2020 is coming to an end this week (praise Jeff Ward's red leather pants), which means you're probably seeing a bunch of "Best of the Year" lists floating around the Internet. While 2020 was quite different from past years due to so many films getting pushed back, fans were still treated to a whole lot of excellent television. However, we are seeing an egregious lack of love for Agents of SHIELD's seventh and final season in the 2020 round-ups. The Marvel show's final 13 episodes aired on ABC this summer and Season 7 wasn't just one of the show's best, but also one of the most engaging and exciting things to come out of 2020. Final seasons are hard to get right, so Agents of SHIELD deserves all the praise for going out with a bang.
Agents of SHIELD fans waited an entire year to get back to the team. They were last seen at the end of Season 6, landing in the 1930s in the Zephyr, which was converted into a time machine. While time travel certainly isn't a new concept for sci-fi and comic book stories, Agents of SHIELD managed to keep it fresh. Throughout the season, the team continued to travel through the 1950s, 1970s, and 1980s in order to stop the Chronicoms from taking over Earth. They battled Hydra, killer robots, and time itself throughout the final season's run, and none of the episodes felt like anything we'd seen before.
The time travel works so well on Agents of SHIELD because they're not focusing much on real history (although, there are many delightful references) but rather the history of SHIELD. In fact, they realize that in order to stop the Chronicoms, they must allow Hydra to survive, counteracting so much of the good they did in their own timeline. That's right, Avengers: Endgame rules were applied (further proving Agents of SHIELD is canon)! That means all of the team's time travel shenanigans created a brand new timeline, allowing everyone but Deke to eventually return home where they belonged. Don't worry about Deke, though. Jeff Ward's character got a delightful ending: he's now the head of SHIELD and a rock star living in an alternate version of the 1980s.prevnext
Speaking of Deke and the '80s, Agents of SHIELD's seventh season had many top-notch episodes, but only two of them made our list of "Agents of SHIELD's 10 Best Episodes." First was "The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D." The series decided to go truly bonkers despite only having a handful of episodes left, and we are forever grateful.
After getting stranded in the '80s, Mack (Henry Simmons) deals with the aftermath of losing his parents while Deke goes on to form his own band, The Deke Squad. Not only does this episode include an emotional performance from Simmons, but it also features the show's first and only musical number; Deke singing "Don't You (Forget About Me)." On top of that unforgettable scene, the whole episode is an homage to the 1986 horror camp classic, Chopping Mall. "The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D" was catered to those of us who love having a fun time.
The other standout episode of the season was "As I Have Always Been," which marked Elizabeth Henstridge's (Jemma Simmons) directorial debut. When Daisy (Chloe Bennet) wakes up in a time loop, she continues to die over and over again trying to figure out how to stop the loop and save the team. Not only was this an epically directed episode, but it featured the final tragic death of the series. Fans said goodbye to Enoch (Joel Stoffer) in what was one of the most powerful scenes in the entire show...prevnext
Emotional Performances and Big Changes
That brings up to Season 7's perfect performances. Not only did Stoffer knock his death scene out of the park (not an easy feat when you're basically playing an advanced robot), but "As I Have Always Been" also featured a powerful breakdown by Jemma, which is even more impressive when you remember Henstridge was pulling a double duty of directing and acting.
"The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D" and "As I Have Always Been" were not the only episodes to feature strong performances. Every member of the cast had their standout moments this season. A few examples include Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) trying to gain back her powers, Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) grappling with her new empath abilities, and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) perfectly blending drama and humor as he dealt with his new reality as an LMD.
In fact, those big changes for May and Coulson left a lot of room for the actors to grow their characters. May and Coulson are no longer the same people they were seven seasons earlier, but the combination of a great writing team and powerful acting skills allowed the changes to feel natural and compelling.prevnext
Agent Carter Closure
Speaking of major changes, one of the best things Agents of SHIELD's final season did was give closure to Agent Carter fans. Avengers: Endgame ended with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) going back in time to be with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), but this left fans of the canceled Agent Carter wondering what happened do Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj).
It's revealed that Sousa died in the 1950s trying to uncover a Hydra plot. However, the team saves him during their time travels. They fake his death, which makes him a part of the crew for the remainder of the season. However, the one thing we NEVER could have expected was Sousa's romance with Daisy. Even the most hardcore Sousa/Peggy shippers got on board with Dousy ("Sousy" is a better ship name and I will die on this hill, but the people have spoken). The fact that the show only put them in six episodes together before their first kiss, but still managed to make it feel believable and earned, is one of the most impressive romantic turns in television history. That's chemistry, baby!prevnext
If you're a fan of the Whedon family and Jeffrey Bell, then you know that they have a tendency to kill off beloved characters, especially in series finales. Bell is an Executive Producer of Agents of SHIELD alongside Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, and he is also the person responsible for writing and directing the series finale of Joss Whedons' Angel (one of the best series finales of all time). This fact had me quaking (pun intended) in my boots over the survival rate of the Agents of SHIELD characters.
Personally, I don't mind when my favorites die because I love to feel television-induced pain, but it was a true relief to see everyone from the Agents of SHIELD team survive the series finale. They had all been through so much over the course of seven seasons, and their happy endings were all well deserved. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons retired with their daughter, Mack remained the Director of SHIELD, Yo-Yo continued working in the field alongside Agent Piper (Briana Venskus) and the new LMD version of Agent Davis (Maximilian Osinski), Daisy is leading a team in space alongside Sousa and her sister Kora (Dianne Doan), Agent May became a teacher at the new Coulson Academy, and Coulson continued his journey of self-discovery. The perfect ending to a perfect show.1comments
Thank you to the Agents of SHIELD cast and crew for seven great seasons and for being a light in the darkness that was 2020. We'll continue binging the show over and over again until some cataclysmic event ends the world.
All seven seasons of Agents of SHIELD are currently streaming on Netflix.prev