Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has come a long way. Many felt the show had a slow start but with the recent changes, you can see how everything has been building all season. As a season finale, it's this episode's job to wrap up everything--or at least almost everything.
Since the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, our Agents have been on the run. With one of their own revealed to be working for HYDRA, there's been physical and emotional costs to the team. This was compounded even further when Agent Ward's past was revealed last week and we saw how far he was willing to go to dispose of his former friends.
With the team divided, Coulson and company attempt to get to the bottom of things and try to get the upper hand against John Garrett. The episode starts out with a big fight scene. This is what we want to see. We can't just have the Agents sitting around or shooting their Night-Night gun at people. Basically you can say the show packs a punch at the beginning.
The revelations about Garrett continue to develop and we see what his plans are compared to those of HYDRA's. With some callbacks to past plot developments and characters, you can see that, yes, everything is connected. It also, finally, makes sense for there to be a small team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents taking on these big threats. This was a distraction, at times, during the season. Unfortunately it took the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D. for this to make sense.
Despite the strong connections to the movie Cinematic Universe, which include a couple pretty big ones in this episode, it still feels like a TV show compared to the movies. This is something I really looked and thought about during watching. I'll be honest, I watched this episode twice! There basically is still a TV tone. It's partly the music and even dialogue, that sets it apart from the tone in the movies. This is just a distraction for me. We are talking about a different medium here and the show has to accomplish different things compared to a full-length movie. It's just hard, at times, when the show is trying to be a little of both with the connections to the rest of the Cinematic Universe.
Of course, it's been announced that Samuel Jackson would have a role in this episode as Nick Fury. Let's just say he makes a pretty incredible entrance. This does take place after The Winter Soldier. That's just another incentive to watch the episode.
Speaking of incentives, there's an interesting revelation about how shadowy organizations can operate. How do they actually find people willing to work for them. The Incentive Program mention in the episode makes perfect sense.
One of the problems with some of the movies and this show, at times, is the humor. There is some here but thankfully it's just the right amount. This isn't your typical cheerful/campy episode. Things have gotten pretty dark. Assuming you watched last week's episode, you know a couple Agents didn't do too well and you'll see the full detail of their fate here.
We do get a lot of closure on certain aspects. That's what you want and need in a season finale. Questions have to be answered as viewers don't want to sit and wait forever. That being said, yes, there is a conversation between Coulson and Fury about what happened and why. Despite questions being answered, there is still a nice juicy cliffhanger fans of the show will dig.
It's not a perfect show but you can see how the show is fighting to find its ground. And it's succeeding. The show may not be everything I would want it to be but I can't deny how the characters have grown on me over the course of the season. I will miss watching the show in the coming weeks as we wait for (recently announced) second season. I might just have to watch the episode a third time tonight to say farewell for now. It's not a happy ending for everyone but this episode is sure to bring some cheers and smiles to your face.