It’s been a long road for Agents of SHIELD fans this season. There have been highs and there have been lows, but finally we’ve reached the end. Yes, it has been a tumultuous ride for SHIELD’s sophomore season, but with a stronger focus, a less gimmicky approach to the source material and far more compelling character arcs, Agents of SHIELD season two was a resounding improvement over its lacklustre freshman season.
And wow, what a way to end things. ‘S.O.S’, the two-part season finale, was an absolute blast from start to finish. Thrilling, fast paced and action packed, it neatly tied up all the necessary loose ends, whilst also laying the groundwork for season three and the inevitable Civil War arc. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t help but feel a slight lump in my throat when Skye visited her newly mesmerized father. It was an oddly tragic and poetic scene and perfectly rounded off the Cal and Skye subplot.
While it was never the full-blown war that was promised between the Inhumans and SHIELD, it had enough thrills and drama to rival its cinematic equivalents. The multiplying woman was a highlight and Coulson, Mack and Fitz’s showdown was especially well handled, with Coulson’s sudden amputation making for a wonderfully shocking development. I doubt Coulson will be armless for very long; surely Fitz or some tech courtesy of Tony Stark will give him a neat new arm complete with special features. Hell, if they can turn Mike Petersen into fricking Deathlok, then I’m pretty sure an arm is an easy creation.
At the beginning of the episode, I honestly believed that something would happen that would push Skye to the dark side for good. I believed that she would eventually emerge from this season holding a grudge against SHIELD and be on the other side of the line come next season. Hey, that still might happen with the upcoming Civil War arc, but right now, it seems that Skye will be forming her own special team of Inhuman SHIELD agents, which will be an exciting new dynamic. And from the sounds of it, it seems that Lincoln will be a part of that very special team, given the news that actor Luke Mitchell has been promoted to series regular for season three.
And what about those cliff-hangers! Poor Fitz and Simmons can’t catch a break can they? All season it looked as if their friendship was fractured for good. But then, when they finally seem to accept their feelings for one another, the stupid alien monolith has to melt and swallow Simmons whole. Is Simmons dead? What will she be if and when she emerges? Where the hell did she even go? Hopefully it won’t be long before we discover the answers to those burning questions.
I honestly never thought I would say this, but Skye was the saving grace this season. No longer the annoying little brat who always whined and complained, Skye has evolved into a fully three-dimensional character with an actual personality and everything. Hopefully this trend continues going into season three.
The only major downside of the finale and indeed the entire season is Grant Ward’s arc. Ward was nothing more than a sub-standard Machiavellian villain, with nothing to offer other than slight annoyances to Coulson and his team. Even his little side adventure with his brother was a ridiculous waste of time which could’ve been better served elsewhere. And now he’s reassembling Hydra, which makes him even more irritating. Seriously, I thought Hydra was done. Can’t we just be done with Hydra already?
So what’s changed? Well, as it turns out not that much. Apart from Skye acquiring powers and assembling a new team of super people, everything still seems to be exactly where it was at the beginning of the season. While it did try and cement itself as a major cog in the MCU with the introduction of the Inhumans, season two still felt attached to the umbilical cord of its cinematic cousins. Unlike the vastly superior Agent Carter and Daredevil, series that have established themselves as stand alone shows in their own right, it seems that SHIELD is still struggling to stand on its own two feet, still relying on gimmicks, Easter Eggs and winks and nods to the major blockbusters that gave birth to it.
With Captain America: Civil War looking to shake up the MCU the same way that The Winter Soldier did last year, it seems that Coulson and his motley band of agents and Inhumans are in for a rough ride next season.
Until then, it’s been a pleasure. I hope that you’ve all enjoyed these posts and I’ll see you all next season.