This post contains spoilers for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. Consider yourself warned.
Boy, am I glad to stuck with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The show, which spun off from the wildly successful Marvel films, follows a ragtag bunch of secret agent misfit types as they travel the globe battling super-powered foes, nefarious covert organizations bent on world domination… you know, as you do. The show started off with a lot of buzz and good will since it was following in the wake of The Avengers’ massive success, and more importantly, because it featured fan favorite Phil Coulson, the no-nonsense S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who had apparently been killed at the end of The Avengers.
However, the show went through a pretty rough patch in the middle of the season, due in large part to the focus on Skye’s attempts to become a real S.H.I.E.L.D. agent while trying to learn more about her origins. Put simply, Skye was the least interesting character, and her arc’s emphasis often detracted from the other arcs, such as the group’s search for the Clairvoyant, a criminal mastermind behind bizarre experiments, conspiracies, attacks on S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, etc.
And then Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier happened, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. got a much-needed shot in the arm. The fallout from that film — e.g., the existence of Hydra, the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D. — put our motley crew on the run, and led to betrayal, loss, and sacrifice. And it all led to a wonderfully enjoyable finale with “Beginning of the End.” There was much to like about the finale, including a heartbreaking scene between Fitz-Simmons at the bottom of the ocean, the glorious return of Nick Fury, and an awesome Melinda May/Grant Ward battle royale.
I especially enjoyed how unapologetically comic book-y the episode was, from the monologuing to the gadgets, from the melodrama to the big reveals, and a constant stream of winks to the audience. Producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, who wrote the episode, knew exactly what fans wanted, and gave it to us in spades. But what’s next? The show was recently renewed for a second season, so where do Coulson and crew go from here?