As the fall draws closer, thoughts turn to hoodies, pumpkin everything and of course the return of our beloved tv shows. Since, the season 2 premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is fast approaching, (Tuesday, September 23rd) I thought now would be as good time as any to recap/remind you about last year’s finale.
Click to read more, but beware THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
(Yes, I know it’s been several months, but not everyone is up to date on things.)
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS!
It was one hell of a freshman season for Agents of SHIELD, plenty of ups and downs. There were people who lost faith, and it’s true they seemed, at least for the first half of the season to be stalling for time till Captain America: The Winter Soldier was released. Sure mistakes were made, but the payoff was well worth it.
We begin in what appears to be a nice clean office facility of Cybertek, where a seemingly nice man named Zeller is giving a brand-new employee a tour, and selling the greatness of working for Cybertek, when he asks the New Guy why he came to work there. New guy’s response? “The incentives program.” Whelp, that’s a red flag there isn’t it?
Suddenly, his tour is interrupted by “an emergency”, this is where we learn that this innocuous seeming office, is actually responsible for controlling Cyberteks army of super soldiers. The emergency? Oh, that’s just our plucky team of former agents, turned vigilantes kicking some ass in the sub-barbershop base. Skye finds a computer to upload her Trojan horse and track Garrett’s next move, while Tripp, Coulson and May battle the super soldiers. May gets her hands on the Asgardian Beserker, which served as a nice little callback to earlier in the season and takes care of business quite nicely.
After witnessing their unit’s defeat, Cybertek puts a call into Garrett to inform him. Honestly though, Garrett could care less. He’s SUPER high on life…err miracle drug? He feels fantastic, he can feel the world. He is immensely creepy. Like psychotic, but not in the endearing, emotionally disturbed “I follow orders” way that Ward is, more of the “I will kill you and eat your soul” kinda way. He dismisses the loss and continues to “flex his new muscles” aka lifting doors and scribbling down weird doodles he’s calling “notes”.
Quinn is complaining to Reina that Garrett used up all their serum, and how will the ever do a demonstration now, Reina is not concerned. Hydra is involved and we all know they have that nifty incentives program in case they start running out of volunteers. Ward, however, has apparently never witnessed this brand of crazy from Garrett and he’s starting to get concerned. A little late on the “Oh My God Garrett is insane” front, but hey, at least he made it there, right?
Cut to our vigilantes, Skye informs us that the virus has worked and the team now has eyes on Cybertek’s weapons, but the feeling of victory is fleeting, as Coulson comes in and tells them that FitzSimmons have managed to sneak a tracker onto The Bus, however they are not responding to his calls.
Okay folks, this is the moment we, well at least I, have been waiting for. In the previous episode (Ragtag), Ward released a pod, with our fave scientists trapped inside, from The Bus into the ocean. The irony of him tossing my “ship” into the ocean was not lost on me by the way, and in the oh so careful cutting of the preview trailer for the finale, they conveniently did NOT show any bits of what became of our FitzSimmons. Somehow, in a very scientifically way Fitz will explain, that pod has come to rest upon the ocean floor, about 90 miles deep, by Fitz’s calculations, with our fave science duo, relatively unharmed. Well, Fitzy broke his arm in two places, same two places he broke it in second grade actually, as he mentions in one of his usual Fitzy rambles, we’ve all come to know and love. Apparently, while Simmons passed out/slept, Fitz was very busy. He braced them for impact, set his arm, did countless calculations and scenarios on possible escapes, and on top of all that he McGyver-ed a distress beacon, unfortunately realizing that it would broadcast on a S.H.I.E.L.D. frequency which no one would be monitoring. Simmons is thrilled with what her bestie has accomplished, exclaiming how “You saved us!” Which is when Fitz has to point out they are trapped at the bottom of the ocean and no one knows where to find them.
Elsewhere, Coulson has formulated a plan to break into Cybertek. He rallies the troops with a rousing Nick Fury motivational quote. “…a man can accomplish anything when he realizes he’s a part of something bigger. A team of people who share that conviction can change the world.” Wise words, but May just wants to kick some Cybertek/Hydra/Traitor butt. Fair enough.
Cut to Ward going to Raina with some “concerns” over Garrett’s sanity, because we all know clearly he was the picture mental health before the injection [insert eye roll here]. As Raina and Garrett wax poetic over the gravatonium, she reveals she has no ties to Hydra, Cybertek or anything really, reminding him she has only ever been interested in one thing, evolution and the only reason she got into these whole shenanigans was to ask The Clairvoyant a question. Well lucky for her, now with the super serum coursing through his veins, Garrett is all-seeing, hurrah! Of course we don’t get to see/hear what the answer to her question of “what will I become?” was, because… well we need some sort of mystery for season two right?
Instead we get another glimpse at our favorite water trapped scientists. The realization that their situation is a little more hopeless than Simmons initially believed has sunken in, and the two share a rather beautiful, abet sad, conversation on what happens to you after you die. Fitz falls back on something his mother told him, where Simmons expresses her wish to believe that death is like the Law of Thermodynamics, “…that every bit of energy inside us, every particle will go on to be a part of something else; maybe live as a dragonfish, a microbe, maybe burn in a supernova. And every part of us now was once a part of some other thing – a moon, a storm cloud, a mammoth.”
Fitz adds that they could become part of a monkey, which is an excellent callback to Fitz’s continued want to own a monkey. It’s little moments like that, that make the FitzSimmons relationship so special, the fact that as soon as he mentions a monkey she smiles and agrees with him, relaxing every so slightly. They are trapped together in a terrifying situation and yet somehow, just being in each other’s presence is able to sooth them and bring about a least a small measure of comfort. It is within that moment of calm, that Simmons realizes, window has bulletproof glass. Together, because that’s how they work best after all, our two little scientists work out how they can use the defibrillator to help implode the window, and allow them a way out. Huzzah!
Our other fearless agents are attempting to take over Garrett’s base. Coulson and Tripp stake out a Humvee to appropriate and aid in getting May and Skye on the inside. While fighting commences outside, Ian Quinn is in the process of giving seven prominent Military officials a tour of their Super Soldier Facility. Enter Garrett, Ward and Deathlock, to aid in the persuasion. Ian does his best to try to sway the men into backing the program, however his guests become distracted by the sounds gunfire coming from outside. And this dear friends is the moment we see just how off the rails Garrett has gone. Not only does he begin waxing poetics on hearing the …”dying breath of an old world…” he reaches into the General before him and rips out, not his still beating heart as was all expected, but a rib. Reaches in with his bare hand, holds him up as the blood begins to pour from his lips and pulls his fist out clutching a rib. From the rib of Adam came Eve, so I’m guessing from the rib of General Jacobs is supposed to come this new world Garrett keeps spouting on about. It is at this moment that you can see the horror in Grant Ward’s eyes, where he realizes, possibly for the first time, that the one person, he has put all his trust/gratitude in may, in fact be a psychopath.
Ward storms off, after apparently locking up the rest of their military guests, to find Raina and Quinn in the process of “stealing” the gravatonium,from The Bus and confronts her about the fact that his fearless leader has gone off the rails. Raina, of course is unfazed by this, she believes in something stronger, the coming evolution, which is why I personally believe she would make the perfect big bad for season 2 (#justsaying). She tells Ward, that Garrett is not insane, but in fact connected. Apparently, whatever mysterious answer he gave to her question seemed to satisfy her. She berates Ward for just being a follower, and asks him if this [monster] is his true nature, or just what Garrett made him to be. Ward simply responds with, “I don’t know”.
In the penultimate episode of season one, we are given a glimpse deeper into Ward & Garrett’s relationship. Ward was holed up in juvie, facing what looked like it could be life in prison and Garrett busted into his life and offered him a way out, a chance to be something more. Deep down, I think Ward has never really gotten over that. He never once questions his mentor’s methods/actions. Essentially he follows him out of blind gratitude. Garrett took him away from a miserable, hopeless situation and showed him he could be something more, all he had to do was follow orders.
Raina further goes on to bait Ward, by dangling the notion that Skye, who apparently is very important to this evolution that seems to be taking place, has yet to reveal her true nature, and maybe when she does, she and Ward can be monsters together.
Back at the compound, Tripp and Coulson are trapped in their borrowed Humvee being attacked by super soldiers as May and Skye take the control center, with Skye claiming to have a bomb in her backpack. Zeller informs them there is nothing they can do, every possible scenario of their attack has been accounted for. This of course, is exactly what our plucky team of vigilantes was hoping for. All the soldiers have all been switched to default directive, which naturally is to protect Garrett, which will lead our team right to him. Well all the super soldiers, save one, we are given a glimpse at Deathlock’s vision, and he has not received the same message as the others, he explains simply he was told to never leave Garrett’s side.
Ward takes off to tell Garrett of Raina and Quinn’s departure, and the attack upon the compound. He practically BEGS him for orders, which just further illustrates that although, undeniably evil, Ward is utterly lost without orders, a mindless soldier, who without a mission falls to pieces. They are interrupted however, by a phone call from Skye. She taunts him with the fact that she has infiltrated the control room and he gives it right back alluding to the fates of Fitzsimmons. After hanging up the phone, Garrett finally give Ward the orders he was pleading for earlier, go get Skye.
Time to head back under the sea, and check in on our scientists. They have jerry-rigged the necessary components to blow the window. As they go over the plan, Simmons slowly starts to realize that Fitz’s detailing of the escape does not include himself. Something that she finds unthinkable, after all he is her best friend, she can’t just leave him. What follows is one of the best “confession scenes” I have ever witnessed. As Simmons is growing more and more hysterical, Fitz is doing his best to calm her down, in the best way he knows how, by being logical. There’s only one air mask thingie (yes, that is the technical term). It’s 90 miles to the surface. She’s the better swimmer. He has a broken arm. Logically all signs point to her having the better chance at survival. She begs and pleads with him that there has to be a better way, but Fitz is resolute. Then, he brings out the big guns. In a moment that all the FitzSimmons shippers were waiting for Fitz tells her that he’s never had the courage to tell her that she means more to him than a friend, and asks her to please let him show her, aka sacrifice himself so she can live. Which of course completely blindsided Simmons and in a flurry of tears she plants kisses all over his face EXCEPT for his lips, begging him not to do it. I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction. Of course, the easy way out of the scene would be for her to have planted a hot and steamy, “Oh my God, we’re gonna die” moment kiss on him and rocked his world, but that’s not who Jemma Simmons is. She is a woman of science and she needs the time to process this information, more importantly she would not give up. There was no need for a steamy goodbye kiss, because she was not leaving her best friend, who she indeed loves, although we’re not quite sure if it is in the same way as Fitz feels for her. Next thing we see, the window blows and there is an agonizing few moments where we wait to see who exits the pod.
Clearly, Simmons comes through, carrying her unconscious best friend up from the depths with her. On to the next problem, they are out in the middle of the ocean, with no floatation device in sight. Things look bleak, Simmons checks Fitz for a pulse, when suddenly a very familiar face appears, offering a hand to pull them out of the water. That’s right Director Fury is BACK!
Apparently someone WAS listening to Fitz’s McGuyivered distress call. Simmons wakes up in a decompression tube, and of course the first question out of her mouth is, what we are all wondering, “Where’s Fitz?”
Fury assures her, that thanks to her, Fitz survived but barely, that his brain was without out oxygen for a long time. This my friends, does not look good and prompted me to scream at my tv, “Don’t you DARE hurt my Fitzy!!”, abet in much more colorful language. But there’s no time to dwell on the now…
Back at the control center, Skye is threatening Zeller with her bomb, and he is still basically all “I’ll die before I talk” and then an interruption arrives in the form of Grant Ward. Our two former love interests, face off in a verbal sparing about some people just being born evil, before Ward calls her bluff on the whole bomb thing. She couldn’t “kill” him on the plane, no way she’d become a killer now, but Ward has not taken into account the fact that Skye has an other deadly weapon with her a VERY pissed off Agent Melinda May. Enter “The Cavalry”, who unleashes some SERIOUS hate-fu on Ward’s sorry ass.
In the interest of symmetry while May and Ward battle, Coulson faces off with Garrett. After receiving a doozie of a first punch, as he was unaware of Garrett’s new-found super strength, he looks up to find none other than Nick Fury standing above him, who tells him, he’d kind of appreciate if he didn’t die, because he went through a lot to make sure that didn’t happen the first time. Coulson promises to give his boss a piece of his mind on that subject, but first on to the matter at hand, defeating Garrett. Fury hands him a very familiar looking gun and Coulson the Badass, takes everyone out. Well everyone except Garrett, because bullets, or whatever comes out of alien guns, can’t kill serum-ed up Garrett. Here is where we get to see Quippy Coulson in action. If you listen to the show, then you know Quippy Coulson, is my favorite of all the Coulsons.
Garrett baits the duo with his new powers and more creepy ranting, and can we just take a mo-mo to applaud how fraking creepy Bill Paxton can be? I mean that deranged, bloody smile? Sheesh, creeptastic. Any-who, Coulson and Fury aren’t having it, actually, they are more amused by Garrett than terrified.
Elsewhere, Skye is dragging Zeller around from room to room, unlocking the “Incentive Program” a.k.a. the kidnapped loved ones of the people who Cybertek is forcing to work for them. See I told you that incentive program couldn’t be anything good. In one room we find Zeller’s wife, in another, Mike Peterson’s son, Ace. Skye reveals that her bag contains not a bomb, but toys and hands a Hulk figure to the boy, telling him he needs to communicate with his dad. This is actually a rather nice callback to the pilot, as when we first met Mike and Ace, Ace was looking at a window display of Avenger Toys. Zeller, ever the Debbie Downer, tells Skye that communication from this location is impossible. Silly Zeller, do you even know who you are dealing with? Skye’s totally got this covered.
Back to Garrett, who is continuing his cray-cray ranting claiming, “I am the key to the future of the universe!” and orders Deathlock to kill Coulson and Fury. It is of course at that exact moment, because come on that’s how tv/film work, that Deathlock receives a message “Dad: What are we? A Team”, which is all the confirmation Mike Peterson needs to confirm his son’s safety. BLAM! He sets his blast upon Garrett as opposed to his original targets, and this time Garrett stays down.
While the Soldiers are being lead away and Garrett’s body is covered with a sheet, a nonspeaking Ward, as May may have kinda fractured his larynx, is brought forth. It is the first time Coulson really gets to address him since discovering his betrayal, and he lays down some wisdom about the fact that without Garrett, Ward will finally have to face what he has become, and be left to wonder what he really is now that Garrett is no longer there to give him orders. I think it’s important to note here that even after all this time, Grant Ward has ended up exactly where he started. When he first met Garrett, he was faced with a life in prison and was promised a chance to break free, to become something more. Now here he stands abandoned by his father figure, just as he had been abandoned by real family so many years ago, once again facing a life of imprisonment. Coulson also informs Ward of Fitz/Simmons survival, and how Fitz, the only person who held on to an unwavering belief that Ward was a good person, will “never be the same”. Never be the same? What does that even mean?
Clearly, Fitz will be changed by the experience, it would be impossible not to be. Plus, let us not forget, this is a Whedon show, someone’s got to be all inner turmoil and angsty. Now that Ward is “out of the way”, could Fitz be the one to fill that void? Or will the side effects seep not only in to mood/psyche but also manifest physically? I can’t imagine that Fitz went through this whole ordeal with out some physical/brain damage. Will he now have diminished brain capacity? If so, how will he cope with this development? And what about the fact that he basically flat out told Simmons he’s in love with her? How will this revelation effect the relationship of Fitz/Simmons?!?!? But of course none of this is addressed, because there is going to be a season two.
Mike Peterson/Deathlocke watches Ace from afar, convinced that the Deathlocke program has made a monster out of him, and not just physically. He vows to make amends in the name of his son, and then he is gone. But for how long I wonder?
In true super villain fashion, Garrett rises and attempts to “revive” himself using the crazy super solider builder, we saw Quinn trying to pawn off on the military men earlier. And in a comedic moment very reminiscent of A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Thor’s Hammer, Coulson pops in and very casually blows him to smithereens before returning to his team.
Despite having spent what I’m sure was quite some time repeatedly going over his “What the hell were you thinking?” speech in his mind, when actually confronted with Fury, Coulson’s speech consisted mainly of the word “stupid”. He reminds Fury that the procedure that brought him back was only supposed to be used in an extreme emergency, like “the fall of an Avenger”, to which Fury replied “Exactly” and my heart melted in a puddle of feels, because Nick Fury, has just stated what we, as a fandom have known/felt for years, that despite being “just a man” or maybe even because of it, Agent Phil Coulson is just as much a crucial part of The Avengers as anyone other member. Fury goes on to tell Coulson that he needs him now to rebuild S.H.E.I.L.D. as Director, as there is no one else he can trust with this. Before disappearing, as wild Furys are apt to do, he gives Coulson a “toolbox” in order to help him rebuild, including a set of coordinates to yet another secret base, called “The Playground”, (Side Bar: How many secret bases can one organization have?) where they are greeted by Patton Oswalt, as Billy Koenig, twin brother of dearly departed Eric, who was snuffed out by Ward a few episodes earlier. Cue my squeals of delight, as I was deeply upset over Eric’s death, mostly because I am keenly aware of the actor’s love of Marvel. They are also reunited with Simmons, though there is no Fitz to be seen, because that would be too easy people! For the moment though, it seems though there is a long road ahead of our heroes, things are starting to be okay.
Well that certaintly won’t do! We have a second season to plan for! Cut to Raina walking into some sort of dilapidated housing unit. She enters a room, where there is a man seated whose face we are unable to see. She tells him that, she knows that he thought he would never see her again, “…but I found your daughter.” She then hands him a photo of Skye. That’s right folks, we may have discovered what happened to Coulson this season, but we still have the illusive mystery of the 0-8-4 that is Skye. Looks like we’re gonna be dealing with that in season 2.
Speaking of things to deal with in the new season, in true Marvel Fashion, we get an “after credits” scene. Coulson wakes up in the middle of the night and roams the Bus , because that’s what you do, right? He sees the crazy doodles, erm…I mean strange symbols, that Garrett was so intent on writing after he was injected with GH-325, and then on another wall, starts writing the same thing. Great…
Well, first off, if you made it this far, Congratulations!!! Gold Star for you! Secondly, we have been left with A LOT to think about over these low so many months, as we prepare for our favorite Agents return on Tuesday September 23rd, at their new time of 9pm EST.
What do you guys think the new season will bring? Hit up the comments and let us know.