Well, here we are. Another season of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has come and gone. The good news is: there will be another season. But where can and where will they go after this? Only one way to find out, but this episode was so big, it’ll take more than five thoughts to cover everything. Warning: spoilers (for the episode and Avengers: Infinity War.)
1. Final Showdown
So in the end, SHIELD’s final foe is Talbot, or rather, Graviton. A foe corrupted by his own power, while still certain that he’s being a hero in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. But it wouldn’t be a finale without a big super-powered fight, now would it?
So we get Daisy using her Quake powers to give herself super acceleration, a moderate amount of flight, and even to survive a near-atmospheric slam by counteracting the force of the impact. While it sometimes felt like a stretch of her powers, it didn’t feel like an unreasonable way to use them.
Of course, Daisy also gives the oh-so cliche speech about how first responders/disaster relief/police/soldiers/etc are just as much heroes as any of the Avengers. It’s an overdone sentiment but Talbot doesn’t buy it anyway.
However, while the fight was all well and good, what’s more important was seeing the SHIELD team work together to save people, accompanied by a reassuring voiceover by Mack. It meant we got to see the whole team in action, rather than just Daisy saving the day; a properly heroic moment for them all.
Also, literally blasting Talbot into space was pretty cool.
The latter half of the season constantly had the specter of an unchangeable future hovering over it. Could they break the loop and avert the world’s end? After multiple moments pointing towards the idea of an immutable destiny – including showing us the exact shot of Daisy’s last recorded moments before the world ended – the loop finally broke.
As soon as Robin said that something is different, anything could happen; anyone could live or die. The good news, though, is that free will is once again a thing. It’s also in-line with how time travel and bad futures are typically handled in Marvel comics.
However, that also means that some characters are no longer protected by futuristic plot armor. . . .
Someone was going to die this episode. Turns out it’s Fitz, and frankly, after some of the crap he pulled, it’s not unexpected. Still, having him get suddenly buried by rubble was a well-timed shock, and while it seemed for a second that he was okay under there, the large piece of metal sticking out from his side was gut-wrenching.
So it seemed as though Fitz is dead, and once again the Fitz-Simmons pair was torn apart. Because that’s what happens every single season, really.
Instead, though, the show gets more mileage out of the future changing, in what is a clever way of both bringing Fitz back and solving a time paradox. When Fitz went to the future, he took the long way around, in a frozen sleep until he reached the same time the rest of the team was sent to. That means that not only is the Fitz that died a traveler from a future that no longer exists, but the him from the present is still out there, sleeping and waiting for a future that’s been averted.
So all they have to do is find him somewhere out there in space and the duo is reunited once again. Sure, he missed a few things, like his own marriage and his future grandson, but I’m sure he’ll get caught up in no time.
Speaking of his future grandson. . . .
So, the bad future has been averted, which means the future Deke came from isn’t going to come to pass. So what happens to him? He leaves before the final showdown, saying he wants to see the world as much as he can before it’s gone or he’s gone, and we don’t see him after.
There is the possibility that, as he expects, he simply blinks out of existence once the future changes. However, Marvel comics has plenty of time travelers from timelines that no longer exist and are stuck in the current era; alternate timelines are most certainly a thing, and Deke wouldn’t be the first refugee from one. Deke suddenly not having ever existed would probably cause a paradox or two as well.Continued below
Thus, I’d say the most reasonable conclusion is that Deke is still around, ready to show up for season six if needed. His timeline is an alternate future that will no longer come to pass, but he’s still around and stuck with us.
Then we have Agent Phil Coulson and his swan song. In order to change the future, he had to not take the Centipede serum; as future Yo-Yo said, not saving him was the key. However, rather than turning the serum into a weapon against Talbot, it was used as a power booster for Daisy. Is there anything that stuff can’t do?
Coulson’s last action is not that of a soldier, but a leader, giving inspirational speeches and properly passing on the torch. His sacrifice is what allowed the world to survive.
It was a great sendoff for Coulson, giving his fond farewells to everyone on the team as he retires. Yes, even though the super-speed CPR Yo-Yo gave him helped keep him going a little longer, Coulson is still dying (give or take any appearances he may have in season six).
But it’s his end that brings the show to a perfect conclusion.
6. Full Circle
In the end, things come right back around to where they started. As the show began with Coulson returning from what he believed was Tahiti (but was really the T.A.H.I.T.I. project) and brought back to life, the show ends with him ready to embrace the end at the real Tahiti.
“I gotta say, it’s pretty magical,” he states, calling back to his earlier programmed response of “It’s a magical place.” This time, though, May is with him, and he knows his team is in good hands; just because the destination is the same place he left from doesn’t mean the journey wasn’t worth it. It’s all part of the hero’s journey, and his has come to an end.
7. What About Thanos?
Oh, right, there is one little thing they haven’t quite touched on. . . .
So the past few episodes indicated that Thanos had arrived, and we saw some of the news footage of the Black Order’s attack. In fact, his looming threat helped drive Talbot to seek more power to fight him. Yet after Talbot’s defeat, it’s more or less forgotten about.
We don’t know exactly how long after the climax the final scene takes place, but it’s almost certainly at least a day. We could be generous and say that there was enough time between the Black Order’s attack on Earth and Thanos’s arrival at Wakanda to give them at least that much time to fit in the finale before everyone disappears, but even with that wiggle room, the end is still coming for about half of them. You can’t tie in Infinity War then make everyone magically immune to the effects of the movie.
With that said, it’s also understandable that they couldn’t end the season on the same note as the movie before they knew if they’d be getting another season. So while as a tie-in it was a little unsatisfying, as a show it’s still an acceptable decision.
With that said, season six should at least make an effort to explain the disparity and let us know what happened to the team after Thanos’s snap.
So there we have it. Season Five is over, with a 13 episode season six on the way. Will it fall into the dreaded “post season” pit, or will the show find a way to keep things fresh and active? What did you think of the finale? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see you next season!