Despite starting out in a somewhat rocky beginning the season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. manages to wrap up multiple plot threads in a satisfying way, whilst setting up exciting new developments for the upcoming second season.
Following the shocking moment in the previous episode where Ward (Brett Dalton) ejected Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) out of a moving plane into the sea it’s a surprise to find that the two of them are relatively unharmed, despite being stuck under the ocean. The scenes between the two of them, however, are some of the best in the episode and really show how far the two of them have come over the course of the season.
The relationship between Fitz and Simmons is one of the most earned and genuine, having seen them gone from best friends to two people who clearly have much stronger feelings for each other. Sadly, thanks to everything that has happened to the characters over the latter half of the season, neither one of them has been in a place where they could pursue these feelings. It doesn’t look good for them going forward with Fitz making a huge sacrifice to save the woman that he loves.
Whilst Fitz and Simmons lay stranded on the bottom of the ocean Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the rest of the team formulate a plan to finally put an end to the evil John Garrett (Bill Paxton) and former team-mate Ward.
The attack on the Cybertek facility feels surprisingly big in scale, despite the relatively small amount of people involved. The action is well paced and makes the most of both the actors strengths, and their limited budget constraints.
Teaming Coulson and Triplett (B.J. Britt) together is a great choice, further showcasing not only that Triplett is a fun and enjoyable addition to the cast, but that he works very well alongside Coulson thanks to the fact that they both love being secret agents, and the history behind S.H.I.E.L.D..
Coulson is later partnered up with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in order to face off against Garrett, a pairing that makes a lot of sense considering the history that the three characters share. Despite Marvel revealing before the episode aired that Fury would appear, the fact that he has multiple scenes is a pleasant surprise. It makes the episode feel more like a part of the bigger Marvel universe in ways that the series hadn’t with the past cameo appearances.
However, the best part of the episode has to be the confrontation between Ward and May (Ming-Na Wen), as she finally gets to work out the frustrations of having slept with a Hydra agent. It’s a great fight, one that helps to remind the viewers that even in a group of brilliant fighters May is head and shoulders above them (she was described as being as good as Black Widow earlier in the season).
The season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. feels very far removed from the start of the series, not just because the characters have grown so much, but because the series itself has finally figured out what it wants to be. The destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D. may not have been the disaster that viewers thought it would be for the series, with the team working so much better as a group of outlaws on the run, trying to do good and take down the bad guys without a huge support network. Hopefully this will be a trend that will continue into the shows second season.