Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. closes out the year with its best episode to date! Skye reunites with her father; the secret of the ancient city is unlocked; and Skye’s Marvel identity is fully revealed. And that’s not including an emotional farewell to a fan-favorite of the series.

In this week’s winter finale, “What They Become,” written by executive producer Jeffrey Bell, Ward (Brett Dalton) fulfills his promise and reunites Skye (Chloe Bennet) with her father, which puts Whitehall (Reed Diamond) in a compromising position when he has to reveal his knowledge of their past. Elsewhere, Raina (Ruth Negga) evades Team Hydra and Team Coulson and enters the temple to uncover the mystery held within. As the key is turned, everything is forever changed.

This blockbuster winter finale certainly had its moments where you felt as if you were watching one of Marvel theatrical features, if on a budget. The mysteries of the ancient city set the stage for what a television series can do with super powers, and what we saw was as impressive as its fiscally comfortable siblings, perfectly accentuating the thrilling journey this episode – not to mention season – has built up until this point. What’s most impressive, however, is how comfortable everything felt.

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From the moment the episode begins, you can tell that you’re now stepping in to a perfectly-honed adventure which is written to use every moment allotted to its fullest potential. Though it’s true that most every finale sidesteps any filler in order to deliver a buzzworthy cliffhanger, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did not feel like a dump of reveals, as with other shows, and each moment for each character was executed perfectly and wholly earned as events naturally unfolded. Skye especially felt the most earnest since the series start, and her potential is overwhelmingly exciting as well.

All it took was for Skye’s father to casually mention his name, Cal, to confirm that Skye and her father are Quake and Mister Hyde, respectively – a reveal that many have suggested in the past only now confirmed. The reunion between Skye and her father was curiously endearing throughout, which was surprising considering all the bloodshed in the past.

More so, the moment where Coulson (Clark Gregg) nonchalantly rips vengeance away from Skye’s father is a perfect example of the type of confident and focused leadership that is guiding us through this adventure, as the series would have been left with more than a few wasted story arcs if such a specific scene wasn’t successful.

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It’s now time to say goodbye to Agent Trip (B.J. Britt), the first supporting character to become a fan-favorite. It is true that Trip could handle breathing in the Terrigen Mist from the ancient temple, let us not forget that the only thing that could kill him would be someone with a superpower, as we would expect. When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was still but a “Wha?!” in the eyes of many cautious viewers, it was Agent Trip who helped make Coulson’s team feel like an actual team. And then season 2 happened and he sat around much more – but at least he had a heroic ending.

This is not Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1. This isn’t simply a normal network series, either. Each week the momentum from last week’s episode is continued, and for 60 minutes you’re able to enter a world which now feels like a true continuation of the Marvel universe. More importantly, each episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. feels like a continuation of its own established world, outside of the films. This may be the series’ greatest achievement.

Right now, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to take a break while its sister show Agent Carter tries to drum up more viewers for when the series returns, because as we know, it’s all connected. And then it’ll be a brief run before ABC makes their Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 plans known. After what we saw tonight, I’m sure everyone would be excited to see what happens next in this beautiful synergistic world.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday, March 3 on ABC.

Agents Carter premieres Tuesday, January 6 on ABC.

You can pay your respects to Trip with the video below: