Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: ‘Farewell, Cruel World!’ Review

Again, here we are, and parting is such sweet sorrow. It’s a funny feeling that a week is such an insignificant amount of time, but can feel like an eternity. This week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has brought us to yet another, 24 like, close. With the exception of one episode, each episode of this season has been better than the last. This is both a good and bad thing, because this show has remained, remarkably, consistent, with each season being tight, focused and constantly dragging the viewer through the grit. The downside is that the viewer never gets a chance and see a brighter side of the team and have 1 or 2 filler episodes to let the audience catch its breath.

Off the bat, I don’t want to come off as cynical. Agents is routinely compelling. It is well acted, written, and I thoroughly enjoy watching the team getting into binds and finding out how they can get out of them. The fun thing about the show is that the team is constantly in the crappiest conditions, and they get by by the skin of their teeth every single season. It’s almost comical how crappy their lives are. Here is proof positive that saving the world on the regular sucks. This episode, “Farewell, Cruel World!” continues with a seriousness like a man crashing in an ambulance. Everyone is scrambling and each piece of this body plays an important role: Daisy is the brain, May is the muscle, Simmons is the heart, Mack is the conscious, and Coulson is the skeleton that keeps it all together. The new addition to this body is Fitz is now a malignant tumor. It is a nice change of pace, considering Simmons is normally an emasculated beta that stammers in the background. Not that I have anything against his character, but that’s his character. It’s nice that Ian De Castecker gets to do some acting. The real stand out performance this season was John Hannah. He had the most complex arc, which was cleverly woven into the background. Unfortunately, we lost another long time regular. Well, for now, at least.

Last time I said each season plays like a comic book, in how the episodes play out, but I think it’s more accurate to say it plays like a mini-series. It has a one track mind. When you are promised “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: LMD”, you get it. The pros to this formula is that if you were invested in the first few episodes, you will want to stick around to the end. It’s quite brilliant, if you think about it. Even if it becomes tedious, humans crave the knowledge, and curiosity will draw them back in. The cons are that you never have fun episodes with no bearing on the plot of the season. Look back at The X-Files, Star Trek (TNG, DS9, VOY, TOS) or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Some of the best episodes of those series were the filler episodes. The episodes where we got to take of break from the drama and just have fun. I certainly wouldn’t want to see the episode of Daredevil where he, the Punisher and Moon Knight do a bar crawl and Matt gets drunk and tries to do karaoke (funny as that sounds), but Agents has characters with quip, one liners, heart, and real lives, so there is room for that.

When there is so much on TV right now, I consider it a great feat for a program to keep the viewer coming back 20 plus times a year. It hits the marks that matter and the show is really well made from a cinematic standpoint, and it even tugs on the ol’ heartstrings. I will miss Brett Dalton and it was nice seeing him step back into the good guy shoes. I have to acknowledge that I will most likely never get a 100% satisfying and catering to my every want in my lifetime, so I have to write this review as unbiased as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I have a bias, like we all do, but I’m trying to be fair and overlook little nitpicks and take a look at the big picture. The whole, certainly in this case, is greater than the sum of it’s parts, which is appropriate seeing how the essence of the show is team work. All in all, I’m back every week, and I sit, a little too close, to my screen and my heart beats faster, and I sometimes forget to breathe, the tension is so high, but it’s okay because Agents is yet to let me down, and color me shocked the day it fails to deliver.