What a ride,
"Marvel's Agents of SHIELD"
-- and thank goodness the show is renewed for a
. Plenty of questions were left unanswered in the Season 1 finale, "Beginning of the End," while other plot threads were intentionally left dangling for the future.
Fortunately, the show also set up some solid conclusions. John Garrett is dead once and for all, and in the best way possible. "Agents of SHIELD" proves once again it has a sense of humor with Garrett surviving the Deathlok face stomp -- why was his body left alone anyway? -- only for Coulson to unceremoniously kill him after Garrett deemed himself invincible. Amazing.
It was moments like that which made the finale such a success. "Agents of SHIELD's" greatest strength has always been its characters, and fortunately they all are fully formed by the finale -- except for Ward, but that's sort of the point for him. Skye has come into her own, May has stripped down her guard to the people important to her and Fitz finally told Simmons he loves her.
As for Ward, who Coulson sends away to live a life of misery, it's important to note that he's not dead, even if he isn't back with the SHIELD team (and
). Brett Dalton is a series regular on the show, so chances are he'll start on the path to redemption -- or being a big bad -- in Season 2. For the time being, we're perfectly happy having Triplett take his place in the SHIELD team, especially since he's some romantic competition for Fitz.
Finally, there's Coulson, who tells both the audience and Nick Fury that he is whole again. He gets the payoff of ripping Fury a new one for bringing him back to life, defeats his enemy and is named the new director of SHIELD. His mission is to rebuild the organization from scratch, which is the perfect one for a man like Coulson. Fury also essentially calls him one of the Avengers, which is the most adorable moment in the episode.
But even with Garrett gone, there are plenty of HYDRA's heads to cut off. Ian Quinn is still out there with Graviton, and he doesn't seem to know that
Franklin Hart is a supervillain inside
waiting to be let out (and likely get revenge). Raina also is free, and has a conversation with one of Skye's parents (whether mother or father, we don't know). Then there's the promise that Skye is a monster, meaning that hidden characteristic will likely unveil itself next season.
The problems outside of SHIELD aren't even the biggest ones. The final scene in "Beginning of the End" shows that Coulson is suffering from the same "I can see the universe" tendencies that Garrett had before he died. That seems to be connected to the GH325, meaning Skye likely will be able to see the same things. Coulson draws out the same intricate sketch Garrett etched out, which seems to be another big Season 2 tease. If Skye sees it, will she be able to decode it?
Ultimately "Agents of SHIELD's" Season 1 finale was just a big setup for Season 2, and that's totally fine. Season 1 wasn't without its hiccups, but with the secrets and lies tied to "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" behind us, "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" is set up for a very strong second season. And we can't wait.
Two final thoughts: What is up with Billy Koenig? Fingers crossed the Koenigs are actually Life Model Decoys, because it's about time that much-discussed potential storyline was brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also, Mike Peterson/Deathlok is awesome and we want more next season.