So with yet more Marvel Disney+ shows on the way soon, why not revisit an old classic of a Marvel show: Agents of Shield? While many people will remember the Defenders shows from Netflix, Agents of Shield has been slightly overshadowed but it was still pretty good. Rather than following the superheroes of the MCU, Agents of Shield instead focussed on Phil Coulson and his Agents of Shield in their attempts to keep the world safe. Oh, don’t worry there were plenty of superhero cameos from Ghost Rider to Lady Sif. Remember Lady Sif? Thor’s love interest from the first two Thor Films? Yeah me neither but anyway let’s get into some history about the show.
Agents of Shield first debuted in 2013 and ran for 7 seasons until 2020, during the first pandemic lockdown. Yep the show’s only been over for 2 years…. And don’t worry Marvel completionists the show is now on Disney+. So, as mentioned in the introduction, Agents of Shield follows Agent Phil Coulson and his group of agents as they attempt to defend the world from various classic Marvel villains like the Kree. Whilst the show is sort of connected to the MCU (at least the last time I paid attention to Kevin Feige’s canon), Agents of Shield often benefited from being slightly more detached from the main MCU canon. This allowed it to mess around with time loops and alternate timelines… oh and also set up Age of Ultron’s opening? Well I guess that still makes more sense than Multiverse of Madness. So without further ado, let’s get into the best episodes of Agents of Shield.
10: Rewind (S5, E5)
Kicking off the list of the best Agents of Shield episodes is Rewind? So what makes this season 5 episode so good? Well, basically it follows the one member of Shield who didn’t go forward into the future: Leo Fitz. So this episode allowed fans to finally see what he’d been up to for 4 years. What happens next is the return of fan favourite Lance Hunter breaking Leo out of prison. Oh, and there’s some really nice emotional development for both Leo and Lance in terms of their relationships with Jemma and Bobbi respectively. Overall, a very solid episode to start the list.
9: What If… (S4, E16)
No don’t worry this isn’t a crossover with Marvel’s What If? series on Disney+. Although probably expect that in 2029 during Marvel Phase 64…. Anyway, back to the Agents of Shield episode. This episode sees Daisy and Jemma entering the Framework in an attempt to save their friends. The Framework basically allows the show to explore an alternate reality in which Hydra was the winning organisation and not Shield. We also see what would have happened to the Agents of Shield, in particular Coulson, Daisy and Jemma. If that isn’t enough it also brings back fan favourite Grant Ward. So all in all, a pretty good showing.
8: What They Become (S2, E10)
Ever got the compulsion that you needed to carve alien writing? Well, that’s exactly what happens to Coulson’s mind in this episode. And it’s revealed that the writing is Kree and it leads to an underground city on Earth. Yeah, Agents of Shield definitely gets weird at points. But what really makes this episode stand out is the fact it paves the way for the Inhumans introduction into the show. And yes, Black Bolt from Multiverse of Madness is the Inhumans leader. Also, there’s two massive transformations which involve Skye (Daisy) and the villain Raina. Overall, a fairly significant episode.
7: The End (S5, E22)
Now if this episode’s title seems very much like a finale… it’s because it was going to be the finale to the show. That’s until ABC renewed it for another 2 seasons but that’s besides the point as this episode is still very good. What makes it so good? Well Coulson finally decides to leave Shield due to complications regarding his death in Avengers Assemble. Long story short, Coulson doesn’t take the super serum which allows Daisy to take it. This somehow allows her to be able to break the planet apart which she is trying to save from Graviton. We also see multiple Fitz’s, broken time loops and a lot of emotional moments from the Agents.
6: Turn, Turn, Turn (S1, E17)
Now remember when I said Agents of Shield was sort of connected to the MCU? Well this episode basically sets up the twist from The Winter Soldier, the idea that Hydra was never really defeated and was growing inside Shield the whole time. Now while this raises a whole bunch of questions about the logic, you can’t deny that the twist is a very good one. And if the interconnectivity of this episode isn’t enough for you, then how about the twist involving Agents Garrett and Ward? Oh and we also find out who killed Victoria Hand…
5: 4,722 Hours (S3, E5)
At the halfway point of the best Agents of Shield episodes is 4,722 Hours. So what makes this episode so good? Well for starters, it set a record for Jemma Simon’s who with this episode became the only person to appear in every episode up to this point. It also sees her fall through a liquified monolith and end up on the same planet as the first Inhuman: Hive. This leads to a wonderfully emotional episode where Jemma bonds with the only other human on the planet…. only to have to leave them behind when Fitz finds a way to rescue her. If you ever needed any proof that the show improves post season 1, then this episode is proof enough.
4: SOS Part 2 (S2, E22)
So why does SOS Part 2 make the list instead of the first part? Well, it manages to further Daisy’s discovery of her Inhuman heritage and her relationship with her parents. Obviously, this leads to Daisy realising her mother was leading her down a path of destruction. What all this builds to is a fantastic moment involving Daisy and her parents in the midst of a heated battle between Shield and Jiaying’s Inhuman followers. On top of all this, we see Ward kidnapping Bobbi which only adds further emotional weight to this episode. This also leads into a more developed relationship with Hunter for the third season.
3: What We’re Fighting For (S7, E13)
What makes a really good series finale? Well, if the show can send the characters off in a way which satisfies most of the fans. And this episode mostly manages to achieve that which goes some way to explain what makes it good? As hinted at, all the characters’ arcs reach satisfying conclusions. What are some of these conclusions? Well, Daisy decides to help out her sister in space and Fitz and Simmons finally decide to step away and start a family. While none of the conclusions work within the MCU, they didn’t have to make this episode a fitting series finale.
2: Self Control (S4, E15)
Narrowly missing out on the top spot is Self Control. So why is this episode so high up the ranking? Well for starters, it furthers the idea of Life Model Decays (LMDs). Basically, robot-like clones of the agents. What follows is a pretty psychological episode which finally sees Daisy and Jemma cross paths for the first time. We also get an emotionally jarring moment for Jemma and Fitz as they debate which one of them is the LMD…. only for Fitz to be the LMD who then stabs her with a screwdriver. We do also see Daisy use her quake abilities to ensure she and Jemma aren’t LMDs. So overall a very good episode.
1: As I’ve Always Been (S7, E9)
And the best episode of Agents of Shield isn’t the finale instead it’s As I’ve Always Been. Now why is this episode the best? Simply put the work that Elisabeth Henstridge puts into the episode. Not only is this her directorial debut for the show but she’s also still heavily featured as Jemma. Now the main crux of this episode involves Daisy attempting to get information from Jemma’s head while the team is in another time loop. Whilst Daisy had to see her friends die, she got to start over every time. But don’t worry, not only did Daisy finally get a love interest but there’s plenty of humour scattered in the episode. Overall, a very easy choice for the best Agents of Shield episode.
What are your favourite Agents of Shield episodes? Let me know in the comments below!