Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 5 — a review


Agents of SHIELD

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Gotham have a lot in common to me.

I’ve watched both series from their beginnings. Both had a lot of things that appealed to me from both sides of the Marvel-DC aisle. And, both had strung me along with a lot of unspoken promises that never really managed to pay off in any meaningful way.

Finally, I planned to stop watching both of these shows at the end of their current seasons. It was enough, already, and I had other things to do.

If I were a betting man, I would have wagered that neither series would have been picked up this month for another season, and I would have lost. Both were renewed. This is where their commonalities continued. Both were picked up for shorter seasons. Gotham has announced that the next 13 episodes will be the final ones of the series. I have already written about this, and the fact that I celebrate the decision. AoS has also been picked up for a half-season of 13 episodes. No one has announced that Season 6 will be the last season, though. I guess that still hinges on how the series performs when it comes back in the fall.

I have mixed emotions about this. I don’t want to see the series fail, but I would love to see it finish. The way Season 5 ends actually addresses some of this, and I’ll talk about it in a minute. I think the truncated episode order signals that this may finally be it for Coulson’s team. My sincere hope is that the next 13 episodes are a tightly focused single story arc that reaches a definite conclusion, not a tentative one waiting on the May upfronts.

In short, I want the series to end. I will watch Season 6, because my OCD nature compels me to. I’m a completist. I probably won’t watch it while it airs. But, I’ll let the episodes accumulate on my DVR for a while, and then I’ll work them in to my viewing schedule.

Season 5 had a lot of things I loved about it. It was S.H.I.E.L.D. in space for much of it, with an Earth that had been cracked apart like an egg. There were Star Wars references and lots of dystopian science-fiction tropes. The Kree were there. There was time-travel shenanigans galore. Leopold Fitz proved himself the ultimate hero by traveling through time, frozen, in order to rescue the woman he loves. Fitz and Simmons get married this season, and they manage to meet their grandson. When we return to “present” time, our heroes manage to prevent the catastrophe that resulted in the dystopian future in the first place. Along the way, Adrian Pasdar, the busiest man in superhero television programming, parlays his role as Glenn Talbot into Graviton. Exciting stuff, but he is defeated by Quake (or Daisy, or Skye, whatever she’s called now) and the future is saved.

Of course, Fitz is also dead. But, that doesn’t really matter, because the Fitz from the past is already out there, frozen, somewhere in space. Since the dystopian future doesn’t need him any further, Simmons is free to locate him and thaw him out to replace the other version of Fitz, who is now deceased. It’s complicated, but very much in the rescuing-Han-Solo vein.

Phil Coulson is still dying at the end of this season, and he and Agent May have apparently gone to Tahiti (the real one, this time), so that they can consummate their relationship and Coulson can live out his final days in paradise.

It all feels like a closure of a sort. Even Mac has inherited control of S.H.I.E.L.D. from Daisy, who was the interim leader. Seems like there should be some say from higher up in the organization, but maybe there is no higher-ups anymore. I don’t know. It’s difficult to keep straight in my mind. I just wanted to see Ghost Rider again, any version—motorcycle, car, whatever.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen in Season 6. It will be interesting, I’m sure. What I’m looking for is a satisfying series finale. As with Gotham, I’m probably going to wait until after these episodes all air to watch them; but, I will watch them eventually. If Season 6 is the end of the series, I’ll watch them sooner rather than later.

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