And the hits just keep on coming. Coming off of its final break of the season (thank god) just in time for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, AoS had the pressure on to bring a solid tie in episode. Boy did they deliver. While relatively light on the overall storyline for the most part, “End of the Beginning” does a fantastic job displaying the power of Deathlok (poor Mike) and making sure we don’t trust anybody going in to the movie. With a bevy of returning agents and a moment many fans have been waiting for finally coming to fruition, “End of the Beginning” was a great return for the fledgling series and a sign that even better things are to come.
“End of the Beginning” brings together all of the major SHIELD agents we have met from the MCU films and in earlier episodes of the season. The team is on a mission to finally find the Clairvoyant and put an end to his reign of terror. Seeing Sitwell (from Thor), Blake (Item 47), Hand and Garrett, not to mention Coulson, all in one place really adds gravity to the episode and is a nice reminder that the show is a part of the larger MCU. Sitwell is quickly asked to return to the Triskellion (SHIELD HQ), a perfect set up for his appearance in CA:TWS. The rest of the team is split into groups of 2 to scope out different locations for possible Clairvoyant suspects. This lets us see a different side of some of the characters and provides a new side of the agents we haven’t seen before. The rapport between Blake and May was a definite highlight.
As mentioned above, one of these locations houses Deathlok. The episode does a fantastic job showing just how far along he has come in terms of power and look. Mike Peterson is almost completely cyborg now, with mechanical bits replacing his innards and a metal face plate underneath the left side of his face. Some hardcore fans may not appreciate the under the skin look of the character but I thought he was really cool and am sure we will see his full outfit sooner rather than later. The moment Blake tried to play to his humanity was a touching moment, we realized that the old Mike is still in there but he is powerless against the machine (much like the comics). With wrist rockets, bullet proof armour and awesome cybernetics Deathlok is a real terminator and J. August. Richards does a fantastic job bringing him to life.
In addition to all the great comic book action we get to see Skye’s inauguration to full SHIELD agent status. While it isn’t a fancy affair by any means it is a nice payoff to finally see her become a true member of the team after so long. My only gripe was that the show told us more about how great Skye is rather than show us, but I guess taking bullets to the gut, sneaking into private locations and tracking down Quinn should be enough. On another note, Chloe Bennett gave a solid performance, especially in her one on one scene with Bill Paxton. We get a little more insight into the John Garrett character and it was nice to see Skye interacting with someone other than her own team members. The episode was light on any of her backstory but they did make mention of her blood once again, reminding us that there is definitely something different about her (KREE).
Th tail end of the episode really throws fans for a loop. Coulson and Skye find out some serious info about SHIELD and a possible traitor in their midst. The phone call from May last episode is expanded upon in this episode ad truly makes audiences second guess whose who on “the bus”. By the end we realize that SHIELD has been compromised leaving us wondering what exactly will happen after the events of The Winter Soldier. I for one am very excited to see what comes next. Having seen Captain America 2 I can say without a doubt people are in for a treat (the identity of the clairvoyant is a doozy).
The end stinger of this episode is taken directly from the film cementing even further the idea that the events of the show are happening around the event sod the film.
“End of the Beginning” does a fantastic job tying the show to the larger MCU and the imminent arrival of the Winter Soldier. It was a great episode offering plenty of action and twists that should keep fans satisfied until next week. With no more breaks until the season finale, Agents of SHIELD has found its footing and will continue its hot streak to a strong finish.