Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: ‘World’s End’ Season Finale Review
“… Not with a bang, but a…”
Full spoilers ahead in this season finale review. I mean, how else could one do it?
Wow! Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD season four has ended with an ultra packed, emotional, thrilling finale that was given the hectic task of combining many of the season’s best and exciting elements to close them out in one measly hour (43 minutes without commercials). Being that this has been the best season of AOS yet, displaying so much growth and development in its characters and storytelling, it’s no surprise they managed to do it all in neat and glorious fashion.
Of course there’s no denying it, the return of Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider was the big draw of the finale. It sure was great seeing Gabriel Luna return as the fire chain slinging bad ass. And those Ghost Rider CGI effects still look amazing. Robbie made it immediately known that the Ghost Rider was a major threat to Ophelia’s existence. However, it was so cool how she could evade his attacks with her teleporting powers. Aside from all the awesome Ghost Rider imagery, Robbie’s presence felt right. Since Ophelia’s creation was the result of Aida reading the Darkhold, basically a book with powers that disrupt the Dark World, it was only right that the Rider would be the one to end the conflict.
Gabriel Luna certainly slid back into action like he never left, despite feeling the sense that he missed a lot. His super powered tag team up with Daisy was so cool. Watching him sling his chain at various L.M.D.’s and Daisy thrown kicks, punches and quake powers at the same time was a real treat. Robbie seemed a bit more moodier than before. That’s probably due to all of the pain he has to endure as the Rider. We learned that there is a vast war going on between various worlds and dimensions, and he’s been thrown right in the middle of it. That’s what makes his character even more interesting. But it was the Rider’s need to kill Aida/Ophelia that was even more intriguing. That’s where Coulson comes in. Like Robbie, Phil made some kind of a deal with the Rider in order to temporarily possess its powers so he could get close enough to destroy Aida. Although it was cool to see Coulson change into the Rider for a little bit, I wonder what kind of after effects he’ll go through after that ordeal. Plus, what kind of deal did he make?
Well, being that this was the season finale where all the big bads meet their end, the sad reality is we have to say goodbye to the great Mallory Jansen and her villainous dual roles as Aida and Ophelia. I think I’ve praised her highly almost every week AOS aired, so I’ll keep it brief here. Jansen continued to amaze as Ophelia grew more evil and angry at Fitz and the rest of SHIELD. There was no playing around here. She was out for destruction. It was simply entertaining to see her threaten and cause harm towards her enemies. It was also interesting how she wanted to make the public fear Inhumans, similar to her plan in The Framework. Aida/Ophelia’s demise was quicker than I would have expected, but it was pretty exciting. Besides, tricking her was probably the best way to destroy her without anyone else dying. Yes sir, Jansen played one of the most interesting characters in the show’s history. I am going to miss her, but I’m thankful to have witnessed such a terrific talent.
Likewise with John Hannah as Holden Radcliffe. Although physically, Radcliffe died quite some time ago, his essence remained in The Framework until it was finally shut down completely after elements of the virtual world kept suddenly disappearing as a result of Aida’s endgame. He played an excellent, complex character because even though he seemed essentially good, he went about his scientific research and methods in some morally questionable ways. The final moment as he disappears looking at the sunset was very poignant and beautifully done.
Looks like “Philenda” is going to have to wait. Although we got a wonderful glimpse at what a romantic relationship would look like courtesy of May’s L.M.D. falling for Coulson, in reality, though the real May has those feelings for Coulson, she isn’t ready to embrace them. The chaotic events of The Framework and everything else have obviously caused their potential relationship to be put on hold, sadly. Actually, they both agreed to start over and build upon a possibly union later. (Sigh) So we’ll have to wait and see what next season brings. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait for too long. I absolutely loved that May wouldn’t let go of the fact that Coulson drank the bottle of Haig.
Natalia Cordova-Buckley and Henry Simmons churned out their best dramatic work as The Framework began to collapsed with them in it, which was a pretty scary concept to witness. It was pretty obvious that once Mack swore he wouldn’t leave his daughter, Hope, Yo Yo would decide to stay with them because while he didn’t want to live in a world without his daughter, she didn’t want to live in reality without him. It’s quite beautiful how their relationship has grown so far and her feelings have become so genuine for him. I knew eventually Mack was going to lose his daughter in The Framework. Man, they made Hope’s goodbye way sadder than I was expecting. Credit must go to the young girl who played Hope. She did an exceptional job tearfully pleading with Mack, saying she didn’t want to die. When she finally disappears in Mack’s arms, I couldn’t help but get choked up. It was one of the saddest moments I’ve ever seen on this show, even though none of it was real. Although it would be an experience Mack would remember once he exited out of The Framework. I was ever so thankful both Mack and Yo Yo made it out of The Framework because for a second there, I thought we were going to lose two characters I love. It seems as though they were awoken simply by the Framework being shut down. Makes sense since they didn’t technically die in The Framework. It was simply shut down. It seems as if only Simmons could have shut down The Framework herself, all of this craziness could have been limited. Kind of ironic. Thankfully, The Framework arc was the best pod of the season, and one of the greatest arcs of the series. So I’m glad our agents went through the journey, and every one of them, including Mack and Yo Yo and their relationship grew stronger.
Quality teamwork is always the key to SHIELD’s success. I’m glad they established the importance of that when Daisy discouraged Fitz from turning himself in to the authorities to answer for his role in the L.M.D. program that obviously caused everything to spiral out of control. Through his guilt ridden demeanor, she was able to come full circle as she reflected on her going solo after blaming herself for Lincoln’s death. It was actually a great reflection on her journey throughout the season, going from a guilt ridden vigilante, only to realize she truly belongs with the team. Only through her being part of SHIELD can she make a real difference.
Unfortunately because a Daisy L.M.D. shot Talbot in the head (He’s in a coma, he’ll be fine) in front of a committee who was deciding SHIELD’s fate as an organization, and all kinds of other calamities that have happened, everyone of our agents are wanted by the government. (Sigh) Our team can never catch a break for too long, can they? Since our team basically decided not to run, we get one of the nicest AOS moments of the season that obviously echoed the post credit scene of 2012’s The Avengers. Our team was finally together, eating at a local diner, smiling and at peace. Talk about a scene that felt right and deserving. It was a beautiful reminder of how much they have been through as a team and how close they have gotten. It warmed my SHIELD living heart. That’s of course before a team intercepts them all and we cut to break. What was up with that device that caused everyone to freeze?
After that great scene, Coulson wakes up in a cell floating in space. Whaaaa? That’s our cliffhanger. Coulson is in space. Sounds cool, but what does this mean? I honestly can’t say, but obviously, it leaves me with a bewildered sense of excitement. Especially knowing this awesome show has been renewed for a fifth season. Thank the TV gods!
Though I’ll admit, this season finale isn’t quite my favorite (season three’s emotionally charged finale still reigns supreme, in my opinion), it was a more than satisfying payoff to a season that has given me and the rest of the fans so much to remember and cheer about. All three pods were outstanding. The Ghost Rider pod made gave the series a darker and grittier tone while still maintaining the show’s wit and sense of escapism. The L.M.D. arc was a great follow up that showcased the talents of Mallory Jansen John Hannah perfectly. And finally, the Agents of Hydra pod taking place mostly in The Framework showed us some great alternate versions of our favorite characters, while giving us some spectacular storytelling and social commentary to go with it. This was easily the best, well crafted, well acted, season of Agents of SHIELD. Just when the show couldn’t go up any higher, they literally reached space.