“You’re a family man”
So, we come to the second part of the finale for Season 2 of Agents of SHIELD. This was the culmination of the vast improvements that Agents of SHIELD has gone through over Season 2. Unlike the finale of Season 1, where I couldn’t give two hoots about the story of the characters, I could not wait to find out what happened after the cliffhangers of the finale’s first part. In many ways, it was a fitting finale, with only a few stumbles on the way to delivering a brilliant end to Season 2.
The cliffhangers included Jiaying taking over the SHIELD ship and threatening to release the diviner crystals, Hunter and May walking into a trap whilst rescuing Bobbi, and Coulson facing Cal. The latter was the first to greet us at the start of the episode. Both are father figures, (Cal literally, Coulson figuratively) to Skye, and their fatherly love for her has brought them to this point. Cal admits (as I theorised) that he sacrificed an entire village to heal Jiaying years ago. Coulson appeals to Cal’s better side, and it works. Cal’s love for Jiaying (and the things he has done for that love) have twisted his mind. But his love for Skye brings him back from the brink of immorality. Seeing these two father figures brought not only Skye’s importance into focus, but the care and consideration the writers have put behind Cal (apart from that awful episode where he tried to create a team of supervillains). Cal’s sudden switch to raging monster to caring father was convincingly done.
However, the same cannot be said about the transition of Jiaying from caring mother to murderous monster. It was difficult to adjust to her villainous nature. Thrust into the primary villain of the piece, Jiaying didn’t quite reach great heights of evilness. Not that she was a terrible villain, not at all. The problem was that her transition was rushed and under-explained. Simmons’ change from murderous wench to the innocent Simmons that we used to love was also far too sudden. Although there was little explanation behind her initial desire to eliminate all Inhumans during Season 2, it raised a lot of potential plot lines for her. Instead, the writers played it safe and turned her moral again during the finale. A wasted plotline if there ever was one.
“Right now I’m in a crack heads first ask questions later kinda mood”
However, those are the only major flaws in an otherwise brilliant episode. Simmons’ turn, although rushed like I mentioned before, led to an almost-romantic experience with Fitz. Their will-they-won’t they storyline fizzled out at the beginning of Season 2, but they almost rekindled it during this finale, which was great to see. Fitz had another moment in the sun as his science skills came back to him with a plan to trap teleporter Lincoln. Fitz has had his ups and down in this Season, but this was a definite up in an episode chock full of character ‘ups.’
Mack brought the house down (not literally) throughout the episode, with quips such as ‘ginger ninjas.’ Wielding an axe like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, he played a big part in saving SHIELD from the hands of the Inhumans. The relationship between Hunter and Bobbi (in an interesting parallel to Fitz and Simmons, and also Ward and Kara) could be back on the cards after we nearly witnessed the death of Bobbi. The only member of SHIELD who felt a little superfluous was May in the grand scheme of things, but at least she’s able to have a break!
“We’re not bad, we’re misled”
Of course, the resolution centred around Skye and her parents. After Cal failed to reason with Jiaying, it came down to Skye and Jiaying, mother and daughter. Because so much effort has been put into their relationship, their ultimate meeting had plenty of emotional heft. Jiaying planned to use the crystals, and Skye wanted to stop her. It echoed Luke and Vader at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, with Jiaying asking Skye to help her “launch a revolution” and Skye refusing. The true extent of Jiaying’s craziness erupted when she tried to murder her daughter. In a fitting rescue, Cal intervened and broke his wife’s next. It was heart-stopping and bittersweet.
The same two words can describe what happened to Cal afterwards. Skye and Cal have a last meeting before he’s imprisoned (or at least that’s what we’re meant to think). In tears, he says that the best day of his life was Skye’s birth. We next see Cal as a vet with his own surgery. Skye talks to him, and it becomes clear what has happened: Cal’s memory has been erased. A tear-inducing end to their relationship if there ever was one!
With flaws few and far between, this was the perfect ending to Season 2. Great action, great dialogue and great character moments rounded off most of the developments during the season. Over the course of Season 2, Agents of SHIELD became compulsive viewing. The finale was another hop, skip and a jump on the show’s road to greatness. In most cases, the storylines and characters progressed plausibly and logically. The same can be said about the resolution. With a few teasers for Season 3, there is much more to look forward to!
VERDICT: 8/10. The hard work done during the last stages of Season 2 paid off fittingly in this finale. Emotional, logical, brilliant!
(Click here for my review of Agents of SHIELD, Season 2, Episode 21: S.O.S Part 1)