[MILD SPOILERS for the final 3 episodes of Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 ahead.]

This initial season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series has been an interesting experiment, with its attempts to weave together its separate overarching narrative with larger developments from Marvel Studios’ film releases, in order to generate a coherent vision of a fictional universe.

While the first half of S1 was an extremely bumpy ride – with lots of “filler” episode time and uneven attempts to replicate the success of past Whedon shows – in recent months the espionage series has become far more satisfying; by settling into a compelling serialized narrative format and building upon events from Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the S.H.I.E.LD. TV series has become a complimentary, rather than redundant, extension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

All that’s left for the show now is to finish its first season with a bang, which includes paying off certain ongoing narrative threads and/or season-long mysteries – possibly in addition to setting up a second season, which is starting to look more like a sure thing now.

Presumably, you watched the most recent episode, “The Only Light in the Darkness”, so you’re aware of the context for the next chapter, titled “Nothing Personal”, with the main characters being split up. That includes Skye and Ward having taken off in “The Bus”, while May met up with her mother in order to track down a certain ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. high-ranking official.

As the promo below teases, in “Nothing Personal” both Coulson and Skye unexpectedly reunite with certain old acquaintances – Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Mike Peterson/Deathlok (J. August Richards) respectively – whose appearances are less than welcome, though for very different reasons.

A synopsis for the penultimate episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1, titled “Ragtag”, has been released, though as you can see, it’s pretty light on details:

In the last episode before the epic season finale, Ward ‘s Betrayal and HYDRA’s shocking secrets are revealed as Coulson’s team goes undercover on a mission that leaves no one unscathed, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” TUESDAY, MAY 6 (8:00-9:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Far more intriguing, however, is the following breakdown of the S1 finale, “Beginning of the End”, which TV Guide has posted (it should go without saying, but MILD SPOILERS AHEAD):

Now that Hydra has revealed themselves and S.H.I.E.L.D. has been disbanded, Coulson and his team are on their own to take down the now-missing Clairvoyant. But how will they react when they learn Ward is actually a member of Hydra planted in their group? The finale will address Ward’s true allegiances as well as answer questions about Skye’s lineage, who’s controlling Deathlok and what the Clairvoyant wants with Coulson. “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,” executive producer Jeffrey Bell says, hinting there could be other sleepers. “If they win, it comes at a price.” Plus: Nick Fury returns!

With the promise of major story payoffs (admittedly, some awaited much longer than others), the stage is set for an exciting conclusion to Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s initial run.

That’s all the more surprising when you consider that there was a time, not too long ago, when a number of people admitted to still watching this show out of a sense of duty, rather than affection – wanting to keep up on everything that transpires within Marvel’s shared universe. If these next few episodes continue to entertain, however, then this show’s philosophy – that the actions and small deeds of ordinary people still matter in a world of superheroes – will be all the more easy to justify for it.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues next Tuesday with “Nothing Personal”, which shall air on ABC.

Source: TV Guide