SHIELD Season Six Sendoff!

With six seasons under its belt, Agents of SHIELD is officially the longest running Marvel television show. Its latest finale heralds the end of Midsommar midsummer! Now I will utilize my agency to remove the shield protecting you from its spoilers! My cat actually watched the penultimate episode with me until they aired a dog commercial.

Since Mysterio: Far From Home rushed through the drastic implications of The Snapture in its comedic prologue, it’s a gigantic missed opportunity to not be able to address it in a series tailor-made for delving into details. While the show generally works best when it’s not shoehorning in movie references, this feels like the moment where it should resume its initial unofficial mandate to connect everything. What new original bits it does feature just feel derivative like Anthony Michael Hall guest-starring as discount Grandmaster. The Fitzsimmons Inception episode was great though. (Enoch says he’s going to find a new Chronicom planet, but we all know he’s off to get a paying gig at the brothel.)

“Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson” was goofier than usual but inferior to when Farscape did the same in “Scratch N’ Sniff.” It did have Fitz in a monkey onesie. (He mostly did casual Ghostbusters cosplay.) Poor Piper got stuck being the responsible one. Considering her badass introduction season three, she’s been sidelined too much.

Sarge’s alien crew, stabby Snowflake & Jaco the firebreathing runt of the giant’s litter who just wanted to be a baker in particular, turned out delightful. I even liked weaselly Pax before he got his face melted off. The dud of the lot turned out to be Sarge. Clark Gregg is definitely playing a distinct character from Phil Coulson, but it’s one without his signature charm. It stresses how this series could’ve tanked had they gone with a generic macho action hero as the lead. Sarge could’ve saved plenty of time & effort if he’d explained his anti-Shrike mission to SHIELD. Just skip to the team-up without any fighting! It’s worrisome that they had half the usual episodes but still stretched out the plot like this.

The two-part “Collision Course” has lots of lovely destruction. It would’ve been a satisfying, albeit too tidy, conclusion. Daisy Ex Machina apparently has the power to prevent massive vibrations from setting off a nuke. Jaco sacrificed himself to destroy the Shrike ship after Jemma said she liked him because nothing could ever live up to that moment. Coat teleportation is cool! If they teleported to Earth, how’d they get the Zephyr & Sarge back?

Those damn dastards made Davis D. Davis deceased! So much for Max Osinski getting to play a red shirt who lives! Now his son is a demi-orphan! (Jiaying married Agent Davis in real life?) Don’t steal space pens, kids! Did you realize Agent Davis debuted all the way back in “Repairs,” the season one episode that ended with May reverting to a practical joker? Then she never made a funny again.

When we find out what Sarge’s deal is, it’s a lot of convoluted exposition. When Coulson went into the fear dimension during its hundredth episode & condensed the Monoliths’ energy into a Gravitonium sphere, it released a being called Pachakutiq who copied his DNA. The amnesiac demon also gained very distorted memories of being separated from Coulson’s SHIELD family & assumed he should blame Izel in an Ahab-esque revenge rampage. As the Monoliths controlled time (Why didn’t it send him to the future?), space (Did it send him to planet Maveth?), & creation, Sarge was spat out into the cosmos over centuries ago. Does it qualify him as being a Space Phantom? (Most likely not.) Otherwise anybody who says they guessed his origin is lying.

Coulson_Sarge

“Does this look infected?”

Kaolina Wydra’s Izel reminds me of Dormammu filtered through Star Wars. I dig that she’s often filmed at Dutch angles. Instead of the typical aliens mistaken for demons, she’s really a demon presumed to be an alien. (This reversal was a pleasant surprise but doesn’t drastically alter the story.) It turns out she was actually Pachakutiq’s lover. She creates bat-like parasites called Shrikes that can coalesce their zombified hosts into structures like Monoliths. (Just as the Controller wasn’t the Iron Man foe, the Shrike have no relation to Killer Shrike.) Sarge keeps destroying the planets they infest before they can finish. The Mother of Shrikes is apparently a fan of hitchhiking through space while her Shrike babies travel ahead. She can alter the harmonic frequency of her atoms to possess hosts but doesn’t need them to exist in this plane. She wants to reopen the portal to her dimension to let similar beings into our world, who will need host bodies with Shrikes inside for unknown reasons. Izel gets Mack & Yo-Yo to conjure Flint from their memories so she can cleverly use him to reconstruct the Di’Allas Monoliths.

When May & Quake first met Sarge, they were emphatic that this jerkwad wasn’t Coulson. Upon learning that he has a powerful demon within, they take him on a rescue mission & give him pep talks about how they know he’s filled with good? He couldn’t possibly know Quake’s name is Daisy & still be bad. That’s a weird moment for their onions to do 180. (Robbie Reyes is namedropped a few times to raise hopes, but Ghost Driver doesn’t return.) I guess them suddenly trusting him was supposed to make his sudden yet inevitable betrayal seem shocking. Were they seriously not listening to any of the exposition in The Lighthouse about him being Izel’s lover? So the remorseless mass murderer that didn’t want to hear any alternate solutions to blowing up Earth turned out to be The Big Bad. My monocle flew clear across the room!

SHIELD keeps looking inept this season. They didn’t grill Sarge’s team for additional Shrike info & put two in the same pod? How’d Deke Shaw suddenly get his entire start-up set up inside The Lighthouse without anybody noticing? (I like the idea of Deke’s company just salvaging extraterrestrial tech, but jokes built around it are distractingly unfunny.) Mack orders Piper to fly their only functional plane away with only Flint aboard. Deke has to jury-rig one of the two broken planes to rescue the remaining agents, which reminds me that I can’t tell the difference between a regular Quinjet & the Zephyr-1. They’re surrounded by Shrike zombies that are boring because they don’t do the creepy crabwalk like the one May murdered by herself. There’s plenty of agents wandering about The Lighthouse, yet none are deployed to assist during this doomsday situation. They’re just canon fodder waiting for the Chronicoms to wipe them out like chumps. I was right not to get attached to any of the new agents that were swiftly slain or sidelined.

The finale is a reversal of second season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That’s what happens when you hire Joss Whedon’s family as showrunners. (Maurissa Tancharoen guest starred as Deke’s ex.) Sarge remembers he’s Pachakutiq, impales May with a magic sword, & tosses her into the portal resembling the classic credits to Doctor Who to his home dimension. So by this point you’d think the demon invasion would finally happen, but there’s as many extra steps involved as there were in CAOS. Three incredibly slow demons need to open a gate in their dimension for the demons to come into Earth. Death doesn’t matter in this dimension though, so May just gets up & speedily slays the demons offscreen. This dimension had one rule & it was instantly violated! (Even when he knows his true identity, Pachakutiq finds ways to sabotage himself.) Izel completes the trio’s ritual for them, & the demonic hordes continue lollygaging.

Quake vibrates off Sarge’s face to reveal Pachakutiq’s true form is cross between Frieza & Imhotep. This doesn’t dramatically weaken him, yet Mack somehow still has an extended fistfight with him. May jumps back to Earth & kills Izel with the magic sword. This also kills all her Shrikelings, including the one Quake let fly into Yo-Yo’s mouth. Pachakutiq gets sliced in half, which apparently stops the invasion because nothing else comes of it. They stalled for so long only wrap everything up in an anticlimactic bow.

Simmons pops in to give May an injection of anti-death serum lest there be any lethal consequences for main characters before the final season. She takes the team back to Prohibition-era NYC to stave off the Chronicom colonization. (The Chronicoms are essentially Rigellian Recorders. I don’t know why they didn’t just call them that unless they’re reserved for their own Disney+ show.) Since it’s established that there are plenty of habitable planets in the MCU, it’s unclear why they want to turn Earth into Chronica-3.  As far as aliens driven by diaspora to colonize Earth, they’re better than the D’Bari. That’s not saying much as they’re still the dry toast of alien invaders. I’d prefer a season of the team battling demons. Enoch saved Fitzsimmons by splitting them up again. They’re just as sick of this as I am! Then they make a Coulson LMD just like everyone expected in season one. (Philindroid is back on the shipping news!) This sounds a lot like the set up for season five, the best of the odd numbered seasons.

There remains no explanation why The Blip doesn’t seem to have happened. (Submit your own No-Prize below!) So be prepared for folks saying this is proof the TV shows exist in a separate universe from the movies. If they weren’t allowed to reference it, this season should’ve been about time travel to avoid the issue. Not only did this season not connect to the MCU, it also didn’t incorporate any new elements from the comic books. (Izel’s name is derived from Ixchel the Mayan Goddess who’s made some minor comic book appearances, but that seems like more of a coincidence than an intentional adaptation.) Was there a corporate mandate that they have to invent everything from scratch from now on?

Even if it couldn’t fulfill my Snapture expectations, how was it on its own merits? It was fine, but I certainly wouldn’t rank it as one of my favorites. It dispels my theory that even numbered seasons would all be good ones. Thankfully it wasn’t as bad the inaugural season. Most of it was devoted to undoing the big events of last a season by getting Fitz (who has no memory of last season because they averted his destiny somehow without paradoxing it) & “Coulson” back. The demon threat came off half-baked. At least it wasn’t a slog like the defunct Defenders shows.

It really feels pointless for ABC to have brought the series back after a satisfying conclusion if it won’t let the series reference the films or adapt anything else from the source material. I should’ve been tipped off by the halved episode count, but this is another entry in a trend of splitting a single arc into multiple seasons. So come back for season seven next year for the cliffhanger’s resolution. It’ll be the real final season this time! Apparently the series finale was wrapped a week after SDCC, so now is the perfect time to shout some demands into the void. I’ve decided Piper’s new partner ought to be Snowflake. No more sidelining those two! SHOW US HELLCOW & GRIFFIN, YOU COWARDS!

~

She-Ra season three review coming very soon!

7 thoughts on “SHIELD Season Six Sendoff!

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