I’ve had some issues with Season 2 since the reveal of The Inhumans, but this last arc of episodes tied everything together very well with some great action sequences and even stronger character interaction. And in an up and down season, it’s much better to end on a good note to leave audiences on a positive note as they consider all the possibilities come the fall.
ABC opting to air the final two episodes together helped give this a greater sense of importance and more of a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie feel than a standard 60-minute outing.
Jiaying’s scheming initially pits the Inhumans against the SHIELD agents who arrived in Afterlife to discuss a peaceful way to interact. I appreciated Coulson not immediately assuming Gonzales sparked the war, which helped keep the episode moving since he didn’t bite on Jiaying’s deception.
Again the show’s running gag that no man or male SHIELD agent can stop a female SHIELD agent holds true as Skye fights off some of her peers before May arrives. I wasn’t a fan of Skye more than holding her own since May has always been portrayed as an alpha class fighter and even if she taught Skye everything she knows, it’s doubtful May would teach her all she knows. Call it a draw before Skye uses her powers to knock May out.
Raina tells Skye in her latest vision Skye will become the new leader (Four words: Where is Black Bolt?) and since she knows Skye won’t trust her, she sets Jiaying up by revealing her entire plan before killing Raina — all in Skye’s view. For as much of a focus Raina has been the last two seasons, this was a pretty worthless way for her to get killed off especially just as she got interesting beyond being the pretty schemer in the flower dress.
Coulson wants to avoid an Inhuman/SHIELD war and Mack agrees to postpone his resignation until they settle things for Gonzales. Coulson sends May and Hunter to save Bobbi from Kara/Agent 33 and Ward. We haven’t gotten nearly enough May/Hunter team-ups so this was a fun subplot.
Ward had some pretty nasty torture techniques to get a confession out of Bobbi that she set Kara up to preserve her undercover operation with Hydra. Bobbi owns up to it, but says she didn’t know the SHIELD base had personnel and Kara was more or less sacrificed for the greater good. Hard not side with Ward and Kara here as Bobbi sounded like a straight up remorseless villain.
Bobbi manages to escape her shackles and goes toe to toe with Ward despite being doped up on anesthesia because SHIELD female > SHIELD dude. Kara saves him and they set a ACME style trap for Hunter where when he opens the door, a gun will shoot whoever walks through the door. I get this was the season finale, but Ward and Kara have been shown as much smarter than that and got progressively dumber as the episode went on to wrap their storyline. So predictably, as Hunter opens the door, Bobbi is able to maneuver her chained chair just enough to take the bullet in her chest. May walks around a corner only to get shot repeatedly by Ward, who realizes too late he killed Kara wearing her May mask. Why would Ward and Kara not have a code for when she’s sporting May’s face?
Coulson meanwhile tries to talk reasonably with Cal since now Coulson realizes Jiaying manipulated him like everyone else. Unfortunately, those chemicals Cal ingested trigger his transformation into Mr. Hyde.
Amazingly, Kyle McLaughlin has found another level of hamminess to tap into. This was set up all season and Hyde was a bit of a let down since Hyde’s design essentially was just a larger head and shoulder pads and not the more Hulk-sized bruiser he is in the comics. Coulson calms him down and gets Cal to realize Jiaying is the real monster. as Cal admits while he put Jiaying back together after Whitehall’s experiments, she was never the same.
Readying her master plan, Jiaying attacks the SHIELD carrier and her forces, including Lincoln, Gordon and Alisha, who can create clones, take down all the SHIELD agents save Mack. Time for Mack to go ‘Passenger 57’ on them right after he frees a captive Skye. Jiaying is going to unleash the Terrigan mists assuming there must be a few more Inhumans running around SHIELD, causing Lincoln to second guess his leader’s plan.
Before Coulson’s crew goes to the carrier, Simmons wants to talk to Fitz about what he said while they were in the ocean. Fitz mirrors my own incredulity asking why she wants to talk about that now.
In the fight highlight of the episode, Skye battles Alisha and her clones and just when the numbers overwhelm her, here comes The Calvary… and Lincoln. A close second was Gordon battling Coulson, Mack and Fitz in a air shaft he can’t teleport out of — ultimately leading to him accidentally teleporting into a pole Fitz was using as a weapon. Gordon was holding a crystal though and to save his troops, Coulson grabs it and just as his arm starts to turn to dust, Mack forgets he’s not on The Walking Dead and chops Coulson’s arm off.
With the tide now against her, Jiaying prepares her escape with another crate of crystals, but Skye comes out to stop her before getting hit with Jiaying’s life-force draining ability. For star power’s sake, it takes a lot longer for Skye to become ash (we’ll chalk it up to her being an Inhuman) allowing Skye to knock Jiaying’s transport into the ocean. Cal arrives and kills Jiaying to spare Daisy from having to commit matricide. This would have tied into my Skye is Luke Skywalker analogy if Cal died saving her though.
Mack is in charge of monitoring the alien artifacts, specifically the black goo that had The Inhumans so leery. May is taking a break and reconnecting with her ex-husband Andrew and it sure feels like this is more of a series finale in case they weren’t sure they were getting renewed.
Cal and Skye have a tearful goodbye and this may be the series most surprisingly genuine relationship. Cal only ever wanted his family back and he’s now forever denied that, but in a nice twist, Coulson doesn’t have him arrested — instead giving him the TAHITI treatment to forget everything, including Skye.
Ward is mourning Kara and ready to form his own team and with Hydra in shambles, Ward is going to be the new leader. That has potential…
Coulson (who should be dialing up Tony Stark any day for a replacement arm) wants Skye’s help in putting together a new team centered around people with powers signaling the show’s biggest break from the original concept of being about Agents of SHIELD. How will this affect the other non-powered agents? How soon until Lincoln and Skye call themselves Thunder and Lightning? What about Fitz/Simmons?
Ah, yes some resolution. Fitz asks Simmons out on a date, but loses a few cool points by bumping against a container. Simmons smiles as he walks off eager to accept when the black mass emerges from the container and sucks her in. Will Simmons become the MCU version of The Shroud or Cloak or am I incorrectly thinking this is Dark Matter?
All these questions and more will get resolved this fall. Like I said, it’s always better to end strong than limp to the finish line so Coulson and crew definitely left on a positive note. It’ll be real interesting to see the direction for the third season. What’d you think?