Holy crap! That was as perfect a season finale for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as I could have possibly hoped for. Thank you ABC, for stickin’ with this show.
If you’ve been following my reviews, you know that Season 4 has been a standout run in my opinion. While the first half stalled a tad with all the LMD duplicates, once we were inside The Framework there were zero filler episodes. It was a nonstop rollickin’ roadster ride leading up to this intense finale. Yup, Ghost Rider was reintroduced quickly and we learned he was there for the Darkhold.
The season finale answered a ton of questions, while neatly tying up all the loose plot points introduced by The Framework. Naturally, the closing moments set up a whole new series of issues for our heroes. Thankfully the series was recently renewed for a fifth season, so there’s plenty more adventures to come. I’ve said this before, the creative team is really firing on all cylinders. Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had a rocky start (yes even I dropped it in Season 1), but the writers have more than made up for it. Anyone not tuning in at this point, probably feels they’re too behind to catch up. Well, to those folks I say Season 4 was pretty self-contained and the perfect time to jump back in. You can also hit Netflix, guys… promise you won’t regret it!
Anyway, one of the lingering issues was how Aida was reborn as an Inhuman. No terrigenesis husk required. Well, Fitz explained that although Aida was born of the Darkhold, it was he who experimented on Inhumans inside The Framework unlocking the secrets of folks like Lincoln Campbell etc. In my previous review, I theorized that only Ghost Rider could defeat Aida. I was partially right, as Ghost Rider ended her, but via Phil Coulson. What?!? That was a surprise twist I didn’t see coming. The writers have given us so many cool twists and turns this year, they should be applauded. That’s how you keep an audience engaged. Of course, now that we know Coulson struck a deal with the Spirit of Vengeance we’re going to be fearing for his eternal soul. The fact Coulson’s already died and returned doesn’t help his case. Is Ghost Rider now supposed to bring Phil back to whichever dimension? Will we ever see Gabriel Luna on the show again? I certainly hope so. He did a killer job.
The Framework was collapsing in on itself, and I was terribly worried about Mack and Yo-Yo. Would the two of them die inside that insane virtual world? I’ll be honest, had that been the outcome it would have ruined the season for me. Our heroes need a freakin’ win every now and again, this isn’t The Walking Dead. That’s another thing I think the writers have realized. You can build suspense without actually eliminating series leads. The Simmons death scene is a perfect example. Yes, I screamed shit shit shit aloud before realizing Aida probably killed an LMD. The android should have shorted out a bit when Aida stabbed it, but that would have ruined the surprise. I get it.
Daisy never made it back inside The Framework, so my hopes of seeing Ward rejoin the team in Season 5 were history. Radcliffe was the one who ultimately rescued Yo-Yo, taking her to Mack and Hope. For a moment, I thought there was some recognition in Mack’s eyes when he saw Yo-Yo. There might have been, but he was so determined not to go on without Hope, that Yo-Yo had little influence. It was sad to see Mack walk right past Yo-Yo in that one scene. Even when the bridge and people on the bus vanished, Mack stubbornly refused to leave. I liked that Radcliffe explained Fitz was stalling their demise from the other side. It was impressive that Yo-Yo was willing to stay for Mack, now that’s love. Their scene was heartbreaking, and yes I teared up a bit. I’m an old softy, what can I say? Of course, once Hope herself vanished, there was no reason for Mack to die inside The Framework. They certainly made us hold our breath a tad after Yo-Yo awoke in the real world, didn’t they? I knew Mack would wake up as well. Again, I’m glad they got a happy ending.
The visual effects were phenomenal, and Ghost Rider’s chains blew my mind. How about that brutal LMD decapitation? Yes! The Rider’s fight sequences with Aida were excellent as well. Aida’s powers were on full display and Ghost Rider was getting pissed. Robbie’s reunion with Daisy was touching, and we learned he escaped from a tear in the Dark World caused by Aida’s birth. The two seemingly separate storylines were brought together brilliantly in my opinion. My guess that Ghost Rider would return in the finale not only proved right, but boy was it was worth the wait.
The team ended up back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ which was odd since it was in total ruins. I guess they needed to lure Aida to the portal to send her back to hell. The plan caused a nice bit of tension, but with Robbie using his chains to open a portal at the end, the standoff really could have taken place anywhere. That’s just me nitpicking. Still, that one sequence where Aida killed LMD Simmons wrecked me. It gave Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker some juicy material to work with. Again, I’m glad Aida killed a bot and not the real Jemma Simmon. Marvel/ABC want fans watching (or returning) to the show, and killing off our faves is not the best way to accomplish that. It was amusing when the real Jemma shot Aida, but couldn’t kill her. She just really wanted to do that. Ha! Can you blame her?
In the end, Aida’s plan to frame Daisy and recreate The Framework’s world in the real world failed miserably. We didn’t get a Daisy on Daisy-bot fight, but watching Ghost Rider take her and LMD Anton Ivanov out was spectacular. Aida’s death sequence looked pretty amazing as well. I’m telling you, Mark Kolpack and his team at FuseFX do outstanding work week in and week out. They somehow manage to keep the effects comparable to the Marvel films, while on a TV budget. Hats off to you guys, seriously. I can’t wait to see what FuseFX comes up with for Season 5.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 has made me a strong believer in the series again. I mean, I’ve never dropped the show after that first bumpy season, but after these 22 episodes S.H.I.E.L.D. has skyrocketed to the top of my “superhero show” TV list. That’s right, over The Flash and Supergirl on The CW, whose seasons were touch and go. Don’t get me started on Arrow.
The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finale was not only full of action and thrills, but there were plenty of emotional moments as well. Mack and Yo-Yo’s scene, and Daisy’s inspiring speech at the end for instance were highlights. How about Radcliffe’s exit? That was something else, wasn’t it? Poof! The team eating together in the closing moments was reminiscent of The Avengers post-credit shawarma scene. We can’t fully understand who those folks that froze time were or how Coulson ended up in space, but it was all very “ominous” indeed. The crossovers with the Marvel films has been light of late, but perhaps that final scene on the space ship hints at The Inhumans or possibly The Guardians of the Galaxy playing a role next season. Either way, I’ll be back for more… no question about that.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return for Season 5, Fridays at 9|8c on ABC.