Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Finale – A Lotta Bang, A Lotta Bows

The finale to the fourth season of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wrapped up yesterday and ended what has probably been their best or certainly one of their best storylines for the show with some small degree of disappointment. I suspect because up until very recently nobody was sure the series would be renewed after all so things had to be tied up in a bow mighty fast and it shows. Nevertheless, the episode had some genuine OMG moments that allowed it to keep company with the brilliant episodes in the Framework and about Aida.

Overall the series ended with a lot of (too many, too neatly) tied up parts. Ghostrider is back because Aida’s new body, which was made with the Darkhold, tore an opening for him to come through and pursue both. Mack got out of his personal pretend life, seemingly no worse for wear.  Aida, of course, got whacked in a big way. That had to happen but they did get a big shocker in with Simmons, before she bought it, so good on that. The Framework was mysteriously and seemingly for no reason shut down (maybe there was a reason? Maybe everyone was 3D people-printed (I don’t think we saw that machine destroyed, did we?) into the real world to allow for Aida’s vision? Maybe I can has Ward back after all?). The Russian who is by no means (but maybe could be sort of) MODOK, however, escaped despite some very satisfactorily smushing of a number of his LMD’s. However, if you don’t cut off the head, it’s not dead, so he’s still in play as is his plans to take over the world. Maybe he’s actually Brain and we have yet to see a Pinky? Regardless he’s still in play though Radcliffe may or may not be depending on the aforementioned 3D people printer. And Talbot’s in a coma after a Daisy Copy shot him in the head. /Snerk.

 

Robbie Reyes’ Ghostrider

And about Aida! Standing ovation to Mallory Jansen for a genuinely well-delivered character which truly ran the gamut from impersonal artificial being to, Nazi headmistress to awed and joyful Pinnochio to crazed psycho magic death supe.  I hope she had as much fun acting through all those changes as it has been watching her do it.

And (probably, this is Marvel after all) a sad farewell to John Hannah and the character of Holden Radcliffe who is always amazing in everything he did and who managed to toe the line of a truly grey character, morality wise, the whole way. We don’t have enough of those in stories, ever.

Holden Radcliffe

Mack and Yo-Yo made it out of there alive. I’m sort of in two minds on that. If he’d died in there sobbing over his computer kid that would have been tragic but also a really good story. Instead, he makes it out and is Mr. Understanding and at peace with it all? This from the same guy who had a freak out in season two about Inhumans? Meh, whatev’s. If it means keeping Yo-Yo I can pretend some grace. At least she got a little writing done for her in the latter part of this season.

Daisy and Robbie Reyes seemed to be having a bit of a moment there. Maybe just as super-friends doing super things or maybe more. Hey, anything’s better than Lincoln. A wet rolled up newspaper would be a more interesting romantic hero than Lincoln so sure, ok. But what I really wanted was Aida’s machine writing out a copy of Rebel-Ward to muddy the waters. THAT would have been awesome. Or maybe Trip? Throw a monkey wrench in the Fitz-Simmons paradise?

They’re gonna do a superhero moment!!

I hope we won’t be dealing with Fitz’ guilt all next season too. That would be torturous a la, Fitz ducking around with brain damage. Glad they magically cleared that up. Oooh I know, what if Fitz is so crushed by the guilt over all he did in VR land that he goes back in and exchanges himself for a Ward that’s better than he is? I mean, you’d have to add some serious winking at the science and the Intersect. Sorry, I mean the Matrix! Sorry, the Framework of course. Anyways it would still have to be on in some way to do that but hey, that’s a Marvel story in a nutshell anyways. Don’t forget the juicy comment Fitz makes about his virtual self (paraphrased): “I was just like Ward.” There’s a lot of meat on that story bone.

And then there’s Mayson, or whatever we are shipping May and Coulson as. My better half is not in favor but I’m all for seeing where that bottle of Hague takes them.

Which leads us to the insert-scene-in-case-we’re- renewed ending. I bet if the series had ended with that episode it would have ended with them in the diner. Instead, we’re in space? On some sort of crummy ship? Some are saying prison ship but one with a lot of free rein then. And somehow it’s tied in with a deal Coulson makes with Ghostrider?Maybe we’ll be seeing the initialization of S.W.O.R.D.? Or its first, intergalactic iteration perhaps? I’ll certainly be keeping an eye peeled for any green haired women or the name Abigail Brand. Who knows where this is going except that their playing field, according to Jed Whedon, has expanded again, in terms of how much of the Marvel universe they can write about so if anything, I’d say we’re at a clean slate and all bets are off.

From Marvel’s S.W.O.R.D. issue 01
by Kieron Gillen, art by Steven Sanders

That also means that season five, if they stay true to form, will start up a new string of story arcs all of which will, hopefully, and by the grace of the business suits at ABC, come together in a story crescendo like the one they just put to bed. If I am to forward any advice to the writers on that score though, it would be to speed up the story introductory bits. The show always seems to lose viewers because it doesn’t double-tempo their plot from the get-go, which is a damn shame in a lot of ways. I’d much prefer to allow the writing that breathing space but if we must cater to the attention span of American viewers to keep the show then so we must.

So yeah, I’ve loved this past season. I’d like some more Ward please, going forward. But I’ve said that after every season I think…

Sources:

IMDB: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

EW: Agents of SHIELD Renewed

Wikipedia

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