Our Top Ten Episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
With Season 3 of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD coming to Netflix next month, it's time to get ready to marathon all of our favorite episodes. Overall, the show had a strong third season with some outstanding moments and heaps of well-deserved character development. Daisy took up the mantle of Quake, Fitz and Simmons became a couple (finally!), and Simmons channeled her inner Mark Watney in what was probably the best episode of the show so far.
You can use this as a guide for exactly which episodes you'll want to re-watch (but honestly, you'll probably just want to watch the whole thing). Here are our picks for the top 10 episodes of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD to date.
1x17 – Turn, Turn, Turn
This is the episode that proved the show could tie in to the greater MCU and while still standing on its own. Taking place just after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, "Turn, Turn, Turn" was all about Hydra, betrayal, and all the moral qualms that come with the territory. The first hints that Ward was a traitor made for a compelling plotline that would last far longer than anyone probably expected. Ward was likable enough as an Agent of SHIELD, but he really found his niche as a villain.
1x20 – Nothing Personal
The big Hydra reveal from Winter Soldier finally paid off as the team finds out that Ward has been a sad little pawn of Hydra all along. Between the team finding out about Ward's betrayal, the guest appearance of Agent Hill, and Coulson and Skye escaping Deathlok by plummeting through the air in Lola, this episode had to make the list.
1x22: Beginning of the End
Rather than neatly tying up the loose ends of the first season, "Beginning of the End" opted for a game-changing season finale that would build on the existing plotlines. This turned out to be a fantastic choice for Season 2, especially for the character development of Fitz and Simmons. After Ward tossed our dynamic duo to the bottom of the ocean the week before, their attempt to escape their pod goes south, kick-starting one of the most heartbreaking plotlines in the second season. I'm not usually a fan of watching my favorite characters suffer, but the aftermath of that event gave Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge the chance to shine in their roles.
2x10 – What They Become
This midseason finale changed the entire course of the show by introducing the Inhumans. This introduced an entire realm of possibilities now that superpowers were brought into the mix. Finding out that Skye was Inhuman and ending with the devastating loss of Agent Triplett completely changed what we could expect from the show. "What They Become" let the show begin to develop the slightly darker tone that has been working so well for it since. Between the addition of the Inhumans and newfound realization that no one was safe, the episode set the stage for a fantastic second half of season two.
2x17 – Melinda
Agent May has been a fan favorite since day one, and our first glimpse into her mysterious past was everything it should have been. "Melinda" proved that the show is at its best when it delves into character-driven storytelling and the morally grey areas of a tragic scenario. We finally learn why Agent May is nicknamed the Calvary—and why she hates to be reminded of that. Through a series of flashbacks, the episode showcases a powerful and moving performance by Ming-Na Wen that's as unforgettable as it is heartbreaking.
It's not cheating if one of the top 10 episodes is a two-parter, especially when it's as fantastic as "S.O.S." This two-part season finale was packed full of intense moments and resolved most of the plotlines introduced over the course of the season. Daisy's mother, Jiaying, is killed by her father - but only because Jiaying was attempting to strangle Daisy to death. If that wasn't enough, Bobbi was tortured by Ward in a scene that still makes me cringe thinking about it, Coulson loses a hand, and Simmons is sucked into an alien otherworld. So much happened in this finale that a marathon of the best episodes would be woefully incomplete without it.
3x01 – Laws of Nature
This episode was the best Agents of SHIELD season premiere yet, with the show jumping right into Daisy's formation of the Secret Warriors. Seeing Daisy step up to the plate and use her newfound powers to protect others was a perfect example of what SHIELD stands for, and it was a much-needed reminder after the events of the last season. The team was also back together stronger than ever for the first time since Ward's betrayal. With SHIELD now operating more in the shadows than ever, the introduction of Rosalind Price and the ATCU was the perfect addition. The banter between Price and Coulson is one of the things I miss most about the first half of season 3.
3x05 – 4,722 Hours
This unique episode is my favorite episode of the show, and it's definitely racked up the most re-watches so far. That being said, it's only as good as it is because of the outstanding character development Simmons has shown over the course of the past three seasons; and, of course, because of Elizabeth Henstridge's flawless performance as Survivalist Simmons. In a single episode, the show managed to introduce us to an entirely new setting and bring in an endearing new character without missing a step. Seeing Simmons stranded on an alien planet with nothing but her wits to survive made for an unexpected twist (and a nearly perfect episode) that was a testament to how much she's grown since the pilot.
3x10 – Maveth
If you're seeing a running theme on this list, it's that the mid-season finale episodes are generally just as ambitious as the season finale events, and "Maveth" was no exception. The episode was so packed full of exciting moments, visually stunning scenes, and high-stakes character development that it pretty much blew our minds. We got to see our first informal glimpse of the Secret Warriors in action and the escape of Lash, setting up his involvement in the second half of the season. Meanwhile, back in the alien otherworld, Coulson used his robotic arm to slowly crush Ward to death, unknowingly providing a vessel for Hive to hitch a ride back to Earth in. Despite the dark tone of the episode, the writers managed to weave in some witty one-liners, keeping up the balance between comedy and tragedy that we've come to expect from the show.
3x22 – Ascension
The season three finale was proof that the show's finale episodes always manage to be over-the-top action-packed events that take the show up another level. With a four episode-long build-up of Hive's plans of world domination and the identity of the Fallen Agent, the finale had a lot riding on it, but it more than managed to live up to the hype. The time-jump was an amazing way to set up the next season and wrap up the season three plotlines without overstuffing the episode. The episode also saw us say goodbye to not one, but two major characters. The emotional impact of the Fallen Agent was played out beautifully, the humor was on point, and the set-up for season four has us excited to come back next fall.