And so season four of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comes to a close, but did this finale live up to the acclaim of the rest of the season? “World’s End” takes place following our heroes returning from the clutches of the Framework and doing intense battle against the now insane robot Ophelia/Aida. This season is very different from anything the show has done before, so it begs the question of what we can expect next, but first, let’s take a look at some of this episode’s highlights.
Ophelia is a horrifying enemy. That’s just the nature of her character, she has this sort of menacing youth to her. Her newfound ways of approaching emotion comes off as very immature, and reasonably so. She wanted so badly to be a person, and yet as soon as she became one, the overwhelming nature of her feelings fractured the stability of her mind. This is without a doubt the most interesting backstory we’ve received for a villain in this series, even over the beloved fan favorites like Ward.
Simultaneously, we’ve got the impending threat of a collapsing Framework, which fans realize will spell the end for numerous people including Mack. Dr. Radcliffe finds and rescues Yo-Yo, bringing her to the backdoor of the Framework. She spends the entire time trying to convince Mack to move forward.
While the action of “World’s End” is incredible, as always, its the retrospection and emotionally gripping moments that truly define it. There’s a heart wrenching painful glance shared between Fitz and Aida as she’s incinerated. There’s the incredibly tear-jerking moment where Hope realizes she isn’t real. Mack desperately grips onto her with all of his strength, and then we get the moment where he has to lose her all over again.
Finally, we have the payoff, which is this incredible speech by Daisy about the importance of all of them standing together, like they have been doing since the day Coulson picked up Skye in the van.
While the episode ends on a very strange cliffhanger, there’s just such a sense of gratification and completion, created by some key moments throughout the episode, including Radcliffe’s final goodbye.
Perhaps my biggest gripe with the episode comes from the fact that there were simply too many situations to resolve in a very short span of time. I had hoped to get another glance at Ward’s response to the world changing around him. With all of these reaches back to the original season, it just would have been nice to see a more thorough tribute to those early days.
Even still, this season finale sits among the greatest of episodes that this show has to offer, and is setting us up for what will no doubt be an incredibly impactful and effective fifth season. World’s End it may have been, but new worlds of possibility lie ahead, thanks to a powerful setup.