So when we started Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D it was a show with a lot of promise that we did not know if it would be able to capitalize on. At the end of tonights season finale I would say we are right back where we started, a lot of potential that I now believe the show will indeed be able to capitalize on. “Beginning of the End” was a quality wrap up to season one, many of the major conflicts were tied up with a nice bow, there were a bunch of huge character payoffs that we had been waiting for practically all year, and we had some great action scenes to boot. It is a testament to the now solid foundation of the show that we were able to have a truly enjoyable season finale and even more so a strong demonstration of how the Marvel Universe is intertwined across everything. Sure some of the bigger threads were left out in the wind, but we have a second season to hopefully tie up those loose ends effectively. So let’s dive in one last time this season.
So everyone survived. I mean really, every major character on a Joss Wheedon show managed to survive through a season, that in and of itself is astounding. Sure, Marvel probably said you can’t kill that guy, but man did I think Ward or Fitz was going to kick the bucket. I mean Ward did have the ever loving crap kicked out of him by May and Fitz nearly died, but damn for no body to drop was really a surprising turn. Both Fitz and Simmons seemed to have their numbers punched while being submerged which lead to some very strong dialog for both characters, and if anything Fitz defiantly gets the gold star for most improved character as he went from a dopey science nerd to a well developed dopey science nerd. I will definitely give Iain De Caestecker all the credit in the world for taking a character that was seemingly worthless at the beginning and transforming him into my favorite character of the series. He brought just the right mixture of goofiness and heart that made Fitz a shinning example of what a good TV character can be.
Brett Dalton on the other hand managed to take a very bland character and still manage to turn him into a quality sociopath who desires leadership in his life. Ward’s conversations with Garrett, Raina, and Coulson really helped to solidify who he is as a character, a man lacking direction and looking for something to guide his way. This was especially prevalent during Ward’s conversation with Garrett as he begged and pleaded to receive orders from the man who rescued him. You can see just how disconnected Ward is from that one exchange and how he was so relieved to finally be given a directive. Yes, this is partially due to his solider’s mentality, but I feel it relates more to how he never truly became attached to a solid family. It will be interesting to see if and how Ward is involved in season two’s plot being that he is now not only behind bars, but is forced to live with betraying those he had grown close too. That cannot be easy on his soul no matter how much he says he is ok.
Coulson of course received the bulk of the screen time as he finally earned his confrontation with both Garrett, who was completely off the rails since taking the serum, and his big closing conversation with Fury. Garrett and Coulson are seemingly the two recruits that Fury nurtured closely and to see how quickly they diverged after receiving the serum made for some nice parallels. Even Fury’s entire speech about what Garrett was supposed to take from “every man needs a team” speech was nice if all be it cliched touch on how the two men changed. I will say that now that Coulson is the director of SHIELD it will be interesting to see how he goes about rebuilding the organization and if he decides to reveal himself to the Avengers. He will obviously base the organization on Fury’s structure, but still manage to build it more to his design, and I really can’t wait to see what that looks like.
Last but not least, holy shit did Nick Fury get a lot of screen time this week. When we found out Samuel L. Jackson was going o be making another appearance on the show I was thinking it would be another cameo, but man did he get some quality work in. It really does speak volumes of a show when they manage to be able to actually use the talent of the shared universe. Also I think this is the quippiest we have seen Fury ever be, and man was it awesome. I loved just how much lip he was giving Coulson and Garrett and it really helped to elevate Clark Gregg’s performance this week.
Overall this was a very strong finale and actually made me look forward to season two.
Final Grade B+
+May vs. Ward
+Fury making his presence known
+Solid emotional beats
+Garrett getting wasted, TWICE
-NO ONE CARES ABOUT SKYE’S BACKSTORY
-Lot of loose ends not tied up
-Billy Koenig makes his appearance, I actually thought this was a security measure Fury installed at all of his bases.
-The weird cryptic writing looked a lot like a circuit to me, just saying
-Watching Garrett getting wasted by Coulson was clearly the funniest moment of the entire episode
-I am guessing Trip is going to be a regular come next season since Ward is in jail. I am totally ok with that.
-Coulson has the Loki killer gun. This makes me too happy.