One final mission! I remember sitting down on my couch one September night in 2013 and watching the first episode of the brand new show: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
It was Marvel's first live action series and it tied in to the movies! I remember the advertisements clear as day:
"The story that started in The Avengers continues on TV!"
The show was young and optimistic. A lot of people didn't feel it got good until the Winter Soldier tie-in, but I yearn for the good old days of S.H.I.E.L.D. A team of pros running ops, being the line between the world and the much weirder world. That's not to say I didn't enjoy what S.H.I.E.L.D. became, but there was something simplistic about the first few episodes that I enjoyed. It felt like a Marvel movie every week!
Of course as time went by the connections to the movies got weaker, but S.H.I.E.L.D. carved out its own thing. I became invested in the characters, Daisy, May, FitzSimmons, Mack, YoYo, Coulson. That's not to say I didn't wish it had more to do with the movies. But poor Jeph Loeb got on that stage every Comic Con and shouted "It's all connected!" so many times. Each time it got less enthusiastic, and I could he was getting put through the wringer. I eventually came to terms with the fact that the movie connections were more or less done for.
Here's why it didn't matter though. Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was probably the best season of television, period, that I've ever seen in my life. The three arcs, or pods as they called them, Ghost Rider, LMD, then the HYDRA "What If" Framework scenario, were each handled so perfectly. The restructuring of S.H.I.E.L.D., a version of Madame Hydra, Jeffery Mace's Patriot, Life Model Decoys done perfectly, and, you know, GHOST RIDER! There was just so much yes in that season. S.H.I.E.L.D. was its own show, and no longer needed the larger MCU as a crutch. Season 4 was the the payoff to everything up to that point, and I loved every last minute of it.
If I had to rank the seasons of S.H.I.E.L.D., it'd be 4-1-3-2-5-6. That leads me to where S.H.I.E.L.D. has stumbled a bit.
Season 5 was... not the best. The future space stuff was hit and miss. But the Kree being the bad guys was pretty cool, tied in nicely with the Inhumans aspect of the show. Daisy was the coolest version of Quake, even though she had her powers inhibited a lot of the time. But I couldn't get into it really, I didn't really care about the problems of Deke and Flint and Tess and Grill. Deke grew on me though, not going to lie. When they got back to the present, however, the season picked up for me.
General Hale and her daughter Ruby along with Werner von Strucker were a nice way to loop HYDRA back in, the Lighthouse was a cool new base, the 100th episode was pretty awesome. I have to say though, the season finale, looping back around to Graviton, who I'd been waiting for since episode 3 of season freaking 1! That was the most epic scale fight I'd ever seen on the show, and makes me wonder why Quake wasn't in one of Doctor Strange's portals! Season 5 started rocky, but ultimately finished strong for me.
Season 6 though... geez. 5 had it's problems, but there was still a whole lot of good. Season 6 is unjustifiable. I tried to get behind it, Sarge was actually a really cool villain. But the space team looking for Fitz, I don't know, I guess S.H.I.E.L.D. in space just doesn't cut it for me. If you're gonna do that, just do S.W.O.R.D! Geez! We finally reunited the team, but then the villain switch to Izel...
Look at S.H.I.E.L.D.'s villains. You had guys like Blizzard, Absorbing Man, Lash, Hive, Madame Hydra, Deathlok, Eli Marrow, Graviton. High profile villains backed with 80 years of rich comic book history. Then there's Izel. Not rooted in any comics, so her threat level is not pre-established. That wouldn't normally be a problem (see Jiaying, Raina, Gideon Malick, or Ward!), but there was nothing that made me take her seriously. She can sing and control bats that go inside of people and turn them into a giant crystal structure that can destroy the world... And then she was Sarge's lover (or something) from their world, and they came from the Monoliths, and... I don't know. I'm usually all in for S.H.I.E.L.D., but the fact that Izel just never seemed like a threat, yet they treated her like the most dangerous opponent they'd ever faced, it didn't do it for me.
I can honestly say season 6 was bad. It's the first, and only season of the show, I didn't like. But it's hardly of any consequence, because I've had such a blast with this show for the past 7 years. I still remember that September night fondly. I remember Daisy and Lincoln fighting Lash in the hospital. I remember Jemma getting stuck on an alien planet for months. I remember when Daisy transformed into Quake, and Couslon's S.H.I.E.L.D. shield, and Fitz giving some of the shows most memorable performances.
I remember my favorite television moment of all time, in the season 1 finale. When Simmons was stranded in the middle of the ocean, reaching up for someone, anyone, to save her. And who other than Nick Fury showed up to take her hand.
Fitz was the first person in the MCU to utter the word Inhuman. Ghost Rider's first transformation was spine chilling. Lady Sif was awesome both times. We got Mockingbird! We saw a S.H.I.E.L.D. flying car. The Secret Warriors. Peggy Carter flashbacks, Stan Lee cameo, Maria Hill doing her thing. The entire foundation of the show was built on #CoulsonLives!
Looking back, it's been a wild and crazy ride. And May 27 is the beginning of the end. One final mission. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was, is, and always will be, my favorite TV show. Thanks for the memories, and I can't wait to see how it ends.
That's all for now, Face Front True Believers, and I'll see you in the Multiverse!