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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Agents of SHIELD: Beginning of the End Review

Agents of SHIELD's run is now over, and Marvel's attempt at expanding the Cinematic-Universe into the realm of television has been a rocky road to travel, but it most certainly paid off in this week's finale, which may be the best episode the series has offered thus far.
*Spoilers*
Because this is the finale and because it had so many quotable moments, I have decided to add a lot of cool gif sets instead of posting the full quotes for most parts.
Oddly enough, the episode opens with a scene in Cybertek with a head guy introducing a newbie to the tech. He refers to the "Incentives Program," which I am exactly sure what that means. The most likely conclusion is that it means that one of their loved ones is held hostage, but maybe it meant actual incentives. 
After 15 minutes of Garrett babbling on about like a mad man with everyone giving him strange looks, "Beginning of the End" picks up the pace with an action packed finale that hit the mark in every department. The first part of the episode almost had me worried that the finale was going to be a disappointment, but thankfully, that was not the case. After some ambiguity last episode, the container that Ward dropped Fitz and Simmons in did sink to the bottom of the ocean. Fitz confesses his feeling to Simmons, well, he kinda confesses in an indirect way, and he sacrifices himself to save Simmons, which was a very Joss Whedon type character moment. Thankfully, a one-eyed bada** happened to be around to save the duo, which I will discuss in a minute. To my surprise however, Fitz is not doing so well with Simmons essentially saying that he suffered severe brain damage, which will either mean Cybernetic enhancements to fix his brain, or Fitz is not going to be particularly useful to the team. Actually, the episode ended with, what I assume, is going to be the new team with Ward being replaced by Triplett, and no Fitz.  
Going back to the Nick Fury's appearance in the episode, I cannot believe he had such a crucial role! Even though I knew Samuel L. Jackson would make an appearance in the finale, I did not expect him to have an extended part in the episode! Seriously, he was in the episode just about as much as any of the team other than Coulson. Just the simple fact of seeing Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury on television is an impressive sight, but he was freaking awesome in the episode! He had a ton of hilarious and cool lines, like "You don't have to call me 'sir,' Coulson. Look at me. I'm dressed like I live under a bridge," as well as the perfect banter with Coulson, who we now know was originally recruited by Fury. At the end of The Winter Soldier, you may have noticed that Fury was going somewhere to respond to a distress signal before he burned his eyepatch, which likely refers to the distress signal that Fitz sent out (Jacob actually noticed this). Also, seeing Fury coming to Coulson's aid with the Destroyer gun from The Avengers was such an awesome callback to the Avengers! During the confrontation with Garrett and DeathLok, the entire dialogue exchange is classic! 




Later in the episode, Coulson finally gets to have the conversation about his resurrection with Coulson flipping out exclaiming "Yes, but that emergency was supposed to be the fall of an Avenger!" with Fury replying "Exactly. And I'm d*mn glad I did it, too." Any fan of The Avengers would agree that Coulson is an Avenger, and hearing Fury say it in the episode was incredibly satisfying. But that was not the biggest surprise of Sam Jackson's part of the episode. Coulson is now the new Director of SHIELD! Fury passed the torch to Coulson, and along with a cube that supposedly is going to help him rebuild SHIELD.






 For the finale, the episode certainly rammed up the action with probably the best action scenes to date from the series, particularly May vs. Ward. While it did not make a lot sense why May did not just shoot Ward with the ICER to knock him out, the action was certainly satisfying. She really nailed him during the fight (pun intended). Skye and Ward's dialogue before was perfect, and hilarious!

 
 Earlier in the episode, after Coulson made an inspiring speech, May's reply was great as well.
Coulson: "But Fury always said ... 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. So, what do you say? You ready to change the world?"
For yet another surprise, Agent Koenig is back! Well, not exactly. The team meets Billy Koenig, which is likely the brother that Eric mentioned playing Call of Duty with in the previous episode. However, my suspicion is that Koenig is a LMD (Life-Model-Decoy). A LMD is a robotic replacement that SHIELD agents, particularly Nick Fury, use as a decoy. Often times, SHIELD agents would use them to fake their deaths. Other possibilities include, Koenig being a form of AI that is at every SHIELD base, he is a clone, or, the simplest option, he is actually Eric's twin brother. 
Next, Raina tells a creepy looking monstrous figure that she has found his daughter. Who is this decaying figure? Before this reveal, I was thinking that Skye's parents could be Kree, Skrull, or Frost Giant, but this certainly rules out Frost Giant, and probably Kree. Skrull is still an option since they can shape shift, yet that seems unlikely. Maybe it is of the same race as the Asgardian fire demon Surtur (picture below), or, if Marvel wants to go the magical route with Doctor Strange on the horizon, she could be the daughter of Mephisto, or someone from that realm. Mephisto is not from one of the Nine Realm of Asgard, but rather, he inhabits a realm of fire and brimstone, and creatures from that realm somewhat resemble the creature at the end of the episode. However, a Doctor Strange movie is way too far off for it to be introducing concepts and characters from that. A popular theory is that Skye is an Inhuman, which are a race of altered humans that gained powers from being experimented on by Kree. An Inhumans movie has been in the works for a while, so that is a possibility.   

Ward's conclusion was mostly satisfying with him neither going back with the team nor dying. While killing off the character probably would have been better, using him to get information on HYDRA could result in an interesting dynamic. DeathLok also gets a solid resolution after Skye frees his son. He is likely to return to help the team in the future. Also, the episode ending with Coulson drawing those strange symbols that Garrett was drawing will hopefully be explained in the next season, because I have no idea what they mean.

One of the best parts of the entire season has to be the scene below with Coulson and Garrett! When Garrett started to pull himself up on the cybernetic thing, I was thinking, "How cliched can they get?!" Thankfully, in a very Whedonesque moment, Coulson walks into the room to grab the energy-ray thing from the second episode and completely disintegrates Garrett. Leave it to Whedon and company to subvert cliches in the most hilarious ways possible! It was such a classic moment; I love it!



Overall: 10/10- Thanks to Samuel L. Jackson's presence, hilariously subverting cliches, and a satisfying conclusion that provides the series a new direction, "Beginning of the End" is the best episode the series the has delivered to date.

At some point in the near future, I will post my full review of the first season as a whole, so look out for that, and please check back next week for the first part of my Top 100 Movies of All-Time List. 

For another opinion, you can check out Tegan's review by clicking here.

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to johnstarslayer@gmail.com.

10 comments:

  1. I loved this episode, it was awesome. And, by the way, I agree with the gifs you put up, because most of those were some of my favorite scenes/lines of the episode, particularly the one with Fury and the one with Skye about May.
    I really liked the fact that Fitz told Simmons he loved her, but that whole scene was sad. But thank heavens Fury was there. Ya know, I never put together that whole distress thingy, that actually makes a lot of sense. The whole episode was amazing, and I'd probably be commenting for hours talking about it, so I stop here. I loved the whole episode, and it was awesome. Excellent review, James.
    I have a theory on Coulson and the writing. I think it's because he remembers TAHITI, because he mentioned that only the people with their memory erased stayed sane. So, I think that's what's going on: because he remembers it, he might slowly end up losing his mind, like Garrett (Who remembered the serum). Excellent review, James!
    -Tegan.

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    1. I am glad you liked the gifs! And the episode in general. Thank you!
      Interesting theory, and I think you are right. That does make a lot of sense. And thank you again Tegen!

      -James

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  2. P.S. thanks for the link to my review!

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  3. I loved the finale so much. But the best part was when Garret is coming back. I loved it. Crawling out, standing up, his stupid speech....and getting blasted before he had a chance to finish it. I almost choked I was laughing so hard.

    It was also nice to see Ward getting punched for being such a traitor. And Fury's return was amazing.
    Of course, there is Fitz.....but I can't believe they would do anything horrible to him. Maybe I just have high hopes though......

    I am really excited for season two now

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    1. Before Coulson blew him away, I was rolling my eyes at it almost but then, blam, he's gone. I couldn't stop laughing either!
      I think Fitz is going to be out for a while.....

      -James

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  4. Great review!! :D I agree, this episode was awesome and was the perfect finale to Agents of SHIELD's first season! :D I loved the humor and all the comments/lines the various characters made(Nick's comment on Garrett turning to HYDRA because he 'misunderstood' his speech was just perfect! XD). And yes, that part at the end where Garrett is all "I shall become even more AWESOME!!! And I'll be the be-AUUGGH!" was hilarious!! XD And you are right, that is definitely a Whedon thing(he subverts a lot of tropes like that in his other shows, and they are always great! XD). And yes, I loved the fight scene between May and Ward(and Skye's lines right before May body-slammed him to the floor)! It made me very happy and I love how May beat him up and used that nail gun XD. I think the reason May decided to fight him instead of just stunning him was because she was very angry at him, but I agree, stunning him would have been quicker.
    I am very interested in seeing who Skye's parents are, and her origin, so that's something I'm excited about for next season(as well as seeing how the show will continue on from here); I wonder if she'll have any sort of powers.....
    Season 2 looks like it will be great! :D

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    1. Thank you! :D Yes, the exchange between Garrett and Fury was one of the best! "A part of something bigger." lol :P
      Good point, May could not have made Ward pay if they stunted him, and it was definitely worth it since the fight was so cool! She really nailed him....
      I am wondering that as well. I do not know what those powers could be, but giving her powers could be really cool next season!

      -James

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  5. I caught this episode on tv and it was great. Sure it had some cliche moments, but that was done right. It is not like they could have had Fitz rejoin the team perfectly normal after being brought through 90 feet of water with no oxygen. He's probably in a coma...
    The fight between ward and May was probably the best action of the series so far, and it was very satisfying. You're that mad, you want them to feel it. Stunning on sight was not an option...
    Some reviews were bothered by the fact that Fury seems to teleport straight to the showdown and then pulls an enormous gun he couldn't possibly have hidden out of nowhere. But that aside, "I know what it does." was the best moment. "i don't know what this does, but I'm ready to use it." "oh, so that's what it does..." (dies) "I know what it does!" (destroys all enemies)
    Also the moment when the "backpack bomb" was revealed to be nothing but a plastic toy...:)
    As for Skye's origins, I sort of called it way back at the beginning, as my second theory was that her parents were extra-terrestial villains. "Dad" being held in a containment cell and resembling some alien race seems to support that idea...

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    1. I am glad you liked the episode too! And you are probably right, Fitz is either brain damaged or in a coma, or both.
      You are right again, stunning him could let May get payback/
      Interesting, I did not even think about Fury popping up in different places, or the gun, but he's Nick Fury so anything's possible with him, haha.
      You did call it though. Skye's parents are either alien villains, or Inhumans, which are humans that were experimented on by aliens.

      -James

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