REVIEW: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Season 7
It is hard to believe that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is over. After seven years the show has finally aired its final episode. It has been quite the journey. Somehow, Marvel TV’s first major series has survived quite a few hurdles. It saw strong ratings drop throughout its first season. Each season got shifted around the schedule to make way for other shows. Its fifth season finale was even titled “The End”. Suddenly, it gets renewed for two more seasons. Against all odds, SHIELD has now outlived all other Marvel TV shows. At the same time, it signifies the end of an era. Kevin Feige took control to expand into streaming services. As we enter the new Disney+ era, let’s talk about the final mission for our favorite SHIELD agents.
As you continue reading, please keep in mind that there will be spoilers. Only continue at your own risk.
An Adventure Through Time
The story starts us off where the last season ended. Our team ends up in the 1930s. The Chronicoms, a race of synthetic aliens, are trying to destroy SHIELD before it was even truly founded. As such, our ragtag team of agents is forced to chase them down throughout history. On their trip, they have to ensure that HYDRA is established. They infiltrate Area 52. At one point, they even have to stop project INSIGHT centuries before it happened in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Luckily, they have an LMD Coulson to keep them company on their travel through time.
Even after Mack’s warning, they keep changing history. SHIELD’s history gets rewritten multiple times. Wilfred Malick, the before-mentioned HYDRA founder, lives long after his expiration date. His son, Nathanial Malick, wasn’t sacrificed to Hive. He even steals Daisy Johnsons’ quake powers. Afterlife is invaded by HYDRA, where Daisy meets her sister. She was supposed to kill herself but is interrupted by Nathanial. They even invite multiple characters unto the Zephyr-One. Luckily, only Agents Carters‘ Daniel Sousa stays on board beyond his time.
Throughout the season, one of the major mysteries is the whereabouts of Fitz. Simmons has an implant in her neck that keeps her from remembering. He doesn’t show up until the final episodes. Luckily, to fill the void a lot of familiar faces appear throughout the season. Daisy’s mother Jiaying helps Yo-Yo get her powers back. Patton Oswalt returns as the Koenig’s great-great-grandfather. One particular highlight is the return of the first seasons’ main villain John Garret. Tragically, Bill Paxton sadly passed away a few years ago. His son James Paxton took on the role in his honor. He gives us an amazing performance that felt like a younger version of the character. Still, I was expecting more cameos and callbacks. With six seasons to choose from, it felt a little lackluster. I was hoping for a grand return of Brett Dalton‘s Grant Ward or Jason O’Mara‘s Patriot.
Highlights of the Season
As I am looking back at the entire season, there is a lot to cover. Instead of giving recaps of every single episode, I want to talk about my favorite episodes and the moments that made them standout in this season. A general highlight is that each episode had a different opening title depending on the era they were in. It was a fantastic touch that just made this season just a bit more special.
- #701 The New Deal kicks off the season and is our real introduction to what we can expect. It is always great to see the return of Coulson and him getting used to not being fully human. What sold this episode was our LMD agent meeting Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was a calm moment. Our former historian got to geek out to meet a historical figure.
- #704 Out of the Past embraced the classic film noir storyline. I love the in-universe reasoning for Coulson’s inner monologue and that everything is in black and white. Sousa was a highlight throughout the season. He is fleshed out much better here than in Agent Carter, which made me happy to see him join the team long-term.
- #707 The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D gave us Mack at his lowest. The twist from the previous episode of his parents death was heavy but it was this episode that let it sink in. We’ve never seen Mack like this. It was kind of depressing and it was so great when the episode just suddenly turned into an 80s slasher flick. It was jarring at first but with Deke anything is possible. Also, respect that they managed to add as much blood as they did.
- #709 As I Have Always Been was probably the darkest and funniest episode of the season. It’s a bit of a cliché to have a time loop storyline nowadays. Yet, I do believe they really added some perfectly dark humor to make it stand out. The ongoing joke of them getting killed by Enoch was hilarious. Speaking of, Enoch turned into one of my favorite characters in the show. So, this was a rather sad farewell to a fantastic character.
- #711 Brand New Day was a bit of a filler episode. It set up mostly everything for the finale but it really turned the tables at the end. Suddenly, the Chronicoms destroy every SHIELD facility. The moment we see the Triskelion getting blown up was a shocking sequence. It also just highlighted how great the effects work is on this show by Mark Kolpack and his team.
- #713 What We’re Fighting For has some amazing scenes. The reveal that our team was in the hazmats suits from the last season’s finale was great foreshadowing. The action sequences were done incredibly well. The reveal of Fitz and Simmons’ kid was beautifully done. The sequence through the Quantum Realm surprised me quite a bit. Also, ending the series the same way the first episode ended was a nice touch.
Overall, this was one of the best seasons. The time travel antics made me wish we had more episodes to explore this concept. Sadly, you do realize they ran out of budget later in the season due to a stronger focus on indoor scenes. Still, they managed to make this season feel like they had no restrictions. After seven seasons, they mastered the balance between action, comedy, and heartfelt drama. Especially as the show entered the more fantastical realms of the MCU, they always managed to keep a focus on their characters.
The season’s weakest link is the villains. Nathanial Malick works in theory. It helps to have a HYDRA connection but he feels underdeveloped. Also, the Chronicom’s lose their edge after a few episodes. Sibyll was a great addition. It gives the evil alien race a face. It even makes sense with the reveal that they planned on including M.O.D.O.K. at one point. They just don’t do much with her. She gets killed off-screen without a true resolution. It felt like it was trying to balance a new storyline while also paying tribute to the previous seasons. Yet, it lacked the focus to bring it together. Still, it’s a great season. I am more upset that we don’t get more time with this concept beyond these 13 episodes.
All About the Agents
Clark Gregg‘s performance as Coulson is as iconic as ever. It still makes me wish he will continue this role no matter what. We got some amazing additions throughout the seasons. Chloe Bennett‘s portrayal of Daisy Johnson has truly evolved since her initial appearance. To see her become a superhero throughout the show added a great heroic element. This season especially highlighted her arc and character development. Hopefully, these two will continue to have a future in the MCU.
Fitz and Simmons were the glue of the team. Their romance was just iconic and it was especially a highlight this season. The revelation that they were able to spend time with their daughter had me in tears. Who would’ve thought we’d miss Fitz this much. Iain De Caestecker is a fantastic actor. So, it was a bit disappointing that he only appeared for about two episodes. I was this close to retitling this show “Finding Fitz” and doubted he would ever actually make an appearance.
The rest of the cast is also fantastic. Standout performances this season go to Henry Simmons as Mack and, as I already mentioned, Joel Stoffer‘s Enoch. I’ve always been huge of Mack throughout his appearances. He was the perfect choice as director of SHIELD after Coulson’s death in the show’s fifth season. Enoch was a surprise. I believed he was a one-off character at first. As soon as he kept reappearing, I started to care for this character. His performance of a robot alien slowly with growing empathy was incredible. The moment he called Fitz his best friend was both heart wrenching and funny.
I loved this season quite a bit. The ending is a great touch. The ending showed us a world where SHIELD lives on. Mack has stolen Fury’s wardrobe to continue as a director. Daisy is in space with Sousa and her sister, Kora. Fitz and Simmons left this life behind to raise their daughter. May works as a teacher at the SHIELD Coulson Academy and Yo-Yo is still out there doing missions. The one who started it all has a rather somber moment. Coulson flies off in Lola to just do what he always wanted to do. It’s a fitting ending for this show. It echoes Coulson’s words from the first season when the spy organization fell apart at the hands of HYDRA. They are agents of SHIELD not the agents of nothing.
My only gripe is, this takes place about two years after The Snap should’ve happened. We saw that in Avengers: Endgame that the world never really recovered from that event. This show kind of glanced over that moment as if it never happened and now it doesn’t match the world we saw previously. There is a good chance that their escapades in the fifth season splintered them off into a different timeline but until an official word comes out we might never know. For now, most people can only go by their headcanon. Especially with the end of Marvel TV as we know it, this would’ve been a great way to kind of put a nice ending on it all. It still is a great ending. I respect that the showrunners Maurissa Tanchaeron, Jed Whedon, and Jeffrey Bell focused on their stories rather than let the larger MCU determine their direction. It just ends with more open questions that necessary. It could lead to some disappointment as people are expecting these characters to return in the future.
A Spy’s Goodbye
At the end of the day, it has been a fantastic seven-year run. Every show has its issues and SHIELD is not exempt from that. My only gripe is that they never did anything with the Secret Warriors. Still, I think a show does something right if the ending gives you peace. Yet, at the same time, you wished it would continue. It’s a strong testament to the writing and the team behind it. We were here for the characters and the show never forgot that. So let us raise a glass to bid Agents of SHIELD goodbye and hope for a bright future for these actors. Hopefully, we might see them again in the MCU one day.
Source: Digital Spy