S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Up!: Beginning of the End
It’s finale time, Evil Geeks! After a season that some said started off painfully slow and a roller-coaster of a back-end of the season, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD finally wrapped up its first season this week in typical Marvel Cinematic U fashion; with action, intrigue, plot twists, and a guest cameo. With SHIELD on the ropes and Hydra on the upswing, will Coulson and his chosen team be able to overcome the nefarious powerhouse trio of Garrett, Ward, and of course the cybernetic hench droid, Deathlok? Let’s get to the reviewing!
With nothing left to lose, Coulson and crew have decided to go all in by taking on Garrett and his Hydra goons head on. First though, there is that issue of Fitz and Simmons being deposited in the ocean via the express route from the Bus by Ward. We find the nerdy duo trapped in the holding cell they were ejected in roughly about 90 feet below the surface of the water. Even beat up and left almost without resource, the two are scrambling for ideas as to how they’ll escape from their aquatic prison. Being the geniuses that they are, the two quickly devise a plan for blowing the door off their box but there’s a slight hitch: there’s only enough emergency oxygen left for one of them to take a deep breath of before heading to the surface. It would seem that it facing down certain death is the only way for Fitz to finally come clean with Simmons about his feelings for her. The confession scene is sure to elicit a tear or two, especially if you’ve ever held a candle for someone who had no clue how you felt about them. Fitz volunteers to be the one who won’t make it and as the two scientists bicker over who’ll be the one to take the oxygen, Simmons tells him that he’s her best friend and Fitz counters by telling her that she’s more than that to him. Call me a sucker or an overly emotional sap, but it was good to see Fitz finally man up and start pitching some game to Simmons. It’s been damn uncomfortable watching him get all jealous over Triplett and Simmons’ budding friendship and I’m happy to see that story get a happy ending. Before the two can get to that ending though, there is the matter of one of them being on the precipice of death. Simmons drags Fitz’s unconscious body to the surface with he and while they are both pretty banged up, it seems Fitz would survive after all thanks to the last-minute intervention of one supposedly deceased Nicholas J. Fury.
Fury has come out of hiding after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier after hearing that Coulson might need a little help. Grateful as Coulson is for the helping hand and as happy as he is to see the former director of SHIELD, he’s got a MAJOR bone to pick with Fury over that fact that Fury was responsible for Coulson coming back from the dead. Fury promises the two of them will have a sit down over that matter, but first there’s the nasty business of taking out Garrett. As cool as it was to see Nick Fury show up, I have to say some of the scenes he was in seemed a little forced; particularly the scene where Fury and Coulson confront Garrett. It was obvious that the portion of the scene featuring Coulson and Fury were filmed at a different time than the portions involving Garrett, so the conversation felt a little disjointed. I liked that Fury and Coulson were joking with each other, but some of the dialogue felt off. I audibly groaned when Fury says of Garrett “Maybe he learned his lesson?” and Coulson responds with “He learned something…” COME ON, MAN! It’s the finale of the first season of your TV show (which very nearly didn’t get a second season), step your dialogue game up a little. It’s possible that the idea to have Fury in the episode was an afterthought once the season had initially finished shooting and they were added later in order to cash in on the success of The Winter Soldier. Still Fury’s presence made the episode that much better and the after affects of his visit are sure to reverberate all through next season (more on that later though).
So what are Garrett and the other Hydra heads up to? Well, Garrett for one is busy going completely batshit crazy after being injected with the drug that brought both Coulson and Skye back to life. His Mark I cybernetics are powered up and he’s feeling like a Mark LVII robo-villain, so he’s nursing something of a delusional feeling that he’s invincible. He’s giving his Cybertek sales pitch to some US Military bigwig types, when he decides to give them an up close and personal demonstration of what his super soldiers would be capable of by ripping a bone out of one of the generals and then stabbing him to death with it. You just sold me some cyborg soldiers, sir! In the end, for all his cunning and bravado, Coulson manages to take down Garrett with the help of Deathlok, who thanks to Skye no longer has to worry about his son being harmed or of Garrett detonating the bomb implanted in his head. Garrett gets his comeuppance not once, but in fact twice courtesy of Phil Coulson. Also, Coulson finally gets to fire off that Destroyer gun that he was holding when Loki killed him in The Avengers!
While Coulson, Fury, and Triplett are dealing with Garrett and Deathlok, Skye and May are also dealing with Deathlok, albeit from a different angle. The two are attacking the Cybertek facility where Deathlok and the other Centipede soldiers are being “piloted” from. First they reprogram all the cybernetic soldier back to their default mode, which is to protect Garrett. This causes the soldiers to return to Garrett, allowing Coulson and the others to follow them straight to the big bad who’s been pulling the strings all season. As Skye is dealing with the tech parts of the mission, Melinda May has her hands full dealing with Ward, who’s shown up in yet another attempt to kidnap Skye. As we’ve been slowly finding out all season long, there is WAAAYYY more to Skye than meets the eye. It sounds like there’s some serious dark mojo flowing through her veins and Hydra seems to want at it. I’m not sure who or what Skye really is, but at the end of the episode, we get a surprise visit from one of her parents…and seeing as how they’re drenched in blood, I’m not sure that they’re going to show up next season without evil intent. Back to May and Ward, who are locked in seriously tense battle. Ward manages to get a few good hits in, but May manages to throw a hellacious beating Ward’s way; delivering the coup de grace via a spining roundhouse to the face, moments after nailing Ward’s foot to the floor. BAM! Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned for Hydra. Ward will be spending his days and nights for the foreseeable future in a 4 star torture suite at some godforsaken secret SHIELD prison. Don’t drop the soap, buddy.
After all is said and done, Fury and Coulson finally get to have that sit down and Phil let’s him know that it REALLY, REALLY, WASN’T ALRIGHT to bring him back from the dead without permission. Coulson had advised him that the program would have serious psychological effects, but Fury went ahead and experimented on him anyway. I thought it was a cool reveal that Coulson’s resurection was basically a trial run for something that could be used if an Avenger were to fall in battle. Fury has a plan to make it up to old Philly though; he gives him the tools he’ll need to restart SHIELD and tells Coulson that he’s now the director. When we come back in the fall, we’ll still be able to call the show Agents of SHIELD! We get a another little surprise thrown in for us at the very end of the episode with the return of Patton Oswalt. Sadly they haven’t subjected him to the same process that was used on Coulson and Skye; Eric Koenig really is dead, but at least we still have Billy Koenig!!!! Billy also shares his brother passion for lanyards and security clearance, which makes me hope that Billy will be a regular next season. Who knows, maybe he’ll be a new member of the team, kind of like I’m betting Triplett will be next season. Triplett is a welcome addition to the roster and quite frankly is a much bettter tough guy than that scumbag Ward ever was. Overall, despite the “slow” start (which for the record I never believed was slow) I thought the inaugural season of Agents of SHIELD was absolutely fantastic. It’s the perfectly weekly compendium to fill in the gaps between Marvel movies. It’s going to be a long summer without a weekly dose of the Marvel Cine U, but at least we’ve got Guardians of the Galaxy coming up in August to hold us over until SHIELD comes back. Thanks for sticking with us this season and be sure to check back in the fall for brand new installments of SHIELD’s Up!
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Posted on May 15, 2014, in Geekology, Reviews, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Up!, TV and tagged ABC, Bill Paxton, Clark Gregg, Grant Ward, HYDRA, Joss Whedon, Marvel, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, Ming Na, Nick Fury, Phil Coulson, S.H.I.E.L.D., Samuel L. Jackson, SHIELD, TV, TV Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.