Well, that happened.
Agents of Shield delivered another explosive season finale with this week’s two-part showing. It wrapped up this season and setup next season, the final season.
And now I am left in a bit of a quandary.
Usually, summer has been when I’ve had an involuntary break from my weekly commentaries, because everything in my weekly lineup has finished their seasons, and I have to wait for fall for the next seasons to begin. This year, however, Agents of Shield covered most of the summer, and now I have nothing to follow.
That will become even more true next year, when the show ends entirely, because almost everything else I’ve ever had in my lineup has ended. White Collar, The Vampire Diaries, Grimm, Gotham, all finished. iZombie, I dropped for its emotional intensity, and it’s finished, too, now. Inhumans, ended, even if I was inclined to keep following it. The Gifted, ended. Agent Carter, ended. I dropped all the Arrowverse shows for becoming campy clones of each other… and Arrow is ending. Castle, ended. Heroes Reborn, ended. Nashville, also dropped, and also ended. Once Upon a Time, dropped, and ended. Reign, dropped and ended.
Outside Agents of Shield, the only ones left are Cloak and Dagger, which has very short seasons and I have no idea if and when it’s returning, and Doctor Who, which I don’t have regular access to anymore.
So… if I want to keep my weekly commentaries as an ongoing thing, I am going to have to adapt a bit. Find something fresh and appealing to add in, or change what I comment on a bit, something. I have no idea exactly what I’ll do, but I shall have to figure something out.
It’ll take time though, to figure out my next move with this. The rest of my blog shall continue as normal, but here endeth my weekly commentaries, for at least several months. It has been a fun, wild ride. 🙂
So, to wrap this up…
6.12 “The Sign” & 6.13 “New Life”
All the characters are thrown into a shrinking box and everything happens at once. Yep, that’s a season finale for you!
Izel has a pretty good time for most of these two episodes. Her endeavor does not go without some unexpected developments, but it mostly progresses in every way she would most like it to.
Flint, or at least this version of Flint that has been conjured by their minds and the Di’Allas, is their loyal, young friend restored to them in a most unusual way. Existential questions notwithstanding, he does not hesitate to help Mack and Yo-Yo. Unfortunately, this reveals his earth-based abilities to her, and he has no chance of getting away before Izel possesses him. She had hoped Mack and Yo-Yo would have conjured the Di’Allas directly, but it might work even better for her, constructing entirely new vessels to restore their power to.
Once that’s done, she sends her shrike to possess more bodies, enough for an army, but keeps her three captives close by breaking Flint’s leg. They are apparently to serve as vessels for the first three of her kind to come through the gate she’s opening. And with the Di’Allas fully restored, that’s just a matter of singing her song for awhile.
But, as always, Shield is running interference with the big bad that’s trying to end the world and the human race. Fitz-Simmons and Deke run things back at the Lighthouse while Daisy, May, Piper, and Sarge go in on a quinjet. Deke provides these arm bands that, when worn, can prevent Izel from possessing them. He managed to cook up an entire batch all at once, and they also melted some of Sarge’s blue daggers to make anti-shrike bullets.
Basic plan: with as much support as can be provided from HQ, the away team gets in, gets their people out, and Sarge kills Izel with the blue sword, hopefully preventing the end of the world.
Naturally, nothing goes that easily.
Izel’s newest army of shrike zombies comes in force, making passage through the jungle to the temple all the more difficult and dangerous. Daisy ends up leading them away, giving May and Sarge an opening, but that leaves her effectively out of the most crucial fight, and at a pivotal moment.
Sarge is acting enough like Coulson did that May and Daisy have hope for him, and even trust him. That proves a little short-sighted because, while it may have been established that part of Sarge is Coulson, it can’t be denied that there is another part to him. That’s the part that has been giving them so much trouble, and while it’s great to see “Coulson” again, trusting him was a bit too much.
If nothing else, trust should be reserved for that which is stable, which Sarge is definitely not.
While that’s going on, Fitz-Simmons and Deke find another way to get into the temple: a jump drive. Deke, it turns out, brought a bit of his company into Shield with him, which, I suppose, is good for all parties involved, building a symbiotic relationship between Shield and Deke’s company, but it’s a bit disorienting.
Fitz praised Deke for his own ideas, but is disgusted to find that Deke is essentially cheating, stealing, and scavenging like a magpie. Deke is usually all bravado and ego on the outside, but a moment of frustration brings out his honest feelings, where he reveals that he still feels like a complete outsider, a stranger, and a joke. Nobody in Shield likes him, the girl he wanted to impress still thinks nothing of him, his best friend was a mole, his girlfriend was crazy, and even the two people he most respects in the world keep him at arm’s length.
Deke’s problem is that he keeps trying to impress in the wrong ways, and it’s natural for him to ride other people’s coattails. Daisy isn’t impressed and swooning over his company because that’s not what impresses her. He was praised for his original idea, but no one likes a thief of ideas. His employees like him because he brings something of value to the table. People also don’t like scheming, back-stabbing opportunists, which is what Deke originally was when they first met him, and still is a little, a’la the intellectual thievery. It takes time for people to forget that, and it doesn’t help when the person in question also talks endlessly and talks big about themselves. In short: Deke needs to show a little humility and honesty. That’s what was so great about him in this episode: he stepped up, honestly.
He puts on the jump drive, and teleports straight into the temple chamber, getting Yo-Yo, Flint, and Mack out alive, even drawing shrike zombies away from them. Deke manages to put a camera in place so HQ can watch Izel before ending up in the quinjet, hiding from shrike zombies. Mack and Yo-Yo hand Flint off to Piper, who takes him on the other quinjet, but that then leaves them stuck with lots of shrike zombies when Daisy comes racing back to hide from the oncoming horde.
The climactic cliffhanger arrives as May and Sarge make their way to Izel herself, just after she warps and combines the Di’Allas into the gateway. The way is open. Those on the other side are just waiting for a sign that they can proceed through. A sign, Izel is certain, will come from Sarge. As Mack and Daisy are arguing over each others’ choices, each with valid points, while trying to hold off the zombies with Yo-Yo, and talk Deke through his very first experience piloting a quinjet to come and get them, Sarge is the one to choose what happens next. With Izel speaking to one part of him, and May speaking to the other, while everyone else is fighting for their lives, Sarge is the one to choose.
And he is not Coulson.
Sarge is part Coulson, and part extra-dimensional entity of great power and ruthlessness, but who he is is, like everyone else, is who he chooses to be. What drives him, and has always driven him when in Coulson’s body, is what he feels. Rage, fear, pain…
May makes a mistake when she identifies that as love. It’s what has always separated Shield from its enemies, and it’s what separates the bit of Coulson within Sarge from everything else… and it’s what he doesn’t want to have.
He was willing to die, to give Daisy the means to kill Izel, because of his rage towards Izel, and because of Coulson’s love of Daisy. He was willing to kill Izel, yet couldn’t do it. He couldn’t plunge his blade into her heart, because of what he feels. It’s painful. It limits him. It makes him weak.
Sarge doesn’t like it. He doesn’t want it. And to be rid of it, he is willing to cut it out and throw its into the darkness. And what is the source of his love? What is it Coulson loved?
He stabs May, straight through, with his blade, and shoves her through the gate.
How’s that for a signal?
It’s a shocking moment, and it leaves everyone at the Lighthouse in shock. They can’t stay that way for long though, because their team is still in danger, as is the world, and… wait, what just happened? Why did everything, every communication, suddenly go offline?
Because the Chronicoms have chosen the single worst moment possible to invade.
I wonder what they might have done differently, if they knew that both of the parties responsible for the destruction of their world were at work, already threatening their desired Chronica 3. Judging by what they do, however, I don’t think they would have stayed their hand for very long. With Enoch disposed of by a reassigned/reprogrammed friend, the Chronicoms invade in full force, infiltrating the Lighthouse, cutting off communications, and using Shield’s own protocols to exterminate everyone they find within, all with cold, ruthless efficiency and precision.
Fitz-Simmons manage to realize how the Chronicoms are doing it, with information mined from their own heads, but it’s already a bloodbath. Deke’s best friend, who was sent to spy on him, is among the fallen, as are many others. Driven quickly to desperate measures, they part with the other survivors and go to blow up their more forbidden tech. When the chance to take out a few hunters arises, they’re willing to take it, even though it means they won’t survive. But they’ll die together.
Enoch, it seems, managed to triumph over Isaiah when the latter, as a hunter, came after him. And then he moved into Isaiah’s body, to get on the inside of things. He saves Fitz-Simmons, and has a plan to save everyone, but it will require a great deal of sacrifice and effort, something that will even alter the natural course of their lives.
…eh, what else is new?
Back at the temple, Daisy is mature enough not to let Mack walk back what he was saying earlier. In the end, he was right about Sarge. Now, they have to come up with a way to hold off the zombies, get to the temple, and stop both Izel and Sarge. That’s where helping Deke fly his quinjet comes in, but Yo-Yo gets infested with a shrike before they can get out, in a nightmarish echo of her experience with Keller.
Sarge and Izel are enjoying their impending triumph, though Sarge is plenty angry at Izel for the experience of his consciousness having been trapped within the shell of Coulson’s body, and Coulson’s compassion. Having shed the latter of those, the last of Coulson is gone, and now there is only Pachakutiq, under a thin, fragile shell. He is powerful, and he is apparently the one who was really in charge, having sent Izel to ready everything for him and their people. If not for Coulson’s lingering shadow within his body, they probably would have been working on this endeavor together all along. Instead, he kept tripping up her plans and trying to kill her. He’s not happy about any of that, but she thinks it’s worth it. Soon their people will have bodies, experience everything mortal life has to offer, in bodies they will make immortal.
Small detail: life and death mean less on the other side of that gate than they do on this one. Meaning: May is still alive, and she has a sword capable of killing their kind.
She uses it on the three specters who keep the temple on that side. They carry emblems that look like the Di’Allas monoliths, and these are keys which open the temple for the rest of their kind to follow them through the gate. May got in the way of that, and threw the keys through the gate, forcing Izel to come to her. The two fight, and May probably would have won, but Izel gets the keys in place, keeping the door open long enough, and then ducking back through the gate.
Mack, Daisy, and a fading Yo-Yo – who has extracted a promise from Daisy to kill her with a dagger if the shrike takes her over – confront Sarge alone, as Deke tries to hold off the zombies. But Sarge is powerful. Even with Daisy stronger and angrier than ever, he takes her full power to his true, alien face and barely flinches. Mack tries, and it’s practically a joke to Sarge this time around. Then Yo-Yo is turned, and they trade places, but Yo-Yo is choking Mack while Daisy is toyed with. Sarge stands tall and impossible to overcome, and he promises Daisy an eternity of torment, as Izel comes up behind her.
But May returns too, and strikes the heart of the problem: Izel. She stabs her straight through from the back with the sword, ending her, closing the gate, killing all the shrike all at once, saving Yo-Yo… and tossing the sword to Mack, who cuts Sarge in half while Daisy holds him in place.
Team Shield wins! Yay!
It’s a bittersweet victory, with Yo-Yo restored to them, but having to let go of Coulson, or whatever might have been left of him, again.
And they move straight to the next crisis: the Chronicoms.
To that end, Simmons arrives with help, including an upgraded Zephyr, with an upgraded jump drive. Exactly how they got from where they were to where they are, we do not know yet. But it seems that Enoch and Fitz-Simmons have gone to great lengths just to give them a fighting chance, including traveling in time, having Fitz direct them from somewhere hidden, and making an LMD with the mind of Coulson.
…and, we’ll see you next season!