Agents of SHIELD’s Tepid Third Finale Killed The Right Characters

Last week someone found this blog just by searching “awesome.” Moving on …

Season one of Agents of SHIELD was lousy television. Then season two surprised me by being addictively entertaining. The third season turned out to be a hybrid of the two by being thoroughly average. Losing Kyle MacLachlan, Ruth Negga, Dichen Lachman, Lucy Lawless, & Edward James Olmos was a harsh blow.

Somehow they made HYDRA even more perfunctory & flavorless even with Powers Boothe in charge. The only thing it had going for it was Mr. Giyera a.k.a. Magnoto. Whitehall telling the Malicks that their family branch of HYDRA is dumb immediately after their dad’s funeral was the most I’ve ever liked him. Every time I think they can’t make defeating HYDRA more anticlimactic, they underwhelm me.

What’s worse is that the big Inhumans gamechanger set up last year fails to take off spectacularly because the rest of the MCU won’t acknowledge the brave new status quo.

The show did a nice job recontextualizing the Sokovia Accords to apply to folks that aren’t Avengers by presenting it like the comics’ Superhuman Registration Act. Of course, this aspect of it wasn’t even hinted at in the latest movie so they might as well be two different pieces of legislation. Coulson’s disapproval of this facet of the Accords rings hollow given that it’s what SHIELD & the ACTU have already been doing.

These past few episodes took a lot of lazy shortcuts. Hive instantly summons two Kree armed only with halberds to Earth & they’re dispatched almost as quickly. SHIELD sics Lash on Hive, & he’s able to permanently free Daisy from Hive’s sway. This was a surprisingly clever gambit by the team, until you realize they had no evidence Hive couldn’t mind control Lash too. Fitz suddenly made a portable Hive discombobulator & an invisible gun? We’ve seen Hive has to switch bodies once his hosts get destroyed, so how could it keep shrugging off massive damage once it was in Ward’s corpse? SHIELD doesn’t think to check if there’s city named Absolution? SHIELD is duped into thinking a crate of Alpha Primitive gas is hangar repair parts? Last week’s episode implied  the warhead was supposed to be the one the Watchdogs (their  doggy masks are an improvement on their comics uniforms) had, but it looked like they were hijacking one already at a US military base. SHIELD wins by being crafty for once, but it’s helped by the Alpha Primitives not attacking during heartfelt speeches & Hive forgetting it can strip multiple targets down to the bone in seconds.

The foreshadowed shotgun-ax just being an shotgun with an ax bayonet was disappointing. I wanted Mack to build a shotgun that fired axes!

The cursed cross being passed from one character to the next was a suspenseful running gag. I was worried it’d be Mack, since they’d introduced a brother with the same nickname as a potential replacement. Fitz being offed just as he was finally with Simmons would’ve been an infuriating Whedon play. Fortunately it wound up with Lincoln in the end.

There are character deaths that make you upset because you grew attached to them. This was not one of them. This is actually a plus when it comes to charm-vacuums Lincoln & Hive/Ward. I would like to thank Agents of SHIELD for killing off its two worst characters in a single stroke. Please don’t bring Lincoln & Ward/Hive (he would’ve been better as a perpetual squidface than a monotone Neo cosplayer) back as ghosts. It’s the show’s fault they sucked to begin with, but I appreciate them finally being put out of my misery. It almost makes up for Jemmacide not being an official thing yet.

The flash forward didn’t even get me excited for next year. I’m not interested in angsty Skye Mary Sue Poots Daisy Johnson Tremors Quake (Is really the first time she’s been called Quake on the show? Whenever Mack calls her Tremors I think Graboids.) having to be coaxed back onto the team. I’ve liked John Hannah since The Mummy, so I’m glad he’s sticking around. It looks like he’s made a Life Model Decoy, a huge bit of SHIELD comics lore teased back in The Avengers. I don’t know what the show can do with LMDs at this point besides rehashing Ultron or undercutting any sense of permanent death.  Can we finally get Dr. Franklin Hall as Graviton next season? The prolonged delay is getting as bad as the wait for Dr. Samuel Sterns to be The Leader. (That ignominious tie-in comic doesn’t count.)

The show is being bumped back to Tuesdays at 10 PM next season. Does ABC not want to compete with whatever comic book show the CW is putting in this timeslot? Despite the additional gore this year, it doesn’t feel like the show really needs to be on later for more grimdarkness. Or is ABC subtly trying to kill it off so Marvel doesn’t have to worry about it focusing on Inhumans while its Inhumans movie is indefinitely delayed?

The series was advertised as supplying corridors to connect & support the rooms of the MCU’s expanding mansion. Nowadays it feels like a claustrophobic basement that gets plot points sent down a chute once or twice a year. It doesn’t even have stairs for the TV plots to affect the movies upstairs. It only shares a ventilation unit with the better furnished Netflix attic.

This season wasn’t unwatchable, but I’m struggling to stay interested for what’s to come when the MCU treats it like a shamebaby & the CW seems to have all the interlocking superhero shows one could ask for. I care even less about Agent Carter dying twice in one month or ABC not wanting Marvel’s Most Wanted. It’ll need a one Hell of a hook [cough] Jemmacide [cough] to get me to tune in again.

Fresh off being the best part of Iron Man v Captain America: Dawn of Vengeance, Chadwick  Boseman’s Black Panther will be directed by Ryan Coogler (the Anglicization of the German word for hoodie-smith).  Like Wonder Woman’s Themyscira, they’ll have a tricky time making the isolationist utopia of Wakanda seem both real & appealing. Lupita Nyong’o is being courted for his love interest, who definitely won’t be Storm. On one paw, this is a bummer because Nyong’o would be the perfect Storm. On the other, this is a relief because the movie would probably botch their relationship as much as the comics given her name isn’t in the title. Perhaps she’ll be Monica Lynne? Michael B. Jordan is going to be the villain. Even though he’s much tinier than the character usually is drawn, I want him to be Man-Ape just to see Michael B. Jordan kick ass dressed as an albino gorilla. Hopefully Andy Serkis will be back too with a new sonic cannon prosthesis.

There was concept art of Baron Zemo in his iconic purple mask & fur trim! Had they used it in the film, I still would’ve complained that they just threw a black leather trenchcoat on Zemo instead of embracing his unique fashion sense. Though it still would’ve been better than nothing.

Movie Falcon is finally getting a Marvel Legend complete with Redwing! Now where’s Scarlet Witch & Vision?

Meanwhile, the revelation that Iron Man 3’s villain was genederswaped for bogus merchandising reasons is more terrible than most of the armor variants only being made by Hot Toys.

The best part of Supergirl moving to The CW is now they can’t air Crazy Ex-Girlfriend at the same time! The pod will now contain David Ramsey playing another cousin named Dig-El.

DC’s Powerless will beat Marvel’s Damage Control to the TV workplace comedy punch. It’d be the ideal venue for Ambush Bug if it’s clever. I’m also strangely excited to see Crimson Fox in live action wearing a costume that’s actually crimson.

Damn you, Cancellation Bear! RIP Galavant. I super believe you should, however,  sign this petition for more!

Disney Infinity is kaput too. Does this mean they’re not going to make the Mabel Pines & Darkwing Duck figurines that fans voted for? Not cool, Disney!

Remember, both the eBook & print editions of The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose will be out of print on June 1! I even made a picture with this info for you to carry around in your wallet:

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There’s also event pages on Facebook, Google+, & Goodreads if you’d like to RSVP & invite your Rolodex. Don’t pay aftermarket prices later when you can get an affordable first edition now!

Next week I aim to discuss all of the DC on TV finales! (Well, not Supergirl. I did Supergirl already.)

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