This week’s Season Finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was basically two hours of reminding yourself to breath. From crazy betrayals, shocking revelations and surprising team-ups, these episodes had it all – including the patented Whedon ‘Ruin A Happy Ending’. So let’s break this fantastic episode down and look at the good, the bad and the Inhuman.
The Meaning Behind “S.O.S” Part 1 & 2:
With a title like S.O.S, you can take a pretty good guess what the focal point of the episode was; but you might not realize how deeply it reached. For starters, S.O.S alludes to how most of the main characters found themselves in trouble sooner or later: S.H.I.E.L.D. jets and carriers getting hijacked, kidnappings, Cal going Hyde, absorbed by black alien goop. There was trouble all around. Although the flip side of this was also how the actual ‘distress calls’ were all lies. Jiaying ‘distress call’ of Afterlife being attacked was all a hoax. Similarly, the main S.O.S call of these two episodes – that would call all S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents to the carrier – was another trap by Jiaying set to exterminate all of S.H.I.E.L.D. in one swoop. Though she wasn’t the only one laying traps as Ward set off Bobbie’s tracker was a to lure May and Hunter to their location. Thankfully, May was able to set a trap of her own. By making it sound like she was calling for a retreat and giving hastened orders, she was actually sent Agent 33 – disguised as May – on a collision course with a vengeful Ward.
A Thorn Protects The
“Everyone thinks flowers are so delicate, but they really are quite resilient” – Raina
When Raina utters these words upon Skye’s arrival, we are immediately reminded of Raina’s former title as “the girl in the flower dress”. Though as we think more and more about it, we realize that flowers have always been the thing tying these two together – the girl in the flower dress and the girl named Daisy. So with this in mind, Raina’s words her mean so much more that first thought. No matter how cute and innocent they might have looked, Raina and Skye have been two very strong women in this series.
Despite their transformations and the people around them trying to control and manipulate them, these two were/are quite resilient. Take Raina for example, who’s certainly come a long way this half season. Due to her manipulative and dark past, her gift of foresight has become come the Cassandra Curse – where your warnings of the future are unheeded by all around you. Though amazingly, Raina shed her former desires and realized that this is truly her destiny; and whereas it might not be the destiny she wanted, it still brings her grandmother’s tales full circle.
“One day I would be an angel and I realized her words have come true. I am not a monster; I’m an angel. I’m finally what I’m meant to be. Angels are guardians Jiaying but they’re also heralds to show the truth…” – Raina
She is fully ready to accept her death. She’s forseen it and knows from the time she meets with Skye that this would be “the last time they’d speak”. Raina’s life must be sacrificed so that others could live. Jiaying had become too full of hate and only Skye could live up to honoring both parts of what it means to be Inhuman – whereas Jiaying only looked at how they differed, not what they had it common. Raina’s words came true, and even in “the darkness” of night, Skye was able to “see the truth” of what her mother was. Though sadly, Skye would learn that her mother was even worse than any of them had feared.
Revealing The Real Monster – Jiaying’s Magneto-Like Tendencies:
Towards the end of the Fall Season, we saw Skye have a dream about Coulson and May referring to Skye as ‘poison fruit from a poison tree’. At the time this fear referenced how Skye’s father seemed to be a monster; but as it turns out it was Skye’s mother who would become the real monster. Much like Cal, Jiaying used to be a kind-hearted woman who nurtured Inhumans as they came to discover their powers. In fact, when ancients would sacrifice themselves to prolong Jiayiing’s life, she would cry and beg them not to. This would all change after Hydra attacked.
“I reassembled her piece by piece. Sewed her back up. She was never the same. And elder would sacrifice herself. She would weep scream beg them not to. She had a good heart Phil. It was just too worn out. And she needs to take lives to heal… She didn’t care about human life anymore. [I had to change myself to be worthy in her eyes] I tried to fix her” – Cal about Jiaying
Jiaying became filled with hatred for humanity and from that point forward she never even looked at her husband the same way again. It is this Jiaying we see in this finale, a Jiaying who acts very close to Magneto from the X-Men comics. Since the MCU is repurposing some X-Men as Inhumans or ‘powered people’, it was a nice touch that Jiaying shared so many of Magneto’s hatred of humans. Even her line “Either they’re Inhuman or they’re dead” could have come from Magneto’s mouth – if you change Inhuman to Mutant. Though whereas Jiaying has some familiar traits, her motherly manipulations are something completely her own. We see how Jiaying not only tries to guilt Skye into siding with them directly – “why would you let them do this to us” – and indirectly – by turning those around her against her like Lincoln. Though her worst moment comes at the end when she rejects Skye as her daughter and tries to kill her twice. Everything Jiaying has done ‘for Skye’ was really out of fear and hatred. It was selfish and this illusion is shattered in Jiaying’s final moments. Skye has no choice but to fight back, but thankfully Skye still does have one parent that loves her.
Cal’s Redemption – CALLED IT!
I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again: ‘If it weren’t for his murderous tendencies, Cal would be a pretty fun guy.’ Well this season finale not only gave us more moments of Cal being fun yet murderous, but also his long awaited redemption. Though it wasn’t immediate because before we saw Cal’s redemption we had to see him become the comic counterpart of Hyde. Also, lessen learned: When someone takes 3 cocktails of various steroids, gorilla testosterone and … peppermint , DO NOT give them a needle full of adrenaline. Though as yet another attempt at Super Solider Serum went awry, Cal soon calmed down as Coulson reminded him what’s really important: Skye.
“You’re not a monster, deep down you’re a good man. You wear it on your sleeve. Skye got that from you… She’s not my daughter, but she’s the closest to family that I’ve got” – Coulson “PLEASE, let me help you” – Cal
Seeing Coulson and Cal team up to protect Skye was incredible and the fact that he took full responsibility for his wife was even more touching. Cal couldn’t let his daughter live with the knowledge that she had killed her own mother, so Cal was the one to do the deed himself. Though it was the goodbye between the two that was the most heart wrenching.
As I had predicted a few episodes ago during “The Frenemy Of My Enemy”, Coulson would use TAHITI on Cal in order to make him forget all the bad and just the good. What we didn’t anticipate was that it would even erase Skye. In a sense, it fits so that nothing remained to remind him of his loss. Though it doesn’t matter if Cal has any new best days, because his “Best Day Ever” will forever be July 2nd, 1988. *tries not to cry*
(Re)Connecting With Loves Ones – Bobbie/Hunter, May/Andrew, Fitz/Simmons:
Although it wasn’t just Cal who put everything aside in the end to be with the one he loves. After what almost happened between Bobbie and Hunter, it made the rest of the group think about where they were and where they’d like to be with that special someone in their lives. Bobbie didn’t care what Ward and Kara did to her. She remained true to her vow of serving the greater good and no delusional cowards were going to change her mind. Although when they set up a trap to kill Hunter upon rescuing Bobbie, Bobbie sacrificed herself and took a bullet for him. Thankfully she survived, but this whole experience has shown her that Hunter is more important to her than S.H.I.E.L.D. and she needs a little bit of a break.
Bobbie wasn’t the only one to come to this realization as we find May calling her ex-husband Andrew before the big mission. She knew things might not end well, much like what happened in Bahrain – which was the last time May ever called Andrew like this. Though despite May’s fears, Andrew just believed in the May he knows and showed her how much confidence he has in her pulling through even this. In the end, we see May and Andrew reconnecting, going off on vacation together and even sneaking into Coulson’s office to steal his scotch – MISS MELINDA MAY! lol May absolutely deserves this time to herself and her husband. She’s been such an awesome character that she definitely deserves some happy down time as well; but she’s not the only one as we find FitzSimmons finally start to address the elephant in the room. Before the mission, Simmons tells Fitz that there actually ‘might be something to discuss’ about them being together. This immediately made me fear for one of their lives, but they survived and we got a lovely post credit of Simmons accepting Fitz’s dinner plans. And then … Whedon struck!
What’s Next & WHAT Happened To Jemma?:
In possibly one of the most-Whedon-esque endings ever, we find everyone getting their happy ending until suddenly Simmons is swallowed by the Black Alien Goop Pillar after saying yes to Fitz. We’ve been waiting for this moment for two season, and just like Simmons is was dragged away from us kicking and screaming. Though all aggravation and ‘DAMN YOU’ moments aside, let’s sit down and rationally look at what this could mean. Considering Elizabeth Henstridge is already scheduled to return in Season 3 we know she’s still alive – but is that good news or bad?
Besides ripping out our hearts and toying with our emotions, we still don’t know what this Kree Pillar does. In fact, maybe Marvel doesn’t even know what to do with it yet. I haven’t been able to find anything in the comics like it so it could literally be anything – even a new origin for Venom the famous Spider-Man villain. My only fear is that Season 3 will pick up with another ‘fake Simmons’ like we got this Season with Ghost Simmons. Though the other alternative is that Season 3 picks up almost immediately after the Season 2 finale, which makes sense since Coulson and Skye are starting to put a team together. Season 3 could kick off with them noticing right away that Simmons is gone, so with her being in the cast maybe Simmons is just ‘somewhere’. Henstridge told Entertainment Weekly that in her character’s mind she knows Fitz will come rescue her because he’s kind of her boyfriend now. Some could call that fast, but these two have known each other for so long I don’t think they plan on half-heartedly going into this. Maybe this means we’ll see Hero-Fitz, or Super-Powered-Simmons. Either way, WILL THESE TWO JUST KISS ALREADY!!!!!
New Powers, New Purpose & A New Arm:
With the Synthetic Crystal cargo at the bottom of the sea, it looks like these melted and reformed crystals melt once again when in contact with water – thus polluting the fish and then thus the Fish Oil pills. The question here is whether its just the Terrigen crystals that were melted or the Diviner metal as well. Will these pills cause powers to Inhumans and kill those unworthy? Will they only turn Inhumans and spare others? Then again, could they give anyone in contact with them a form of powers?
Whatever the case may be, Coulson and Skye are going to be putting together a new team to deal with just this. Though in a glorious set up for Civil War, Skye tells Coulson that this new team has to be secret, not public like the Avengers. Hmm, Secret Avengers perhaps? This is great because it really does show Skye as a good leader for the Inhumans, someone who can balance both the lives of humans and Inhumans, and keep everyone safe. Beyond this we don’t know much else, besides Coulson having Fitz work up some designs for a new mobile transport – since the Bus was destroyed. Though that’s not the only thing that needs replacing.
We of course knew Coulson wouldn’t die when he grabbed the Synthetic Terrigen Crystal, but cutting off his arm was certainly a surprise. Though all things considered, Coulson has lived through worse – or been revived through worse. In a hilarious twist of fate, it seems like this must be a prerequisite for being Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. since Coulson lost his left hand and Fury lost his left eye. Though since this isn’t as easy as wearing an eye patch, Coulson is going to need a replacement – and he even mentions this. So what are his options? Well for one he can go into the robotics like Deathlok and Winter Soldier. On the other hand – pun not intended – in Avengers: Age of Ultron, we learned of Helen Cho’s synthetic healing chambers that can grow new tissue for someone. Could this also be used to graft Coulson a new hand? I guess we’ll find out next Season.
Excelsior – Easter Eggs, References & Other Important Points:
- When May told Skye “I don’t want to hurt you” and Skye responds “You can’t”, this was a line for line reversal of a few episodes ago when they were training together and Skye was afraid of hurting May.
- It was great that Coulson and the others were able to discern so quickly that Gonzales was set up, while still showing the fan expectation through Simmon’s tongue-in-cheek comment “he would never attack a base unprovoked”.
- When Coulson says that icers would just piss him off, did anyone else think of Mongo from Blazing Saddles?
- He’s no Tripp and he’s certainly annoyed a lot of us this season. Though in this two-part Season Finale, Mack was ON FIRE!!!!!! His character really stepped it up with the actions and snarky remarks – which you’ll see in a moment. It was also great that the one most afraid of Skye in the midseason premier was the one to rescue her in the end.
- As a follow up to the last, wonder how Gordon knew Mack had come in contact with Kree. Wonder if his brief time being possessed actually would make him immune to the Diviner, and perhaps Inhuman as well.
- Was it just me or was this episode basically the love child of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and most X-Men stories?
- So what is Ward’s plan in all of this? Well with Hydra destroyed, he’s basically in charge of what little remnants he can find. We can also assume he’ll be trying to get his hands on some powered people too. So does this mean he’ll be joining a new team – Zodiac, Leviathan, etc – OR will he make his own and finally confirm fan speculation on him becoming Taskmaster.
- Favorite Quotes
- “A dance of desire, discomfort and unreliable feelings” – Hunter on his relationship with Bobbie
- “And I thought my mom was bad when she started watching Fox News” – Mack
- “A dozen ginger ninjas” – Mack
- “I’m the guy who kills Gordon” – Mack
- “Careful, I’m a married man” – Cal in response to Simmons saying his ‘physical change has improved’.
- “Science beyotch” – Fitz response to Gordon wondering how they could trap him
- “You know you’re better than I imagined, and I imagined you perfect. You’re way more interesting than that!” – Cal to Skye
- “He kind of owed me after cutting off my hand without asking” Coulson on Mack deciding to stay