The fifth season finale of Agents of SHIELD was the end of the show as we know it, but also a new beginning
The agents had to choose between saving their leader and be stranded forever in a time loop that destroys the Earth, or killing a gravitonum-loaded general and save the world.
It’s a tough choice. because the agents believe losing Phil Coulson is the end of the world.
In the end, there was tragedy and triumph…and the story is not over.
As we saw last week, the agents have one dose of Centipede serum. It can be mixed with the remains of an Inhuman to save Phil Coulson’s life, or it can be mixed with Odium to stop a Gravitonium-infused General Talbot from cracking the world into a million pieces.
The previous signs from Clone-Elena and Robin seem to point that Coulson must die to save the Earth.
Yet his agents know SHIELD has survived losing Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, Jeffrey Mace and (in a way) Nick Fury.
Phil Coulson is a different manner. They just can’t lose him. He’s been a boss, friend, rebel and father figure.
I was hoping the show would find a loophole like Days of Future Past, and wind up saving everyone. In the end, showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tanchareon came up with a tense and entertaining episode where the good guys won after all, but at a price.
It also gave the assurance that even with loss, the crew will still be able to fight another day.
By the way, Jed also directed the episode, and showed he’s just as talented as his brother.
The show opens with a debate over whether the Centipede serum can be used on him or Talbot is pretty intense, and Elena is so sure her clone is right she steals the vial.
Mack says we can’t lose hope now, so they have to vote on what to do.
Actually, May votes….by breaking the Odium vial. That means they can’t short-circuit Talbot. They must save Coulson but maybe lose the world.
Meanwhile, Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) is really getting into Thanos mode, crashing his ship right into several skyscrapers in Chicago. He forces Robin (Lexy Kolker) to help him find more gravitonium or he’ll kill her mom (Lola Glaudini). Considering how stressful this is, it’s amazing how Robin’s keeping it together. Maybe it’s because she knows how it will end, and can’t stop it.
No one can. He’a already “fracking” to get the mineral, and causing extensive damage without a second thought.
From here, it’s the most nerve-racking episode this show has ever made, as it looks like the crew is doomed to repeat future history. It starts with Daisy saying that Mack would make a better leader than she would because he is the moral center of the group. However, she can still be the soldier to defeat Talbot. She can still be a future leader of SHIELD, and knowing that she’s not ready is a good sign.
Out of nowhere, Coulson is also aboard the Zephyr, and tells her that she’s got to make Talbot listen to reason. If not, she has to put him down. He also confesses he didn’t take the serum because he’s willing to meet his fate. Daisy still vows to keep him alive, but the agents discover he’s fading fast.
The crew rescues a lot of people in Chicago, which suggests may they could be the final survivors of what is to come. Even Daisy left the ship the same way she did in the timeline. May, Mack and Fitz find Robin, and Mack goes to find Polly. May and Fitz suddenly realize that in the time loop, Polly and Mack die. This time, though, they’re saved by May and Fitz.
Daisy tries to reason with Talbot, getting him to realize what he’s done and they should unite to stop the destruction. Thing is, he heard the same from Coulson and General Hale. He agrees they should unite…by absorbing her into him. He even tries to slam her into the earth, causing a jolt that buries Fitz into a ton of rubble.
Then, Robin says that something has changed. In fact, a lot has changed.
Elena now tries to save Coulson, and he’s awake again. Daisy takes a gamble when she finds she had the Centipede serum all along thanks to Coulson. She injects it into herself and generates enough power to break free and eject Talbot into deep space. It was a bit sudden, but they really wanted to shatter the time loop.
As for Fitz, he emerges from the rubble….but he’s also fatally injured. Mack is there trying to have Fitz hang on, but it’s too late. The Fitz-Simmons love story is no more. That also means no Deke.
There’s not a dry eye in the MCU.
The future will be different after all, but some will not be part of it.
As the agents share a drink to honor Fitz, they all talk about loss, and how they have to deal with it. Coulson, still weak because of his health, still stands tall among the agents. Jemma says it’s still hard to move on. However, it also occurs to them they can break the time loop again. Another version of Fitz is still in space somewhere, since he had to use hibernation to get to 2091. Maybe the “other Fitz” can be found, and Deke lives again.
Come to think of it, Deke’s from the future. Where’s his ancestors, and could they help out SHIELD?
The agents do prepare to lose one of their own. Coulson still has a few weeks to live, at least. He’s willing to face it.
He’ll spend his final days in Tahiti because it’s a magical place…..because May is spending those days with him.
This is quite an ending to Agents of SHIELD, as the crew faces change as they lose their leader. Still, they will be ready to face their next challenge. Alphonse MacKenzie is a worthy successor to Coulson, and he’ll do just fine with the others supporting him.
The show’s coming back in the summer of 2019, and it’s not hard to suspect it may have a link to what will happens in the next Avengers movie. If Coulson does head to the Big Triskelion in the sky, at least May will be back. Maybe the other Fitz will find a shortcut to Earth, and find Jemma to propose marriage…again.
As I said in my story of the show’s renewal, maybe Lance Hunter or Tony Caine will join the squad. Since the timeline didn’t reset as I suspected, Ruby and Werner won’t be back (which is a shame because rehabbing two HYDRA kids would have been great).
Already TV Guide suspects that maybe the reports of Coulson’s death might be exaggerated depending on what may be planned. Clark Gregg admits to EW he’s not sure he’ll be back in 2019, but it looks like people will use social media to come up with a “miracle cure.”
Whatever happens, SHIELD will still be there, protecting the Earth from whatever is next.