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SEASON FINALE REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2×21 “S.O.S., Part One” & 2×22 “S.O.S., Part Two”

Written by Alex Reale

And so we reach the conclusion of yet another season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I figured with a two-hour finale, the show would go out with a hell of a bang, and you know what? It actually did! I was impressed at how the show wrapped up things quite nicely at the end of this hectic rollercoaster of a season. Up until last week, we had no idea that the show would be renewed for another season, and I think “S.O.S.” would’ve been a somewhat decent conclusion to the series had that been the case. (spoilers ahead!)

Since I’m covering two hours’ worth of material, I’ll keep the summary short and sweet. These two episodes picked up on the impending Inhuman vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. war. Coulson and co. want to find out what happened to Agent Gonzalez, and when they do, they learn the Inhumans’ nefarious plot. In a weird turn of events, Skye’s own mother, Jiaying, has become the big bad villain for the show. Hell of a plot twist, am I right? But on the other side of things, Ward has also become a major thorn in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s side, so the agents have to fight off enemies on both fronts.

I was slightly surprised at Jiaying’s true intentions, though I always knew something was fishy about her. Once again, we’re presented with the fact that Cal is actually not that bad of a guy, and that he was only acting on Jiaying’s orders. It’s also reinforced that he’s only interested in what’s best for his daughter, which explains his sometimes-questionable actions. While it’s nice to be reminded of Cal’s intentions, I think it would’ve been better if they held off on this big reveal until this final episode. We’ve known for quite a while that Cal is this tragic, misunderstood villain. I believe it would’ve made a bigger impact on us if we didn’t learn about this until tonight. It’s all done really well, and you come to appreciate him for what he’s done for Skye, but it had less of an impact than it should have.

Speaking of Cal, what happened to Kyle MacLachlan? Tonight’s episode had some of his worst acting I’ve ever seen! He was over-acting like crazy, and his poor make-up didn’t help either. Tonight was going to be the big reveal where we finally saw his Mr. Hyde side, and it was a bit disappointing. The way he moved around, his attempts at being a ferocious beast, the way he did his voice – all of it was just terrible. I was laughing at the guy. He seemed like he was trying out for the role of Igor in a new Dr. Frankenstein film. It’s a shame because I loved his performances prior to this episode.

On a brighter note, MacLachlan and Chloe Bennett did share a sweet moment at the end. After Cal has been subjected to the T.A.H.I.T.I. program and has his memories wiped, he opens up his own veterinary office and encounters Skye. Not noticing his own daughter, he shares some polite chatter with her and then strolls away. I thought this was a nice touch and a proper way to essentially “write-off” his character.

I think every character in this episode had his or her moment to truly shine. Even characters I never really liked, such as Fitz and Simmons, were more bearable than usual. Fitz’s brain damage subplot is out the door, which is good and bad. It’s good that we don’t have to deal with the annoying stuttering and fumbling anymore, but it’s bad that we didn’t get a proper solution. I’m willing to overlook this because Fitz is a badass during my favorite part of the episode.

Mack is guarding a chest of Terrigen crystals when Gordon comes teleporting into the room. Coulson and Fitz come for backup, and the trio works together to prevent the Inhuman from getting to the chest. Guess who ends up killing Gordon? Yep – good ol’ Fitz sticks a pipe through his stomach! Sure, it was unintentional, but it was still awesome seeing Fitz do something besides fumbling around and being a quirky dork. I also loved his line, “Science, biatch!”. But then again, who couldn’t love that line?

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The entire episode was dedicated to epic fight scenes. Besides the Gordon vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. fight, I loved Skye vs. the multiplying Inhuman. This latter battle seemed different than any other confrontation on the show. The camera actually slowed down and used some cool visual effects to capture every movement perfectly. I wish we saw her incorporate more of her quake powers into the fight. Regardless, I loved the entire battle, even when May and Lincoln showed up for backup. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. never exactly relied on its fight scenes to get its point across, but I’m still glad they took the time to entertain us with them in tonight’s episodes!

I hate being constricted to such a short medium to do my reviews because I could honestly do a whole dissertation on “S.O.S.” I could go on about the cringe-worthy yet greatly shot Mockingbird interrogation scene, the cryptic cliffhanger ending with the artifact and Simmons, or the “hand”-some Coulson (I’m sorry), but I think you get the picture by now. The finale was excellent, and it makes me highly excited for the next season, which I haven’t felt in a while. I’m just thankful that “S.O.S.” was able to turn my mind around and make me optimistic for the future of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Final Grade: A –

Final Season Grade: B –

+ The season definitely went out with a satisfying conclusion.

+ Some of the best fight scenes in the entire show!

+ Every character had their chance to shine.

– Kyle MacLachlan’s performance and make-up were severely lacking.

– They could’ve condensed the finale into just one episode.

Extra Thoughts:

– Just like everyone else, I’m going to ask, “What the hell happened to Simmons?!”

– I’m guessing Ward becomes the new big bad in the next season?

– I gotta “hand” it to Coulson. Okay, I had to get a final pun in there.

Did you enjoy the finale? What do you think happened to Simmons? What are your predictions for the next season? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!