The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comes to a close, shortly after an announcement that season two will be a “split season” in a time slot one hour later, and that the period series Agent Carter will also play in that time slot instead of reruns.

Cast and Crew Information

Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
Brett Dalton as Grant Ward
Chloe Bennet as Skye
Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
BJ Britt as Agent Triplett
Bill Paxton as John Garrett
J. August Richards as Deathlok / Mike Peterson
David Conrad as Ian Quinn
Ruth Negga as Raina
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Written by Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon
Directed by David Straiton

Premise

The season comes to a head, wrapping up most existing plot threads and starting new ones.

High Point

“I hear you are involved in a dispute I probably want to weigh in on.”

Low Point

There seem to have been a lot of codas to this one. Not quite up to “Return of the King” levels, and they all have clear purpose, but there are a lot of them.

The Review

The episodes starts with a wrap up of the season to date, which doesn’t feel terribly original. It picks up a lot as it establishes the direction of the next season, though. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were plentiful and effective. They were clearly planned in conjunction with the editing of the episode, particularly during the vehicle rampage, but that would be transparent if I hadn’t been looking specifically at production elements for the review. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story effectively wraps up the season, giving enough closure to feel satisfied and enough new content to keep us looking forward to the second season this fall. The way these last seven episodes played out, I expect solid DVD/Blu-Ray sales with an early release and a ratings spike for season two. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting was great. There are some very emotional moments for a cast that has a handle on who these characters are. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production is excellent once more. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is great. There were six or seven serious contenders for the “High Point,” which is always a good thing. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this was a strong way to end the season. If they could have had all of those codas come through a little bit quicker, it would have helped. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Beginning of the End receives 38 out of 42.