Well. That’s it, then.
Goodbye, Agents of Shield. It’s been a wild ride, and a fun seven seasons.
I enjoyed all the callbacks to the beginning, and the display of how things, and people, have changed so much. And yet, like that old saying, still the same. They resolved everything as well as they could, and tied off as many loose ends as they could.
It has been quite a journey.
And goodbye “This Week on TV,” though that, at least, might… eventually… make a return, if I’m lucky.
Agents of Shield
7.12 “The End is at Hand” &
7.13 “What We’re Fighting For”
The two-part finale had a lot of moving parts which all intertwined, impossible to pull apart as everything came together. So, here’s hoping I can do justice to it!
As the Chronicom fleet rains destruction down on the Earth below, wiping Shield off the map, Mack, Daisy, and Sousa make their final approach to Z-1 just in time for Z-1 to be tractor-beamed into the Chronicom flagship. They wait, very tense, for an expected assault that never comes, eventually emerging to find that, hey, all the enemies left the ship without a care in the world about them. Their mission remains to get Deke and Simmons, though, so Daisy goes off in search of them while Mack and Sousa work on their exit strategy. After Sousa and Daisy kiss, that is. (woohoo!)
Things go very easily for them, for a bit. And when you’re in the heart of enemy territory, “ease” tends to be because the enemy either doesn’t care what you do, or wants you to do what you are doing. Sybil makes it clear that she’s noticed them, and, though their arrival here was statistically improbable, she sees them as impotent, unable to fight effectively, and unable to escape at all. That last is proven when Mack, realizing there’s no need to be quiet about their presence anymore, tries just shooting a missile at the exit, and it has no discernible effect whatsoever.
As for the enemy, the ties that bind Malick, Kora (apparently I got her name spelled slightly wrong), their people, and the Chronicoms together are fraying just a bit. Kora believes in Malick, but doesn’t like his association with the Chronicoms, and really doesn’t like that he killed her mother Jiaying. He manages to spin it, though, with a simplistic insistence that Shield and Daisy are bad, and Jiaying hated Kora and was trying to kill him. Meanwhile, Malick chafes under Sybil’s reins, as she proceeds to make more headway with Simmons than he did, and restrains him from taking out the agents, and keeps him from engaging Daisy.
All of this, because there is a higher probability that Simmons will give away Fitz’s location if they allow her to be rescued, in the company of friends, since her implant is dissolved and her mind is in a fog of forgetfulness. She hasn’t just forgotten Fitz, but everyone, so helping her remember, an cough up the information they want, requires a feather touch, not a hammer. Sybil almost succeeds, but Malick vented to Kora, who’s been twisted around his finger for weeks, and she went off to confront Daisy on her own, arriving just in time to interrupt Simmons’ thought process, much to the Predictor’s consternation.
I recall a military man once said something about fearing the incompetent ally more than the competent enemy. In that light, I find it hilarious how Sybil’s careful manipulations were thwarted entirely by the accident of her pawns not doing something she did not predict! 🙂
Daisy and Kora square off, but they don’t really fight. Daisy just holds her ground, able to defend herself, while Deke and Simmons make for Z-1. They talk, like sisters, and Daisy doesn’t have to keep track of any lies she’s telling Kora, or herself, or anyone else. That’s an advantage of telling the truth, and the truth is that Jiaying may have made mistakes, but she loved Kora so much that she left her home to heal her heart with a healer and a new daughter, Daisy. Malick, by contrast, is a liar, and he’s just using and manipulating Kora to his own ends, telling her things she likes to hear. Kora feels the truth, and it confuses her, because it’s not what she thought it was.
She lets Daisy go, which earns her Malick’s anger, and he casts her aside. Specifically, he stuns her with a Chronicom gun, and has her hooked up so he can take her powers like he took Daisy’s.
The agents are back aboard Z-1, and now they have an exit strategy, courtesy of Sybil underestimating them. She sent a half dozen Chronicom hunters to take Z-1 and kill Mack and Sousa, but that didn’t work out. Mack used a device we last saw, for the first time, back in the show’s second episode. A small staff/rod jammed against the ground, a stun grenade jumping up out of its end, and everyone who doesn’t duck is rendered unconscious, like a crashed computer. It works on the Chronicoms, and Sousa gets the idea of using the Chronicoms like bombs, inspired by how the Chronicoms themselves did that back when they tried to decapitate early Shield’s leadership. They duct tape them to the missiles, and, once Daisy, Deke, and Simmons are aboard, they shoot the missiles at the doors and blast their way out.
Meanwhile, down below, Coulson, May, and Yo-Yo notice Garrett laying explosives to destroy the Lighthouse, since the Chronicoms apparently can’t quite do that with their usual orbital strikes. They get ahead of him, though, and restrain him with a personalized version of the device they once used to cripple Gordon’s teleporting. Being highly invested in his own survival, Garrett tries to get Malick to delay the explosion a bit, but Malick just writes him off. (My reaction: “Hah!”)
Yo-Yo thinks and moves fast, grabbing all the bombs and putting them in one spot. The Lighthouse gets totaled, but at least it’s not completely destroyed. Even better, nobody dies. Yo-Yo was too fast, Coulson was sturdy, and he shielded May. Even Garrett survived, though that was only because they gave him medical attention. He wakes up grumpy and ready for revenge against those who used, betrayed, and abandoned him. Some things remain consistent, don’t they?
During all of this, there is a signal being sent out from somewhere. It’s an oh-eight-four signal, a message calling Shield to gather somewhere. Coulson is the one to detect and discern its meaning, with his capabilities as an LMD. That and the anti-Gordon cuffs lead to a little talk with May, reflecting on how they and their agents have all changed so much over the years, and it’s true.
Nobody is exactly the same now as they were back then. Coulson lost a hand, thought that was a big deal at the time, and then he died a couple more times before coming back as a robot. May was almost completely closed off, and now she’s gained an empathic ability that now lets her feel the entire world’s loss as Shield dies. Daisy has collected new names and new abilities (and at least one new hairdo every year) since that fateful moment when “Sky” was taken into Shield custody by Coulson. Fitz and Simmons have both evolved, done things they never dreamed they would do. Mack joined up in the second season, and now he’s their Director, leading the charge against the enemy. Yo-Yo came into Shield more slowly (ironically), and now she has more control over her power than ever before… oh, and artificial arms. Deke was a self-serving scavenger, and now he’s a steadfast friend. Sousa hasn’t had much time on the show, and he may never truly change, but he’s now a man out of his own time, with a working prosthetic leg and a developing romance with one of the most powerful women in the world, for whom he is an unflinching rock of support.
Characters, like people, change over time, revealing who they will always be even as they become completely different from who they were before.
It’s an appropriate moment for that reflection.
But back to business!
Garrett blinks the three agents to the coordinates, teleporting into a familiar speak-easy, the first and now last sanctuary of Shield’s agents. And they’re not alone. Immediately, they’re told to put their hands up and surrender by the people in the shadows. Garrett does exactly the wrong thing and gets shot in the head for it. No great loss there. And it’s poetic, given that he’s shot by Victoria Hand, whose bleeding corpse he laughed over in the original timeline.
These few surviving agents of Shield have gathered here because they were called by the signal. Agent Hand, Agent Gamble, and others have inherited legacies, small bags or boxes or other such packages which they and their families were instructed to keep safe at all costs, and to bring to the speak-easy when this exact signal was sent out. The last one to arrive is an old man whose bus broke down on the way, delaying him, and he reveals that it was Enoch and the Koenigs who set all this up. Enoch, it would seem, was not at all idle in those decades of separation from the team, setting all of this up to be activated at the critical moment.
Even after his death, Enoch is supporting his friends. 🙂
The rest of the agents arrive, also following the signal, reuniting in the midst of this harrowing experience. It’s a moment of relief, and May even gives Daisy a hug, which is a new thing, but not at all unwelcome!
Each package contains a separate component to a device which Simmons, in her fugue state, is able to assemble with easy. It opens a secret compartment, in which the device rests beneath a strange machine. Simmons is remembering, including how the agents around her were at her wedding, but there’s so much memory she’s lost access to. That’s why they made this moment subconscious in some way, so she could do it no matter what else happened to her mind. Including when she puts her ring into the top of the device, and activates it.
A light goes up, and a hole is opened in time and space and reality itself as through the rift is drawn a figure, a person wearing a helmet, making his return at last: Fitz has arrived!
He’s overjoyed that their device, and their plan, has worked! …and a little inconvenienced by how Simmons has forgotten him. Crap.
But, he has all the answers! He knows all the moving bits of the plan, to get what they need from an alternate timeline and bring it back to their own!
Yes, they knew that the time-jumping was going to create an alternate timeline, and the agents would be trapped in it, separated from their original timeline. So, Fitz stayed behind as their anchor. They would draw him into the new timeline, and he would then lead them back to their own, fully armed and ready to defeat the Chronicom invasion. The original invasion, the one that sent them on this chaotic mission in the first place.
Small wonder Sybil couldn’t find him! She was in an entirely different universe from him!
Speaking of, Sybil is now pleased to note, as she observes in her time stream, that this is absolutely the last time all of the agents are together in one spot. Daisy comments on that, in the speak-easy, how this is their last mission together, telling Fitz how Enoch revealed this just before he died. That’s a blow, but for Fitz, this is an effort years in the doing, and he rolls with it. What’s worse, though, is that they don’t have the one thing they need right there with them: Kora.
All of this, this entire effort, was to get Kora, who died in the original timeline, so they went back, and onto a different timeline. Fitz had in mind that she and Daisy would connect as sisters, and with their mother Jiaying. Instead, they didn’t connect very much, and Kora is with the enemy. So… they need to figure out how to work with what they’ve got.
But before they go, the team makes it very clear to Fitz that they can’t, and won’t, simply abandon this reality, the people of this new timeline, to the Chronicoms. That comes with a significant reduction in their odds, but they are determined. And, happily, it’s Deke that comes up with the solution.
The device they used to bring Fitz here, and which can take them home, functions like a bubble. It can plug into Z-1, in place of the time drive, to take them back to the time and place and timeline they came from, so, the plan: make the bubble big enough to drag the Chronicoms with them through the quantum realm. Problem: they don’t have enough power. Solution: New York in 1983 does have enough power.
It can work. It will work. But it requires someone to stay behind. Sousa volunteers, but Deke shoots that down very quickly. He, unlike Sousa, can actually do the technical work that needs doing. Also, he wants Daisy to be happy, which he sees happening with Sousa. …and, he kind of has it made in this timeline. 😉 So, he’ll stay behind and take care of things here, while the rest go on, never seeing him again.
And with that, everyone leaps into action! The agents add the device to Z-1 and fly straight for the Chronicom ships, while the agents of this timeline follow Deke’s lead and rig up enough power for them to succeed at taking said ships with them. It’s close, but they do it. Deke and Mack say their farewells, one faithful friend to another, and activate the device. And it works perfectly! Z-1 drags the Chronicoms into the quantum realm, towards its original timeline.
Malick is unhappy about this, as he was this close to RULING!… er, saving the world!
Heh, his mask is finally off! He doesn’t actually represent chaos, he just represents himself! It’s all a power-grab, and his fancy appeal to anarchy is just window dressing, as is his supposed loyalty. He just wants to be the one in charge, and he is ticked off that he’s not going to be.
Sybil tries to reassure him, but Malick doesn’t buy it anymore. Yeah, there’s already another Chronicom force invading the world they’re going to, but, as he says, nobody knows the future anymore. Which, Sybil seems to agree, as her past experience with the agents has shown her that they beat the odds, and they’ve beaten her before, despite what she can see, so she’s actually a bit unnerved and single-minded in her drive to destroy the agents now.
As for the agents themselves, they get filled in on the big picture by Fitz, as he helps Simmons remember it.
Back in last season’s finale, Enoch told them that they must alter the course of their lives, and it will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. It turns out, he stole a copy of the time stream while he was undercover as another Chronicom, and that is how they know everything they know about the past, the present, the future, and alternate timelines. Fitz studied it, at risk of losing his mind, and found out what they needed to do to get what they needed to stop the Chronicoms. That came after teleporting onto the jet with Piper and Flint, who creates a bit of the time-traveling monolith for them, leaving them in the jungles of South America as they took the Zephyr and went to another star system, called Alya, to hide and learn and prepare.
While there, they lived their lives a little bit, but also got prepared everything, including the implant, the machine that lets them travel across timelines through the quantum realm, a stealthy, time-drive updated Zephyr, etc. When all was ready, they returned to the same time and place that they left Flint and Piper (who realized they must be messing with time again). They had a containment module ready for Fitz, to propel him through the quantum realm when it received the signal from the device Enoch built and Simmons assembled in the new timeline. They set Piper and Flint to guard it, stressing its importance, to the point where Simmons was desperately sincere in her promise she made: if they guard it well, then they can ask anything of her.
After that, Simmons and Enoch went to the temple, and we know the story from there.
With everyone caught up with what’s already happened, Fitz moves along to what they need to do now. They have one shot at stopping the Chronicoms, which are now two invading Chronicom forces, so they can’t afford to make it up as they go now.
Upon arrival, the agents split into two teams.
Mack, Daisy, May, and Coulson stay on Z-1, going straight to their most stealthy silent running, waiting for their moment.
Fitz-Simmons, Sousa, and Yo-Yo go to the temple. They are the figures in hazmat suits which assist Simmons and Enoch in getting team the medical attention they needed, digging out a piece of a monolith, and getting the team onto Z-1 to go time-jumping. Future selves helping past selves become the future selves… you know, time traveling gets very confusing at times.
In orbit, the moment comes when Sybil, intent in her desire to destroy Z-1 and the agents aboard, immediately fires on the past version of Z-1 the moment it’s spotted. It vanishes and the missiles hit the temple instead, with no trace of Z-1 detected. But the moment their attention is drawn elsewhere, to the Z-1 below, May takes the Z-1 in orbit and infiltrates Sybil’s ship, with a bit more success than last time. At the moment of the explosion, with the old Z-1 away to create a new timeline in the past, Fitz is transported away, so he can bring them back.
With the past secured, they look to the future. May, who used to do nothing but fly the plane, has done it again at a pivotal moment, getting them exactly where they need to be at exactly the right time. The team below heads back to the Lighthouse, retaking it, whilst Sybil fumes about the uncertainty of her victory. Her instincts, born from her experience, are proven correct as her ship is boarded and conflict ensues. May heads off on her own, Daisy fights to keep their entrance and exit secure, even as Malick comes for her, Mack goes for Kora, and Coulson faces down Sybil.
The Lighthouse is retaken below, with Yo-Yo doing most of the heavy lifting courtesy of her speed. They take the central HQ area, lock it down, with Fitz and Yo-Yo standing ready to open fire whenever the Chronicoms hammer the doors back open. Fitz is busy readying the base to receive something, and Simmons… seeing Sousa and Yo-Yo talking about Daisy and Mack, she remembers everything. Most of all, she remembers what they’re fighting for.
Sybil is happy at the chance to strike down Coulson, the man who became a machine that struck her down, hard. But he’s calm, and confident, because they’ve already won the war, no matter what Sybil thinks. Fitz and the others have already retaken the Lighthouse, after all, he says. And Sybil, in her lust to destroy Fitz, the common denominator in every scenario of her defeat, and to destroy the agents who have caused her so much grief, she simply orders every hunter under her command to invade the Lighthouse and kill them. After which, she intends to “reassign” (or “brainwash”) Coulson.
But… that’s a trap. And she fell for it.
She just sent every hunter, all of which she can command simultaneously, an order to gather together in one, single spot. And she used her authorization to do it. Now, they can do something very similar, to all the hunters on the ground, all at once.
And what comes next?
Melinda May, the Cavalry, dropping from above to lay Sybil out cold, soon followed by all the other Chronicoms in the room as she and Coulson annihilate them.
Mack arrives with Kora, weak from blood loss, in his arms. She’s not at her best, but she has enough juice left to stand up and do her part: increasing the power of the signal they send to the Lighthouse. Coulson gets her on her feet by telling her that they’re fighting for the very thing that gives them strength. She hears what he means, and stands up, ready to do her part.
It is a very tense moment, as everything preceding has led to this. Daisy is fighting Malick, her family’s personal bogeyman, as an army of hunters converges on the Lighthouse HQ, bashing against the doors with mechanical strength. Fitz finishes his part, getting something in place to receive the signal, and high in orbit, Kora shines, empowering a signal. May is the one to put her hands in the controls, and a beam of light shoots down.
The Chronicoms have demonstrated how they can mess with their people’s heads, and Sybil would have brainwashed Coulson with glee. So, they use that same technology to give the Chronicoms something new: empathy. May’s gift, to feel what others feel, is transmitted down to the Lighthouse, which is lit up in a brilliant whiteness, catching all of the hunters within it.
And in the darkness and silence which follows, Yo-Yo asks the renewed Chronicoms if they are friends or enemies.
Answer: “Friends. As we have always been.”
Enoch’s legacy lives on in the restoration, and empowerment, of his people not as conquerors, but as the friends to all which they used to be. They did, after all, step in to save the agents, and help the agents save the world, back in the fifth season. They were changed, not entirely of their own will, by what happened to their homeworld. Now, they are themselves again… with a little bit of something new. 🙂
It’s an interesting solution, and much more humane than simply destroying the Chronicoms. It felt a bit like it came out of left field, but I rather approve of it. Instead of killing the enemy, they literally shared a little bit of humanity with them.
And that just leaves a few enemies and their ships on the field. In answer to which, the agents retreat and leave Daisy to do her thing. Though Malick may be the single foe most suited to fighting her, she absolutely holds her own against him until her team is safely away. And then she does one thing Malick couldn’t comprehend: kill him, and the enemy fleet, even at the cost of her life.
…of course, standing at ground zero of a massive explosion that rips several powerful, radioactive ships to tiny pieces, she comes out of it practically unscathed except for the exposure to the void of space, which Kora’s warmth heals her of. I’m not going to lie, I would have cried if Daisy died, but saving her quite that easily felt a little like a cop-out, ya know? Still, I suppose I can’t really complain.
In the end, the threat is thoroughly ended, forever, and the agents move on with their lives.
We only got a small hint of what Deke’s life was after he stayed behind, when the agents asked if he was in charge now, and he said, “Yes.” He became the head of what was left of Shield, it would seem, and we can only imagine what he did after that. 🙂
As for the rest, they have all gone to follow their own paths through life. They are parted, but they arrange to be reunited every year by way of a virtual conference, courtesy of super-advanced tech. The venue for their personal Framework is the speak-easy, with seven seats set out for them.
Yo-Yo is the first one who has to go, as they wind it down. She is on a mission with Piper and an LMD Davis. That was Piper’s chosen reward: to have her best friend back, so he can raise his kid and be her buddy. It’s funny, how the LMDs were a menace for an entire season, and completely annihilated, but now there are two running about like it’s nothing. But Yo-Yo is used to this now, and gets on with the mission at hand at super speed.
As for what Piper did to warrant this reward: she guarded the module, which had more than Fitz in it. It had the daughter which Fitz-Simmons had while they were in the Alya system, and they named her Alya. She is what they fight for, what all the agents fight for, the very thing that gives human beings their strength: family. And so, Fitz-Simmons enjoy their happily ever after as a family.
Simmons still works, of course, but Fitz is retired and living his life.
Mack is apparently still the Director of Shield, and he is currently overseeing things from atop a helicarrier.
While May teaches at Shield’s new academy, the Coulson Academy, including Flint as one of her students. She comments on how teaching leaves her more exhausted than any fight she’s had with demons, robots, or anything else. Heh.
Daisy is in space, with Sousa and Kora on her crew, leading Shield’s space-based ventures, perhaps as part of Sword. She and Sousa are moving along in their relationship. He has his old-time quirks which clearly endear him all the more to her. Things are good, though she lingers last of all, missing her time with her surrogate family most of all.
And can I just say: she has another hairdo. That makes for a new one every single year, and she makes all of them look pretty dang good! 🙂
Finally, there’s Coulson. An LMD now. He’s welcome anywhere his old friends are, but he’s taking his time, reassessing his existence, always contemplating the idea of turning himself off. But for now, he’s seeing the world, going places he’s always wanted to go. And what better way to do that than with his ride, the new and improved Lola.
As the pilot episode, and the second season finale, ended with a car leaving the ground and going off to new adventures, so does the series.