Agents of SHIELD Season 1 Episode 21 ‘The Beginning of the End’ Review

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD survived and will get a second season. It’ll even be joined by Hayley Atwell’s Agent Carter, which opens up some interesting time-travel-based crossover episodes. Oh, and this finale? It was very well done. Plots were wrapped up, bigger mythologies were extended, and Coulson got the answers he wanted. Bill Paxton could be tagged as this show’s savior, and his exit was pretty spectacular. I couldn’t help but notice that Ward was trying to tell May something before she clocked him. What could that have been? I guess we’ll find out in the fall.

Here are the 6 Qs of the Agents of SHIELD Season 1 finale.

1. What is it?

Agents of SHIELD Season One finale, titled ‘The Beginning of the End.’

2. Who’s in it?

The series regulars, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Ming-Na Wen as Melinda may, Brett Dalton as Agent Ward, Chloe Bennet as Skye, Elizabeth Henstridge as Simmons, and Iain De Caestecker as Fitz. Guest starring this week is Bill Paxton as John Garrett; J. August Richards as Deathlok; B.J. Britt as Agent Antoine “Trip” Triplett; David Conrad as Ian Quinn; Ruth Negga as Raina; Josh Daugherty as Kyle Keller; Glenn Morshower as High-Ranking Military Leader; Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury; and Patton Oswalt as Billy Koenig.

3. Who made it?

‘The Beginning of the End’ was written by Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon; the episode was directed by David Straiton

4. What is it about? (**Spoilers Ahead**)

‘The Beginning of the End’ opens with an orientation, as Kyle Zeller (Daugherty) is showing a new employee the work floor at Cybertek. The new employee seems tense, and when he mentions the “Incentive Package” Zeller joins him in his discomfort.

At the abandoned Hydra base, Coulson (Gregg) and Skye (Bennet) hack the Hydra computer and find out the location of all of their secret hideouts, while May (Wen) holds off the CENTIPEDE soldiers. She gets her hands on the Asgardian Berserker Staff and all hell breaks loose. She literally brings the house down, and she inexplicably tosses the staff into the rubble.

Agents of SHIELD Season 1 Episode 21 'The Beginning of the End' Review: You Ready to Change the World?
Meanwhile on the Bus, Garrett (Paxton) now has super powers and talks in riddles about the universe and more…cosmic…ideas. Ward (Dalton) begins to see his mentor is unbalanced.

Coulson tells his team that Fitz and Simmons were able to plant a tracker on the Bus, but their personal trackers were lost somewhere over the ocean and they might be dead.

At the bottom of the ocean, Fitz (De Caestecker) wakes up Simmons (Henstridge). They survived the impact and subsequent sinking, but Fitz broke his arm, and they are running out of air and supplies. Fitz admits they are in deep trouble.

On the Bus, Ward and Deathlok (Richards) clearly don’t like each other and Raina (Negga) has a conversation with Garrett, who sheds light on his new level of crazy. Garrett begins to draw an intricate series of lines and circles, almost like a map of some kind. Raina watches him work and believes every word he says.

In the pod, Fitz and Simmons discuss the afterlife and their roles in this life and beyond. Simmons figures out a way that they can escape (even though Fitz sad it was a terrible idea a few minutes before) and they both get excited.

At Cybertek, Quinn (Conrad) leads a tour of the military leaders, showing them the CENTIPEDE project in depth. Outside, Coulson and Trip (Britt) are in hiding, ready to launch 616’s assault on Garrett and Hydra. Trip uses another WWII era gadget, called the Noisemaker, to distract the guards, and he and Coulson steal a heavily armored vehicle and use it to breech the walls for the second strike team of May and Skye to infiltrate the base.

Inside, the Army General (Morshower) questions what is happening and Quinn tries to play it off as a training drill. Garrett shows up with Ward and Raina and kills the General in front of the other leaders by ripping out one of his ribs and then stabbing him with it. Ward is appalled by Garrett’s actions.

With Garrett in control, and the leaders now in Hydra’s hands, Quinn takes the gravitonium and loads it onto a plane. Raina tells Ward that they will need Skye to help unlock Garrett’s new mental state. Ward is more unsure than ever.

Agents of SHIELD Season 1 Episode 21 'The Beginning of the End' Review: You Ready to Change the World?
May and Skye make it to the control center and they take Zeller hostage. He informs them that any attempts to hack the system will cause the soldiers to self-destruct, and Skye isn’t fazed at all. It’s all part of the plan. She calls Garrett on the phone and goads him into the next phase of 616’s plan.

In the Pod, Fitz rigs the window to blow out and he gives Simmons a breathing mask. There is only enough air for one to live. Simmons tells him that she can’t do it, and that he is her best friend, and Fitz admits that she is — and always has been — more to him. Simmons cries and she takes the mask, planting kisses all over Fitz’s face and before she can argue any further, he blows the hatch. Simmons drags his body up with her and she breaks the surface of the water, sucking in air and holding Fitz’s lifeless body. She looks around and sees nothing for miles, but when she looks up, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) reaches down and pulls her and Fitz into a helicopter.

Simmons wakes up in a decompression chamber and Fury tells her that Fitz is still alive – barely — and that he had been tracking them all this time. He is hoping to join up with Coulson to stop Garrett and Hydra.

Skye and May find out the location of the “Incentive Plan,” which is how Cybertek/Hydra is making people work for them: by holding their loved ones as hostages. Skye begins to release the prisoners while looking for Ace, Mike Peterson’s son. Ward shows up and he and May start to fight.

Coulson confronts Garrett in the CENTIPEDE lab. Garrett throws Coulson around like a rag doll and Fury shows up in time to give Coulson the BFG weapon from The Avengers film. Coulson uses the gun on the CENTIPEDE troops. Fury confronts Garrett. Deathlok points his wrist rockets and Coulson and Fury.

May and Ward continue their fight. Each fighter has the upper hand time and again, and finally, May uses a nail gun to affix Ward in one spot. Ward tries to tell her something before she kicks him in the throat, damaging his larynx.

Skye finds Ace and she asks him for something that only he and his dad would know. She then uses the hack to get into Deathlok’s eyepiece and informs him that his son is safe. Deathlok then turns and fires the rockets into Garrett, presumably killing him.

Ward is taken into custody as 616 and what’s left of SHIELD begin cleaning up the mess. Skye and Deathlok watch as Ace goes away with his aunt. Deathlok says he has to redeem himself before he can be with his son again and he leaves.

In the CENTIPEDE chamber, Garrett climbs onto the stirrups and allows the system to rebuild him as a full-on cyber soldier. He stands up, stronger, better, faster, and as he declares his intentions of ruling the world, Coulson blasts him into tiny atoms with an 0-8-4 weapon.

On the Bus, Fury and Coulson have their long awaited chat, and Fury admits to Coulson that the GH325 procedure was designed to bring back a fallen Avenger, alluding to the fact that Coulson is, and always was a standing member. He then gives Coulson a small cube called The Toolbox, and tasks him with rebuilding SHIELD from the ground up. Fury then names Coulson as the new director. Fury then goes back into hiding.

Agents of SHIELD Season 1 Episode 21 'The Beginning of the End' Review: You Ready to Change the World?
Simmons is reunited with 616 and tells them that Fitz is barely alive and may never be the same again. The team heads a new base, called the Playground, and there they meet Billy Koenig (Oswalt), Eric’s twin brother, who promises them all his services and resources, as soon as they all get lanyards, of course.

In an undisclosed location, Raina is led into a room where a man covered in what looks like blood sits. She hands the man a picture of Skye and tells him she has found his daughter.

In the post-SHIELD scene, Coulson can’t sleep so he climbs out of his bunk and explores the makeshift warehouse at The Playground. He sees the mysterious circles and lines drawings that Garrett was working on and then he grabs a knife and starts making his own, etching it into the concrete. My guess is that these drawings are a map of the cosmos, and this could be a huge nod to this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy, or at the very least, a tie to the Kree.

5. Any revelations, tie-ins, easter eggs, etc.?

Fury telling Coulson that the plan for the GH325 resurrection procedure was in place for a member of the Avengers, and that is why he got the treatment was touching and welcome. Liberal use of the phrase, “True Believer,” which is a calling card of Marvel Mastermind Stan Lee.

6. Will we watch next week?

No. The summer hiatus begins and there are a ton of mysteries to ponder during the hot months. Who is Skye’s father, and how did Raina find him so easily? What will Quinn do with the Gravitonium? What was Ward trying to tell May before she kicked him in the throat? How many Koenigs are there in the Marvel Universe? Was that a Kree star map that both Garrett and Coulson were drawing? Will the move to a 9/8c time slot hurt the ratings next year? All of these mysteries will be revealed next season. Have a great summer everyone!

out of 5

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