For my favorite episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, I have to go back to the one that aired originally on May 16th, 2017. A lot of fans are loving the start of the fifth season and the new dynamic of the team being 74 years in the future on a broke piece of the destroyed Earth. It's like the series is suddenly brand new. But there was something extra special about season four with the introduction of Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) as the Ghost Rider, the first LMD in Aida (Mallory Jansen) and of course the artificial world of the Framework. The season lead up to being able to bring back fan favorite characters like Tripp (B.J. Britt) and Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). And all of it came to a head in the season finale – World's End.
This was the payoff for the whole season. It started with the Ghost Rider story and led into the Darkhold and LMD's replacing agents until finally everyone was trapped in another world where their lives were better by one thing each. Things were pretty bleak going into the episode. The Framework was collapsing, Aida had created a living body in the real world and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) was in love with her yet also in love with Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge). Mac (Henry Simmons) wouldn't leave the artificial world because it would mean losing his daughter again and Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) went in to get him. Even General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) is killed, basically leaving the team in serious trouble. The only thing going for them is that Ghost Rider suddenly reappears… and that's the break the team needs.
This is a great episode for Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). After seeing that the change he got in the Framework was to never go to work for SHIELD, it was good to see him back in charge and being the Agent Coulson that MCU fans fell in love with. He comes up with an absolutely insane plan to take on Aida that involves him taking the Spirit of Vengeance. Yup, Coulson became Ghost Rider… or Ghost Agent… and that was worth every moment of the build up. As awesome as that was, the episode also pulled on out heart strings when Mac finally has to leave the Framework and lose his daughter Hope again. And then to see Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) sitting on the sands, waiting to no longer exist. Radcliffe was an interesting character that you never knew which side he would be on, but he was always fun to watch.
And then, just when you think they'll have some down time, we see them be abducted and have to wait almost 7 months to find out by whom. That's why the episode directed by Billy Gierhart and written by Jeffrey Bell was the best of 2017.