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The ending of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. explained

We've been through a lot with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since the Marvel Cinematic Universe spin-off series premiered back in 2013. Over the course of seven seasons, we witnessed compelling new characters get introduced into the world of Marvel, got some very satisfying tie-ins to the big-screen MCU, and literally traveled through space and time. Now, after 136 episodes, ABC has brought the show to an end.

The finale saw the agents engaging the Chronicom in one final struggle. In the end, they defeat the ancient robots using a two-part plan: teach them empathy so they will no longer be on the war path against humans, and destroy their ship for good measure. There are a few hiccups along the way, including Deke (Jeff Ward) having to stay behind in the alternate 1980s timeline and Daisy (Chloe Bennet) being shot into space (nothing a little healing energy can't fix). But all in all, it's one of the better outcomes that can be expected from a battle against eldritch synthetic superbeings.

Once the action was over, we also zapped a year into the future where we got to see a lovely Zoom meeting — err, hologram happy hour — in which we learned what happened to everyone in the aftermath of their final mission together. Let's dive in and see where our heroes wound up at the end of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents had happy endings

In addition to their mission being a success, we also see that the agents pretty much living happily ever after when we catch up with them a year later. In a post-Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones world, happy endings might seem a little trite, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-showrunner Jeffrey Bell said it was all to plan. "There was a lot of joy and gratitude for what we'd experienced, but we could all feel the clock ticking down to the fact that it was ending, so that has its own gravitas," he told Collider. "We didn't need to lean into it and kill characters to make that even worse."

On that note, in the final moments, we see that there are several team romances still going strong. Mack (Henry Simmons) and Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) are still working for S.H.I.E.L.D., with Mack in a leadership role and Yo-Yo commanding her own team. Co-showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen confirmed the seriousness of their coupledom in another Collider interview, explaining, "[I]t's clear that Mack and Yo-Yo are still together in a relationship and working with one another and proud of one another. It all made sense."

Meanwhile, our other happy couple is "Fitzsimmons" (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge). It was a rockier road to the happy ending for them, as Fitz spent quite a bit of time being kidnapped, suspended in cryosleep, lost in an alternate timeline... you know, the usual stuff. But we see when he and Simmons log out of the hologram bar that they are retired and enjoying a picnic at the park with their baby.

May is teaching the next generation of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents

Listen, this is us editorializing, but maybe the single saddest part of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finale is that we'll no longer get to see Ming-Na Wen regularly being a boss as Melinda May. Throughout all seven seasons, May's fierce yet stabilizing presence on the show felt like the perfect anchor for all the craziness that swirled through multiple timelines and character deaths and resurrections.

In the flash-forward, we see that May has taken up duties as a teacher at the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy. While this isn't as exciting as her field work, it's a perfect fit for May, who often mentored and guided the other agents. As Tancharoen put it to Collider, "We also thought that was the perfect end, for her to go on and be the teacher that she basically has always been."

It's also very fitting that the academy in question is named after none other than her longtime co-worker, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg).

Coulson reunites with Lola

Out of all the agents, none have had as wild a ride as Coulson. He was our introduction to the world of S.H.I.E.L.D., and throughout his run across both the big screen and the small, he was killed, brought back to life, had a hand axed off, killed again, and then reborn as an android. We're not sure what the hazard pay at S.H.I.E.L.D. is like, but we're hoping Coulson has been in touch with HR.

Considering his history, it's a relief to see that he's on a long vacation in the flashforward. Even better than that, we see him getting into an updated version of Lola, his tricked out vintage Corvette. Coulson climbing into the car is a direct callback to the show's very first episode, which ended with a similar scene. It's the perfect Easter egg — rewarding to fans who have been watching since the beginning, but not so obtrusive that it sticks out like a sore thumb.

For Gregg, who has been a fixture of the larger Marvel universe since he first appeared as Coulson in 2008's Iron Man, the finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is just one wrap-up of many. But the actor told Entertainment Weekly, "Of all of them, even to the ones within this show, the end of the seven years — all the years and the hours, and the stunts, and the rehearsals, and the ADR, and the driving, and sorting out problems — it just felt like a deeper, kind of a fuller farewell to a lot of people that spent a lot of time working really hard to make something good."

Daisy blasts off to parts unknown, sparking spin-off speculation

That brings us to Daisy, who has perhaps the most thrilling ending of them all. When she exits the hologram group chat, we see that she is aboard Zephyr 3 as part of her new mission exploring the far reaches of space. This ending sparked some serious speculation among fans online about the possibility of an Agents of S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) spin-off.

As Megan Damore at CBR noted, fans have been speculating about a possible S.W.O.R.D. spinoff since the show first went to space in season 5. While Daisy's new gig as an intergalactic explorer does seem in line with the possibility of a space-set spin-off, the finale stopped short of teeing one up.

That being said, Jeffrey Bell did cite Daisy as a character who has not only seen tremendous growth but has more to do. He told Collider, "Just in the seven years, she's gone from that outsider to someone who's part of a team to a leader of a team, and now she's out in space. She's still a very young person, and I could see her growing and developing into even more of a leader, and changing and really finding herself."

Regardless if we get a Daisy-centric Agents of S.W.O.R.D. — or, heck, a Deke-led '80s spinoff — we'll always have the seven thrilling seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its satisfying conclusion.