S.H.I.E.L.D. producer teases a big 'payoff' for the season finale

With just four episodes left, how will Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wrap up its first season?

The Marvel series has really picked up the pace in the last couple of weeks, shaking the titular agency to its core, changing allegiances and even killing off characters. When we last left Coulson and his team, they were tucked away in the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility Providence under the care Agent Eric Koenig (Patton Oswalt), who revealed to Coulson the deeply buried secret that S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury is still alive. The team had a new base of operations, a new collection of resources and a new ally in Koenig, but things got complicated when Agent Ward -- who's still an unknown Hydra agent working for the Clairvoyant/Agent Garrett (Bill Paxton) -- showed up at the base.

So, heading into tonight's episode, "The Only Light in the Darkness," the Clairvoyant's got an agent inside Coulson's new base, everyone (especially Skye) still seems to trust Ward, and Coulson's got the added complication of trying to protect Audrey (guest star Amy Acker), the famed "Cellist" from his past, who as far as we know isn't aware that he's been alive this whole time. The stage is certainly set for some intense stuff to unfold over the next four weeks, but how will it all end, and which of the show's many lingering questions will finally be answered? 

Well, in its roundup of upcoming season finales, TV Guide offered a sneak peek of what's to come in the S.H.I.E.L.D. season finale, "Beginning of the End." No plot details are stated outright, but this information could be called a SPOILER, so if you don't want to know anything at all about the season's endgame, maybe click away now.

According to TV Guide, the finale's going to give us quite a few answers about quite a few things, some of them going back to the beginning of the season. The issues at hand include "Ward's true allegiances as well as answer questions about Skye's lineage, who's controlling Deathlok and what the Clairvoyant wants with Coulson." Three of those things seem like obvious points to build up to in the midst of this S.H.I.E.L.D. versus Hydra plot, but the question of just where Skye came from is a particularly interesting thing to include. Will she have some hidden ties to Hydra? Will her true identity set up a major storyline for season two? We'll have to wait and see. The TV Guide piece also has a quote from executive producer Jeffrey Bell, who promises something "epic."

"We think the audience is waiting for a showdown between Coulson's team and Garrett's team and they're going to get a satisfying payoff to that epic conclusion," Bell said. "If they win, it comes at a price."

A showdown certainly seems inevitable, but Bell also teased the possibility of other sleepers within S.H.I.E.L.D. Add in the return of Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Samuel L. Jackson (Fury) and Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), and it looks like we're primed for the biggest episodes of this series yet.

Agents of S.H.I.E.l.D. airs Tuesday at 8/7C on ABC. How do you think the season will end?

(Via TV Guide)

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