It has finally arrived! The most anticipated 100th episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has aired and it was quite an episode. Many milestone episodes tend to be trips down memory lane. Reunion for characters that we have not seen in a while. Sometimes they halt the overall story arc to celebrate the many events that have led up to this very moment. SHIELD did take a few moments to not only look at the absurdity of the last few seasons but also raise an interesting question. It tackled many fan theories and even confirmed something for a rather popular ship on the show. Let us take a deeper look at what this milestone of an episode had in store for us.
Let us start off with the major plotline that moved forward with this episode. Coulson was forced to finally confess to his condition. The deal he made with the Ghost Rider was his death sentence. Having the spirit of vengeance take over his body burned out the Kree blood in his system. Now, it is slowly breaking down leading to his death. It is nice that the show did not try and keep this secret for too long. We get a lot of heart-to-heart moments between the characters, seeing how much of a leader Coulson has become. There even is a nice callback to “SHIELD lives” moment from Season 1 between him and Daisy, as he wants her to continue as the director, a plotline set up way back in the third season. It was an interesting way to set-up Coulson’s importance to not only the crew but also the actual show. Without Coulson, it would not exist and it is rather difficult to think that it could continue without him. It does not help that the showrunners have confirmed that they are writing the finale as a potential end of the series.
There is much more to go through in this episode. The explosion from the last episode managed to create a dimensional rift due to the three monoliths being caught in the blast. Sadly, this means we will never find out what the third monolith can do. One sends people through space, another through time so it would make sense if the new one would’ve had the ability to transfer one through dimensions, which ties into the current events. As a result of this new dimensional rift, everyone’s fears are coming alive to haunt them throughout the base. Not only does this work at a concept introduced in Doctor Strange that ties in with last seasons’ more mystical direction but also to bring back some familiar faces. A Kree warrior, an LMD Simmons, Lash and Hive all make an appearance as manifestations of everyone’s biggest fears. Sadly, I wish we explored this aspect a bit more, as outside of the hilarious revelation that Deke is scared of a forest there were some missed opportunities here. Coulson being confronted by Price for not saving her, Ward pointing at him not saving him, Skye being haunted by Lincoln for letting him die, Talbot mad that he is stuck in a coma or May’s regret of not seeing what was happening to her ex-husband. We do get glimpses of this potential but the episode was just too short to really dive into the entire concept.
Also, the entire fear dimension concept was teased as a potential reasoning for the world to end and there are hints that it will continue to have an impact in future episodes. Still, it does not make sense that people continued to blame Quake if it was, in fact, this rift that caused it. I still have high hopes that the “team” that Hale is putting together will recruit Graviton, one of the last major story elements still remaining from season 1. A conflict between him and Quake would make for a great reasoning that the world would start to crumble with the rift acting as a catalyst. So far, the events in the future seem imminent and it will be interesting to see if they find a way to avoid it happening and if we will get some sort of tie-in with Avengers: Infinity War.
As much as I complain about the lack of true cameos, we do get quite a few returning faces this episode around and most notably the return of J. August Richards. He was the team’s very first mission and a perfect callback to the pilot episode. He served as a great way to make Coulson question if all of it is really happening and maybe he is still fighting off the wound inflicted on him by Loki. It served as an interesting Total Recall moment to force Coulson to look back at his journey and help him truly come to terms with what he wants. The episode does not answer if he will try to survive but future Yo-Yo did predict that the team will try to find a way to do so which will lead to the planet’s doom. The episode wants to focus more on Coulson than the over-arching plot but still gives us small hints at what is to come with the rest of the season. It was also great to see that Peterson was not just a ghost but in fact returned in the form of Deathlok to save Coulson. HIs return with an entire S.H.I.E.L.D. team was also a great addition to Coulson’s words that the organization is more than just their little band of misfits. It is a shame that we did not get a returning cameo from Samuel L. Jackson who we also have not seen since the first season but we still got ten more episodes to go.
After all of that, you think that we would get a nice somber moment to just take it all in. The writers and showrunners did not want to give us a break as the next emotional gut punch was waiting just around the corner. Deke was given a task to gather a few things which at first seemed to be contacting Deathlok’s team but we also see him enter a store with a rather interesting easter egg-filled display. It turns out he was organizing everything for the wedding between Fitz and Simmons. These two have become stand-out characters among the cast and their romance was always at the core of the series. It was a perfect time for them finally to get married with a heartfelt speech by Coulson. A little levity is added in with Deke and Deathlok chatting during the wedding. At first, it seems just like they were building up the joke of these two characters sticking out like sore thumbs at the wedding only to finally confirm that Deke is their grandson. We got an additional confirmation in a sequence featuring Hale but it was a beautiful way to tie everything together. Even if they faced even more hardships their legacy would live on and even witness their reunion. The show still found a way to make great use of the time travel aspect twelve episodes in as the episode ends on a soft and optimistic way.
4.5 fear dimensions out of 5. A very emotional celebration of the last 100 episodes full of easter eggs and returning storylines. It lived up to its potential but left me with wishing for a bit more, especially with so many iconic characters being established throughout the season, but it knew exactly what it wanted to do and pulled it off in an amazing way.
- When Ghost Mike tries to pull Coulson into the rift, his mannerisms and face almost look like they were about to turn into the Ghost Rider. A nice visual nod to also give a nice surprise to Deathlok Mike saving Coulson.
- Deke cannot get enough of that Zima!
- Philinda shippers got their moment as May and Phil sat down to talk about them being on a break. It might become even more relevant once they decide how to face Coulson’s condition.
- Where is Gabriel Luna? Ghost Rider has been absent for so long and it really makes you wish they would announce a TV show for the character soon.
- The inclusion of Hale was a bit unnecessary but it worked as an effective reminder that there was still an overarching plotline that will return in the next episode.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer easter eggs sprinkled throughout this episode.
- That pawn shop’s display had quite a few great little easter eggs. The axe that took Coulson’s hand, an Iron Man mask and many more
- So far, they still seem stuck in the circle that will lead to earth’s end and I am still expecting for the song “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” to play at some point on the show.