Agents of SHIELD Season 1 Ep 22 (TV Show Review)

Last week’s penultimate episode of Agents of SHIELD proved to be a disappointment. I had had such high expectations of the episode, but it failed to deliver on many of the most important elements and it made me somewhat fearful that the finale this week would similarly fail to deliver. After all, the show had just recently experienced a positive turn-around, and I wanted that to continue. Looking back, having just seen the finale, I suppose that I should have seen the penultimate episode as a sign of what was to come. Because this is the show that is based on a superhero-verse and yet it proceeded along as a standard police procedural.

The finale, “Beginning of the End“, hasAnd part of the problem is that while the show did complete a few lingering storylines, it left things far too open-ended and it was basically a cliche from start to finish. For me, it showcased some of the worst of the source form, and it really did not add positively to the overall experience of this season. I must say that this episode is not at all the kind of finale I was expecting. It was bland and uninspiring, the only good thing being Nick Fury’s cameo, and even that I found problematic.

Agents of SHIELD Logo 0001

To start off with, the show does conclude the storylines for Mike Peterson, John Garrett and Grant Ward. That’s not to say that their storylines end, although in the case of one of these characters, the storylines are going to continue, but in a far different context, given how the good guys win.

John Garrett, who was one of the best things that happened to the show until he turned traitor and was revealed as the Clairvoyant, got extremely short shrift in this episode, and I was just facepalming whenever a scene with him came on. Smarmy, cliched, grandiose dialogue was what Bill Paxton was saddled with, and in this finale, I got the distinct feeling that the character was completely pissed upon. The writers, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, just had no idea of how to deal with him and so they went down the wrong and easy path to conclude his story.

With Grant Ward, all we got to see of him were a couple action scenes and that’s it. It was as if all the character development of the last week was just a figment of my imagination. Absolutely zero development or result for the character, which was another disappointing blow against the show. And with Mike Peterson, he got a good outing I think, although we could have done with seeing much more of him, given how important he became for the second half of the show. But I don’t have much to complain as far as he is concerned, except perhaps that he could have done with some more exciting dialogue perhaps.

As far as the rest of the main cast is concerned, the disappointments continued one after another. There was no real closure to any of their storylines except that Phil Coulson got the chance to talk with Nick Fury about Project TAHITI, for which the former Director of SHIELD gives a damn good explanation. It is the kind of talk that I expected from Fury, and that’s what I got. But at the same time, where was the closure for everyone else? Because all the other characters got was a handshake and a bouquet of flowers for a job well done. I wanted to see some conclusion for May’s feelings for Ward, especially in the light of his betrayal of the team. I wanted to see Fitz and Simmons acknowledge their feelings for each other, which we got a teaser of but that was it. I wanted to see a resolution to the distrust between May and Coulson, but we didn’t see that. I wanted to see how May’s relationship with Fury and her mission aboard the Bus would be explained, but we didn’t get to see that either. Oh and where is Maria Hill in all of this? Pushing pens and papers for Tony Stark as part of Stark Industries?

All we got to see was the “new” Team Coulson break into Garrett’s super-secure compound in a scene right out of Tango & Cash, and then a whole bunch of narrative inconsistencies that didn’t make sense in the context of what the characters were saying. All we got to see was the continued use of World War 2-era Howling Commandos spy gear which is cool to see but kind of ridiculous at this point. All we got to see was Coulson acting stupid and charging head-on at Garrett in the climax. All we got to see was Coulson use the big Phase 3 super-gun from Avengers that he used to unsuccessfully take out Loki. All we got to see was Fury being mostly cryptic and looking a cool bum for most of the episode.

This episode was one where for question answered there were three new questions, new mysteries raised. That’s not how you end a problematic first season for a show like this. At every point, it felt as if the writers just weren’t comfortable with what they were writing, which is pretty strange, considering that Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen wrote “Turn, Turn, Turn“, one of the (far) better episodes of the season. Instead of going out with a bang, they are going out with a whimper. And the worst part is that the other villains of the show, Raina and Ian Quinn, they mean absolutely zero in the grand scheme of things. This episode is all about Garrett’s finale and the writers add in Raina and Ian just for the sake of it, since these two hardly do anything that contributes to the overall situation.

Of special note is a conversation between Raina and Ward in which we get the spark of character development for both of them, but which all fizzles out later, in the climax for the later and in the post-credits for the former. Ian Quinn and Raina were basically utterly wasted as characters in these last two episodes, especially after all the work they did to setup a larger story for Quinn especially where he was trying to sell an army of Centipede soldiers to the American Armed Forces and Raina was working on the question of who she is, what she is, and just what kind of a connection she has to Skye, which was teased in the last episode.

Agents of SHIELD Cast 0002

There’s a phrase called “rule of cool” and this episode was all about the “rule of cool”. This episode is all flash and no substance because it doesn’t really take any kind of chances with the characters or the events. It is all pretty straightforward and boring. I really was expecting so much from this episode, that it would be the best of the entire season, better than all the previous 21 episodes, but that’s not the reality I am afraid. This is basically no different an episode than some of the early ones we saw, and by dint of being the finale, it is an even bigger disappointment, because it had so much more to live up to.

I might be coming back for season 2, to say otherwise would be dishonest of me since I do kind of like all these characters and I want to find out how things are going to chance now that the entire status quo for SHIELD has changed again with this episode, rather significant in that there isn’t going to be any new Marvel movie in the time period before Avengers 2: Age of ULTRON is released next year, around this time in fact. So perhaps Fury, Hill and the other characters will return with Team Coulson. We shall see. As it, my excitement for Agents of SHIELD Season 2 is next to nil.

More Agents of SHIELD reviews can be found here. I’ve reviewed every episode so far.

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Posted on May 14, 2014, in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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