Well, the show certainly continues its trend of great season finales! Talbot arrives in Chicago in pursuit of the Gravitonium and wreaks havoc causing widespread destruction. The group continue to argue over using the centipede serum to stop Talbot or save Coulson. Ultimately, Coulson refuses to accept their help and motivates the team into taking out Talbot. In the process Fitz seemingly dies and and the team begin the search for frozen-in-the-past Fitz while May and Coulson enjoy some magical moments on the beaches of Tahiti.
The episode begins with the group arguing over how to use the centipede serum. In what could have easily been unnecessary drama, this scene did a great job highlighting why Daisy and Yo-Yo disagree, as well as how tragic that disagreement is. Perhaps the only constant in this show has been Coulson’s fatherly relationship with Daisy. So of course she’s going to do everything she possibly can to save him. Daisy also believes that Coulson is the only one who can talk Talbot off of his delusional cliff. So even though Daisy wants to save Coulson for very personal reasons, she believes that doing so will also help save the world. However, Yo-Yo completely disagrees. Even though she cares for Coulson and doesn’t want him to die, she believes saving the world is more important. Yo-Yo argues that they shouldn’t squander an opportunity to take down Talbot by trying to save Coulson instead. But she feels like everyone hates her for saying this even though it’s what Coulson would want.
Daisy’s climatic fight with Talbot was awesome and was probably where most of the budget went. The slow reveal of Daisy having the serum was incredibly well done and made the scene much more intense. It was also a great way to tie together all the different plot lines with Simmons looking for it in the lab, Robin saying something was different, and Coulson not feeling well. But unfortunately, because so much was going on, Talbot never got a chance to do that much as Graviton. His motivation for searching for power so that he can use it to save people still doesn’t make much sense because he doesn’t seem to care about destroying Chicago. And if the explanation is that the Gravitonium made him crazy, than that’s kind of a flimsy and uninteresting motivation. His defeat also seemed somewhat ambiguous. It was beautifully executed, but it’s still unclear what exactly happened to him. Did Daisy’s attack kill him and his corpse is now floating through space? Or did launching him into space cause him to freeze to death?
While we’re discussing Talbot, it was really smart of the writers to have him attack Chicago instead of New York. Since some of Infinity War takes place there, it’s best to steer clear of any potential continuity errors. And not having a larger tie-in to Infinity War was definitely the right way to go. There’s no way that Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. could have dealt with the outcome of the snap and keeping it’s story self contained allowed them to focus on the characters in the show, rather than a larger overarching story.
One very unexpected development in this episode was Mack becoming the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. Chloe Bennett did a great job showing how uncomfortable Daisy was admitting that she doesn’t make the best leader. Even though she confided in Coulson that she wasn’t ready, she still portrays a strong front to everyone else. And if she doesn’t take over, it makes perfect sense for Mack to assume command. He’s had to give orders in the past so we know he can lead, but as Daisy said he’s also their moral center. You can always trust Mack to make the most righteous call. Although, we’ve seen that he can sometimes be blinded when faced with two difficult and unrighteous options. Regardless, he’ll make an excellent leader and it’s no surprise that Coulson gave him his support. Also, seeing Yo-Yo raise her hand in his favor was really cute.
Honestly, that fake-out with Fitz at the end was just mean. The “celebration” at the end was really brutal to watch before they reveal that it’s really a farewell for Coulson. As always, Ian De Caestecker did a fantastic job. Fitz worrying about Robins safety while dying was so heartbreaking and made worse by Mack talking him through it. But I’m glad that it’s not completely solved and there are (hopefully) going to be ramifications next season. This made their fight with Talbot take an incredible toll, while not losing Fitz as a character. It absolutely would have been a fan theory that they could just search for frozen Fitz who’s waiting to wake up in a future that won’t come to pass.
Coulson’s departure was beautifully done. Having him finally visit Tahiti was brilliant and brings the character full circle in a satisfactory way. It’s also nice that he and May are going to get some time to spend together now that they both know how the other feels. Of course it’s hard to imagine what Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. will look like without Coulson (and Clark Gregg) but each character has come into their own and I’m sure they can make it work. It also might help that the next series will only be 13 episodes. While this episode could easily function like a series finale, if the writers know they only have a small window to work with, they’ll be able to put a nice bow around the entire series.
5 of Coulson’s aviators out of 5. What an intense finale. While Fitz’s death did seem to come out of nowhere, it gave the final fight with Talbot some incredibly tangible consequences. Of course we’ll probably see Fitz again next season, but it seems like his revival will be done in a natural way. They also gave Coulson an incredibly poignant farewell. Even though this episode would have worked well as a series finale, it’s nice that we’ll get to see a bit more before saying one last goodbye.
- Deke’s disappearance was a bit ambiguous. Did he disappear because of Fitz’s death or did he just leave? He’s a fun character so I really want to see more of him. And he does have a map of space which could come in handy…
- Kinda cool to see another city besides New York get destroyed for once
- Clark Gregg is amazing and continues to be one of the best parts of the MCU, so glad we get to see him in Captain Marvel!
- Mack wordlessly telling Simmons what happened was heartbreaking and her silence for the next few minutes was brutal. Those two have been through so much and it seems the universe just doesn’t want them to be happy.
- Seeing Coulson in Tahiti was great, but I wish the green screen was better. That scene did not look very good. Clearly the budget went to the fight with Talbot because that sequence was amazing.
- The only thing sadder than Fitz’s death is that we probably won’t see Lola again.
- Coulson’s advice to Daisy was really cool when he said, “I’ve given you all the tools you need to handle this. Now you find the strength in your heart to appeal to his good nature. And if you can’t, find the strength in your arms to beat his ass senseless.”
- Frozen Fitz coming back might mean we get to see Enoch again!