'Agents of SHIELD' Finale Has Shades of 'Civil War'

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Season Five came to a close with last night’s season finale episode “The End.” The episode seemingly borrowed a plot point from the Marvel’s Civil War, one of the most popular comic book events in the publisher’s history.

SPOILERS for the Agents of SHIELD Season Five finale follow.

The fifth season finale of Agents of SHIELD featured a final showdown between Daisy “Quake” Johnson and Glenn Talbot, the former air force general who became the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the supervillain called Graviton.

Before Daisy went out to meet Talbot, Phil Coulson gave her some advice. He told her that she either needed to find it in her heart to talk Talbot down or find the strength in her arm to beat him senseless.

Daisy did her best to talk Talbot down. He tried to remind him that he was a hero the minute he enlisted in the armed forces, telling him that it’s the effort and not the result that makes you a true hero. As further evidence, she pointed out to him all of the police and first responders who were currently risking their lives to mitigate the damage Talbot had down by crash-landing his spaceship on top of Chicago.

This is where the echoes of Marvel’s Civil War can be heard. In the original comic, the final battle between Captain America’s Secret Avengers and Iron Man’s Pro-Initiative force, including SHIELD and the Thunderbolts, spills into the streets of New York City.

Thanks to an assist from Vision, Captain America is pummeling Iron Man, whose armor has gone dead. He’s about to deliver the decisive blow when he is tackled by a group of civilians. These civilians are first responders, and they encourage Cap to look around and see all of the damage that this fight is doing to the city and how many people are risking their lives to help others.

Civil War Ending
(Photo: Steve McNiven, Marvel Entertainment)

At that moment, Cap seemingly snaps out of his haze. He drops his shield and surrenders and orders his forces to do the same, saying that they may be winning the battle but the very fact that they were so carelessly endangering civilians was only proving Iron Man’s point and allowing him to win the argument.

It’s a very similar moment to what Daisy attempts in “The End.” There’s another shared element between the two, and that’s Joss Whedon. Whedon co-created Agents of SHIELD with his brother and sister-in-law, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Jed Whedon and Tancharoen have served as showrunners on the series and wrote “The End” together.

While Whedon did not write Civil War or “The End,” the story has been told of how Whedon showed up to a meeting at Marvel Comics headquarters where the ending of the Civil War event comic was being discussed. It was Whedon who suggested letting Captain America win the battle and letting Iron Man win the argument, that way there’s some satisfaction for both sides and fans wouldn’t be cheated out of a real conclusion by the reveal that someone was a Skrull or that they were all being mind-controlled.


However, things went very differently for Daisy. While seeing the first responders was enough to snap Captain America out of his battle frenzy, Talbot was too far gone. At first, he seemed to be hearing Daisy’s message, but then he turned on her, saying he’d been backstabbed after similar speeches too many times before. The battle resumed until Daisy was forced to take more drastic measures to defeat Talbot, and another SHIELD agent paid the price.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD will return to ABC for its sixth season in 2019.