Usually, I try to come up with a catchy title to go on the front page of the website, something clever to catch readers' attention. This time, though, "The End" really does seem all too appropriate, doesn't it?
In interviews, it was revealed that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Episode 22 was written to serve as both a season finale and potential series finale. Whatever happens in the recently-confirmed Season 6, though, this installment brilliantly wrapped up many of the existing stories.
The most heart-wrenching (and arguably most important) of these is the life and death of Phil Coulson. Ever since his introduction in the 2008 Iron Man film, his cool competence and deadpan humor wormed his way into the hearts of fans.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. began with Coulson’s life, restored following his death at the hands of Loki in The Avengers. How fitting that he finally got to visit the real Tahiti and spend his (presumably) final days there.
Whether or not he will return (and in what capacity) for Season 6 has yet to be revealed. But I think that his swan song beautifully encapsulated his character from start to finish.
Though the circumstances are obviously very different, Coulson's actions here mirror those in The Avengers to a surprising degree.
A man, without any sort of superpowers, sacrifices his life to make sure the Earth has a fighting chance. His words and actions inspire the heroes around him to come together, fight, and ultimately defeat an foe that would have destroyed the world.
Daisy: I can’t do it! I can’t go out there, especially not alone!
Coulson: I’ve given you all the tools you need to handle this. Now, you find the strength in your heart to appeal to his good nature. And if you can’t, find the strength in your arms to beat his ass senseless.
It's exactly not a "happily ever after," but it's an ending both fitting and worthy of the guy who was just as much an Avenger as Cap or Iron Man.
Actually this sort-of happy (bittersweet?) ending prompted one of my biggest headscratchers with regards to this episode: what about Thanos?!
After all, they clearly acknowledged the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Talbot explicitly indicated Thanos' attack as the reason he needed to power up using the gravitonium.
Yet, despite a presumed alien invasion (not to mention everything else that happened during the movie!), Team Coulson apparently decided that their time was better spent hunting down Frozen Fitz?
Spoilers for Infinity War follow!
Even presupposing they dropped May and Coulson off in Tahiti before the grand finale of Infinity War, there was still the rather hard-to-miss attack on Wakanda. (Where were Fury and the helicarrier seen in Age of Ultron, anyway?)
Given that this was intended, as mentioned above, to potentially serve as a series finale, I guess that this falls under "don't think about it too hard." Still, the sudden disconnect jarred since the threat of Thanos influenced Talbot to such a degree.
On the whole, though, "The End" worked beautifully to close out both this season and Coulson's life. So many moving and poignant scenes throughout, it would be impossible to count them all.
I'm not generally an emotional person when it comes to watching television, but I felt a few tears in my eyes as May and Mack held Fitz as he died. This, despite the fact that I saw that death coming a mile away!
After all, they do have the frozen back-up Fitz. But that look on Simmons' face, when Mack came to deliver the news!
Talbot's death likewise moved me. Daisy and Coulson tried everything they could to break through his madness but failed. How horribly tragic to see a man like Talbot fall in such a way.
Sometimes, the most compelling villains are the ones who think they're doing good. Despite Talbot's almost-literal scenery chewing, he actually believed that he alone could save the world.
Hopefully, he would be remembered not as the madman who probably killed thousands in Chicago, but the hero who gave his life to protect his family, his country, and his world.
He would never give up on Talbot! And he would never see him as a maniac! He would see him as a man, a broken *man*! Coulson’s the only one who could talk him through this, that’s what he does!Daisy [about Coulson]
On a side note, "The End" featured a slew of great lines; stop by our Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. quotes page for some of the notable ones!
"The End" also pleased me by addressing Daisy's leadership skills (or, rather, lack thereof) with her public acknowledgment and handing the reins of command over to Mack.
Plus, both Piper and Davis made it out alive! Huzzah! And then there was that dedication plaque in the Zephyr, which made me laugh. What an apt description, I think:
In remembrance of our fearless leader Phillip J. Coulson. He gave us his wisdom, his love, and his life (a couple of times).Memorial Plaque
Some assorted thoughts before I step back and open up the discussion to you, my fellow fans:
- Tahiti really is a magical place! So magical, in fact, it's like Coulson and May weren't there at all but totally in a studio in front of a green screen! (Yes, it really was that bad.)
- Seemingly-minor details more important than they appear: Mack publicly announced S.H.I.E.L.D.'s arrival in Chicago, and a cop expressed relief.
- Sure was convenient of Deke to pop off to see the world before it was either destroyed or he ceased to exist. I did enjoy his character and hope he didn't vanish into nothingness.
- Speaking of Deke, boy will Simmons have some 'splaining to do with Frozen Fitz on that count.
- I would think that the Kasius family would still be a threat to Earth in the future. Something to ponder for Season 6, perhaps.
And that's a wrap for this season! Remember, you can watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. online if you want to relive the action, the drama, and the adventure.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return summer 2019 with a 13-episode sixth season. And I can't wait!
In the meanwhile, what did you think of "The End"? Did the deaths shock you, move you to tears? What about Coulson's retirement? Let us know in the comments section below!