The midseason finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “What They Become,” airs tomorrow night, but we’ve seen it already, and if there’s one word we’d use to describe it above all others it would have to be “payoff.”
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been built largely around mystery, especially going into Season 2. Honestly, that had me worried. I’ve been burned too many times by television shows that became so infatuated with their own mystique and mythology that they adopted the attitude of being above giving actual answers to any of the questions they had raised.
Not so much with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I was shocked to see the mystery of Coulson’s alien scrawling revealed barely a quarter through Season 2, and I was almost as shocked that the word “Kree” got dropped in a non-finale episode. “What They Become” is another such milestone episode.
It’s not all revelation though. The episode is a thriller from the word “go,” picking up exactly where the previous episode left off. Mixed in with the race for the alien city and Skye’s kidnapping are several surprisingly emotional beats, including Skye’s first meeting with her father. Some of these moments are so well nested into the action-heavy plot of the episode that they’ll likely take you off guard.
And, of course, you can’t shed light on one mystery without introducing another. Fans who like to play connect the dots will not be disappointed.
Last year, around the midseason finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I found myself with mixed feelings. I was never as down on the series as most, but even I couldn’t deny that the show wasn’t reaching its full potential, and I was often defending the show based on that very potential. I was defending the show based on what it could become.
As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. enters its second midseason break, I’m no longer wondering if it will achieve its full potential. It is now the show it was always meant to be. Instead, I’m just eager to see what else it becomes.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “What They Become,” airs Tuesday, December 9 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.