"The final final season of S.H.I.E.L.D. has jumped through time, altered the course of history, and now, in its two-part conclusion, managed to deliver a spectacle truly worthy of its outsized ambitions," says Alex McLevy. But the two-part finale, he says, "ended on a surprisingly quiet, bittersweet note." McLevy adds: "For seven seasons, we’ve watched these people evolve, becoming, if not always better versions of themselves, then wiser ones. That’s one of the best things about this series: It’s never reduced anyone to an increasingly one-dimensional version of themselves as so many shows do, just relying on the same old traits instead of letting them grow. Mack walked away from S.H.I.E.L.D. life quite recently, before accepting his losses and returning to duty. Yo-Yo spent most of this season undergoing a crisis of conscience, doubting herself and her abilities. Fitz confronted the worst version of himself, and had to accept there’s a dark side of him he can never fully erase. May, Coulson, Daisy—all of them literally became different people as time went by. Jemma might have remained the most like herself (and honestly, this season didn’t do much with her), but even she changed in profound ways, as one of the series’ finest moments can attest. So watching as they peel off from their digitally-aided reunion, one by one, to move on from this time in their lives, should inevitably resonate with anyone who’s been there for all of it. They’ve already moved on, the show says, so it’s okay for us to do the same. Not before kicking some ass, of course."
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. creators Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen on why this finale was particularly special: "It’s so strange because we feel that we’ve said goodbye to the show a number of times now. We tied everyone’s arcs up with a nice little bow back in Season 5," says Tancharoen. "We wanted this to be different, not another goodbye," says Whedon. "We landed on the feeling of nostalgia, a feeling of moving on as life changes around you. It’s not a sense of loss. Lives change. Paths diverge. You have that sense of longing, nostalgia and connection with people with whom you spent lots of time."
Whedon and Tancharoen on their ending: "It’s the thing that we were all feeling in production and with the actors, every meeting we had, it was a ‘last,'" says Whedon. "And our studio was being torn down around us, so the whole season was infused with that sense and our goal was to reward the feeling that the audience would be having of, ‘I can’t believe this is over.’" Tancharoen adds: "And also, just in the story saying this is their final mission together, just really nailing that."
How Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to save the spectacle for the end: "The way it works is, you know, there’s a pattern budget, we get the same amount for every episode," says executive producer Jeffrey Bell. "And so one of the things that we’ve gone to ABC about—and they’ve been good about—is we say, this week we want to have tuna sandwiches for lunch, so that next week we can have, like, a five-course meal. And the problem is, we started in the 1930s and spent all our money. We just got backlot period costumes, which energized everybody and got everyone really excited. But we have the same amount for every episode. So it’s up to us and our our wonderful line producer, Garry Brown, to really be able to do that. You know, we’re a network show with not a lot of money. And so we’re sad when the corridors are more than we want—you know, we’re as aware of them as you have been from time to time. (All laugh.) And it’s not what we want, it’s just all we can afford to do. We do try and save, so that we can go out with some scope and style."