WARNING! SPOILERS FOR AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. AND AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR!!!!! I spent seasons planning for the end of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. What would it look like? Who would survive? Would it lead to movies? I always knew we’d get a season five. In a long ago interview, Ming-Na had said that if we ever got Philinda (May & Coulson together), it wouldn’t be until season five. Still, I was so certain this was it… the end. The writers wrote this season not knowing if they would have another to tell their story. This episode they wrote as a series finale, hoping it would only be a season finale.
Elena: There’s nothing holding us together.
Mack: Yes, there is. Hope. We never give up. We’re always held together by hope. So we cling to it… and we vote.
In the upfronts only days from the airing of the finale titled “The End,” we finally received news that next year, after Avengers 4, we would get 13 more episodes. Reviewing this episode brings to mind the Phoenix debate. When reading Uncanny X-Men #137, do you view Phoenix as if it were Jean Grey making the sacrifice or do you view her as Phoenix pretending to be Jean Grey due to the retcon? Since Chris Claremont wrote Jean Grey sacrificing herself for her friends and family, I view the book with that reference. Likewise, I can’t help but view “The End” as if it were truly the end. For almost a year, I was sure it would be.
First, the last three episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. take place during the events of Avengers: Infinity War, at a point between what happened in New York and Wakanda. Thanos has yet to snap his fingers. There has been no dusting. There will be no dusting in “The End.” If you want to see a dusting, you’ll be disappointed. Frankly, this episode played with my emotions enough without dragging in random meaningless deaths at the end. If the show had been canceled, it wouldn’t have been fair to the fans. However, it may have been nice to have had them film a stinger to air in case of renewal; Visual Effects Supervisor Mark Kolpack would have beautifully created dusted agents. I’m sure, however, we will get Infinity War references along with Avengers 4 references next season. The showrunners, Mo Tanchereon, Jed Whedon, and Jeffrey Bell, hold their part in keeping the promise of #ItsAllConnected.
Elena: You won’t listen. I’m in a nightmare, and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs and none of you can hear me.
#CoulsonLives What would you sacrifice to save the person you love… or a beloved parent? What would you sacrifice to save the world? Who would you sacrifice to save the world? May and Daisy would sacrifice everything for Coulson because a world without Phillip Coulson isn’t a world worth living in. On the other hand, Yo-Yo will do whatever it takes to stop the future they witnessed. I’ve always been a Quake fan, even in season one. Skye (Daisy) was our entry character to a world only glimpsed at in the movies. I side with her.
On the other hand, there’s such a thing as patient’s rights. Coulson has repeatedly said that he didn’t want his life extended. Certainly he would not want to live at the expense of billions of people. How do you choose between saving the world or saving the man who taught you to save the world? This choice was just another way the writers chose to hurt us. I understand Yo-Yo. She knows how to save the future, but she’s became a borderline villain when she killed Ruby.
Elena: Stop making me the bad guy. I’m not. You just don’t want him to die. I don’t want him to die either, but he’s just one man.
After the midseason two reveal of Skye (Daisy) as Quake, I researched her. The first thing I learned was that she was the youngest director of S.H.I.E.L.D. I thought the perfect ending to the show would be Coulson handing the directorship over to Daisy. Each season couldn’t be the end because Daisy wasn’t ready. This season, Coulson has been as single-minded about this direction as me. When Daisy commanded though, the team—the family—started to fall apart. Witnessing that, I think Director Mack is definitely the way to go.
I feel the writing staff dropped the ball on Deke. He has been, by far, the most enjoyable new character this season. The chemistry between him and Daisy felt natural, organic. It made sense that all that antagonism would lead to something, and they didn’t really rush or force it. My issue, however, lies with his fate. He showed Daisy his room with all the hoarding and said that he was leaving to spend what time was left topside. After the day was won, Simmons entered his empty room with a sad smile and took Fitz’s multitool. Did he survive, pack up and head topside? Did he blink out of existence like Fitz-Simmons hypothesized? If he did disappear at the end, does anyone remember he ever existed? In the days since the episode aired, my friends and I have gone back and forth on this. I wish we had an answer. If he disappeared, they should have shown it, given us an opportunity to mourn him.
Talbot: I’m becoming a hero.
Daisy: You ARE one. The minute you enlisted, you became one. We all did. Look around. We’re surrounded by them. Anyone who signs up for this–to lose friends, or limbs, or your mind, or your life in protection of humanity. We are in this together.
Speaking of mourning, thanks writers. The conclusion of “the End” was so emotional, I didn’t know what to think or feel. It’s great that they saved Robyn’s mother, but that means Momma May chose Polly knowing the cost to her. Ming-Na Wen conveyed that knowledge, that decision with a glance. It’s heartbreaking. As Fitz lay dying, I broke… until I remembered the other Fitz floating in space. Then I worried that the writers may forget we had a spare Fitz. I cried harder when the drinks were poured, mourning Fitz some more. When I realized that they were “celebrating” Coulson’s retirement, that he was still dying, that it was the end for him, my heart shattered into a million pieces. I was still crying when Coulson said, “I gotta say, it’s pretty magical.” I laughed. With tears streaming down my eyes, as sad as I have ever been watching anything fiction, I laughed. Twenty minutes after the credits I was still crying.
There was one thing that didn’t make any sense. Last week, we saw Deke and May blow up the Kree space ship. This week however, Talbot uses the same ship to crash into Chicago. How did he get the ship? Sometimes, little inconsistencies like this can take you right out of the action.
The writing in this finale was so poignant. There were speeches of what makes a hero. There were tender moments, misdirects… and yes, goodbyes. Bear McCreary’s orchestrations were amazing, especially as the climax shifted into the dénouement. The variation on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. theme enhanced the sorrowful mood as Talbot floated into space and Simmons learned of Fitz’s death. Everything came together to make the moment of victory a heartbreaking sacrifice.
Coulson: I lived a life surrounded by heroes, none bigger than all of you since the day you joined, same as anyone in the line of duty. Heroes, because you… because we sign up to lose each other. To get close to good people and have them taken away. We’ve all suffered losses. Never lose sight of that.
As a season finale, it properly set up a potential next season. They’re searching for spare Fitz. It seems possible we may get Agents Piper and Davis as season regulars, thrilling me. As a series finale, almost all loose ends were tied up. Nostalgic references were made. If the miracle hadn’t happened and this was the end, it was a satisfying end to a show I’ve loved for five years. This show started because fans couldn’t stand the fact that Loki killed Coulson. This show would have ended with Coulson dying from the wound that Loki inflicted. Full Circle.
Simmons: We don’t move on. We hold that place in our heart. We close it off. We lock the door. We visit from time to time, but we don’t move on. Even after we say goodbye.
Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars
In addition to being a die-hard Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fan, running #AgentsOfSpoilers a weekly re-watch of classic episodes, Carolyn loves the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Earth-199999). When not engrossed in the MCU, Carolyn can be found binging old school wrestling and living on Twitter. She subscribes to the philosophy “Music is life”.