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How Agents of SHIELD Ended Up Being Some of 2020’s Best TV

2020 is coming to an end this week (praise Jeff Ward’s red leather pants), which means you’re probably seeing a bunch of “Best of the Year” lists floating around the Internet. While 2020 was quite different from past years due to so many films getting pushed back, fans were still treated to a whole lot of excellent television. However, we are seeing an egregious lack of love for Agents of SHIELD’s seventh and final season in the 2020 round-ups. The Marvel show’s final 13 episodes aired on ABC this summer and Season 7 wasn’t just one of the show’s best, but also one of the most engaging and exciting things to come out of 2020. Final seasons are hard to get right, so Agents of SHIELD deserves all the praise for going out with a bang.

Agents of SHIELD fans waited an entire year to get back to the team. They were last seen at the end of Season 6, landing in the 1930s in the Zephyr, which was converted into a time machine. While time travel certainly isn’t a new concept for sci-fi and comic book stories, Agents of SHIELD managed to keep it fresh. Throughout the season, the team continued to travel through the 1950s, 1970s, and 1980s in order to stop the Chronicoms from taking over Earth. They battled Hydra, killer robots, and time itself throughout the final season’s run, and none of the episodes felt like anything we’d seen before.

The time travel works so well on Agents of SHIELD because they’re not focusing much on real history (although, there are many delightful references) but rather the history of SHIELD. In fact, they realize that in order to stop the Chronicoms, they must allow Hydra to survive, counteracting so much of the good they did in their own timeline. That’s right, Avengers: Endgame rules were applied (further proving Agents of SHIELD is canon)! That means all of the team’s time travel shenanigans created a brand new timeline, allowing everyone but Deke to eventually return home where they belonged. Don’t worry about Deke, though. Jeff Ward’s character got a delightful ending: he’s now the head of SHIELD and a rock star living in an alternate version of the 1980s.

Speaking of Deke and the ’80s, Agents of SHIELD’s seventh season had many top-notch episodes, but only two of them made our list of “Agents of SHIELD’s 10 Best Episodes.” First was “The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D.” The series decided to go truly bonkers despite only having a handful of episodes left, and we are forever grateful.

After getting stranded in the ’80s, Mack (Henry Simmons) deals with the aftermath of losing his parents while Deke goes on to form his own band, The Deke Squad. Not only does this episode include an emotional performance from Simmons, but it also features the show’s first and only musical number; Deke singing “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” On top of that unforgettable scene, the whole episode is an homage to the 1986 horror camp classic, Chopping Mall. “The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D” was catered to those of us who love having a fun time.

The other standout episode of the season was “As I Have Always Been,” which marked Elizabeth Henstridge’s (Jemma Simmons) directorial debut. When Daisy (Chloe Bennet) wakes up in a time loop, she continues to die over and over again trying to figure out how to stop the loop and save the team. Not only was this an epically directed episode, but it featured the final tragic death of the series. Fans said goodbye to Enoch (Joel Stoffer) in what was one of the most powerful scenes in the entire show…

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