Kelsey McNeal/ABC

S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans finally come to blows—and Skye is forced to choose a side.

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Action Adventure ,
May 13, 2015 at 02:30 PM EDT

The second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has presented both the better and weaker qualities of the show. While the season began with much more momentum and maintained it better than season 1 did, the quality bounced around as S.H.I.E.L.D. still struggled to figure out what it wanted to be and consistently maintain that ideal.

But “S.O.S.” demonstrated the show at some of its absolute best, with the many character and narrative arcs coming to satisfying conclusions while setting up the show for a different but engaging third year (which is now official!) in two of the show’s finest hours.

There’s plenty of ground to cover in the two-part finale, so without much more delay, let’s dive in and discuss everything that worked so well throughout both halves of “S.O.S.”

Jiaying kicked the war between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans into full gear at the end of “Scars,” and her plans took root in the opening moments of the finale. Gonzales dead, she blames him for the bullet wound she inflicted on herself, has a lackey steal a quinjet and blow up her building while pretending to be S.H.I.E.L.D. The chaos leads Skye to believe the Inhumans are in the right, despite May’s attempts to tell her otherwise. And so comes the first of many fights during the evening, in which May shows just how more adept at hand-to-hand combat she is.

Unfortunately for her, Skye has those pesky powers on her side and knocks her former trainer (and, at this point, possibly former friend) off her feet while fleeing with Jiaying and the others.

Simmons radios back to Coulson to fill him in on the attack while May recovers. Though Agent Weaver wants to attack with full force, Coulson advises they wait until they can see more of the full picture.

The two sides head back to their corners—Jiaying is patched up and maintains her health (by, uh, sucking the life out of another person), while Simmons, May, Cal, and other agents head back to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ.

During this (brief) period of rest, Skye checks in with Raina, who claims their destinies are intertwined. Skye is destined to lead the Inhumans, and Raina is the one to show her the way. She makes one last promise to her as Skye remains skeptical. They will never see each other again.

Skye mentions her distrust of Raina to Jiaying, who thinks they need to end the conflict and prevent S.H.I.E.L.D. from hurting them again. Skye remains hesitant of attacking the people she called family, and remains conflicted for the moment.

Meanwhile, Coulson and Weaver continue to debate the merits of attacking, and Mack, who was getting too old for this s–t, decides to stick around until things are settled once he hears about Gonzales’ death. And either way, Coulson has every intention of settling this conflict. Though other members of his team are a bit preoccupied: Hunter and Fitz discover Bobbi left with Agent 33, and not May as they originally thought (more on that in a bit…).

Coulson also uses this time to speak with Cal, who’s been returned to base, along with the three empty vials he had with him. He’s looking for super strength, but for now it’s simply made him a bit stronger but emotionally unstable. Coulson tries to discover Jiaying’s plans through him, but he’s making little progress.

Skye, on the other hand, makes a startling discovery when she comes upon Jiaying and a dead Raina. All at once the truth bubbles to the surface. Jiaying isn’t interested in protecting the Inhumans; she wants to march them into battle, and she’s silenced Raina to make sure no one stands in her way. Sadly, that means also having one of her lackeys knock out Skye to prevent her from opposing Jiaying as well.

NEXT: Cal(vin Zabo) rises! Plus: Is Bobbi safe?

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Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) assembles a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle strange new cases.
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