[SPOILERS for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 Episodes 1-15 Ahead.]

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return to the airwaves on April Fools’ Day – a tad ironic, considering that life will be more serious and fraught with peril than ever for Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his tight-knit team. The show’s heroes are on a mission to take down the season’s big dangerous baddie, i.e. the enigmatic Clairvoyant; before that happens, they’ll have to get through Deathlok (the Clairvoyant’s cyborg mind-slave Mike Peterson, played by J. August Richards), in addition to having to cross paths with certain high-ranking governmental officials who may not necessarily be allies to their cause.

On top of that, there’s still the mystery of why S.H.I.E.L.D. boss Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) was so determined to bring Coulson back from the dead after his Loki “incident,” why Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) has been trying to keep a lid on that secret, and just who/what is that big Dr. Manhattan-esque alien – literally, the reason that Coulson and Skye (Chloe Bennet) are still alive.

In other words, the stage is set for (we hope) lots of quality action, narrative resolution, and development of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. section of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the remaining seven episodes of the series’ first (and, so far, the only confirmed) 22-episode season.

Fortunately, there won’t be any additional breaks in the airing schedule once the show returns with “End of the Beginning” on April 1st, as ABC has announced that the S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1 finale (which doesn’t have an official title yet) will be unveiled on May 13th.

Here’s additional confirmation on that, via Gregg:

As for the future of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we shall just have to wait and see how the series’ ratings are doing by that point (read: the finale air date) – and thus, what the implications are, as far as the chances that it will live on for another season or more are concerned.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in U.S. theaters a few days after Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. restarts, so it shouldn’t be long thereafter before the show deals with the after-effects of that film’s supposedly game-changing developments in the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization. The consequences should resonate on a far deeper level than the last time a Marvel Studios’ movie hit theaters, back when Thor: The Dark World arrived on the scene (and S.H.I.E.L.D. was still having a lot of trouble establishing its own identity).

Arguably, at this point, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has become a flawed, yet increasingly satisfying espionage/drama series with comic book origins. The show was never going to be on par with the best in cable programming out there right now, even with (or, rather, because of) the Marvel forces behind it; others have pointed out that S.H.I.E.L.D. has so far charted a course fairly similar to WB/DC’s Arrow, which (knock on wood) hopefully means the series has only begun to hit its stride at last.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns with “End of the Beginning”, which airs on April 1st, 2014; the finale (title TBD) will follow six weeks later on May 13th.

Source: ABC [via Comicbook.com]