Izel, the shrikes, and the mystery behind Sarge have dominated this season. Now, in a double length finale, all that gets wrapped up. Since it’s not the final season, you can assume going in that the world doesn’t end. There’s a lot to cover in “The Sign/New Life.” Since this is a season finale, there will be spoilers below. Be warned.
Last episode ended with Mack and Yo-Yo being held captive by Izel. Since she doesn’t have her monoliths, she decided to use Mack and Yo-Yo’s fears, interacting with the energies left over, to create new ones. That didn’t exactly go the way she expected, but what she did get was Flint, the kid who manifested earth-control powers in the future most of the team went to. Well, Flint, real or not, doesn’t like seeing his friends tied up, so he goes on the attack. This amuses Izel more than anything else, and gives her what she needs to make her own brand-new monoliths. This didn’t make sense to me entirely. They’ve already shown she doesn’t get someone’s memories when she possesses them, but somehow, she gets full control of and knowledge of how to use superhuman abilities?
Sarge and May discuss his feelings and memories as he hones the sword he’s had for so long. May makes another reference to Ghost Rider, which I would hope was going to lead somewhere if this wasn’t the season finale. Robbie is coming up a lot lately. Daisy briefs her team on what’s going on, and Deke surprises everyone with some of his production of new toys they need. May and Daisy continue their debate about Sarge vs. Coulson, and their emotions are running a lot closer to the surface for both of them. Izel finishes using Flint for her plan and drops him to the floor. Yo-Yo and Mack aren’t happy. Izel goes outside and starts up the next phase of her plan.
Piper, Sarge, Daisy, and May get to the temple, and find the Zephyr. It’s been sabotaged fairly thoroughly, and they leave Piper behind to fix it. As I recall, Davis was the pilot, so I don’t know why Piper got designated for this task. Piper makes a request of Sarge, who tells everyone something they don’t want to hear about their communications. Back at the Lighthouse, Simmons tries to get their satellites working again, while Fitz tries to figure out how to lure Izel out. Deke makes his own suggestion, hinting at something his grandparents won’t like.
Flint starts recovering, and trades quips about Izel’s plan with Mack and Yo-Yo. He manages to get them freed from their bindings, which is a start, but of limited use with someone who can possess her opponents. Flint has some questions and some understandable concerns, which no one there is qualified to answer. Izel returns, comments on human predictability, and shows that she’s really kind of sadistic.
The next scene also doesn’t work really well for me. Deke, who isn’t a full agent and certainly has limited clearance and influence, as we’ve seen several times, somehow or other has managed to get a whole lot of techs from his company into the Lighthouse, and they’re busily at work adapting some of SHIELD’s toys. Fitz and Deke starting arguing again, and Deke is actually the one being responsible this time around. Fitz, Simmons, and Deke start to work on improving something that might be useful. Deke has definitely adapted to 21st century corporate culture. Daisy, May, and Sarge talk about his sword, his memory and identity issues, and Daisy finds out she wasn’t as thorough as she had thought back at the tower the Shrikes made. Those three fight well together, and Sarge is sounding more like someone else as time passes. Fitz, Simmons, and Deke keep working, and arguing, and Simmons calls the men to heel with a great line.
Yo-Yo gets a bit pushy with Izel, who keeps being smug and superior. Mack himself points out that Izel is sounding a bit contradictory. Izel’s comments get backed up by some shifts in their surroundings. Fitz and Deke’s argument, despite Simmons’ best efforts, gets to the point where the man from a time that no longer exists makes a startling admission and then does something rash to make a point. Deke’s gamble pays off, and he meets up with Mack and company, as well as a very surprised Flint. More of the Shrike-zombies show up, and Deke is once again uncharacteristically brave. There are a few complications in Deke’s plan, and Fitz has to point out something fairly obvious.
May and Daisy continue to argue about Sarge’s origins and what he might end up being, while Sarge shows some of their opposition on his scanner. Not seeing a lot of options, Daisy takes off to provide a distraction, which you’d have to say an earthquake on two legs should be really good for. Deke comes up with an idea that’s behind the times, but manages to slip a camera into Izel’s big chamber, giving the command crew at the Lighthouse a good view of their imminent doom. Mack, Yo-Yo, and Flint make it to the Zephyr, surprising Piper with their new addition. Introductions are exchanged, and Piper gets a mission to take care of someone and get a minor character removed from the major action (sorry, Piper). Flint asks some important questions about tacos as he leaves.
Sarge and May sneak around, waiting for Daisy’s distraction to kick in. They start getting musical accompaniment in their scene, which makes Sarge look ill and May uneasy. Daisy comes through, and Sarge cautions May to not set herself up for a disappointment as they take advantage. Deke makes very small progress towards getting away from the craziness, and ends up being another bit of comic relief as he and Fitz argue more. Yo-Yo, Mack, and Daisy meet up at the Zephyr, which still needs some work. Izel makes a lot of progress towards her goal, and the Zephyr gets some unwelcome company. Again, they need some kind of sensors or alarms on that thing. How a high-tech spy ship doesn’t have those, I have no idea. Deke gets where he’s going, but finds more problems.
Izel’s moment of triumph gets interrupted when May and Sarge show up. Izel manages to look smug even when she gets slammed to the ground, which is impressive. The only time Izel’s taunting/flirting breaks is when Sarge pulls out that sword, which seems to really rattle her. Sarge’s next attack doesn’t go at all as planned, surprising him and May both. Yo-Yo, Mack, and Daisy stage a fighting retreating argument as Mack seems to feel quoting the Bible is somehow going to help matters. Maybe save that for a quieter time, or if Matt Murdock comes to visit? Sarge describes something odd he’s feeling, and May, of all people, gives a speech about love. Sarge’s reaction to it isn’t at all what she hoped for. While May undergoes a rapid relocation, far out in space Enoch meets up with Isiah, and gets disappointed about his own project. Fitz and Simmons stare at the results of Sarge’s latest move, then find out they have more immediate problems, which is right about where part one ends.
Daisy, Yo-Yo, and Mack take in something stunning, and switch from arguing with each other to blaming themselves. Yo-Yo starts making practical suggestions, which is desperately needed. They get a call from Deke, who is having problems of his own, and Mack comes up with a plan that Deke isn’t wild about. No one’s having a great day here, but I have to say, Deke is probably farthest out of his comfort zone and still doing his best, all the more impressive considering he’s the only one without SHIELD training. He can be annoying, but there’s a bit more to him than meets the eye.
The Lighthouse deals with some extremely unwelcome guests, as Fitz and Simmons take charge over there, since apparently there aren’t any combat agents around. Not slamming on FitzSimmons, but they are not tactical agents. Sarge and Izel talk about the newest change between them, and May deals with some unexpected developments. Mack tries to talk Deke through the newest plan, and the scrappy visitor from the future continues to not be able to catch a break. Daisy and Yo-Yo gear up for a big fight, so at least the two powered agents will be working together.
Fitz and Simmons come to scary realization, and start doing what they can to help the other agents around the new hurdle. Sarge and Izel have what sort of sounds like a lovers’ quarrel as they plot the end of the world. Deke comes up with a unique zombie fighting approach, and Yo-Yo and Daisy realize these zombies aren’t just the fast kind, but they’re too smart for comfort. Yo-Yo pulls off a really impressive trick, and then gets a major piece of bad luck. Deke finally makes it to the Zephyr, and Mack hears some heartbreaking news.
Fitz and Simmons realize they have to do something very much against their character to prevent the new threat from getting a significant advantage. May makes a few discoveries of her own, and then does what she does best. She tosses the leftovers into Izel’s room, thoroughly confusing the would-be conqueror. FitzSimmons get ready to do something very heroic, in a terminal kind of way, and then get some very unexpected help as someone else’s plan is revealed. They’re offered what seems like it should be a dramatic, important choice, but they’re both jaded at this point. Deke gets some on the job training in a task he’s not the best suited for, while Daisy and Yo-Yo have a serious talk.
Izel and Sarge argue more, and she decides to try and go take care of something herself. Eventually, we get a pretty epic Izel versus May fight with some nasty toys. Mack and company start closing in, and Deke actually gets a compliment and an assignment, while touching on something he’d really rather not share with the present company. The team arrives to try and deal with Sarge, but he’s embraced whatever he is now, and both Daisy’s powers and Mack’s special anti-Shrike bullets aren’t doing much. A problem from earlier catches up with Yo-Yo, taking her out of the fight and causing a big dilemma for everyone else. Izel realizes it’s a bad idea to fight May when you don’t have to, and flees.
Deke is doing his best on his task, but neither numbers nor time are on his side. Sarge has shifted to a boastful, sadistic personality, removing the doubts of the pro-Coulson contingent. Mack does an improbably good job fighting Sarge for a bit, then he and Daisy tag out so Mack can try and help Yo-Yo. Daisy makes her stand, and looks like she’s going to get stabbed in the back, when things change behind her, and we finally see an end to Izel’s story. This, in turn, shakes up the temple and has a ripple effect through the zombie/shrike forces. The whole “Kill the boss and the army falls apart” idea is getting a little overused, but I suppose it makes some kind of sense here.
With one crisis over, the team has a new one most of them don’t even know about. Simmons shows up, and briefs Mack and company on recent developments at the Lighthouse. Simmons isn’t quite acting like herself, and I have a suspicion about that. And, of course, once again Fitz isn’t with her. Because that subplot isn’t getting old at all. With some help from a new toy or two, Simmons brings the others to their new base of operations, where they’ll be fighting back from. It’s not at all what anyone was expecting, myself included, and leaves us on not exactly a cliffhanger, but a new major problem, and new problematic ally, when SHIELD comes back next year for its final season.
What I liked: I won’t be at all sorry to see Sarge and Izel go. I’m really done with both of them. It was a good episode for Deke, who managed to be effective while being comic relief, which isn’t always easy. I enjoyed Fitz and Simmons’ blasé reaction to “your lives will be forever changed.” They really have been there and done that. May kicked ass, like she usually does. They all worked together, even when they were in different places, which is exactly what a good team is supposed to do.
What I didn’t: Fitz and Simmons are separated again, hopefully briefly this time. I’m not sure about either the new base or the new big plot they’re setting up for. Mack lasted a lot longer than he should have against Sarge. As I said above, I’m getting a bit tired of “it all falls apart for the bad guys if we do X,” usually killing the boss.
It was a good finale. I’m glad they’re coming back, and saddened it’s for the last time. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5, and the same score for the season.