Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. concludes its First Season with an increasingly erratic John Garrett (Bill Paxton) surviving the infusion of the single does of Raina‘s (Ruth Negga) replicated drug while Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team survive the arrival of the Centipede warriors long enough for Skye (Chloe Bennet) to implant her Trojan Horse inside HYDRA‘s network and follow them back to the head of the snake. By the end of the episode Garrett will be defeated although its unclear how many other heads the secret organization may have had which means we might see some form of it resurface next season.
With a little theater, and more than a bit of violence, Skye and May (Ming-Na Wen) infiltrate Cybertek and trick their chief engineer to resetting the Centipede soldiers to do just what Coulson wants them to do – lead him to Garrett. While Raina throws her lot in with the now completely psychotic Garrett, Ward (Brett Dalton) begins to second-guess the path he’s chosen, especially after going toe-to-toe with a pissed-off May in a way that’s far less cordial than their previous interactions.
At the bottom of the ocean Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) work to try and find a way out of their underwater tomb which eventually leads them into the arms of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who uses the pair’s intel to show up just in time to help Coulson take on Garrett and Deathlok (J. August Richards). Despite the fancy weaponry Fury brings to the fight the severally out-gunned duo are only saved thanks to Skye finding their “ace-in-the-hole.”
“Beginning of the End” successfully wraps up the multi-week arc following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier which paved the way for the series’ strongest episodes. While offering a fun moment involving Coulson getting the last word with Garrett, the episode also ends with several scenes that begin to lay the groundwork for the show’s upcoming Second Season. Although it’s suggested that Fitz’s days in the field may be done, we’ll have to wait and see whether or not De Caestecker’s Fitz will be returning in some form next season.
As expected, it looks like Tripplett (B.J. Britt) will take over Ward’s role on the team as Coulson is tasked by Fury to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. from the ground up. A pleasant surprise is the return of Patton Oswalt as a different Agent Koeing (which is simply accepted rather than explained), who I hope we’ll get to see more of next season. We also see that truth behind Skye’s parentage and Coulson beginning to show similar effects of Garrett’s madness will also be major themes when the show returns in the Fall.