The two-part series finale of “Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” does exactly what it needs to do in creating a legacy structure while also understanding the undercurrent of family. Sometimes that is lost, especially in the bigger movies, with the texture of stakes. But it comes back down to little moments. There is a couple here, primarily in the 2nd part of the finale, maybe not as powerful as they could have been but still heartfelt. One is between two sisters and the other between a sister and someone close to her. As the progression moves from the first to the 2nd of the two part finale: “The End Is At Hand” to “What We’re Fighting For”, there is still definitely something to be said of that story but who knows if it can come to fruition but it is a good set up. Of course the essence of this last thrust of the series is moving in the texture of who will win and the aspect of different timelines. The last two episodes pull out the stops with effects that s for sure. Most TV series don’t get this level of scope and in many ways, it gives it a good send off in that way. The “Groundog Day” type episode still takes the cake as the best episode of the season but in wrapping up the story it does key into the crucial character dynamics of the central team. The bad guys are a little more softly built, save for one, which is too bad because giving a measure of dimensionality which we did see with one character at the beginning of the season would have been interesting. After all, the context of Thanos in his quiet moments gave much more perspective to his nefarious intent but also a gravitas in his stakes. Giving away any more to the structure of what is happening will anchor and connect to the gist of how it affects the future phase since this was made with the next stories in mind. Textures of influence are seen but never directly correlated except once but the idea becomes how does the nature of the show differentiate and make that development better and richer. Ultimately “S.H.I.E.L.D.” creates a larger universe than when it came into it. This last season pushed both the boundaries of storytelling but also of the nature of motivation while still staying within certain tropes. And that kind of journey is always a good thing,
Working towards a common goal has always been the S.H.I.E.L.D. way but where does survival begin when hope fails. In the Marvel Universe, everything can be faced by a new path. And with some, as “Infinity War” showed, many simply come to an end. Timelines move and fade but it is about making them seem real but at other times unattainable. Cause and effect is what promotes the current Episode 11: “Brand New Day” of the final season of “Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Sybil is an interesting construct because it is about a computer built on logic but again in another timeline she doesn’t exist. An interesting element of this episode, while giving nothing away, is the path where it leads. A big texture in multiple storylines between and within the plot has to do with contentment but also safety in an abstract way, not from death but from being alone. That is a truly interesting idea. Even when Tony Stark is drifting in space or even pointing to a big aspect of James Kirk lore, is the idea that everyone is alone. It is an interesting construct for a S.H.I.E.L.D. but one that rings true the deeper one goes. Even looking at Jenna and her connection with the character Fitz speaks back to this metaphor which can be both literal and figurative at the same time. This episode raises the stakes but it almost starts to create a blueprint in an odd way. Nothing is by chance but wild cards always lead the way.
The aspect of consequence but also perception figures heavily into Episode 10: “Stolen” of Season 7 of “Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” After the previous episode, which in any series would be hard to top, the follow-up might feel like a let-down, just by the nature of the energy of the previous episode. In its inception, the story of the ep is a little jarring because the location is not automatically assumed. Certain structures are in play and there is a plot angle that needs to be accomplished. Again the Sousa/Daisy interconnection is important. But without giving anything really away, it becomes about truth in the greater sense of the word. How Daisy vs. Sousa sees the world sometimes does not take into account all the variables. The key in this episode is characters and their belief or perception in what they ar seeing. That continues to change which speaks to the new time angle of what is going on. Whether this affects or impacts the next phase is still to be seen but every move is made or conceived for a specific reason, even if it is a minor detail in the construct of the universe. “Stolen” works slow and steady but this more readily set ups the structure of the new twists to come.
The necessity of time and the intention of connection is an important progression. But it is also a tried and true method of progression. This is what is known as a time loop. Many films have done this to varying effect. What it comes down to is what the viewer feels about the characters. After not watching “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” the previous 2 or so seasons but jumping back into this point where it is transitioning in a very unique way because has to do with its spot in the pantheon of mythology. And in this way, it takes on a very crucial element. But what works well in “Episode 9: “As I Always Have Been” is that despite this, there are quiet moments that truly elevate. Without giving away too much, that is what makes this episode so humanistic and exceptional despite the plot machinations moving around it. Two highlight points come with different kinds of emotional resonance, both innately powerful. But to give away any aspect of its place in the plot would spoil it, even the location it takes place in. This is “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” at its best but also, to a point, its most insular since you have to be invested in these characters to understand its impact and the foreshadowing involved.
The creation of path is necessitated by need and not the futility of want. In Episode 8 of “Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” entitled “After, Before” the more structured levity of the previous 80-themed episode is tacked on a greater urgency and personifies plot through a time structure that interweaves quite nicely. Again like one episode earlier this season, certain changes in the universe start to take shape that cannot be undone ensuring a new normal. One specific duo who are the most unlikely to unlock trouble within themselves are propelled on a mission in this episode to try and adjust something that cannot stop. Trying to speak of motivations without giving away plot points is tricky. But what comes through at specific points (a small scene between Daisy and Coulson is an example) show the existential crisis that is moving through the team, as they watch a fate they don’t quite understand or maybe expect moving towards them. As with the progression of “S.H.I.E.L.D” each title sequence takes on a theme. The one at the beginning here still pushes towards the 80s but it is almost that of a grid which is an interesting metaphor for what motives are seen at the end of the episode. Coulson even makes a references to it discussing placement of binary numbers. “S.H.I.E.L.D.” has something up its sleeve but what becomes more and more apparent is that the one thing that will keep this pseudo family together is the family itself…if it survives.