Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 16: “End Of The Beginning” Review

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In “End of the Beginning” the Agents go to battle against super cyborg Deathlok while on the hunt for the Clairvoyant.

Continue reading for a spoiler filled review of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 16.

Let’s Discuss What Happened!

Beginning Of The End: The recent run of several solid episodes in a row have been spread across a three month span. The erratic scheduling has not helped causal viewers get into the habit of tuning in each week to find out what happens next. This all changes with episode 16 which begins a 7 episode run until the season finale. Even if the last stretch continues with quality episodes and gets some cross-over interest from Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie will it be enough for the network to renew the series for season 2?

Skye gets her badge: While not all fans have accepted Skye, it’s a nice moment to have all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents present as she receives her official agent status. The way Skye is utilized along with her interactions with other agents are working better now in this episode than ever. You can see her influence on Simmons whom never would have thought to do some sneaky blood tests in the The Hub before learning to break the rules from Skye.

Clairvoyant: Getting a recognizable actor in Brad Dourif (Lord Of The Rings, Deadwood) to play Thomas Nash helped sell the idea he could be the Clairvoyant. The Stephen Hawking resemblance also had me thinking it’s possible this guy could be a brilliant mastermind orchestrating everything behind the scenes. There’s been a steady build up to unveiling the Clairvoyant all season, I was pleasantly surprised to get an episode devoted to tracking him/her down. Great twist that the real Clairvoyant is still out there and doesn’t have any psychic powers, it’s just good old fashion espionage tactics.

Agents vs Deathlok: It’s always cool to see some super powered action but not all of the Deathlok scenes were are as riveting as I had hoped. But on a television budget and a short shooting schedule I can’t really expect on all out battle. Mike Peterson is a compelling, tragic character I wish we got to see more of that side to him than jumping through a concrete ceiling. At the horse track, his jump down several stories is a callback to the pilot. There’s still humanity in Deathlok, otherwise he’d put his foot through Agent Blake.

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Spy vs Spy: Even though I know that Ward or May aren’t working for the Clairvoyant, the suspense of Fitz discovering the hidden comm line still worked for me. Fitz had me cracking up when he tries to talk his way, make that fumble his way out of the cockpit with May staring him down. The spy world is all about secrets, distrust, hidden agendas and agents who aren’t as they appear to be.  These elements along with the tone of the episode came together nicely.

The Wrap Up

After developing the Marvel universe on this television series, complete with it’s own cast of characters, super powered adversaries and overarching story, “End Of The Beginning” feels confident and focussed. There’s a greater sense that the writers know what they want to accomplish with the final run. All in all, another good episode that sets up a promising showdown with S.H.l.E.L.D. HQ.

What do you think about Ward shooting the fake Clairvoyant? Are you excited that Amy Acker (Angel, Much Ado About Nothing) is cast as Coulson’s girlfriend in an upcoming episode?

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Posted on April 1, 2014, in Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. This episode was tight and full of cool characters, but it left me feeling utterly LOST…
    Seriously, what the hell is going on?

    All this spy stuff better lead to the captain America sequel which appears to feature the dissolution/reformation of S.H.l.E.L.D., or I’m going to be PISSED.
    They can’t keep ignoring the events of the movies. (If you were facing Deathlok, wouldn’t you call in Iron Man or Thor? Or even Black Widow or Hawkeye, who are actual S.H.l.E.L.D. agents?

    • Tight is the perfect word for this ep. And it was cool seeing all the high level agents … but missing Maria Hill.

      I missed it but I heard the final scene was straight from the Winter Soldier. The Marvel Universe is said to be changed after the movie and it’ll be reflected in the next episode or so I’ve read. They do need the big guns for super villains. What’s interesting about Deathlok is that our agents have a personal connection to him so it’s nice that they keep crossing paths and their encounters usually have explosions hehe :) I’m super pumped for Winter Solider, yup those guys are the top tier SHIELD agents.

  2. What a great episode! Found it very enjoyable and it had a fast pace. I’m not a Skye fan but it was kind of cool when she got her S.H.I.E.L.D. badge. She did seem to fit in a little better this episode so hopefully her character will become more likable. Still don’t not a fan of the fact they are trying to make Skye/Ward a thing. Just seems so forced and think Ward showed more emotion with May than he ever has with Skye.

    I was starting to suspect the clairvoyant was someone from inside so didn’t quite think they found the right person when they came across Nash. Ward shooting Nash seemed out of character – thought he was more controlled than that and the shooting of Nash because it made him be able to keep Skye safe was another forced thing. Wish there would have been more Deathlok. I really like that character and the actor who plays him.

    I too was laughing at Fitz fumbling his way out when May found him and liked the lead up to him finding out about May. It’s shocking for the team to find out May was doing this and liked how it played out.

    Even though some of the previous episodes seemed a bit clunky, I thought they helped to set up what is happening now. Jumping right into this story-line would have been odd and I liked the fact they took the time to develop the team dynamics and build up the back-story. Can’t wait to find out who the real clairvoyant is!

    • Although the producers might not admit it, I think they’ve been listening to viewer feedback and making adjustments in the second half of the season. The pace was good and the tense moments worked well. Oh Skye, sometimes the show goes overboard in their tactics to make viewers like her. Here the entire cast is welcoming her into the agency, sort of proxy for the audience. It’s hard for me not to cut her some slack here though I was never anti-Skye.

      I wasn’t big on Ward’s motivation to pull the trigger either. He’s usually in control of his emotions, but I guess working as a team instead of a lone wolf changed him – not really the best explanation by Garrett, Maybe the story needed the fake Clairvoyant to be revealed so they choose Ward to be the one to kill him. Good call on suspecting the Clairvoyant was an inside job, I didn’t expect that; I guess I had my sights on a psychic as the main villain but I like this twist.

      Fitz was pretty funny all episode, some of it was understated but when May found him out I was laughing out loud. The development on May’s spying happened fast which is good. There’s a funny part when she tells Fitz and Simmons to feel free to come to her first if they have news and then she tries to smile but really can’t form that facial expression.

      Adding Garrett and Triplett to the team dynamic is pretty cool without feeling overcrowded. I wonder how these two characters’ storylines will play out. Yeah, this story line needed to establish the characters and backstory first. Now that the table is set, the writers get to have their dessert. I’m looking forward to find out who is the Clairvoyant too!

  3. Good write-up! Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to up its game, and the return after the holiday break has been really solid so far. I hope some fans who maybe gave up on it will come back and give it another try.

    While Skye still isn’t my favorite character, I do think the writers are using her character better. I like that the emphasis isn’t as much on her being the main character, and now she’s worked into the team a little better. Still not quite buying the Skye/Ward romance which the show seems to be moving towards, but the writers could surprise us there too with an unexpected twist.

    I also liked the twist with the Clairvoyant; for a moment I did believe they actually caught the Clairvoyant, and I liked that the Clairvoyant may actually be an inside person within S.H.I.E.L.D.

    Mike Peterson is a great character; it’s so heartbreaking that he’s been forced into playing a villain. Also like what’s going on with Agent May’s character, adds suspense and mystery to the show.

    Looking forward to finding out what happens next!

    • Thank you! I feel the same way that the show is upping its game. I’m enjoying how one episode flows into the next now, even the Lady Sif episode had some continuity with the over arching story. I think this is the show that many fans expected from the beginning, it still has a ways to go. If there’s a season 2, I think the show will continue to move forward and evolve.

      I’m not buying the Skye/Ward thing either. So far they are bringing it up without the two of them addressing or directly acknowledging it. We’ll see how it turns out. Now that the characters and SHIELD world is set up, they don’t need Skye to function as the POV character, I’m not sure she ever was though the writers tried to make her that. She’s works better now that she doesn’t have to be the focal point every episode.

      After not addressing the identity of the Clairvoyant for a long time, this episode seemed really fast to unravel that mystery. Maybe I should have been more suspecting haha, got me fooled hehe. When I saw Brad Dourif’s name in the opening credits, I just assumed he’d be the clairvoyant.

      Looking at the previews, May will have to do a lot of explaining to Coulson. I wonder if she’ll reveal who’s she’s working for next episode? It’s a good sign when we can look forward to the next episode with high hopes. Thanks so much for commenting and supporting these reviews! I hope to find more time soon to visit everybody’s awesome blog like yours.

  4. Great review man, I finally feel like this show is giving us the kind of show that fans wanted in the first place. There’s mystery, action and it feels like espionage show with the hunt for Deahlok and the Clairvoyant. I love how we had a face for the Clairvoyant even if it was just a temporary one, it felt very weird and mysterious. I was kind of mixed about Skye’s initiation into S.H.I.E.L.D. I am I guess she’s earned it but I’m still not overly keen on it. I also loved Fitz in this episode, I’m surprised he was allowed to leave because he sounded very nervous in that scene and I thought May would have stopped him. Oh and like you I was hoping for more from Deathlok, possibly some hand-to-hand combat, maybe we’l see more down the line? I loved how dodgy this episode felt with Coulson not sure who to trust and accusing Ward and May of working with the Clairvoyant, I loved those moments.

    If you have the time I’d love for you to read my review. :)

    P.S. Dude I can’t wait for you to see The Winter Soldier just so we can speculate together, because believe me you’ll want to talk after that film is over. Are you gonna do a review for the film on your blog?

    • Thanks a lot man! I totally feel the same way that the different elements from the mystery, action and espionage are coming together nicely. It also helps that we saw the origin story of Deathlok and the Clairvoyant has been on-going mystery. Everything happened so fast, I thought it was the Clairvoyant’s plan to get caught but even cooler that it was a fake set up. Kind of funny when Victoria Hand emphasized “level one” about Skye’s low status. Yeah, I had a feeling that Skye getting her badge would get mixed reactions. :) Same here, I thought Fitz was great in this episode and when May shot at him it really had me thinking what’s going on, but of course it was just an icer gun. We’ll get more Deathlok this season, so maybe they’re saving the good stuff for later? That’s a great point that Coulson’s has felt betrayed by SHIELD, now his closest allies are under suspicion, poor guy but I think his girlfriend will be cool.

      For sure, I’d love to check out your review as always!

      I’m so excited for Winter Soldier, I hope to watch it on the weekend. Wow, you already saw it and put up a review already. It would be cool to do a review myself, sometimes I wonder though if I have anything interesting to say about movies hehe. I would love to chat about it with you and check out your review too after I watch it.

  5. Nice write-up! I’m very excited to see how this Captain America crossover goes…it ought to be a huge shakeup. I hope the last episodes generate enough interest to push ABC to renew! At first I wasn’t super attached, but I’ve really come to like this show. And I can’t WAIT to meet Coulson’s girlfriend! :)

    • Thank you very much! After watching Captain America, it helps to shed some light on some of the stuff that happened in this episode especially the ending. Looking forward to how this huge shakeup will impact the show. I’m a big fan of Amy Acker, it’ll be cool to have her join the cast as Coulson’s girlfriend. :)

  6. I’m glad to see Skye got her agent badge. She deserved it for her talent and contribution to the team, and saving their lives. I’m thinking of the episode where Fitz and Ward were sent on a mission, and it was only at Skye’s dogged insistence to find out more about it that they realized those two men were going to be left for dead.

    Ward shooting the wrong Clairvoyant because he was overcome with emotion for Skye’s safety rang false to me too.

    That was an interesting music video by the actress who played Skye that you included here! Delighted me she’s actually half-Chinese, as during the episode/s where she was looking for her parents, I once thought a nice twist would be having May turn out to be her mum.

    • I liked the scene with Skye getting her badge too. She deserves to be recognized as an Agent. It’s funny how Victoria Hand emphasized Skye is only at Level 1. In light of the current episodes, I was just thinking about that episode with Fitz and Ward. It still gets to me how mean Ward was for throwing away the sandwich Simmons made for Fitz haha.

      Since I never completely bought Ward’s feelings for Skye, Ward’s reaction felt pretty extreme. And Skye wasn’t actually in danger. Something doesn’t add up at this point.

      When I first watched the show I wasn’t sure of the actress’s ethnicity, I think her last name is her married name. It surprised she was a singer before this show, there’s a Chinese version of the music video too. There were some theories early on about May being Skye’s mom, I think we’ll find out more about Skye’s origin if there’s a season 2.
      Thanks so much for commenting!

  1. Pingback: TV Review: Agents of SHIELD, “End of the Beginning” (S1/EP16) – SHEILD Go Boom | We Minored In Film

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