It’s a strange feeling, mourning the end of a show that has — at the time I write this — a brand new episode premiering tomorrow night.
It’s SDCC 2019 week, and the news just broke that Marvel’s flagship television series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., will be ending after it’s seventh season. The news, officially, came from Deadline, but to me it came through a screen grab off Facebook from my Mom.
It was a gut-punch, reading the announcement I’d been irrationally fearing since it was revealed that the show’s Comic Con panel would be held at Hall H (the biggest hall at the convention center). I was flashing back to the days when Teen Wolf was announced to end after their sixth season, alarms bells screeching “Danger Will Robinson” at the top of their lungs.
But with the gut-punch, and the following heartbreak, there wasn’t much shock either. It’s no secret that Agents‘ fifth series was almost it’s last, with the entirety of the cast and crew believing the season finale was the end as they filmed. A sixth season was a miracle, and then ABC announced it had also been renewed for a seventh long before season six even started airing. A part of me knew there was a chance this would be it, that after such a near miss, the writers would opt to close this book on their own terms.
I’m incredibly grateful that they have, that they’ve been allowed to end the story they started themselves, the way they want. A part of me is terrified by how they might end it, but as a writer myself, I mostly feel relieved that Maurissa Tanchaeron and Jed Whedon and all the other writers will get to write the ending for the beautiful, complex characters they’ve molded, that the cast has breathed life into with their incredible performances.
For the past six years, Agents has been my thing. It’s hard to define what the show means to me. It’s not simply an obsession, or a fandom, it’s more than that (insane as that might sound). It was the first show that I felt like was mine alone, in a selfish way. For a long time, I was the only person in my family who watched it. And like Doctor Who and Star Wars before it, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has shaped me and impacted my life in ways that I can barely begin to untangle.
Its characters have inspired me, called me out with my similarities to them. The show has strengthened my friendships, my passion for its female characters lead me to apply and join an online webzine, and writing fanfiction for the show for the past six years had shaped and honed my writing.
Each week, I settle in for a new episode and I actually get shaky with excitement, waiting to see what will happen. I have sobbed and laughed and screamed over the years, the characters feeling more alive and real to me than any other show on television. I felt their pain, their joy, their betrayals. I’ve mourned the characters that find untimely ends, and said farewell to the incredibly talented actors who played them.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is also one of the first shows I’ve been aware of its cast. I usually don’t get involved with watching interviews or convention panels for the sake of second hand embarrassment, but the Agents cast has a magical way of making my day a little brighter if I watch any of their panels. No matter how rotton life seems, their panel shenanigans never fail to make me laugh (“babes I’ve found the Churros” is now a staple between me and my best friend). I can’t say I’ve ever been lucky enough to meet any of them (yet), but I can say their likes and retweets of my Agents articles have brought me immense joy and gratefulness.
That’s the thing I feel the most right now: grateful. Grateful to have had a show to lean on like Agents — where the men can be dorks and empathetic and soft, and where the the women are rarely unnecessarily sexualized, and are three dimensional, complex, flawed individuals who are empowered.
I’m grateful to have had Coulson bring together not just the family on the show, but the fandom was well, for reminding us to never give up. I’m thankful for May, who taught us even after the worst traumatic experiences, you can still heal. For Daisy, who finds strength within and supports her friends; for Jemma, who constantly proves that kin is not weakness. For Fitz, who proves it is still possible to have a soft heart in a dark world. For Mack, who struggles but never lets go of hope; and for Elena, who reminds Mack and the audience time and again, you have to have a little faith.
The messages Agents have brought to the table have not always been the most cheery, because the world is dark and there will always be another battle to fight — weather it be Hydra, or the struggle we all have inside — but this season has been all about second chances. How growth and change are always possible, and that it isn’t a pointless task you’ll fail at.
There is so much I want to say, and more, about how proud I am as a fan to have watched this show grow, how each year it’s come out stronger. Each season is brand new and brilliant, and I always find myself being oddly proud of how far every character has come since their first appearance.
Way back in 2014, Jemma Simmons asked Bobbi Morse if the ride was worth it. They might have been talking about their romantic relationships, but here in 2019 as I await for the final chapters of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to air, I have an answer for both of them: the ride was worth it, and I’m beyond grateful to have been on it from start to finish.