Home at last and while I’m tired I’m also restless so it seemed like the perfect night to watch the finale of AGENTS OF SHIELD for a second time.  Len and I were doing a great deal of hooting and hollering so I wanted to watch it again with a more critical eye.  My initial reaction hasn’t changed — it was too damn easy.  (Picture Samuel Jackson saying that in his Nick Fury voice.)

I had really liked the shake up to the show — SHIELD has been designated as a terrorist organization.  Our little gang of heroes are on there own with few resources and the pain and horror at a traitor in their midst.  And then the writers went and undid it all, but more on that later.

The good news is the show is coming back.  The better news it’s been moved an hour later which should help deepen and darken the stories they can tell.  Word is that both Ward and Fitz will be back next season.  I’m glad about Ward, he became very interesting once he went dark.  Fitz I can take or leave though I liked the scene in the pod just before he blew out the window.  It was the best moment those two actors have been given thus far, and they pulled it off.

I love Nick Fury as channeled  by Jackson, he’s a great character, but the quippy, Buffyesque dialog between Coulson and Fury about Garrett didn’t work for me.  I think because they let it go on for a beat too long.

I really liked the fact that Skye and Ward didn’t have a cliched conversation about “how could you!?”  Instead she just let May kick his ass which was very satisfying.

Coulson casually vaporizing Garrett also didn’t work for me.  The point of Coulson is his inherent decency.  it was apparent that he and Garrett had worked together, been friends.  They have both experienced the creepy alien drug and returned to life.  Mad Garrett is a mirror image of Coulson, and in fact they imply that they are closely linked and have mad insights into the universe in the final scene of the show.  The nonchalant killing shook my faith in Coulson.  It felt cheap and manipulative like the moment in the first Avengers movie where Thor says (as regards Loki) “He’s adopted.”  Good for a laugh or a cheer in the case of killing Garrett, but undermining the character or emotions.

For me one of the best and most moving moments in the episode was when Fury basically tells Coulson — “You’re an Avenger too.”  The idea that the little guy, the normal guy was just as important as Ironman, and Captain America, etc. etc. was a lovely moment.

I was less happy about making Coulson the new director of SHIELD.  Yes, he’s a good and honorable man who, unlike Fury, does not believe that the end justifies the means, but he’s become a bureaucrat and the guy who sits behind the desk and gives orders is not very interesting.  Since Coulson has always been the heart and soul of this show making him an administrator may prove to be a misstep.  And if he’s off leading missions, and waving around a gun it will also seem unrealistic because the Director of SHIELD should not be in the field.

I think my discomfort arises from the fact that at the end everything had been wrapped up with far too neat a bow.  Yes, there are questions still to be answered — why is Skye’s daddy dripping blood?  Why is Coulson scrawling alien circuit boards on a wall (and does no one in this universe own a pen?), but it feels like the show has just been rolled back to the beginning in terms of the trappings.  Yes Fitz may be brain damaged now and Ward is a nasty, but it just feels like a reset..

Contrast this ending with PERSON OF INTEREST that just shook all the pieces and completely jumbled the board.  The writers on that show didn’t assume that a handful of people could “win” against the might of the government and a shady, well financed international company.  They had a small win, but they have lost the war and each other.  I want to rematch that finale too before I write up anything.

As I look back at this post I realized I disliked more than I liked, but I’ll be there when the show comes back.  I like the universe Marvel has built and I like these characters.

8 Responses to Finale AGENTS OF SHIELD

  • Love “Person of Interest”. It’s sort of a cross between “Michaelmas” by Algis Budrys and the 80s tv show “The Equalizer”. And the finale was quite good. Looking forward to see what happens next season.

  • Michael Dezotell says:

    I agree with all of your points but two: Coulson has been transforming in the course of the show, and his offhanded blasting of Garrett is a hint that he might be heading into a less decent frame of mind. He is more angry now, and less willing to trust the system. His sense of right and wrong has been tested, and there is no doubt that he is not the same man he was in the movies. There is now a darkness in him that, I think, will reveal itself in the second season. He is now a very troubled soul, and he will eventually seek redemption.

    Also, as the new head of SHIELD, he has the monumental task of pulling the agency out of the mess it is in now. Fury has just dumped the whole clean-up project on this man, and it will be a very long time before he will get to sit behind a desk. Putting SHIELD back together will be a major part of the second season plot line, in my opinion.

    Anyway, I love a thoughtful, analytic review, and you never fail to deliver. Thanks!

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      Gardner Dozois made that really interesting point over on my Facebook wall. That Fury putting Coulson in charge is nicely ironic given the fact he’s displaying the same dangerous tendencies as Garrett.

  • The vaporizing of Garrett by Coulson didn’t work because it was so casual. May could have done that scene and it would have worked beautifully. Coulson? He could have, but he should have agonized, and also rationalized why he was doing it, that being to save Ward. So long as Garrett is around, there’s no redemption for Ward. With him gone, Ward can be saved.

    I expect that Fitz’s brain damage is a hook to using alien tech to fix him. I didn’t buy the “there will only be enough air for one of us. There was plenty of air for them to breathe in the capsule and they were both scientists with enough crap to rig up a tank. Alternately, they could have just used the buddy breathing system that divers use when they have only one tank. If Simmons exhaled into Fitz’s mouth, he would have had her air, and while she would have used some of the oxygen, the human body is not so efficient that it uses all of it.

    OTOH, with Coulson as head of Shield, I read this as him being head recruiter since the whole organization has fallen apart.

    The easy prediction is that Ward’s redemption quest will be to get the unobtanium needed to heal Fitz. He’ll likely escape, go rogue to do it, then come back with it, making puppy-dog eyes for them to use it–which they do, because it’s Fitz’s best/only hope. And it works, Fitz forgives Ward, and then everyone else will feel like a heel for refusing to accept his attempt at amends except for May who will do some variant of the “I’ve got my eye on you” speech.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I liked Ward from the beginning of the show. I can’t explain why since he was very boring and cliched in the beginning, but Dark Ward was a lot of fun. So I’m rather glad he will be back next season. They could have left Fitz out and I wouldn’t have minded too much. I’m worried they are adding too many characters and since nobody ever really dies in comics it’s a worrying trend.

  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    I dislike “redemptive” violence a great deal, and I really dislike casual violence. Having Coulson just kill Garrett in that no-big-way manner disturbed me. The idea it might be a sign of growing darkness would be cool, but it was played more as a joke which is why I didn’t much like it.

  • Michael McAfee says:

    Great review of the last episode of “The Agents of Shield”.

    I’ve read Marvel for years until their “casual” violence presented in the comics became so prominent I stopped reading. I don’t like reading a comic that is 32 pages long, and 28 pages are frame by frame shots of a fight. John Byrne and other comic writers really shaped the Marvel Universe in the 80’s. They created wonderful story lines and characters that still endure today.

    it’s imperative to remember that the tangled web the writers of Marvel have created over the last 50+ years is just a bit complicated. Marvel has a rich history of mutants, superheroes, gods, and aliens to keep anyone guessing who’s really pulling strings of the web. It’s basically a soup opera.

    Garret being zapped by Coulson? I had images of Garret becoming Ultron for a moment when he stood up from the table. I couldn’t help think this might be the lead in for the new movie. Garret’s personality could have been a good template for Ultron’s ambivalence toward humanity. With Coulson dismissively zapping him with the alien ray gun, it could be a hint of the “alien” influence on Coulson’s mind. Coulson might not be there anymore.
    It could even be the alien’s blood trying to assert itself. I wouldn’t put it past Marvel to have the blood rewrite Coulson’s mind and body. The alien did have amazing regenerative powers. Coulson’s body might be a host for the alien to return. The alien writing at the end, a tie into Garret’s actions, is an interesting lead. Coulson could actually become something else before the series runs its course.

    It was nice to see old spy tech being used. It’s right out the old 60’s Nick Fury Shield handbook.

    I like the reference to the Howling Commandos. Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos was a fun read when I was a kid. The Commandos make for an interesting lead to the Invaders which sported such heroes and the Original Torch, and Prince Namor. A hint to larger things like Atlantis and Androids are both themes found in Marvel’s sorted past. It would a way to weave that history back into the present with a movie or four.

    With the unlimited alien life of the Marvel Universe, I could not help but wonder if this new alien influence might be the Kree. They have their innate shape shifting ability, and come in blue and green. They could easily be considered “monsters”. All this talk about metamorphosis, I have to wonder if Ward and Sky might be Kree. On the other hand, It could be an introduction of Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel. Both have their origins based on Kree influence.

    This episode, in my mind, actually created more thoughts about where are the writers going to go with this story, and how are they going to alter it to fit the new Marvel mold? Yes character’s actions can not be dismissed, but Marvel rarely does something without it have some consequence. Everything is done for reason. And if the writer’s messed up, they improvise and make up a plausible excuse.

    I really liked you review and It made me think about the episode again.

  • Chris says:

    okay everyone this wasn’t Thor or Ironman and delitnafy not batman its just and okay Marvel movie thats it thats all, now all of you people stop complaining that people are being critics .just cause we don’t go into movies just calling everything great doesn’t mean we suck

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