Mack, Coulson and Fitz fighting the Inhuman teleporter, Gordon, in a fantastic fight scene in the bowels of the ship, while Skye, May, and the Inhuman, Lincoln, fight an Inhuman “Multiple Woman.” Good stuff all around as action abounds (and kudos to the show for having the gumption to chop off Coulson’s left hand! Didn’t see that one coming!)
Skye eventually has her final face-to-face with her mother, realizing how far gone Jiaying now is. She nearly loses her life force, until her powers are able to save her. Before Jiaying can get her claws into her once again, Cal arrives on the scene and kills the Inhuman leader. Their reunion is bittersweet, however, as the episode begins to wrap up and Cal undergoes the “TAHITI Project,” changing from a homicidal maniac to a small town veterinarian. We are also given final shots of May taking time off from the organization, Skye beginning to put together a super-powered faction of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ward becoming the new head of Hydra, and a last shot of Simmons being sucked into the mysterious Kree stone. Honestly, a lot of great stuff here and some very interesting paths for the show to take for Season 3, which has already been confirmed.
Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was certainly stronger than Season 1, though there are still a few cracks to be found throughout. If the showrunners can just figure out how to take the strong momentum of the season’s final episodes and apply it to the overall season, I think would be a very strong entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. See you all in the fall, true believers!
Episode Rating: ★★★★ Very good
Season Rating: (A very high) ★★★ Good
Agents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.:
– Ward as leader of Hydra is perfect for the character. And while I think the villainous organization should take something of a backseat for most of Season 3, I wouldn’t mind Ward making an appearance here and there in a similar fashion as he did this season.
– The Mr. Hyde makeup on Kyle MacLachlan was terrible. I’m sorry, but I would have rather it never been brought up at all, as the forehead just couldn’t be saved, even by MacLachlan’s acting.
– I really expected Skye’s line referring to her upcoming super team to end with “we have to be … Secret Warriors” as that’s the name of the group that “Quake” is a part of in the comics.
– While I thought the Fitz and Simmons relationship swerve was a tad thrown into the finale, in order to pull on some additional heart strings, I’m certainly interested to see what the heck happened to Simmons exactly! Is she dead? In another reality?
– May: “We didn’t lose Skye, she chose.”
– Bobbi: “If I ever beg for forgiveness as you torture me, just remember, I don’t mean a word of it.”
– Cal: “I’m not a polar bear, Phil.”
– Coulson: “As I understand it, you killed a lot of people. Tell me, how did you do it?”
Cal: “With style.”
– Mack: “Can’t wait to get off this boat.”
– Cal: “She had a good heart Phil, it was just torn out.”
– Mack: “It’s you and me, Tremors.”
– Fitz: “It’s science, beeyotch.”