Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Beginning of the End Review - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Episode: Beginning of the End (Season 1, Episode 22)
  • Starring: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Amy Acker, Bill PAxton, Samuel L. Jackson
  • Written By: Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon
  • Directed By: David Straiton
  • Network: ABC
  • Studio: Mutant Enemy, Marvel Television, ABC Studios
  • Series:

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Beginning of the End Review

Season Finale

By Tim Janson     May 14, 2014
Source: Mania.com


Beginning of the End (2014)
© Marvel Entertainment
***WARNING SPOILERS***

Well that wasn’t quite the blockbuster season finale I had hoped for...While the finale didn’t end with a whimper; it certainly did not inspire many “I can’t wait until next season” exclamations.  The episode was too safe and too easy, from Fury’s all-too-timely rescue of Fitz and Simmons, to Patton Oswalt’s return to the show as “Billy” Koenig.

Skye is able to activate her Trojan Horse virus into Cybertek’s computer systems.  Ian Quinn is moving forward with his plant to sell the Deathlok process to the military while Garrett, full recovered and bubbling with super strength is also beginning to go off the deep edge.  Ward begins to question Garrett to Raina which I found frankly quite irritating.  They turned Ward villain…then emphasized his turning villain by having him kill various S.H.I.E.L.D. agents including Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig, only now to try and make him a sympathetic villain.  Look loyalty is one thing but I don’t care what Garrett did for Ward 15 years ago.  The guy is a mass murderer no matter how you slice it.  Screw him and his inner turmoil.  He dropped Fitz and Simmons to what he figured to be their watery graves.

On the other hand, few actors can do over-the-top crazy like Bill Paxton and he’s at his finest in the finale.  Buoyed by his powers as a result of the alien GH-325/Centipede formula mix, Garrett goes off the rail with sadistic glee.  At the bottom of the ocean, Fitz and Simmons manage a Macgyver solution to free themselves and make it to the surface where they are greeted by Nicky Fury and a chopper.  As Quinn gets ready to give a demonstration to the military Barrett provides his own demonstration by killing a General by thrusting his hand into his chest.  As this is going on, Coulson, May, Sky, and Triplett launch an attack on the Cybertek facility. 

Skye disables the Centipede soldiers and May has an epic throw down with Ward that was the highlight of the episode and kudos to May for creative use of a nail gun during the fight.  Coulson is having far less success with Garrett who nearly punches him into another zip code.  But cue the dramatic music as Fury once again arrives on the scene, arming Coulson with a S.H.I.E.L.D. toy that he used to take out Garrett’s cronies.  Skye rescues Mike Peterson’s son allowing him to turn against Garrett and kill him (sort of).  The best part of this scene was the interplay between Coulson and Fury as they discussed just how psycho Garrett has become.  

Fury makes Coulson the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and tasks him with rebuilding the organization.  The team arrives at (another) secret facility to be greeted by Oswalt as Billy Koenig who has the same mannerisms as the deceased Eric.  After all of the talk earlier in the season that Coulson was an LMD, it appears we may have our first true LMD in the guise of Billy.  Too easy as I said but I am all for anything that gets Oswalt back into the show no matter how flimsy the idea.  Somehow Raina manages to escape the raid at Cybertek and we see her going to meet Skye’s father although we never see his face.  So let the speculation begin on that point.  Raina mentions evolution and Skye which sounded a lot like Mutant talk which we know they can’t use.  The last segment has Coulson seemingly in a sleep walk, scrawling complex diagrams on a wall as Garrett did earlier, signaling that he is beginning to exhibit the same mental issues that Garrett did.

There was enough to like in this episode…besides those I already mentioned there was Mike Peterson, now freed of Garrett’s control vowing to make amends for the bad he did.  You would guess that he will be an occasional guest star in season two.  I for one was completely unsatisfied with Fury’s explanation to Coulson of why he brought him back to life despite the warnings. I will be back for season two but I won’t be counting the days.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 31
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Sejanus 5/14/2014 4:43:21 PM

I think the episode did what it needed to do.

SPOILERS

Agreed that the who pseudo mea culpa from Ward was actually agonizingly bad to watch. I like the notion with his throat mangled we shant "hear" from him again. Looks like he just didn't score so well on the likability competancy scale when compared to Triplett. Too bad so sad..ok over it and movin on.

Next season ideally starts off without the initial lag this one had now that things are set up so to speak. I do however like the use of the LMD with Koenig though (as Patton Oswalt is just too gifted to toss aside like he had been).

So remaining issues from the episode...Simmons fate now that he did a deathbed confession of love, and the circuit board Coulson is drawing out for...hmmm a Bifrost? Infinity Gauntlet or containment device? Some kind of schematic for an AI? Ultimate Nullifier?...nah Sony owns that...Kree Satellite Radio? An espresso machine that runs on Dark Matter?

Anyhoo the series will go forward, has done some foundation work for the future as needed to be done.

Footnote...Mai should have kept the damned staff...now some Cuban labourer is gonna dig it up and oh boy here we go again.

stuporman 5/14/2014 4:59:40 PM

"...arming Coulson with a S.H.I.E.L.D. toy" 

Not just a S.H.I.E.L.D. toy!  It's what's labeled as 'Coulson's Revenge' in other spheres - the weapon he used against Loki in Avengers.  "I know what it does" was one of those little throw away lines to make fan (old) boys like me smile.

Not convinced that Ward tried to kill Fitz and Simmons by ejecting the pod.  He would have known that it was designed to float and the preceding episode showed that he had a 'weakness'.  If he was the cold blooded killer, he would have just shot them? (Rather than act like a cliche Bond villian.)

Perhaps the season final wasn't given the cliffhanger treatment because, at that stage, they didn't know if there'd be a S2.

I do wonder if the blue 'alien' isn't Atlantean.  There was a reference to 'under' or 'below' the Earth (needs a second or third viewing), which could mean below the sea?

tjanson 5/14/2014 5:16:07 PM

 Dough....you said B I gave it a B-...so what's the beef?  you liked it slightly more.  I thought about Quinn but didn't they say an episode or two ago that with SHIELD dissolved he wasn't technically a wanted man?  but year him and Raina just walking away was a hole.  Yes I know all about Coulson's gun the point wasn't so much about the gun but that Fury showed up on cue to give it to him

SarcasticCaveman 5/14/2014 5:16:32 PM

 I can see where all points made in this review have valid basis, but I loved the episode anyway...I love how Joss Whedon kills bad guys right in the middle of a bad guy speech...LOL

CalamityJohnson 5/14/2014 5:30:18 PM

kind of glad i hopped off this show after episode 2. Adjectives like "safe" are exactly what annoy me with projects like this. I was waiting for "formulaic" to creep in as that was what I had noticed after the first two episodes.

GreatOne 5/14/2014 5:55:54 PM

tjanson - Really enjoyed your reviews; thanks for doing them. I made the decision a few weeks ago to stop watching the show. Judging from your reviews and other reader comments, looks like I made the right decision. My main reasons are that I don’t like the direction of the show, and aside from May and Coulson, I don’t like the main cast. The depiction of Ward "Is he a good guy or not? Is he redeemable?" line is crappy writing, pure and simple. Did we see Angel waffle back and forth? Hell no - full gusto. The fact these writers can’t do that for this show speaks volumes.

I still contend that they should have had the cast be background players to recurring guest stars (like Patton Oswalt) in the broader Marvel Universe. Every one of us wants to see more MU characters. They should have had the unit’s mission to deal with secondary bad guys and encountering developing good guys. That would have allowed the characters to develop in the background while drawing us in when Sif and Fury are on the show. Look at how well Arrow has done doing that. No excuse.

I’ll keep reading the reviews and viewer comments to see whether the show can turn it around next year.

monkeyfoot 5/14/2014 6:01:38 PM

This was a great end-o-season-o-rama for me. We'd had plenty of shocks and suprises and I was hoping for a "bad guys get their comeuppance" ender.

I've never liked Ward. Or rather I don,t like the way the actor plays him. I would just as soon seen May snap his neck oreven better have each of them have half half the Asgardian staff and May still ass kicks him becuase she has her mental sh@t together and he doesn't.

Love, love, loved the way Fury showed up to save Fitz and Simmons. I knew he would guest star but I didn't know he'd show up in their need for nick o time. Though I wasn't that thrilled with Fury's Kree blood explanation. That part needed too be the focal point of the episode since this was the major mystery of the season.

Also loved the "Oh, I found it!" moment. Just when I thought the show would end with Jarrett "centipeded" to come back next season, he's out in a great and funny manner.

Have to wait months for more Skye bsckground and the fate of Fitz.

 

ElBaz13 5/14/2014 6:07:09 PM

I for one loved the finale. A lot of people get disappointed with season finales because they expect everything to be answered.

I felt different than you Tim. I wanted more after seeing Skye's dad in the shadows, Coulson writing alien language, Koenig an LMD?, Ward not flipping over back to good as some people thought and Fitz' status.

I can't wait for more. The best thing is, the show won't be tied down waiting for Cap 2 to come out like this season.

rogue188 5/14/2014 6:39:48 PM

 It was entertaining,  worthy of a B minus.

dough54321 5/14/2014 6:54:21 PM

 Are you telling me that you didn't notice that the gun fury gave coulson was the one he shot Loki with in the Avengers movie?!?  Are you telling me that you didn't think that was AWESOME?!?  Come on, man!  That was pretty sweet! 

 

Plus the back and forth between Coulson and Fury was hilarious!  Garrett's standing there pontificating and Fury/Coulson are laughing at how ridiculous he's become!  Come on, man!

It never seems to fail to surprise me how people will want the season finale to be better.  It wasn't "great", but a strong A in my book.

You also failed to mention that Quinn also escaped with that one guy in the box.  (Sorry, can't remember his Marvel name right now).  So, with that, Skye's father, Rayna, Ward, Coulson's alien intellect, the rebuilding of SHIELD, the new facility, etc., there's a lot to come from next Season.  There was no need for a cliffhanger!

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