ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hasn't always been perfect. But when it's been good, it's been great. And right now the show is closing out its fourth season with one of the best story arcs the series has ever done.
...But that doesn't mean Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) and the rest of the crew aren't about to get chopped faster than Mack (Henry Simmons) wielding a shotgun axe. The show has never posted ratings that match its Marvel movie pedigree. And the first half of this season — which featured a Nicolas Cage-less Ghost Rider — was, shall we say, not great from a viewing numbers perspective.
The second half of Season 4 has bounced back like Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), though, and shown solid viewership on par with previous seasons. Plus there's the ever-present Marvel connection: Disney owns both the superhero factory and the channel S.H.I.E.L.D. is broadcast on. But is that enough for ABC to take one more trip in the quinjet? Let's break down five reasons we need another season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
1. It's like a Marvel movie every week!
That was the pitch when the show started, and that's pretty much what we've gotten over the past four years. Sure, the Avengers cameos have been (mostly) off-screen, and the movie tie-ins thematic. But Coulson's commandos have ably channeled the optimism and heroics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) on a near weekly basis. And unlike the movies, you don't have to wait months between "episodes" — other than the summer hiatus, of course.
2. The action is awesome.
One aspect of S.H.I.E.L.D. that's been consistent since the pilot? The action is always top notch. Sure, Coulson knows how to throw a punch (whether it's with a robotic hand, or not). But agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) regularly gets to do some of the best stunts on television. Add in Daisy's earth-shattering Quake powers, and a healthy dose of Marvel villains, and you've got at least one stand-out sequence a week that rivals most big-budget movies.
3. The stories are creative and thrilling.
YMMV depending on the storyline (Season 3's Hive arc was a mixed bag). But as mentioned above, when S.H.I.E.L.D. is rolling, it's unlike anything on television. Last year's storyline featuring Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) trapped on an alien planet produced one of the best episodes of TV all year. Season 2's Inhumans arc changed the course of the show, and helped bring now Academy Award nominee Ruth Negga's story to a tragic end.
And the current arc, featuring the agents trapped in an evil computer program called the Framework (an alternate reality controlled by the villainous HYDRA), has even managed to redeem the otherwise irredeemable Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). The show is always best when it's mixing spy tricks with superpowers and putting the team through the ringer. The last few episodes have had this mix in spades. We need more.
4. FitzSimmons is finally together!!!
Guys. GUYS. You can't cancel the show when the original OTP has hooked up! Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons have been broken apart every time they've almost gotten together, in true Whedon family fashion. And even though Fitz is currently a villainous mastermind in the Framework, we've got a pretty good guess he'll be back to normal once they leave their computerized world. FitzSimmons is endgame, so don't end the game with two of the pieces broken.
5. We need a proper goodbye.
Though this last arc has managed to bring things full circle by pitting S.H.I.E.L.D. against HYDRA, and even brought back some familiar faces (we didn't realize how much we missed B.J. Britt's Agent Triplett!), this isn't the goodbye the characters need. We need to see what happens with Daisy, and May, and Mack...
But more than any of them, Coulson needs a proper send-off next season (or beyond). He's been the backbone of the entire MCU since 2008 — not just on S.H.I.E.L.D., but in the movies as well. Before we send him on a permanent vacation to Tahiti, Coulson — and Gregg — deserves a chance at the epic goodbye he's earned. And hey, maybe before the end we can get one big Marvel movie character cameo, as a proper tribute? Do it for Coulson.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on ABC.