MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for the Season 5 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., fittingly called "The End."
The fifth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has come to an end, only days after ABC made the big announcement that the show would be back for at least one more season. While the renewal was good news for fans, there were still plenty of reasons to worry about the future of the show. Just because more episodes were coming didn't mean that all of the good guys would be back as well. S.H.I.E.L.D. has been dropping hints all season that somebody (or somebodies) were going to die before the end, and the penultimate episode set the series up with a few prime candidates to be killed off. "The End" featured the heartbreaking on-screen death of a major character, but it didn't go down the way we expected. Fitz was tragically killed in the second half of the finale.
On the one hand, Fitz seemed like he was on his way to death's door ever since he made that fateful decision to trick Daisy and restore her powers against her will. It was difficult to imagine him coming back from that for a while, and he crossed more than a couple of lines in Season 5. Throw in the fact that he wasn't technically needed alive for Deke to exist, and he seemed like he could die as soon as he and Jemma got the chance to make Deke's mom. Well, Fitz did die in the finale, but it wasn't after Jemma got pregnant. Here's how it happened.
All hell broke loose in Chicago went Graviton began wreaking havoc to try and reach the gravitonium deposits beneath the city. S.H.I.E.L.D. showed up to try and save the day, with Daisy running to confront Graviton and the rest of the crew trying to evacuate the civilians in danger after Graviton crashed his ship into buildings. Fitz, Mack, and May discovered Robin in one of the buildings after she crawled out, escaping the ship. Her mom was still on board, and Fitz spied a globe that she'd colored in to show more than half of it destroyed, which led Fitz to the conclusion that the end was nigh.
Well, the good guys weren't satisfied with just accepting the end, and the time had come to try and break the time loop for good. They entered the unstable ship, found Robin's mom, and rescued her. On the way out, however, the ship shifted, and a whole bunch of debris crashed down on poor Fitz. May and Mack dug him out, and he seemed okay at first, simply telling Mack that he thought he had a broken leg because he couldn't feel it. Unfortunately, May and Mack discovered that he had actually been impaled by a piece of debris, and it was easy to see that there would be no way to pull him out or get him to Jemma before he died. Mack held his hand, May stayed by his side, and Fitz died.
Since Fitz just so happened to die in the same season that saw all kinds of timeline shenanigans so complicated that nobody except for the S.H.I.E.L.D. writers may know exactly what happened, there's hope that he'll be back as alive, well, and Scottish as ever. The Fitz who existed in the present timeline did die, and there's no bringing him back. Luckily, there's a loophole. Another version of Fitz is currently in outer space, sleeping the time away until he gets to wake up and save the day in the future on the Lighthouse. Jemma and Co. intend to find him, wake him up, and bring him home.
Honestly, killing present Fitz and going back for slightly-past Fitz is the best way I could have imagined for S.H.I.E.L.D. to keep Fitz alive and unburdened by the terrible thing he did to Daisy when he restored her powers. Some fans may not be thrilled that S.H.I.E.L.D. copped out on killing him off, but the finale played the death straight for long enough that viewers could feel the emotional impact of watching poor Fitz die. Iain De Caestecker proved that he can perform a great death scene, and he'll presumably get to come back for Season 6.
Other characters almost certainly won't be so lucky. General Talbot died as well, consumed as he was by Graviton. Daisy took him out using the Centipede Serum that she'd intended to use to save Coulson. Graviton won't cause any more trouble, but Talbot had to die for it to happen. No redemption arc for Talbot. Also gone now is Deke, which blinked out of existence after Fitz and Co. managed to change the timeline by saving Robin's mom. Jeff Ward was a fun addition to the cast for Season 5, and I'm definitely bummed that he won't be around in Season 6.
Coulson may not be around much in Season 6. He did not save his own life with the Centipede Serum, and he was in the process of slowly dying as of the end of the finale. Daisy and the rest seemed to finally accept his wish to die in peace rather than use unnatural means to prolong his life, and he hit the beach of Tahiti with May. Unless S.H.I.E.L.D. pulls a cure out of left field for Season 6, Coulson is either going to be dead when the season starts or wills till be dying. Hey, at least he has May!
We'll have to wait and see what happens. Unfortunately, we'll be waiting a while, as ABC is holding Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 6 until much later than fans are used to. Be sure to check out our reasons why Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. needs to split from the MCU while you're here! For what you can watch during the long hiatus, take a look at our summer TV premiere guide and the ABC 2018-2019 fall TV schedule