Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 5

ABC

With just a few days standing between us and the season five finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we finally have word on whether or not the Marvel series will be a part of ABC's line-up for the upcoming 2018-19 TV season.

With Upfronts week being fully underway and the network set to unveil their plans for the upcoming season to advertisers on Tuesday, May 15 in New York, they've finally announced that the series will, in fact, return for a sixth season. While it's true that the series has seen its live viewership decline steadily season-to-season and the producers have written the season five finale in a way that they believe will satisfy fans should this be the end of the road, we're relieved we're getting at least one more go-round with the gang. Here's why.

With the series set in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, the last few weeks of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have seen the series steadily build towards a major overlap with the latest film, Avengers: Infinity War. With the timeline on the show moving a bit slower than the film, the world outside of Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Co.'s adventures is still at the "reports of destruction in NYC" stage of blockbuster's narrative, making this week's finale the perfect point for the series to reach the film's shocking climax. (Insert perfunctory spoiler warning about Infinity War's conclusion here.)

With the season clearly marching towards the fateful moment when Thanos snaps his bejeweled fingers and erases half of the universe from existence, we're expecting that to happen in the final moments of the finale, with our hearts fully breaking as Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) panics watching Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) fade away. (It could always go the other way around, though the show's already forced Fitz to wonder what happened to Simmons in season three, so our money's on this possibility.) If half of the universe is gone, then it stands to reason that half of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team will be as well. And that would've just be the cruelest way to let a show like this end.

But with a sixth season now a guarantee, we've got a feeling we can look forward to half of the cast returning to show a desperate S.H.I.E.L.D. as they try to figure out where in the hell the rest of their de-facto family is—not to mention half the rest of the world. Not only is it a cost-effective measure—the easiest way to keep a show on the air is to eliminate half of its actors salaries from the budget—but it keeps a constant reminder of what Thanos did on the air as we build up to—you guessed it—the still-untitled Infinity War sequel, due in theaters May 3, 2019.

With the film, which will certainly find a way to reverse Thanos' power play and bring back some, if not all, of the universe, set to hit theaters weeks before the end of the traditional broadcast TV season, it'll be the perfect opportunity for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s sixth season to conclude with the characters who've been missing all season finally finding their way home. And just as the film marks the end of Phase Three in the MCU, opening the door for a new narrative to begin, we wouldn't be surprised if season six is where Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. bows out too.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s season five finale airs Friday, May 18 at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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