Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 22: “Beginning Of The End” Review”

B.J. BRITT, CLARK GREGG

In Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first season finale entitled “Beginning Of The End”, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) teams up with Coulson to put an end to Garrett. Meanwhile, Fitz and Simmons are trapped in a capsule at the bottom of the ocean.

Continue reading for a spoiler filled recap of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 22.

Let’s Discuss What Happened!

Beginning Of The End: “There’s a reason why they say cut off the head. Now I’ll be unsto ….” Oh Garrett/Bill Paxton, you shall be missed, but that cyborg outfit could use some work.

Capping off a solid run of episodes the season finale delivered another fine hour of entertainment which included a showdown between Ward vs May, Nick Fury swooping in to save the day and Coulson blasting away the super soldiers with the mega gun from Avengers. As satisfying as the fan service moments are, and there are a lot of them, the finale is not my favorite episode of the season.

The finale tried to give us a heartbreaking loss and final scenes that’ll keep us talking until next season but what we got was a pulled punch on Fitz’s sacrifice, more vague hints as to who Skye’s parent could be and some head scratching over Coulson’s weird alien drawings.

I’m not advocating my boy Fitz should have died, what happened to him off-screen will likely come into play in Season 2, but it’s symptomatic of the show playing it safe when it should get it hands dirty. It’s not so much that the finale is formulaic, but as it rightly should, it’s focus is to wrap up the season’s overarching story and give a sense of closure to several characters. That’s a lot to accomplish and for the most part it’s well done.

Ready To Kick Some Ass: While there are some decent special effects, to a large degree the show is handcuffed with a TV budget which meant that Graviton remained in lockdown. And airing at the 8 pm timeslot meant that the act of pulling a rib out of the military general and bashing his head with it was out of the camera’s view.

But these same restrictions and limitations, didn’t stop Buffy’s season finales, another Whedon related TV show, from having a story with a lot of heart and more gut-wrenching epic moments like Fitz-Simmons in the capsule.

Under The Sea: It may sound like I’m down on the finale but there is a lot to like. Fitz and Simmons had the strongest scenes for me because they offered an emotional punch that wasn’t prevalent in the main story at Cybertek facilities.

In “F.Z.Z.T.” Simmons sacrificed herself for the team by jumping out of the plane into the ocean so it’s a sort of a callback and great character moment to have Fitz return the favour. He finally had the courage to acknowledge his love for Simmons and he demonstrated it by giving up his life – well almost.

In facing their mortality, the conversation about being part of the universe was touching and in character with how scientific minds would think. Plus it thematically connected to what Garrett was rambling on about.

Monsters & Men: As crazy as Garrett became, he was a joy to watch. Bill Paxton did a great job with his lines that could easily come as across as corny. A part of me wishes he would return for another season but it’s funny how that idea literally got blown to bits by Coulson.

Due to the writing and acting choices, one of the issues I have with Ward is the inconsistency to how he’s portrayed. This could be a side effect of making him completely villainous one moment then seemingly setting up his redemption the next without committing to either. Another example is the actor’s evil smug face when fighting May, which feels out of character compared to his look when he dispatched Fitz-Simmons into the ocean. Skye had a great line about Ward, “you’re not evil, you’re just weak” but their verbal stand off wasn’t nearly as good as in “Nothing Personal”.

Agents-Of-SHIELD-Season-1-finale-poster

Rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D.: Got to hand it to big time movie star Samuel L. Jackson for being a good sport in his guest appearances on the TV show. I get the feeling he’s a huge fan of MCU, he’s not just doing the show as some sort of contractual obligation as far as I know.

Nick Fury and Coulson had some funny back and forth lines, playing off of each other very well. Such a good moment for Coulson to finally confront Fury on his resurrection, then to be honoured as an Avenger. I’m actually more interested in how new Director Coulson will rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. than what he wrote on the wall. At the beginning of the season, there were theories that Coulson was a life model decoy which didn’t turn out to be the case but in a nice twist it looks like Agent Koenig is one.

The Wrap Up

In the wrap up section of last week’s episode, I anticipated that if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. follows a traditional Joss Whedon finale, the major story line of the season would be resolved, the conflict with the big bad wrapped up, and possibly lots of heartbreak. Two of three isn’t bad at all. I do give a lot of credit to all the fan service moments and funny lines which are too many to list. While there are some issues that hold me back from giving the finale an A grade, the show considerably improved in the last stretch of episodes and hopefully Season 2 will build off of it.

Last but not least a very Big Thanks to all of you for supporting these recaps/reviews. Every view, like, link, follow and/or comment are greatly appreciated. It’s been a lot of fun to experience this new series with you. I’ll be closely following Season 2 but it’s likely I won’t be continuing with episode recaps of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. My goal is to expand my horizons by writing about all sorts of different topics that hopefully you’d be interested in as well. However, I’m open to covering the show in another format from time to time.

Was the season finale the best episode so far? Any predictions on who is Skye’s father?

More Posts You Might Like:

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 21 “Ragtag” Review

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 20 “Nothing Personal” Review

Guardians Of The Galaxy: What You Need To Know About The Movie

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on May 14, 2014, in Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. Justin Burnell

    Reblogged this on THB Files and commented:
    Best season finale ever!

  2. I really enjoyed the finale and the scenes with Fury, Coulson and Garrett were inconceivably good. You don’t normally get that level of acting on network TV, and just so much fun.

    I was also a little bummed out that Fitz didn’t die, but they also said that “he’d never be the same.” So who knows what he survives as, you know? But I was also glad that it broke the Whedon pattern of the minute you tell someone you love them one of you will be dead. (Tara, Anya, Fred, and Echo’s boyfriend on Dollhouse whose name I can’t remember all suffered from this).

    I’m really excited to see Director Coulson, and I was so excited because I called that when I left The Winter Soldier. It’s nice to be right every once in a while.

    • I really liked how much fun the scenes with Garrett, Coulson and Fury are. The chemistry between Coulson and Fury is great, I still remember that Fury cameo from episode 2 was hilarious.

      The writers may have big plans for Fitz but this would have been the perfect send off. Tara’s death was especially brutal, just when they finally added her to the opening credits … bang!

      Good call on Director Coulson! I guess that’s another reason why they killed off Victoria Hand so Coulson’s top status wouldn’t be challenged from another high ranking agent. After The Winter Soldier I thought Arnim Zola could be the Clairvoyant, I still think that was a good crackpot theory haha.

  3. I thought it was a good finale and had some great moments. I was sort of dreading the resurrection of Garrett and was thrilled to have it used as a joke. It reminded me of the way Mal dispatched the henchman in The Train Job on Firefly.

    While having great moments, especially with Fitz and Simmons, something felt a little off about the finale. I think it was the way that Garrett became so ridiculous and everything moved at a crazy pace. It was loads of fun and sets up the second season well, but there were a few missteps for me. Even so, we’re still miles ahead of where we were, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in season two.

    • The over the top music that got louder as Garrett came back was a bit much, glad they undercut it and used it as a gag too. This also reminded me of another Whedon moment when Dracula got staked and tried to rematerialize but Buffy was like “I’m standing right here.” Too funny. I loved that Firefly scene too.

      Something was off for me too that I can’t quite put my finger on. I guess, for me, the lighter moments weren’t balanced with enough heart and emotion, other than the Fitz-Simmons scene. And the plan that Coulson laid out at the top of the hour pretty much went off without a hitch. I’m also hoping season two will learn the lessons from the first season and give us something to really sink our teeth and hearts into. Thanks so much for commenting!

  4. Thought this was a really good season finale – probably my 2nd favorite of the season. Agree that having Fitz die would have been a braver move, symptoms of shows being afraid to do something that will get viewers upset. Will be interesting to see where his story goes next season.

    The scenes with FitzSimmons were some of the best. They are so good together – really one brain – and the acting by both was excellent. I actually cheered out loud when Fury was the one to rescue them. It was no secret he was going to make an appearance, just didn’t expect it to be like that.

    The banter with Coulson and Fury provided perfect levity when they were fighting Garrett. Loved it when Coulson was yelling at Fury about TAHITI (stupid, stupid, stupid, dumb, and stupid!) And then Fury’s explanation that the job description is a “broad” definition made me laugh. I will miss having Bill Paxton on the show – he seems to commit to every role he’s in and did a great job here and fit in well, even though he was a purely evil dude.

    May and Ward’s fight was fun to watch and loved how she used the nail gun to stop him in his tracks. Still don’t know exactly what the deal with Skye’s background is. Wanted to know more about “the darkness” that is inside her and what it really means. The last few episodes with Skye have made me like her a little. Seemed like a better story for her when she gets involved in the action rather than be a sideshow with a laptop. Hope they continue with her development next season since she has become more likable.

    With S.H.I.E.L.D. being moved to an hour later next year, hopefully they don’t have to pull away from the more gruesome shots. Loved reading your recaps and seeing the comments from everyone else. It’s always fun to hear what others think and get different takes on what happened. Looking forward to next season! Also look forward to see your posts on other topics.

    • A good finale, I wonder how it’ll hold up over time and after rewatches. Fitz would be the perfect agent to bite the dust because I grew to care about him in the last stretch so I would feel his loss. But I guess other fans who liked him would have the opposite reaction and get upset. It might have been better not to reveal Fitz’s fate until the very end, because that scene where Skye thinks they’re dead but we know Fitz-Simmons are alive, it took away from the intensity when she confronts Ward.

      During the fight I thought May would saw off Ward’s hand or something but it was cool to see her use the nail gun. First her parents were called monsters who destroyed a village, now something about her darkness. Not sure where this is all going but it’ll give Skye some potentially good story lines that don’t involve hacking with her laptop. I think her father’s fist that appear burnt is a big hint.

      Cool, I didn’t hear about the move to an hour later. Hopefully that’ll give allow the writers more leeway. Thanks so much for reading the recaps and sharing your thoughts on the show. I enjoy reading the many insightful comments and different takes, including yours. And it’ll be nice to blog about other things.

  5. I really enjoyed the season finale. My only issue with the episodes since Ward’s reveal as a bad guy is Dalton’s performance. He never convinced me of much of anything: his loyalty to Garrett, his “love” for Skye, his possible inner torment.

    I compare that to Richards’ Mike Peterson–every, single thing that guy was going through came through, loud and clear.

    Other than that, I loved these last few episodes, love the remaining cast (YES, even Chloe Bennett) and am very much looking forward to next season. I also hope B.J. Britt is now a permanent addition to the cast. He’s great as Trip.

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed the finale too. Though I like his reveal as a bad guy, you hit the nail about why Ward didn’t quite click for me too. Something about him didn’t add up.

      I like Chloe Bennett too. I wouldn’t mind adding a personality like Garrett (pre-Clairvoyant reveal) to the team to mix things up. I also hope to see more of Trip as well as Agent Koenig. In the same way that these last run of episodes have been strong, I hope season 2 will continue with the improvement. Great hearing your thoughts on the finale!

  6. Hi, sidekick:

    Bill Paxton blowed up reaaaaalllll good!

    It was nice seeing the good guys win decisively. And watching May mop the floor with Ward.

  7. I agree and look forward to season 2.

  8. Good day to you sir! Firstly I just want to say that I am SO sorry for not hollaring back at any of your comments over the last few weeks, I’ve woken up to a comment from you for the last 2 to 3 weeks and because of my stupidly long commitment to uni I haven’t had the chance just to stop and check them through. So I just wanted to thanks you for your likes and comments because they were acknowledged! Honest!

    But anyways onto the season finale. I guess you already know my thoughts and I will be sure to holla back at ya on my review in due course. But just to summarise, I liked this finale, it was fun, action-packed and dramatic. I do agree with you on a lot of points about this episode feeling formulaic, just I guess the people behind the show just wanted to give a solid ending without jumping the gun. I also hear ya about Ward, the guy just can’t decide what he wants to be, I just want him to be evil and that’s it. No redemption for him, he’s too far gone especially what he did to Fitz and Simmons.

    I guess my main issue with the show has been that even though Joss Whedon started it, it feels like its missing his touch severely, moments touch upon stuff like Buffy or Firefly, but its never consistent. I can only hope that this series does go the way of Buffy’s second season and introduce the drama, heart and gut-wrenching unexpected twists and turns that make TV worth watching.

    • Hey, good day to you too! No worries at all, I totally understand how busy you are. And thanks so much for supporting these reviews it’s nice to know a handful of people are interested in checking them out.

      There’s lots to like about this finale and overall the fan response has been very positive which is great. I think many will consider this episode among the best so far. It’s a good way to wrap up the season with lots of fun, action and with our heroes on top.

      Ward is a hard character to figure out. He does evil things but he doesn’t have a personal agenda… he doesn’t know what he truly wants and even Raina has to be the one to tell him he wants Skye.

      I enjoyed the first season for what it was. As the season progressed, it got better and I become much more invested in it. Buffy improved a lot by Season 2, so I’m glad Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. will get the same opportunity.

  9. This was good satisfying end to the first season. I loved the stand off between Nick Fury, Agent Coulson and the two Deathloks. So cool. They did not answer any Skye questions… at all this season. She ended just as much a mystery as when she started. That was a little frustrating but I really enjoyed the way Fitz and Simmons solved their deadly conundrum. Those were my three favorite scenes; Fitz-Simmons’ escape, Skye staring down Ward (the Ward/ May fight left a little to be desired imo) and the boss fight which was basically two bad-asses without any powers staring down two super powered psychos and not blinking. It was a fun season over-all. The show is a little too cartoony for me. I wish they would get serious but I guess that’s not what they are going for. They want the kids. Garrett’s villain monologue being interrupted by Coulson was also a highlight. And of course Fury referring to Coulson as an Avenger. A lot of fun stuff in one episode.

    • The writers are stretching out the mystery on Skye where shows like The Vampire Diaries burn through story lines so fast. It doesn’t frustrate me that much as I didn’t expect much big development on her origins, I guess one has to be familiar with Marvel comics to speculate on what/who her father could be … or goggle the theories. What doesn’t satisfy me is the dropping of little clues that don’t do enough to get me excited.

      I wish those two super powered psycho’s got to flex their muscles a little bit more or against each other. I guess the writers wanted Mike Peterson to be redeemable so they couldn’t make him do anything too terrible to our agents. It’s interesting that none of Team Hydra are actually true believers of Hydra. After some more serious episodes like Turn, Turn, Turn and Nothing Personal, the tone for the finale could have used more heavy emotional moments to balance out the lighter stuff. I was thinking the same thing too that the show wanted to appease the younger audience which meant it had plenty of fluffy fun. Still, the finale is a good way to end the season, wrapping things up on a very positive note. Thanks so much for commenting all season long, I always look forward to your take on each episode.

  10. Oh, very cool to see Bill Paxton guest star in this. I might catch up on this show later this year, who knows when though as I barely have time for most tv series, ahah.

    • Bill Paxton is one of the best things about the second half of the season, where things start to really pick up. Yeah it’s quite time consuming to catch up on TV series. I like TV series with 10 – 13 episodes a season, it makes it faster to catch up … with hopefully less filler.

  11. Good review! I agree with you that the finale wasn’t necessarily the strongest episode of the season, but it still had a lot of good moments. It’s impressive how far this show has come from the first few episodes. I almost gave up on the show about halfway through season 1, but I’m really glad I stuck it out, and I’m excited about season 2.

    One of my favorite moment in the finale was the really poignant talk between Fitz and Simons. Fitz has really grown and evolved throughout the season. I also thought the fight between Ward and May was good; they had been building up to that moment since we learned about Ward’s betrayal. Bill Paxton was great in this role, and I am kinda disappointed he won’t be back next season. But I would kind of like to maybe see the girl in the flower dress become the main villain. She seems like a complex, really interesting and mysterious character. While this episode was fun and I loved Nick Fury’s appearance, I also was hoping for some stronger emotional moments. Like you, I do think the writers played it a little too safe.

    I think the TV budget and time slot do hold them back a bit. I’ve really enjoyed your recaps this season; I looked forward to watching the episodes each week and then reading your reviews and discussing the show. I hope you continue to cover it in some fashion, and I look forward to reading what you blog about next! 🙂

    • It was worth sticking it out wasn’t? The good news is that while ratings actually dropped after the Winter Soldier premièred, the network saw the show was improving so we get another season. Season 2 will hopefully learn a lot from this last stretch of episodes.

      Good to see that most people enjoyed the talk between Fitz and Simmons. That scene didn’t have action but it had heart and emotion. Ward had a good line to May about, ‘I thought you said no strings attached’ or something like that. I’d also like to see more of “Flowers” and her connection to Skye.

      Maybe one issue is that things went a little too smoothly for me. I guess the writers made a choice to focus on the fun, with turned out to be a good decision based on the positive fan response.I always enjoy your take on the show and it’s been a lot of fun discussing each episode with you. Thanks so much and I’ll definitely cover the show in some fashion.

  12. So how did this show end up turning out? I haven’t been reading your reviews (sorry!) because I may still give this a go after I catch up on more recent Marvel movies. I heard mixed reviews early on, but then heard it got really good by season’s end.

    I was going to ask what you’d be reviewing next, but it sounds like you may be getting away from TV episode reviews? Or just from this show’s? Was just curious what would be coming up on your blog next 🙂

    • I grew to like this show more towards the end of the season. It ended on a positive and promising note, but to put things in perspective at it’s best it doesn’t come close to my favorite shows like GoT, Lost or even Buffy.

      Good question on what’s next for this blog, I’m not really sure. In the short term, I have coming up a movie roundup post and I hope to finish another comic review. There’s some reasons why I’m rethinking doing episode recaps in the future but I haven’t ruled out doing TWD and I may even do the last three episodes of GoT. How do you like doing GOT reviews? Are you happy with your stats or does that matter to you?

      • My stats really took a hit when I switched blogs, so I try not to sweat any of it too much for now. It’s hard to ignore that aspect still though. The GoT ones do alright though especially when I get them up on time. I just don’t love having something I need to finish each week. Some weeks I have writer’s block on them and sometimes I’m just lazy… haha. That is the trouble with the episode reviews for me. I do enjoy doing them most of the time though. I wish I was better at making them a bit more concise. It seems especially hard with GoT since there are so many storylines to cover.

        Anyway, I am babbling. I look forward to whatever you have coming up around here.

        • I can reblog your GoT reviews to hopefully introduce some new readers to your great blog. I feel the same way about writing GoT episode reviews, they are hard to do with so many characters and story lines to cover. Good to hear your point of view about TV reviews, I share many of the same thoughts about it.

  13. Victor De Leon

    I am so getting this series on blu ray. It stumbled in places but it regained it’s footing and ended up being so damn cool and enjoyable. The finale was a stunner on so many levels. (Fury was a blast to watch in this) I wonder what’ll happen with Fitz and the what is yet to come with the new developments regarding Coulson and crew. Great recap!

    • This series turned it up around the time Bill Paxton joined the cast and when Cap 2 hit theatres. I grew to like Fitz a lot in the last stretch of episodes, I wonder what’ll happen to him too. It’s always great to see Fury make an appearance, him and Coulson together are funny as hell. Thanks a lot!

      • Victor De Leon

        No prob 🙂 Another thing that the show has going for it is that it always has that “bigger than TV” feel about it. Every story, twist and especially the action all feels larger than life and cinematic while retaining that comic book charm. The cast is definitely a plus. I must say Ming Na has kept me hooked, lol 😉

        • Ming Na is my favorite actor and agent on the show! I think she has a large number fans hooked. 🙂 It helped that the big twist of the season tied into Cap 2, one of the biggest movies of the year … so the ripple effects on the show feels big and part of the bigger marvel universe. I also think it’s cool that AOS fans knows what’s going on with Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. outside of the movies. 🙂

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