Double episode time! This is Agents of SHIELD’s two hour finale to its second season.
Because this was an extra long finale [and my schedule didn’t give me the opportunity to recap last week’s episode “Scars,”] I’d like to go through the plot of this conclusion to Season Two as swiftly as I can to get to the analyzing. So, let’s break it down by character shall we?
Skye’s mother has had a confrontation with SHIELD by killing Gonzalez and framing an attack on the Inhumans community to excuse a declaration of war against SHIELD. In the meantime, Agent 33 and Ward have captured Bobbi for a vengeance quest, Coulson is on good terms with the rest of SHIELD, and Raina has been having premonitions.
I feel like Raina has emerged from her post-transformation-depression stage into a character I could have gotten behind, one who would be as conniving and deceptive as she was before in her flowery dresses, but less fixated on “beauty” to see herself from within. She could be a great villain for the future, having such power of foresight and being so manipulative is something that recalls to something very “Whedon”, building on some of the lackluster moments of the Buffy spinoff, “Angel.” Raina could have been a force for Skye and Coulson to reckon with in season 3… if they didn’t have JAYING JUST SLASH HER THROAT. Oh well.
The side plot of the finale was Bobbi’s being tortured by Ward to get her to admit that she was sorry for turning Agent 33 over to Hydra. However, Bobbi isn’t the kind of person to give in and make a dishonest apology, in full belief that she made the right call to make that sacrifice and save the rest of the undercover SHIELD agents, like Simmons. Bobbi being thrust into a situation to prove her strength and resilience as a SHIELD agent, for one, provided the cringe worthy moment of the finale, and two, makes me glad that Adrianne Paliki has stuck around on the show.
May and Hunter infiltrate the building she’s being held at, and Bobbi takes the bullet in the shoulder for a trap set by Ward.
As far as their hooking up, Hunter goes on a bit too much about his affection for Bobbi as his ex-wife that you can sense her wanting to end things with him from a mile away by the Season’s end. Is it going to continue being a “will-they-wont-they”? Who knows.
His ultimate goals still seem unclear, if the writers even know what those goals are themselves. All we know is that May very easily deceived him into shooting his new girlfriend. Ultimately this just gives him something to be pissed off at, and after everything regarding what the Inhumans and Avengers have done in the past month, Ward has nowhere turn to but Hydra, and even the center of evil is running sparse, putting him in a position to take up the mantle of a “head of the serpent” for himself.
Well… she’s been wanting to put a bullet in Ward’s head but didn’t. She intended to knock out Skye, but she didn’t, and she was set up to make amends about what happened in Bahrain, but… nothing really happened there other than we know what it is now. BUT, she’s on good terms with her ex husband and is taking a vacation. Oooh, badass May knows what sexy underwear is for? She’s not an alien after all!
I want to like May, but this is the end of season two, and to me she’s still “The Ass Kicker.” And if you’re still at that point in the story, you’re not an aloof character, you’re a plot device for action scenes. We’ve seen why she’s a cold badass, I want to see what else can we do with her.
The big guy did a lot of the heavy lifting in getting things done through this last couple of episodes once he realizes he can’t leave SHIELD with an attack on it’s way. Hopefully he’ll be sticking around to lend his technician skills to Coulson again.
I title this section in this way because these two have so recently begun to feel like independent characters. Their differences on inhumans, their willingness to do their jobs in different capacities, their usefulness in the lab and on the field have had Fitz and Simmons grow into excellent agents, and then Simmons went and brought up feelings again. Oh no! Not the feelings! Not now!
At least that was my initial thought, because the last thing I wanted was to have another merging into Fitz-Simmons, but I realized also that emotional depth is the next place to go now that Fitz’s trauma has been mostly forgotten, and I’m certain they’ll need to have a reason to be tugged apart again by season three. What can a night out for dinner hurt-WAIT WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT SIMMONS GETTING GOBBED BY A BLACK GLOB?
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
This is the episode where Coulson admits that Skye is as much the only family he’s had than he ever was for her. Plus, in working in full cooperation with the rest of SHIELD’s remnants, he’s back in “get shit done” mode in this finale. In addition to that, his quips were better here than in recent weeks, and particularly left me laughing out loud when he frankly said to Mack that the Helicarrier was “Really big and has poor signage.”
Finally, this is fan favorite Coulson we get to se-OH SHIT WHAT HAPPENED HERE. THEY JUST CHOPPED HIS ARM OF?
I guess Marvel’s seriously commitment to their “Star Wars” homage if the Phase Two joke even found its way into Agents of SHIELD. How is Coulson going to deal with missing an arm? Will it literally define his characterization as Director with a missing body part like Nick Fury’s eye did? We’ll see, although it’d be interesting to see if he goes full Skywalker with a robotic arm by next season.
Kyle Maclaughlin has been very VERY slowly growing on me as Calvin, and this week we finally got to see the extent the show is is willing to take this malevolent Mr. Hyde, plus depicting the tragedy of putting his beloved wife back together piece by piece and continuing to fuel her vengeance with human lives every since, desperate to regain his old life. It’s a touching, tragic character background that I personally would have liked to see set up a little more cleanly than have the extent of it laid out in the opener of S.O.S. part 2, but no time like the present I suppose. Even though the present is turning into a super-soldier-mimic rage monster crushed between a car and a wall.
Just when I was beginning to like MaClaughlin’s performance however, he’s wiped by Coulson’s TAHITI program, leading the life as a proper veterinary doctor. We’ll see if he shakes himself out of the illusion and revert to insanity later on, because this seems to wrap up with JUST too pretty of a bow after all that’s gone on.
This week, Chloe Bennett proves that Skye’s range as a gifted inhuman, and a gifted agent shined with flying colors to me. The ultimate goal of bringing her family back together, building into a deathmatch of turmoil and tremors is pretty great. Even the show’s resident psychiatrist believes she’s ready for anything by this point, but I’m sure the events will take some toll of guilt later on. The conclusion of the season solidifies what they’ve set up for their season three, which will no doubt play into Civil War’s story when Skye straight up says “Our team of powered people needs to be anonymous” unlike the Avengers which consists of individuals all in the public eye, which could no doubt play into a superhuman registration act.
Considering where it was building from, Agents of SHIELD’s second season has covered a whole lot of ground after the HYDRA reveal last spring. Characters I didn’t expect to ever give a damn about I have come to like quite a bit, plus new characters like Bobbi and Hunter that I’ve enjoyed even more. I think the show’s biggest faults this year have been where it decelerates its momentum to wait on certain revelations so that everything services the movies to tie into their #ITSALLCONNECTED campaign. I may have another post with further details on my final thoughts of this second season of Agents of SHIELD, so stay tuned.
If you’ve been watching it, what are your thoughts on how far the show has come?
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