‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ wrapped up its second season with a big, action-packed, two-hour finale. I’ve read some grumbling both here and on other forums from viewers who didn’t care for the season or the Inhumans storyline. That puzzles me, frankly. If still a little uneven and imperfect, to my mind the series has shown tremendous improvement this year, and the Inhumans plot helped the show better establish an identity for itself and figure out where it fits in the Marvel universe.
You can’t please everyone, I suppose.
A lot happens in the finale, called ‘S.O.S.’. I took about two-and-a-half times as many notes for this episode as I usually do.
Jiaying has officially transitioned from overprotective and perhaps misguided leader of the Inhumans to full-on evil villainess. In a way, this is disappointing, as it reduces some of the complexity of the story to a simplistic good vs. evil conflict. On the other hand, this is comic book material we’re dealing with here, and her reveal isn’t actually out of character based on what we know about her.
After killing Gonzales and pretending that he shot her, Jiaying has Gordon hijack a S.H.I.E.L.D. quinjet and fire some missiles right into their own village. This makes it look like S.H.I.E.L.D. has launched an unprovoked attack, of course. Conveniently, the missiles don’t kill anyone, and only hit the building with Gonzales’ corpse, destroying any evidence of how he died.
Conflicted about where her loyalties should lie, Skye sides with her mother and repels the S.H.I.E.L.D. forces, including May.
Agent Weaver is incensed and argues in favor of a full-scale assault on the village. Fortunately, Coulson keeps his head and doesn’t want to start a war. He sends Weaver to take charge of the S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft carrier while he tries to defuse the situation. Coulson doesn’t believe that Gonzales would do what he’s accused of. It doesn’t take him terribly long to figure out what Jiaying is up to. I appreciate that he’s smart enough to see through her charade.
We already knew that Jiaying’s Inhuman power is the ability to heal from any injury. What we didn’t know until now is that she can only do this by sucking the life force out of another living person like an energy vampire. She kills one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. prisoners to recover from her gunshot.
Realizing that Raina told the truth about her earlier predictions, Skye goes to see her again. Raina refuses to tell her the specifics of her latest vision, but warns her not to trust Jiaying. She also says that Skye is destined to lead the Inhumans, and that the two of them will never speak to each other again.
Raina confronts Jiaying about what she’s done and threatens to expose the truth. Jiaying slashes her throat and kills her. Skye witnesses this and realizes that her mother is an evil mastermind. Raina must have already known that she’d die, and counted on Skye seeing it. That was her destiny. Before Skye can do anything, Jiaying has a lackey knock her out.
Coulson and team retreat back to the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, taking Cal with them as a prisoner. Cal remains in strangely good spirits about this. He doesn’t have a very good poker face. Once again, Coulson easily intuits his plan. He has Simmons analyze Cal’s super-strength serum (her initial findings are pretty amusing) while he tries to talk some sense to the man.
While talking to Coulson, Cal has a heart attack in his cell, allegedly caused by his unstable concoction. In an attempt to revive him, Simmons injects him with adrenaline. That was a mistake. The adrenaline was of course exactly the last component he needed. Cal rages out and frees himself from his restraints. Icers have little effect on him, but Coulson manages to lure him into a trap and pin him to a wall with a jeep so that they can have a little chat. Call tells him that Jiaying used to be a good person until Whitehall dismembered her, and that she was never the same again after Cal pieced her back together. Eventually, Cal calms down and acknowledges that Jiaying’s war has put Skye in danger. He agrees to help S.H.I.E.L.D. insofar as it will allow him to save Skye.
Mack’s plans to quit S.H.I.E.L.D. are put on hold when the aircraft carrier goes on high alert. He agrees to stay and help out with engineering things until the emergency is over.
Gordon starts teleporting groups of Inhumans onto the carrier. Lincoln fries the power grid. Before long, they take over the ship and capture Weaver and the command crew. Jiaying arrives and has Skye locked in the brig. She’s brought with her a case of the Terrigen crystals and demonstrates their deadly power on some S.H.I.E.L.D. officers. She then orders one of her people to send out a distress call to lure Coulson and as many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as possible to the ship so that she can wipe them all out.
Mack, who was on the lower decks tinkering with some gadget, grabs a fire axe and goes all John McClane, trying to take back the ship one bad guy at a time. That becomes a problem when he runs into an Inhuman girl named Alisha, who can create a seemingly infinite number of independent duplicates of herself. He slips past her and frees Skye from the brig. Although Skye has inhibitor gloves locked on her wrists and can’t use her powers, Mack hopes she’ll be able to use her hacking skills to stop the distress signal.
Lincoln runs into Skye. He’s been having doubts about Jiaying since he saw her cold-bloodedly murder the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Skye tells him what her mother is really up to, and Lincoln seems like he may flip sides, but Mack sneaks up behind him and clocks him over the head anyway.
Coulson and a number of other S.H.I.E.L.D. factions receive the distress call and fly to the carrier in a squadron of quinjets. However, before they arrive, Skye hacks the signal and sends a message that it’s a trap. Coulson orders all of the jets except the one he’s on (with Fitz, May and Cal) to turn back.
Jiaying decides that it’s time to execute all of her prisoners. She sends Gordon to go get a crate of the crystals, which are currently sitting in an empty room. When he gets there, he finds Mack waiting for him. They have a big fight where Gordon teleports all over the place to wear Mack down, but Mack refuses to let him get near the crystals.
Even without her powers, Skye has an epic fight with Alisha, the multi-girl. She’s almost overwhelmed by clones until Lincoln comes-to and assists. He uses his electrical power to zap the prime Alisha, causing all the clones to keel over. He then shorts out Skye’s inhibitor gloves.
Coulson and Fitz find Mack. Fitz sets up some doodads that will prevent Gordon from leaving the room the next time he enters. Sure enough, Gordon gets trapped in there with them, but is still able to teleport within the room. Gordon tries to grab Fitz from behind, but Fitz sticks a pole right where Gordon teleports into, impaling him on it.
As Gordon dies, he opens his hand and drops a Terrigen crystal. Coulson dives to the floor and catches it before it shatters. Before he can revel in how he saved the day, Coulson’s hand turns to stone. Never to worry, quick-thinking Mack takes the fire axe and amputates Coulson’s arm before the infection can spread!
Jiaying heads to the carrier’s deck, where her lackeys have already loaded another crate of crystals onto a quinjet. Skye confronts her mother and begs her to stop. Jiaying vampirically drains Skye’s life force. Skye musters enough strength to telekinetically shove the quinjet off the deck into the ocean.
As Skye tries to fight her mother, Cal arrives and tells her that this should be his burden, not hers. He snaps Jiaying’s neck and spine.
Hunter realizes the Bobbi is missing and that Agent 33 has kidnapped her. He and May track her quinjet to Spain, but of course she’s long gone by the time they get there.
In an abandoned building somewhere, Ward and 33 torture Bobbi to make her confess about having turned 33 over to HYDRA. Ward believes that 33 needs “closure” before they can run off and live happily ever after. Bobbi is unapologetic and insists that she had to make a difficult call while she was undercover. She stands by the decision. She tells 33 that Ward is just using her, but isn’t able to divide them.
Bobbi eventually gets free and has a very brutal fight with both Ward and 33. Ward gets the better of her and breaks her leg. 33 can’t bring herself to shoot Bobbi until she feels sorry for what she did. Ward then activates Bobbi’s cell phone, knowing that Lance will pick up the GPS signal and come running. He binds and gags Bobbi in a chair and sets up a booby trap (or is that a “Bobbi trap”?) with a rifle on a tripod that will automatically shoot anyone who enters the door.
As Lance and May arrive with a team of redshirt S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and scour the building, Ward and 33 pick them off one at a time. Ward tells 33 that he wants to take care of May personally.
Lance finds Bobbi’s room and stupidly opens the door without checking for a trap first. Bobbi manages to maneuver her chair so that she takes the bullet through her shoulder.
Lance gets on the comms and orders all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to meet with May at the far end of the building. May tells him that there are no other agents left. Lance already knew that, but 33 and Ward don’t.
33 puts on her May disguise and runs to the meeting point. Ward sees her, assumes she’s the real May, and shoots her dead.
The Morning After
Bobbi survives her injuries but says that it’s time she left S.H.I.E.L.D. (She may need to rethink that now that Marvel has canceled plans for the Mockingbird spin-off show.)
Mack decides to stay with the team. He still doesn’t entirely trust Coulson or anything to do with aliens, which is why Coulson puts him in charge of all the alien artifacts and tech.
May announces that she’s taking her first ever vacation, which she’ll take with her ex-husband Andrew.
Even though he helped defeat Jiaying, Cal still has crimes to atone for, and voluntarily surrenders. He asks Skye to visit him in prison. He won’t go to prison, however. Coulson has his memories wiped in the TAHITI program (does that mean the horrible machine had to operate on his brain?) and sets him up with a new life as a veterinarian. Skye keeps her word and visits, but Cal has no idea who she is.
Ward of course slinks away again. He begins the process of recruiting former HYDRA members so that he can take charge of the remnants of the organization.
The one-armed Coulson asks Skye to lead a new S.H.I.E.L.D. team comprised of powered individuals. She’s the only member so far. I assume Deathlok will join her.
In a rapid montage, we see that the Terrigen crystals that Skye tossed in the ocean are leaking. A school of fish ingests the Terrigen mist. (Shouldn’t they turn to stone or at least into mutant fish?) Those fish then get caught and processed into fish oil supplement pills which are bottled up and stocked on store shelves. This makes me glad I don’t shop at GNC.
Fitz and Simmons share a moment and he finally asks her on a date. Naturally, this means that something bad is about to happen. The episode ends on a cliffhanger as Simmons is left alone in the room with the Kree stone thing. Somehow, the door to its container has come open. As she reaches to close it, the stone turns to liquid and swallows her up, then reverts to stone form. I imagine that the next time we see her, Simmons will be quite a different person.
In my book, this is a pretty satisfying finale. I actually look forward to seeing where the show goes next season. I’m sure Coulson will have a robo-arm, which should be pretty cool.
ABC has officially renewed ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ for another season. Bizarrely, the very disappointing ‘Agent Carter’ was picked up again as well. Perhaps that one can show as much improvement in its second season as this one did. As mentioned, plans for another spin-off centered on Bobbi have been scrapped at this time, though we never know what the future might bring.