With Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD done, we look back on all seven seasons of the show and pick the best episodes of the series to revisit.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD ran for seven seasons and gave us over a hundred episodes of a Marvel-based TV show. Which is probably more than any of us expected to get when this show started, if we’re honest.
Of course, the series had its ups and downs throughout, shuffled from day to day and time slot to time slot, nearly canceled time and time again. And yet, it still managed to give us some truly moving, heartfelt, action-packed, incredible episodes.
Without further ado, here are our picks for the eight best episodes of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. We’ve done them in season order because it’s too hard to give them a ranking. Enjoy!
“Turn, Turn, Turn” – Season 1, Episode 17
You’d be hard-pressed to find a “best episodes” list that doesn’t include the hour where everything started to make sense. Premiering the week after Captain America: The Winter Soldier hit theaters, fans tuned in to figure out how the fall of SHIELD would tie into the show completely based around the agency.
And they weren’t disappointed.
This episode changed the status quo. John Garrett was revealed to be the Clairvoyant and Hydra. And in the last few seconds of the episode, we see Grant Ward’s true colors as he kills Victoria Hand: He’s Hydra, too.
At that point in the series, Ward was one of the more hated characters on the show, a stand-in, blank-slate love interest in a dumb love triangle I had completely forgotten about until re-watching this episode. Now his blank-slateness made sense and we got to see the darker, more cunning side of Ward, playing the long game among our SHIELD team.
“What They Become” – Season 2, Episode 10
Remember when Inhumans were cool and not… well, Marvel’s Inhumans? This was the opening of a brand new door for Agents of SHIELD.
“What They Become” taught us what the Obelisk really was: a housing for Terrigen crystals. It gave us our very first look into Terrigenesis and a glimpse into Skye’s new future as Quake. And who can forget Raina and her charismatic self? She was such a good big bad in season two.
We also lost Antoine Triplett in this episode, who was one of the better additions to the cast. That part’s heartbreaking, but it helped solidify the emotional cost.
Needless to say, “What They Become” was a great pivotal turning point in this second season.
“4,722 Hours” – Season 3, Episode 5
Jemma Simmons spent six months of her life trapped on an alien planet, Maveth. She listens to her SHIELD training and stays put for an extraction team to come and rescue her.
But… when the sun never rises and she notices the constellations aren’t the same, she starts to wonder how far away she truly is. She befriends a man named Will Daniels, who has survived there since 2001.
The emotional and mental stakes of this episode keep you on the edge of your seat even re-watching it. Simmons carries plenty of the emotional weight of this show during its run; this was the first time we really got to see it as the main focus of an episode. And it wouldn’t be the last time, either.
“Parting Shot” – Season 3, Episode 13
This episode is really good because we get a solid amount of banter between Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter. And it was supposed to be the perfect way to send them off to their new home on Marvel’s Most Wanted.
What makes this one of the great episodes is its last few minutes, which gives the pair a proper sendoff. A spy’s goodbye, as they called it. It’s an emotional thing, watching the members of the SHIELD team send them shots and not able to actually say goodbye.
Adrienne Palicki and Nick Blood were two more great additions to the show. Hunter became the perfect comic relief; Bobbi’s Mockingbird was a badass on the same level as Agent May. It’s just a shame that ABC canned Marvel’s Most Wanted before it even began.
“What If…” – Season 4, Episode 16
So much of season 4 was so excellent that it was hard to pick just one episode to highlight. But the very first one completely within the Framework, which flipped the entire show on its head.
In the best possible way ever.
Just the reveal at the beginning, of Grant Ward and Daisy/Skye still being a thing, still working for Hydra. Seeing Ward after everything he put the team through in the first few seasons (and then as Hive) alive, happy, and healthy stung.
And then finding out he’s actually an undercover SHIELD agent makes it hurt even more. Because it’s the Grant Ward we should have gotten in the real Agents of SHIELD, the one not corrupted by Garrett.
“Rewind” – Season 5, Episode 5
Welcome back, Lance Hunter! Even if it’s only for a one-off episode.
The first few episodes of season five were Fitz-less and fans wondered just where the heck Fitz was in the past and if he’d ever make it to the future. Cue in a fun flashback episode centered around his interrogation by the US Armed Forces and trying to figure out where the heck the rest of the team went.
Just as Fitz is about to be thrown into a cell to rot away until his death, Lance Hunter shows up as his “attorney” to save the day.
And by “save the day,” I mean break Fitz out of the prison, find Enoch and the Seer, and figure out the best way to shoot him to the future and meet up with the team.
“Inescapable” – Season 6, Episode 6
FitzSimmons became the emotional heart of this series very early on. It was never more prevalent than in season six’s “Inescapable.”
Atarah puts FitzSimmons in the cerebral fusion machine and they get to dig through their thoughts and memories… and encounter the darker sides of each other. Which includes Fitz’s alter-ego of The Doctor from the Framework.
Honestly, this episode gets incredibly dark, but it makes these two deal with the multitude of demons they’ve been harboring for so long. Because FitzSimmons has been through the ringer time and time again. This episode helped them bring plenty to light.
“As I Have Always Been” – Season 7, Episode 9
This season’s time loop episode definitely contends for best episode of the series, if we had to rank it. Watching Daisy and Coulson banter back and forth while trying to figure out how to fix the time drive in the limited time they have during each loop.
It’s also a credit to Agents of SHIELD that at this point, they don’t need to do any filler explanations. They just jump right into it and we follow right along. The team understands each other and we aren’t forced to deal with multiple time loops of people doubting Daisy and Coulson.
Plus we got our first kiss between Daisy and Sousa!
In the end, it takes the sacrifice of Enoch to save the team from the malfunctioning jump drive, and his final speech fits right in with the best of the best on the series.
Honestly, Agents of SHIELD gave us so many good episodes that it’s difficult to keep this list to a small number. From excellent fight scenes to Inhuman powers, plenty of episodes gave us highlight-reel moments.
Did your favorite episode of Agents of SHIELD make it on our list? Let us know in the comments!