Agents of SHIELD: 321-322 Finale Review
Reviewed by Ollie Gregory.
Wow. We’re finally here! A whole twenty-two episodes later and the third season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is completely finished. It’s had its ups, (mainly Fitz and Mack) and it’s had its downs, (looking at you Shake & Bake), but now all of that is history.
Originally I was going to review each episode of the finale individually, but then I figured, why be unique when you can just copy everyone, and here we are.
First things first, what on Earth was that opening sequence? Daisy and Coulson alone on what we originally believe is the planet Simmons was trapped on. Then, revelation: the planet they’re on is actually Earth, (that’s our planet by the way). And then, revelation: the whole thing was a dream of Daisy’s and has absolutely no relevance to anything. I mean, maybe it comes into play during season four, but by the look of things, they just wanted something eye catching to use in promos. Not cool Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, not cool.
The whole opening sequence in fact, was a little bit odd. I’m never one to complain about a heist, because heists are the best, but everything was suddenly moving really quickly and I couldn’t help but feel lost. Regardless, there were some really great moments. Lincoln had a fantastic moment with Hive (which means more now that we’ve seen the end of the episode), and the combination of Glenn Talbot and a Mo-cap suit clad Fitz was pretty legendary. The best part has to be when Mack, Lincoln and Yo-Yo trapped Hive and electrocuted him. I liked him losing his mind while James and Mr Giyera just stood awkwardly not really knowing what to do.
My issue was that the episode began with Hive about to release his toxin which makes everyone look like my ex-girlfriend (Gotcha!), which kind of seemed like what the whole season had been building up to, and made me wonder whether I had accidentally watched the second episode before the first. After that weirdness, however, the episode starts to pick up some pace and the season begins to conclude itself.
One thing I really enjoyed was the exploration of the affects Hive’s manipulation has had on Daisy. As you would expect, given this is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the negative effects of mind control don’t wear off as soon as you’re released, (just ask Bucky or Jessica Jones). Daisy instantly begins suffering from withdrawal symptoms, as whatever Hive was doing was clearly triggering some pleasure sensors. It’s an interesting arc for Daisy with her first hating herself, then begging Hive to take over her once more, to trying to murder Hive and remembering how much she loves Lincoln. It was surprisingly interesting route for the show to take, and there were a number of twists that completely caught me off guard. Her scene with Hive in particular was terrific.
As usual, Fitz and Simmons were fantastic, even if there just wasn’t quite enough of them. Fitz had a few great moments, such as when he shot someone with an invisible gun (which was, again, great) but as a whole there just wasn’t quite enough of them. They’ve been one of the highlights of season 3, yet weren’t treated as such in the finale really. Ah well.
One of the biggest surprises this episode was how much I adored the pairing of Mack and Yo-Yo. I don’t want to use the words “ship”, because it’s not very me, but admittedly, I would like to see more and more of these two together next season. They clearly mean a lot to each other, and I believe in their friendship. The fact that Mack is probably the greatest guy in the world and that I love him far more than anyone should love a fictional character, certainly helps.
The show stealer, however, is undoubtedly John Hannah as Holden Radcliffe. That guy just absolutely kills it in the last two episodes. His delivery and comedic timing are absolutely on point this episode, and every scene he’s in after he escapes from Hive is terrific. The very end of this episode, which shows him successfully creating a Life Model Decoy, got me very excited for next season, and I pray that John Hannah is a regular part of the cast.
It’s difficult to review the finale in many ways because although it was very enjoyable to watch, the episodes they weren’t particularly great when viewed as a whole. Really, it was just an amalgamation of fantastic moments, both regarding action and emotion. We got a fantastic confrontation between Coulson and Hive (sort of – Coulson was a hologram) in which we got a glimpse of the Coulson we first met way back in 2008. There were some truly terrific action sequences, with the highlight easily being Mack wasting fools with a shotgun-axe (which perfectly resembles something created in zombie apocalypse survival game). There’s an awful lot of fan service going on this episode, but it’s fan service for anyone whose watched this season it its entirety, so it works.
Easily the best part of the finale however, was the way they handled the death of “a S.H.I.E.L.D agent”. Ever since Daisy had her vision, the show has been telling us that a member of the team is going to die. They even published little YouTube videos of each character, titled “R.I.P (S.H.I.E.L.D Agent)”. Having seen an article titled “Who is the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D?” beforehand I was almost certain that it was going to Coulson who bit the bullet. Fortunately, however, I, as often is the case, was wrong.
While for the majority of the episode, the passing of the cross necklace was just annoying (like the opening sequence of Lord of the Rings, but less cool), by the end the story it lead to a surprisingly beautiful scene. Now I’ve never claimed to be the biggest fan of Lincoln, but this changed over the course of the 80 minutes. He was cool and confident, and even when confessing his love for Daisy (for the millionth time this season), he didn’t come across as the blonde-haired wet lettuce he normally did.
Not only was the scene in which he told Daisy that he was sacrificing himself beautiful, but also the one in which him and Hive share their final moments. Out in space, both knowing they’re about to die, the two speak honestly to one another. It’s stunningly shot, and really proves that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D isn’t your run of the mill, average superhero show. It’s grown leaps and bounds, and this finale seemed to show a great amount of maturity.
By and large, the season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, was exactly what a season finale need to be, satisfying. It tied up all loose ends, gave every character a moment, and didn’t damage the quality of a season as a whole. It was fun, enjoyable and satisfying, but it definitely wasn’t quite the best the season had to offer.
P.S. It’s not really part of the finale, but how great was that time jump at the very end. Rogue Daisy looks amazing, Mack and Coulson are out hunting her, and Dr Radcliffe is making all sorts of crazy breakthroughs. Given its later air time, it looks like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is going to include edgier content, and if this season is anything to judge by, why not?