Where in the Marvel Universe is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

(If you haven’t seen the season 3 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and don’t want spoilers, go read my thoughts on the Ravens or something. You’ve been warned)

Another fun season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ended last night with a fantastic season finale that I’m sure if they’re submitting anything to the Emmy’s, it’ll be the submission.

The episode had Chloe Bennet playing several different phases of Daisy Johnson’s guilt over her time under the control of Hive — self loathing when telling Coulson she didn’t deserve his forgiveness; sadness when Mac comes to console her; regret and the beginning of grief when Lincoln takes over the Quinjet to fly Hive and the Terrigen-laced warhead into space to be destroyed.

However, Chloe didn’t just provide the most emotional episode of her tenure on the show. It came out yesterday that she’s not exactly happy with the show’s position in the MCU.

Specifically, she says the events of AoS tend to be ignored in the movies. And she’s totally right.

One of my favorite aspects of season one of AoS was the fact that the show literally turns on a dime based on the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. From a storytelling perspective, the world of AoS had been set up and then a huge event changes everything and the characters are forced to deal with a massively different and more difficult world than the one they had been in before. That was satisfying on its own, but the clear connection to the movies made you feel like you were really partaking of a universe of stories, crossing media. You got to be part of this every week, not just when the movies come out.

(A smaller reference in Daredevil season 1 does the same, which worked really well grounding you in a place and time in the MCU, while managing expectations because the events of Daredevil are confined to Hell’s Kitchen, with the show’s stakes not having to do with anything outside of that area)

The appearance of a Helicarrier in Avengers: Age of Ultron courtesy of Phil Coulson, along with the allusions to the planning of that event in AoS, were a nice treat too.

Admittedly, I went to see Captain America: Civil War not just for itself (or for the introductions of Black Panther and the new Spider-Man), but for some reference or happenstance that would show up on the following Tuesday’s episode of AoS. Nothing much in the movie stood out, but I figured that the show would handle that, taking something we’d seen in the movie and making it bigger in hindsight, despite being pretty close to its season finale. Again, events in Winter Soldier had driven events on AoS, so there was precedent to justify my expectation.

All we ended up receiving was General Talbot using the Sokovia Accords as a justification to get Coulson to be more open about the operation at S.H.I.E.L.D. (possibly setting up Talbot to be the next Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. If you’ve seen the season finale and the epilogue/season 4 jump, then you’ve seen Coulson order someone to “call the Director” when Daisy escapes. So he’s not Director anymore. And, Daisy becomes an outlaw of some kind and Coulson and Mac are hunting her. That’s a spoiler, too.) Nothing much beyond that.

The problem is, given the magnitude of the story on AoS –and the events of Civil War notwithstanding– it’s hard to imagine nobody from the Avengers intervening. Anyone. Vision? Black Widow, maybe? Hive is about to disperse a gas that will turn a huge segment of the human population into inhuman drones and nobody thinks some help from the Avengers is even an idea that merits discussion?

Yes, Coulson says during the meeting with Talbot about Sokovia that the Avengers work in the light, but S.H.I.E.L.D. works in the shadows, but with a very real threat looming, wouldn’t they have perhaps wanted Iron Man to help blow the Terrigen-laced warhead out of the sky if it were launched? No Falcon?

(I was reading where someone mentioned that the Avengers haven’t been told on screen that Coulson is still alive. True. But if he was named the head of the ATCU, how could his being alive have been kept a secret? Especially from William Hurt’s Secretary of State Ross?)

Here is where Bennet’s comments ring true. The show is indeed about the members of S.H.I.E.L.D.–and they did manage to eliminate the Hive threat– but with the Avengers willing to go fight each other over Sokovia (or to protect Bucky), then wouldn’t it have made sense for at least someone to show up to protect the world as a whole?

Tony Stark can find Spider-Man swinging around New York on YouTube, but the fact that Hive buys a whole town goes completely unnoticed? A warhead is stolen and the government doesn’t at least ask the Avengers to help find it and sign the accords after? Talbot has to fight red tape to get help to go after Hive, but couldn’t he have just said “Hey, powered person with a warhead wants to cause massive damage,” wouldn’t the government have sprung to action, given how concerned they were about powered people?

I get that there are logistical issues and such that would need to be worked out, but there do seem to be holes in both when there isn’t more crossover, such as they did in season 1 of AoS. If they can tie-in movies they’re years from releasing, why can’t they tie-in more with the TV show they’ll be producing another season for, by fall?

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On a related, but different note, I really enjoyed the scene between Lincoln and Hive at the end of the AoS season finale.

Once the Quinjet makes it into space, Lincoln tells Hive he can sway him, but it doesn’t matter, since they’re going to die anyway. Hive, who had been using his evil pixie spore dust to compel people to connect with him informs Lincoln that they’ll have a connection. They will still share something that Hive hasn’t experienced before: death.

And unlike a million other villains in a million other stories, who choose to go down fighting until the very, bitter end, Hive decides to simply float with Lincoln and they have a conversation.

About Earth. About Hive’s reasons for what he’d done. Lincoln’s reasons for opposing him, despite not ultimately wanting to be an agent. And then they brace for the inevitable. Then they go. Compelling resolution for their characters.

And like all good resolutions, it was the start of a major change — this one in Daisy (which, I guess, triggers a huge change in Coulson) that will carry us into the beginning of season four.

Good stuff. I’m just glad I have baseball and all the episodes of Daredevil season 2 to keep the anxiousness at bay until fall.