AGENTS OF SHIELD Season 4 Episode 22 Review: World's End

That’s it. It’s finally over. After a string of episodes that felt like they went on for far too long, the Framework storyline has come to a close. Ultimately I don’t think this was one of the finer finales in the four seasons of AGENTS OF SHIELD, but it closed the loop on the season’s story and you really can’t ask for more than that.

The return of Ghost Rider brought a rush of energy this storyline needed. We also needed something to put Aida on the back foot. Seeing Ghost Rider come into her warehouse and wreck shop was a great reintroduction to the character, as well as the fact that he can easily hurt her. She’s afraid now, and it’s about time. 

Yet again Antov proves himself to be a pain the ass without being intimidating whatsoever. In fact, I’m not entirely sure he’s dead? Some of his bodies were destroyed but the head still out in the open. So I imagine there’s an excuse to bring him back if need be. Trust me though, there’s no need. 

I liked the idea that the lie Talbot told about Mace came back to bite him, but it was kind of a punk ass move to shove the blame onto Coulson. Coulson didn’t even ask for Mace to fake being Inhuman. So now SHIELD’s existence is on the line, again, and it wasn’t even Coulson’s fault this time. 

So now Coulson is on the defensive on both sides. Aida is coming for his people and she’s coming for SHIELD. It was still hard to think of Aida as an intimidating “final boss” after something like Hive from last season. Sure, she has a bunch of Inhuman powers now, but she lacks the kind of menace or motivation I expected from the larger-than-life villains in SHIELD. 

If anything, I would argue that Fitz wound up being the unintentional villain of the season. He helped create Aida in the first place and while he might have been in total control of himself while inside the Framework, he did some pretty heinous things there as well. Like he said in last week’s episode, he’d become Ward. 

Moving right along though, the assault on the intelligence conference was both kind of silly and really fun. The fact that Talbot survived a bullet through the head was a bit much. At least hit him in the chest or something? I know that it’s technically possible, but on TV, a shot to the head is supposed to mean instant death. 

The fun stuff came later though, as Daisy and Ghost Rider combined powers to kill some LMDs. Though it was short lived, it was one of the coolest things I’ve seen on the show. The show even got a bit meta as Coulson commented on the combination of powers. 

Finally though, they managed to corner Aida within SHIELD headquarters. At first she targeted Simmons and for a moment I thought they’d actually killed her. That was only because I had zero idea that there was a LMD version of Simmons just sitting around for them to use. It makes sense that one was built and never used, because they couldn’t upload her. But where was it? It felt like a cheap trick. 

The idea that Coulson took on the Ghost Rider was awesome though, and led to a very cool fight scene that reminded me a little bit of Thor: The Dark World. The pair teleported throughout DC (NY? I have no idea where they are nowadays) until Aida could no longer escape. I suppose it makes sense that Ghost Rider be the one that kills her, but I was kind of hoping that Fitz would do it. It would be cathartic for him, the doctor killing the monster sort of thing. 

Of course such an undertaking doesn’t come without a price. As Robbie says before he leaves, Ghost Rider will be back to collect his end of the bargain. Whatever deal he made with Coulson will no doubt come into play next year. I hope we get to see Ghost Rider next year as well, because he was easily the best part of the new season. 

The one thing I haven’t talked about yet was the subplot with Yo-yo trying to get Mack out of the Framework. I haven’t talked about it because I felt it was a giant waste of time. I didn’t need to spent fifteen minutes of the episode watching Yo-yo get all teary eyed as Mack decided to sacrifice himself for a digital kid. The only interesting note was Radcliffe’s final scene, which was a fitting end to such a character. 

Finally, there’s the little cliffhanger. Obviously there’s been another time jump. But hey, we’re in space now! I can’t imagine that we’ll be in space the whole season, but the first pod might involve their escape. If nothing else I’m hoping we get some cool GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY references. Like some familiar aliens, maybe a Ravager ship or something. Either way, I like where we’re headed. 

Two notes: 
  • Ghost Rider mentioned that Earth is just a small part in a larger war that’s taking place throughout other dimensions and changes. Makes me wonder if he’s referencing AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR? Or is this something we’ll be exploring in Season 5?
  • Speaking of AVENGERS: INFINITY WARAGENTS OF SHIELD got renewed for a fifth season! But they’re being moved to Friday night and will be a midseason series that premieres right after INHUMANS wraps up its 8-episode run. That doesn’t thrill me, because Friday is where shows go to die. That said, if they end AGENTS OF SHIELD right around AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, then I think that would make for an excellent finale, if the show does in fact come to its end.
Written by Peter Freeman, TV & Animation Writer -- Click to read Peter's posts

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