SPOILERS for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers: Infinity War ahead.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aired its season 5 finale, titled "The End," which completely ignores Avengers: Infinity War and doesn't deal with the fallout from the movie's ending. Ever since it premiered on ABC, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has acted as a major connective piece between the movie and TV sides of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Originally, the show included specific tie-in episodes to the films. But those evolved into more thematic connections, or vague references to certain movie events. However, with the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel Studios' latest has massive, worldwide effects on the MCU.
The ending of Avengers: Infinity War features the villainous Thanos snapping his Infinity Gauntlet-clad fingers and wiping out half the universe. With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. winding down season 5, fans wondered how the show would connect to the movie and, especially, how it would deal with Thanos' universe-altering finger snap. S.H.I.E.L.D. vaguely referenced Infinity War with news reports of the Avengers' battle against the Black Order in New York City. The bigger connection, though, is that Thanos' imminent threat inspired Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s season 5 storyline indirectly. Graviton is motivated by the impending alien attack to seek more Gravitonium, becoming an Earth-shattering threat in his own right.
Now that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has aired its season 5 finale, we know that this is as far as the show's connections to Avengers: Infinity War go. While fans may be expecting a moment when half the team disappears, as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s timeline lines up with Infinity War, it looks as though the Marvel TV show is avoiding the movie's ending entirely. Of course, this also confirms our theory that Infinity War spoiled S.H.I.E.L.D.'s season finale, since the movie confirmed the Earth was saved prior to Thanos' arrival.
Further, the show may not ever deal with the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Though ABC renewed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it won't return with season 6 until summer 2019 - after Avengers 4 has hit theaters. So, if Avengers 4 uses time travel to undo the events of Infinity War, preventing half the universe from being wiped out, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. won't ever have to deal with the fallout from Thanos' finger snap.
In the long run, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. not dealing with Infinity War is likely for the best. Though Marvel Studios downplayed the fact that Infinity War is the first half of a two-part story, it makes more sense for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to deal with that storyline once it's completed rather than only the first part's cliffhanger. Plus, if the season 5 finale had featured a tie-in to Infinity War, that would have overshadowed the show's own storyline. Considering "The End" was written like a series finale, since the showrunners didn't know if they'd be returning, it makes sense for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to focus on its own storyline - even if that means sacrificing connectivity to the larger MCU.
Now, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 returning next summer, fans will have to wait more than a year to see what's next for the team. Plus, since we know very little about Avengers 4 and how it will affect the MCU, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may continue on in a very different world. Until then, fans can debate about and speculate on what's next for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for season 6 in summer 2019 on ABC.