#Agents of SHIELD” closes out season four by bringing back an old friend and taking on their recent enemy. AIDA aka Ophelia must be stopped, and it’s up to #Ghost Rider to do it, but she’s got something of a backup plan as she’s been framing SHIELD for crimes all over the world. In “World’s End,” the team has to find a way to stop her and pick up the pieces of their lives shattered by the Framework.

The Framework

When we last saw the Framework in detail, the team had escaped, but Mack had returned to Hope. With Elena entering in hopes of getting Mack to return to the real world, the two are in danger as AIDA is allowing the Framework to be dismantled.

Advertisements
Advertisements

This makes for tense scenes as those “people” living in the Framework start to disappear. I have to give the writers credit. I was genuinely concerned that Elena and Mack would wind up dying in the computer simulation before she was able to convince him to return. But finally, everyone is out of that place and the show can move on.

Ghost Rider wants Ophelia and the Darkhold

We knew that Ghost Rider was back, but Robbie reveals that he wants AIDA as badly as he wants the Darkhold -- to take them back to where they’re both from as they’re made from the same stuff, dark matter, that calls to him. It takes a lot of intricate fight scenes and planning, but eventually, Coulson and the team pull a switcheroo that gets AIDA right where they want her and allows Ghost Rider to get to her.

The catch? Ghost Rider is Coulson for the sequence instead of Robbie, adding to Coulson keeping some sort of secret from the team that we don’t yet know about since he made a bargain with the Ghost.

Advertisements

Robbie can also jump between worlds now, no big deal, so he can basically go wherever the writers want him to go, leaving him room to come back, which is a nice touch.

Jemma gets an LMD

The only person to not play two parts so far this season, Elizabeth Henstridge finally got the chance as her LMD was a decoy to allow AIDA to think she was dead. I’ve got to say, if you’re paying attention to the scene, Jemma as an LMD wasn’t too hard to see coming. Why? Because Henstridge made subtle changes to the way she moved and spoke as the character, telegraphing that Jemma wasn’t quite Jemma. Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain de Caestecker deserve all in the awards column.

De Caestecker got to pull out the emotional stops in the scene as he watched LMD-Jemma stabbed and electrocuted. This was an even more impressive feat as Fitz isn’t usually the greatest at deception but he managed to hold back his screams and tears just a bit more than he usually would as Fitz. Stellar performances all around. Bonus points to Mallory Jansen for the menacing and creepy AIDA as well!

No time for emotional fallout

The downside to an episode like this one - where so many of the action pieces of the story need to be tied up -- is that there’s no time to address any of the emotional wounds that are still fresh and in need of healing.

Advertisements

Fans want to see Coulson and May address their feelings instead of taking another step back. Fans want to see Fitz and Simmons hash things out. Fans, in short, want more than just the action.

When the season finale is a single episode though, and the finale moments have to tee up the next season, there’s just not enough minutes in the hour to devote to emotional fallout. That’s actually long been a problem for “Agents of SHIELD,” which favors six month time jumps that smooth things over instead of letting the audience see how the characters get from A to B. I wish this episode had a little less action and a little more emotion.

That ending

The members of SHIELD are a wanted group thanks to AIDA’s set up, so one last dinner (seriously, when was the last time this group ate real food?) is on the agenda just in case they’re all going to prison. Instead of prison though, a mysterious group with some time freezing technology finds them and seems to put them -- in space?

Coulson appears to be in a space station of some sort a significant amount of time later. Does this mean that the show is finally introducing the space equivalent of SHIELD from the comics, known as SWORD? Does this mean the series will tie into "Inhumans?" Does this mean we’ll be seeing more aliens on the show? We just don’t know yet.

The verdict and what’s next

A great conclusion to a wonderful arc for “Agents of SHIELD,” this was definitely one of the best episodes of the season. A few missteps make it fall just shy of a perfect episode, but overall, it was a fun way to close out the season so I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars

The good news? The show was renewed for a fifth season. Bad news? “Agents of SHIELD” fans have a long wait ahead of them. The show won’t return until after Marvel’s “Inhumans” airs, which means the series is likely to return in January 2018, where it will move to Fridays at 9 p.m on ABC. #World's End