Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Beginning of the End Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014
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.
Mania Grade: B-
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
Studio: Mutant Enemy, Marvel Television, ABC Studios