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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/marvels_agents_of_shield_cast_8949.png]]
[[caption-width-right:350:From Left to Right: [[TechnoWizard Skye]], [[TheMedic Jemma Simmons]], [[GadgeteerGenius Leo Fitz]], [[PapaWolf Phil Coulson]], [[OneManArmy Melinda May]] and [[ManipulativeBastard Grant Ward.]] ]]

->''"We're the line between the world and a much weirder world. We protect people from news they're not ready to hear, and when we can't do that, we keep them safe."''
-->-- '''Agent Grant Ward'''

Marvel's '''''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.''''' is a TV series set in the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse, focusing on the organization ComicBook/{{SHIELD}} and taking place after ''Film/TheAvengers'' and ''Film/IronMan3'' chronologically. Airing on Creator/{{ABC}}, it was created and executive produced by Creator/JossWhedon, [[ProductionPosse Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen]] (Joss Whedon also directed the pilot). It stars Ming-Na Wen, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, and Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson.

The series sees the eponymous agents investigating and containing various supernatural and high-tech objects and individuals in order to keep the public safe, a task that has become more complicated in the aftermath of the Battle of New York [[TheUnmaskedWorld blowing the lid off of their previous level of secrecy]]. Notably, while the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films focused on Creator/MarvelComics characters who already existed in the comics themselves, ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' focuses primarily on characters who are original to the MCU (beyond S.H.I.E.L.D. itself originating from the comics, of course), though there have been an increasing number of crossovers with comic and MCU characters, and several episodes have been direct follow-ups to the films (especially given that, during the first season alone, both ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'' and ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' were released, with the latter directly connected to the series' story arc towards the end of Season 1).

The series premiered in September 2013. ABC has announced that Season 2 will be produced, and that it will take a break midseason with another MCU spinoff, ''Series/AgentCarter'', filling the gap.

Has a [[Recap/AgentsOfSHIELD recap page]] for episodes.
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!!''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' provides examples of the following tropes:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:A-E]]
* AbnormalAmmo: The ICER guns, first called Night Night guns. The bullets break under the skin, releasing a toxin that paralyzes the target. The same toxin later shows up in grenades.
* AbusiveParents: Ward's were at least neglectful, as they apparently managed to miss his older brother being an abusive bully as shown in "The Well" and "Ragtag." It's later stated that Ward's parents were "worse" than his older brother, who ''threw his younger brother down a well''.
* ActingUnnatural:
** Simmons makes a hilariously bad attempt to act casual (coached by Skye through an earpiece) when Agent Sitwell catches her attempting to access a computer terminal without authorisation in "The Hub". After first claiming to be looking for the bathroom only to be told that she is staring at a wall panel, she then attempts to compliment his head. It gets so bad that Skye has to tell her to stop talking.
** In "T.R.A.C.K.S.," Simmons claims that the problem is she's horrible at improv, so she made up a massive fake backstory for herself and Coulson, which would be able to cover any situation. As is probably expected, she went too far in the other direction but forgot to clue Coulson in beforehand.
--->'''Coulson:''' Prostitutes? ''Plural?''
** Coulson himself sounds rather insincere when he's pretending to be under Lorelei's control to fool Fitz. Fitz being Fitz, however, falls for it.
** In "Nothing Personal," despite her best efforts to conceal it, Skye can't quite keep her apprehension under the surface while she is with Ward. Ward of course notices, having been trained to recognize physical cues, but she plays it off as stress from the general situation rather than [[spoiler:her knowing that he's HYDRA]].
* ActionGirl:
** Melinda May, so much so that her nickname is "TheCavalry," even if she claims to hate being called that. Initially, she joined the team on the condition that she was only there to pilot the plane and provide nominal support. But after a few close scrapes, she eventually volunteers for field combat duty. "Repairs" reveals May's reluctance is because [[spoiler:she once rescued a S.H.I.E.L.D. team single-handedly, hence "The Cavalry" nickname, but is haunted by the number of people she had to kill in order to do so.]]
** Skye is becoming this too, especially after receiving her S.H.I.E.L.D. agent status.
** Maria Hill in "Nothing Personal". While Coulson gets into a straight fight with Talbot, Hill takes out ''most of his unit'' by herself. Coulson ends up stunning Talbot and the last two with an Icer.
* AdaptationalBadass: Lorelei. She can zap the will of any man just by saying a pair of words. In comics, Lorelei is nowhere that powerful. In comics, she's just a ButtMonkey with dellusions of being [[TheGloriousWarOfSisterlyRivalry better than her sister]], who only controlled Thor with [[LovePotion love potions]] given by someone else (Malekith and Loki) and not by her own power, and each time she ruined it.
* AdaptationalHeroism: The show's version of Donnie Gill. He still ends up as a bad guy, but is given a sympathetic backstory. It's also made abundantly clear that he never intended for his actions to hurt anyone, at least at first.
* AdaptationalVillainy:
** As of "T.R.A.C.K.S.", Deathlok. Although since he's acting under duress he's more of an AntiVillain.
** And as of "Turn, Turn, Turn", The Clairvoyant is revealed to be [[spoiler:John Garrett]].
* AdultFear: Raina uses threats against Mike Peterson's son to get to him.
* AffablyEvil: The Clairvoyant, revealed to be [[spoiler:John Garrett]]
* AgeLift: The show's version of Donnie Gill is an 18-year old student rather than an adult criminal-for-hire.
* AgonyOfTheFeet: In "Beginning of the End", May nailguns TheMole's foot to the floor to end their fight. Several times.
* AlmostKiss: For a moment after Ward comes to Skye's rescue during "The Asset", she ''really'' looks like she wants to kiss him. Thus cranking up the UnresolvedSexualTension.
* AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs:
** In "0-8-4", the villain and her group briefly hijack the Bus and take the team hostage, until they manage to retake the plane.
** In "Yes Men", Lorelei uses the [[BrainwashedAndCrazy brainwashed]] Ward and Fitz to take control of the Bus, which lasts until Sif manages to capture her and nullify her powers.
** In "Turn, Turn, Turn", as a result of events in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', [[spoiler:HYDRA takes control of multiple SHIELD facilities]]. Meanwhile, due to [[PoorCommunicationKills each side thinking the other is the enemy]], [[spoiler:Victoria Hand]]'s forces assault and forcibly board the Bus.
** Building on this in "Providence", [[spoiler:HYDRA]] attacks the Fridge, SHIELD's combination maximum security prison/storage facility, releasing all the prisoners as a distraction, while they steal every piece of advanced tech they can grab.
** In "Nothing Personal", the team is forced to abandon the Providence base when it's raided by [[InspectorJavert Colonel Talbot's]] forces.
** From the end of "The Only Light in the Darkness" to the end of "Beginning of the End", the team loses control of the Bus altogether, as it's stolen by TheMole.
* AndIMustScream:
** At the end of "The Asset", Dr. Franklin Hall is revealed to still be alive, trapped inside the gravitonium device.
** "A Magical Place" reveals that Coulson was in this situation after his death: [[spoiler:the experimental procedures Fury ordered to revive him caused him so much pain he begged to be allowed to die, and caused [[CameBackWrong complications]] that were the reason for altering his memories.]]
* AntiVillain:
** The Hooded Hero (going mad from Centipede Serum)
** The villain from "The Asset." [[spoiler:Just trying to protect the world from Gravitonium]]
** Deathlok [[spoiler:HYDRA took his son as a hostage]]
** It's unclear what Raina's ultimate goal is, but i'ts clear she's a WideEyedIdealist who just believes these are [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans the necessary steps for the future]].
** [[spoiler:Ward]] is really just a guy who's been raised TheSpartanWay and has became so desensitized thanks to his upbringing that he's became utterly twisted. Its clear he still retains his sense of empathy given his trouble executing those he's came to care about, and honestly admires and cares for [[BigBad The Clairvoyant]] the way a son would to a father.
* AnIcePerson: Donnie Gill, aka Blizzard.
* ApologeticAttacker: Simmons when she shoots Agent Sitwell with the Night-Night gun.
* AppealToObscurity: Coulson uses this when Skye asks why they can't warn the Peruvian locals about the 0-8-4:
-->'''Coulson:''' Remember the panic when that anti-matter meteorite splashed down just off the coast of Miami and nearly devoured the city?\\
'''Skye:''' No.\\
'''Coulson:''' Precisely. Because we kept it quiet and contained.
* ArbitrarySkepticism:
** Psychics are routinely dismissed as a myth, on the basis that S.H.I.E.L.D has never encountered a genuine psychic (but have interviewed plenty of fakes). Skye has lampshaded this more than once.
--->'''Skye:''' Not long ago, I would have dumped ESP in the [[Film/TheAvengers aliens-and-portals-are-for-crazy-people]] pile, but now...\\
'''Coulson:''' Psychic powers are a myth.\\
'''Skye:''' So was ''Thor''.
** In "The Well", Skye wonders if perhaps ''all'' ancient gods were just visiting aliens. Unlike ESP, this hypothesis doesn't get the brush-off.
* ArcSymbol: [[http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3799/13140265373_a767c5d44c_o.jpg These symbols]], which Ward photographed for Centipede, reappear briefly in a montage of Coulson's surgery, are scrawled by Garrett on the glass door [[spoiler: after he's injected with GH-325]] and [[spoiler:are etched by Coulson onto his wall in TheStinger of "[[Recap/AgentsOfSHIELDS1E22BeginningOfTheEnd Beginning of the End]]"]]. Fans have identified them as Skrull characters.
* ArcWelding:
** In "The Bridge," it comes to light that Centipede was the mysterious party behind the Akela Amador case, and are continuing to use the now even more advanced eye implant technology to control their agents. Furthermore, the mystery of Coulson's resurrection is one that Centipede is also eager to solve....
** The end of "Seeds" reveals that recurring villain Ian Quinn is also working for the Clairvoyant.
** In "Turn, Turn, Turn," it becomes clear that [[spoiler:everything related to Centipede and the Clairvoyant has been orchestrated by HYDRA. Or at the very least, the Clairvoyant acting in HYDRA's interests]]. This also ties the series more directly into the narrative of the films, specifically ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''.
* ArcWords:
** "Tahiti. It's a magical place." Coulson uses the exact same words every time he describes his unknown visit to Tahiti after the events of ''The Avengers'', suggesting the phrase may be a cover for some more mysterious truth about Coulson's rebirth (Hill says "he must never know" what really happened). Coulson catches onto this in "The Hub" when he automatically responds when it's not appropriate, and realizes that the truth is being kept from him. Later, at the end of "The Well", Coulson has a dream where he is relaxing in Tahiti. When his masseuse utters the words he awakes in a panic. Eventually subverted: In "Yes Men", Coulson says, "Tahiti. It sucked."
** Promotional materials for the show that have aired since episode 10 have used the term [[ArcWelding "It's all connected"]].
* ArgentinaIsNaziland: The 0-8-4 turns out to be a piece of technology made by HYDRA agents who fled to Peru after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology:
** After escaping from a room underwater, Agents Fitz and Simmons are put in decompression chambers to protect them from the bends. But the sequence made clear that the room they were in was at a much lower pressure than the water outside (hence why weakening the window let the water blow it in). As they weren't taking any significant number of breathes while under increased pressure, they weren't absorbing extra gas into their blood stream, and were not under any threat of developing the bends.
* ArtisticLicenceGeography:
** Episode 3 is set partly in UsefulNotes/{{Malta}}; several characters mention the "stunning beaches", and Coulson and Ward are later shown mooring a boat on a large, deserted sandy beach. In reality, Malta's beaches are almost all rocky and far from conventionally stunning, and the few that ''are'' sandy are very small, set at the back of busy bays, and permanently crowded with tourists.
** There is no University of Ohio. There's an Ohio University, but UsefulNotes/{{Cleveland}} is much more recognizable than Athens, Ohio.
** 'Milton Keynes Prison, United Kingdom' (actually called HMP Woodhill) looks nothing like its show incarnation, being made of the same building materials as most of the rest of Milton Keynes; namely, red brick and terracotta tiles.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory:
** The archeologist in episode 2 says the temple is "at least 500 years old" and "filled with pre-Inca artifacts". 500 years old send us back to the 16th century, which is the ''fall'' of the Inca empire at the hands of the Spanish. So ''any'' Inca temple is automatically "at least 500 years old", there is no big deal about that, and only 500 years old would actually be unusually recent for an Inca temple. For the same reasons, there is no reason such a temple would be filled with ''pre-inca'' artifacts, except if the Inca or somebody else somehow used it to store pre-Inca artifacts they had scavenged. So although nothing in those two statement is technically impossible, it is just pseudo-historic rubbish and in the mouth of a senior archeologist it sounds completely ridiculous.
** Played for laughs in "Yes Men". A Hell's Angels biker believes that Ben Franklin was president and "ruled the entire country".
* ArtisticLicenceLaw: Malta again: the writers ignore or are unaware that Malta is part of the EU (it's referred to as a haven ''from'' EU regulations) and the only entirely Catholic country in the world outside of Vatican City, so far from free of religious and legal constraints on scientific research. This is particularly jarring since there are other tiny countries in Europe, such as Liechtenstein, which are not part of the EU and have much more favorable tax laws.
* ArtisticLicenseLinguistics: As weird as it may appear, the official language of Belarus is... Russian. That makes signs in "Eye Spy" look out of place - yes, they are written in mostly correct Belarussian language, which is used mostly by [[LaResistance Belarussian dissidents]], not the government.
* AscendedMeme: The Website/{{Twitter}} hashtag [=#CoulsonLives=] was initially used by fans to beg Marvel to bring back their favorite character. It was later featured by Marvel in a trailer with a promise that tweeting it more would unlock a special extended trailer.
* AshesToCrashes: Invoked as a distraction and a tracking mechanism when Simmons and Coulson are undercover.
* AsYouKnow: Used frequently for exposition.
* TheAtoner: Mike is this in "The Bridge" for his actions in the pilot. In "Beginning of the End," [[spoiler:After being freed from Garrett's control, he becomes this for everything HYDRA made him do.]]
* BackFromTheDead: Coulson, obviously. His record says he was dead for 8 (or 40) seconds after Loki stabbed him. In "The Magical Place" he finally learns the full story -- [[spoiler:''he was dead for days''.]] And then he learns it was even worse.
* BackToBackBadasses: Coulson and Reyes fighting their way from the temple to the plane.
* BadassBookworm: Fitz gets to be one for an episode in "The Hub": secret agent labrat reporting for duty!
* BadassInANiceSuit:
** Coulson fits this to perfection. He even goes into ''combat'' wearing his suit (and he has a closet full of identical suits on the Bus).
** Ward usually averts this trope, but the few times he dresses up, he looks every bit as good as Coulson.
* BadassNormal: Much of S.H.I.E.L.D., especially Ward, Melinda May and to a lesser extent Coulson. The first episode has them bring down a SuperSoldier and later episodes involve a guy with fire powers and a cyborg.
* BadBoss:
** Centipede, as an organization, is not very good to its own people - often casually killing and throwing away agents and even those with executive power without a second thought either due to failure, convenience or simply because they're not needed any more. This essentially turns everyone who works for Centipede into a MauveShirt: even Raina, TheHeavy of the organization and the villain we've come to know most, tells the heroes in no uncertain terms that her superiors don't give a crap about her well being and would gladly let her die rather than extend the effort saving her.
* BaitAndSwitch: The ending of "The End of the Beginning makes it appear that [[spoiler:Victoria Hand]] is the Clairvoyant and is planning on killing Coulson and his team for finding out. The next episode, "Turn, Turn, Turn", reveals that [[spoiler:she isn't the Clairvoyant or even a member of HYDRA, but she thinks ''he's'' HYDRA]].
* BatmanGambit:
** In "The Hub," Victoria Hand and S.H.I.E.L.D. intentionally make no extraction plan for Ward and Fitz's mission to disable a terrorist superweapon, knowing full well that upon discovering this, the rest of Coulson's team will go in and save them themselves. Hand even makes sure that everything happened according to plan before fully attending to their assault on the terrorist base.
** May pulls one on ''everybody'' in "The Magical Place". She encourages Hand in kicking Skye off the plane, knowing that Hand's by-the-book command style would prevent Skye from being effective in any case. May also knows that the rest of the team will go behind her back to assist Skye, and that Skye herself will refuse to abandon the mission. Skye goes off the grid and tracks down Coulson's location, just as May expected her to do
** In "Providence", TheMole casually explains everything they did in order to get each member of Coulson's team to trust them.
* BattleDiscretionShot: We see the beginning of the fight between Ward and a large enemy group in "The Well", but then the scene becomes a flashback from his [[DarkAndTroubledPast childhood]]; when the flashback ends, Ward is standing surrounded by fallen foes.
* BecomingTheMask: TheMole shows signs of this, something both The Clairvoyant and Raina comment on. In "Ragtag" [[spoiler:he admits he cares about the team, but isn't willing to make a HeelFaceTurn for them.]]
* BelligerentSexualTension: Heavily implied to be some between Ward and Skye when he admits he finds Skye attractive after getting jammed with truth serum. She describes him as "firm" and starts going out of her way to show cleavage after he admits he finds her beautiful. A couple episodes later, Ward insists that S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't have truth serum and he was only pretending to be under the influence. The training scenes in "The Asset" arguably turn it into UnresolvedSexualTension.
* BerserkButton:
** Don't ever betray Coulson's trust. ''Ever.'' When he finds out Skye was hiding something from the team in "Girl in the Flower Dress", it's the first instance of true anger he's ever displayed. And in "Beginning of the End" he has a nice ToThePain speech for TheMole.
** Putting his team members at risk without his knowledge pushes this button too. Victoria Hand learned this in "The Hub" when she stranded Ward and Fitz in hostile territory without an extraction plan - and more importantly, not ''telling them'' that they didn't have an extraction plan.
** Don't call May "The Cavalry." If you're lucky, she'll just give you a DeathGlare.
* BigBad: The Clairvoyant is the the head of the Centipede organization. [[spoiler:It's revealed that the Clairvoyant is actually a mole within S.H.I.E.L.D. with a high-level security clearance, rather than being a psychic. He's finally revealed to be Agent John Garrett.]]
* BigBadFriend: The Clairvoyant's identity, according to "Turn, Turn, Turn": [[spoiler:The Clairvoyant turns out to be Agent John Garrett, Coulson's best friend, who's also an agent of HYDRA. Worse, Ward is working for him.]]
* BigBrotherIsWatching: Ian Quinn believes this of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Skye does too (initially) but later says they're the "Nice Big Brother". In the following episode Coulson states that Social Media makes his job easier every year. "People surveil themselves."
* BigDamnHeroes:
** TheTeam going to extract Ward and Fitz in "The Hub." The rescue scene itself is reminiscent of the TropeNamer moment from [[Series/{{Firefly}} ''Firefly'']].
** "The Magical Place" has the rest of the team coming out of nowhere to save Skye from a Centipede super-soldier, then the whole team, all in black, looking {{Badass}} and coming to Coulson's rescue.
** [[spoiler:Nick Fury]] gets ''two'' of these in "Beginning of the End", first by rescuing Fitz-Simmons, then joining Coulson for the confrontation with The Clairvoyant.
* BiggerBad: As of "Turn, Turn, Turn": [[spoiler:It's revealed that Garrett is The Clairvoyant and works for HYDRA, but he's never been seen taking orders from anyone, and Alexander Pierce is TheGhost. Regardless of how much control Pierce or HYDRA as a whole has over Garrett, Garrett's still functionally the series BigBad.]]
* TheBigGuy: Ward. Triplett also serves in this capacity in some later episodes.
* BigNo: In the Season 1 finale, [[spoiler:Simmons does one just before Fitz blows the window out. A variation on the usual trope as the "big no" happens ''before'' someone dies (or is expected to).]]
* BitchInSheepsClothing:
** Debbie, the doctor dealing with Centipede, initially playing the part of a victim.
** Raina, the girl in the flower dress, who pretends to help the people but she screws over when it comes to completing her mission.
** [[spoiler:Agent Garrett]] comes off as a genuinely nice and charming guy... then he turns out to be the Clairvoyant.
** [[spoiler:Ward]], who in the same episode is revealed to be TheMole.
* BittersweetEnding: Featured in many of the first-season episodes, particular as the story arc gets more serious and the BigBad gets more dangerous. See the individual [[Recap/AgentsOfSHIELD episode recaps]] for details.
* BizarreAlienBiology:
** The Chitauri virus that was brought to earth after the Battle of New York transfers through electrostatic shock, rather than touch, air, or fluid exchange like terrestrial viruses.
** Discussed when Simmons doesn't know how to perform first aid on an Asgardian.
** In "T.A.H.I.T.I.", [[spoiler:The GH serum, which was used to revive Coulson and Skye, appears to be alien blood.]]
* BlandNameProduct: The logo seen on a delivery truck in the background of the first few minutes of the pilot says "World Parcel Service".
* BodyHorror:
** Centipede likes to force their agents to do their bidding by replacing their eyes with cameras that double as self-destruct buttons through which they can also issue orders.
** Coulson recalling the procedure that brought him back to life: [[spoiler:a procedure where his head was cut open and lasers being fired into his exposed brain ''while he was still conscious''.]]
** In "T.A.H.I.T.I", the blue humanoid [[spoiler:that Coulson finds in the Guest House, who is visibly decaying in a tube of liquid and whose body is being used to produce all of the GH drugs.]]
* BloodlessCarnage: While the show isn't shy about showing violence and the resulting aftermath, the Night-Night guns and [=ICERs=] allow the characters to engage in gunplay while keeping the body count low since targets are knocked out, rather than outright killed.
* BorrowedCatchphrase: After Fitz plays with spy gadgets from decades ago and burns the curtains, May sarcastically said "Watch out Hydra, here we come". This is a minor variation of the battle cry of ComicBook/TheInvaders.
* BrainsAndBrawn: The team is roughly split between "brawny" field-experienced agents and the "brainy" techies. Team leader Coulson is arguably the one with equal amounts of both, while Skye is a tech training to become an agent.
* BreakTheBadass: Melinda May doesn't just get knocked down a peg or two, she ends up on the floor in "Turn, Turn, Turn" after Coulson discovers that she's been spying on him.
* BreakTheCutie:
** Coulson learning about his death and return.
** To a lesser extent, Skye and the ongoing revelations about her parents.
** To a ''huge'' extent, this applies to the entire team when they learn that [[spoiler:S.H.I.E.L.D. is infiltrated by HYDRA, and Ward is TheMole]].
* BreakingTheFellowship: The events of the Uprising Arc has destroyed the 'family' atmosphere of The Hub. They don't trust each other anymore, and the {{Cast Herd}}s are breaking up.
* BrickJoke: Fitz comes up with an idea to prank Skye in the first act of "Repairs". The prank itself doesn't show up until near the end of the episode, going off in front of everybody in scaring all of them -- including Fitz.
* BrokenPedestal:
** The Clairvoyant's true identity has this effect on his heroic subordinates. Inversely, Raina is disappointed to find out he's not really psychic.
** Several members of the team get hit hard when they discover who TheMole is.
* BuffySpeak: Miles talking to Skye in Episode 5:
-->'''Miles:''' I'll get us a suite... at... the fancy place that has suites.
** Later in "The Well":
--> '''Skye''' My SO volunteered to take the super-creepy hallway instead of the... slightly less creepy dungeon-room...
** And from "Beginning of the End":
-->'''Coulson:''' ...stupid stupid stupid! And cruel! And ''very'' stupid!
* CaliforniaDoubling: Many of the exteriors are clearly shot in the Los Angeles area, with only a wider establishing shot to set it as someplace else.
* CallBack:
** In "The Magical Place", Simmons' BadBadActing makes another appearance (first seen in "The Hub"), and we see Skye demonstrate both her disarming moves and her unwillingness to shoot from "The Asset".
** When Fitz shows off the new [=ICERs=] to Ward and May, Ward picks one up, and appreciatively notes that Fitz has lost the ounce that was off.
** When the villains raid the Fridge in "Providence", we see the HYDRA laser beam from "0-8-4", the Berserker Staff from "The Well", and the Gravitonium from "The Asset".
** Coulson knows what [[Film/TheAvengers the Destroyer gun]] does.
** Eric Koenig's brother.
* TheCameo:
** The first episode contains brief flashes of members of the Avengers during the opening voiceover, plus Maria Hill shows up.
** At the end of the second episode, NickFury appears.
** Episode 13 featured the inevitable StanLee cameo.
* CameBackWrong: It's [[ImpliedTrope hinted]] as the series progresses that Coulson may have done this, as explained in the next bullets. By "The Hub", Coulson himself is is convinced of this, and requested a medical exam and blood tests to be run. According to the results, he's normal. A little high on the iron, but otherwise normal.
** In "The Asset", his difficulty handling a pistol and his comment, "This should be just muscle memory."
** In the fourth episode, "Eye Spy," Coulson's former protegee Akela asks May what happened to him. When the puzzled May begins to suggest that Coulson has loosened up since Akela worked with him, Akela - who has had plenty of opportunity to use her XRayVision on Coulson - interrupts her to ask more insistently, "What did they ''do'' to him?"
** "The Magical Place" reveals [[spoiler:that the experimental procedures used to bring him back caused him so much agony that he completely lost the will to live and was psychologically broken. The false memories of Tahiti were created in an attempt to bring back the man he had been before.]]
** ''T.A.H.I.T.I.'' goes even further when it's revealed [[spoiler:the mysterious serum used to bring Coulson back was taken from the corpse of what looks like an alien life form]].
* CanonForeigner: Most of the main cast are this, except for [[CanonImmigrant Coulson]].
* CasualDangerDialogue: Lots of it, apropos for both a JossWhedon production and the highly-trained S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives themselves.
** In the pilot, Skye's sending a message about how S.H.I.E.L.D. won't be able to find and silence the Rising Tide. When Coulson promptly appears outside the door of her van, she greets him with a breezy "Hey. What up?" {{Subverted|Trope}} in that it's clearly false bravado. There's a very visible OhCrap look on Skye's face when the door opens.
** Played straight in the Season 1 finale when Fury and Coulson are under heavy fire by Centipede-enhanced soldiers and [[spoiler:John Garrett AKA Deathlok Mark I]], and simply snark at the events around them.
* CatchPhrase: Whenever Coulson is questioned about his injury, he refers to recovering in Tahiti, always describing it as "It's a magical place", suggesting that his memories of the place might not be real. He's fully dropped it by "Yes Men" where he says "It sucked" when asked by Agent Sitwell.
* CavalryBetrayal: Variant. Ward figures that he and Fitz are on the wrong side of this in "The Hub", after realising that there's no extraction team and that S.H.I.E.L.D. will level the camp once the MacGuffin is disarmed. They both decide to go out fighting. [[DefiedTrope Then]] Agent May (who is known within S.H.I.E.L.D. as 'The Cavalry') shows up in the Bus with the rest of the team.
* CelebrityParadox: ''Film/TheBigLebowski'' is mentioned in "FZZT". Creator/JeffBridges, who stars in that, is Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger in ''Film/IronMan1''.
* ChekhovsBoomerang:
** The Night Night gun will ''not'' go away, though they do give it a less-silly name as time goes on.
** Skye's WalkingTechBane bracelet haunts her throughout "The Magical Place", six episodes after it was first snapped on. She later uses it to her advantage when posing as Agent May to interrogate a businessman about his alleged dealings with Centipede.
** The "Overkill Device" shockwave-pulse launcher invented by Fitz in "The Hub" returns, now mass-produced by S.H.I.E.L.D., in "Turn, Turn, Turn." [[spoiler:Agent Hand's men are using it to take out the guns on The Bus.]]
** The HYDRA-tech plasma particle beam weapon from "0-8-4" returns [[spoiler:as Garrett's "gold card" when they raid The Fridge]] in "Providence", and in "Beginning of the End" it's used by Coulson to [[spoiler:finish off Garrett]].
** May gets to take another swing with the Berserker Staff in "Beginning of the End", using it to even the odds against Cybertek's soldiers.
* ChekhovsGag: In "Eye-Spy", Ward mentions to Coulson that Skye is having trouble telling a gun's safety from the magazine release. Later in the episode, Skye goes to ready her pistol... and promptly ejects the magazine instead.
* ChekhovsGun:
** Used in the pilot with the Night-Night Gun.
** The airplane safety pamphlet for the Bus. It's introduced in "0-8-4" as a quick joke about the plane's uniqueness and Ward's unfriendliness towards the new girl Skye. By the end of the episode, Skye uses one of the safety rafts marked on the pamphlet to block a hole in the plane and save Ward's life.
** In the same episode, the team activates the 0-8-4 with electro-magnetic radiation, which Fitz pointed out could have accidentally happened earlier.
** In "Eye Spy," a gun which fires a knock-out substance is introduced matter-of-factly as a prototype currently being worked on, and turns up again to incapacitate Akela. Effectively, a Chekhov's Gun that's actually a gun.
** During the pilot, Skye takes a moment in her van to tuck a memory card [[VictoriasSecretCompartment down her shirt]]. In "Girl in the Flower Dress," we find out that it contains all the information she's been able to find about her missing parents.
** The mini-EMP device in "The Hub".
** Akela's implant in "The Bridge" later shows up in Centipede soldiers and Deathlok.
** The shockwave gadget from "0-8-4" returns when Coulson uses it to knock the Clairvoyant out in "Turn, Turn, Turn".
** [[spoiler: The Hulk action figure Mike's son wanted in the pilot returns in the first-season finale, carried to him by Skye as assurance that his dad's OK.]]
* ChekhovsSkill:
** In "The Asset", Ward teaches Skye how to disarm someone holding her at gunpoint in close range, something Skye admits she has trouble performing. It comes in handy in the final act of the episode.
** In "The Magical Place", Skye uses the disarming technique again to 'prove' she's a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
** In the pilot, Skye reveals that she uses coordinate-based keys to encrypt the files on her laptop. She later uses the same encryption on a hard drive containing all of the team's research data.
* CivilWar: With the events of ''Winter Soldier'', the last six episodes of this season deal with the conflict between [[spoiler:loyal SHIELD agents and their HYDRA counterparts]].
* ClassifiedInformation: Of course, it's S.H.I.E.L.D.. Dealing with classified information is just their thing. This is somewhat relaxed on the Bus which means that Skye becomes very frustrated at the levels of security in the Hub. She also makes a joke about it with Miles. But we can't tell it to you unless you are a Troper Level 8. How do you become a level 8? Sorry, that's classified.
* CodeName: This is discussed between Raina and Chan in "Girl in the Flower Dress". Raina argues that it's important for Chan to use a superhero alias ("Scorch"), since nobody knows who Steve Rogers is, but ''everyone'' knows Captain America.
* CoDragons: TheMole and Deathlok are this to the Clairvoyant.
* CoffinContraband: Director Fury hid the data from Project T.A.H.I.T.I. in Phil Coulson's unoccupied grave.
* CollapsibleHelmet: Lorelei's collapsible [[ImpossiblyCompactFolding Asgardian]] restraint.
* CombatPragmatist:
** Ward in particular has shown a willingness to use anything and ''everything'' (including a ''drawer full of kitchen utensils'') as a weapon. Coulson also qualifies.
** Fitz may count as this now that we have seen him employing his drones as remote combat vehicles.
** Melinda May deserves her own entry now that she has [[AgonyOfTheFeet employed a nail gun as a hand-to-hand weapon]].
* ComicBookMoviesDontUseCodeNames: In most cases it does not apply: most characters are either adaptions of comic book characters with no SecretIdentity (Hill, Hand, Talbot, Fury), or complete [[CanonForeigner Canon Foreigners]] (the main cast, Coulson included). Franklin Hall, Donnie Gill and Marcus Daniels have not been called Graviton, Blizzard or Blackout. The super soldier subjected to "Project Deathlok" has been called that way. Big names from the Cinematic Universe at large who are just mentioned may vary: sometimes they are "Red Skull", "Captain America", and other times they are "Romanov", "Blonsky"... And there is a hidden BigBad called "The Clairvoyant"; before his reveal they call him that because they have no other name to use.
* CompositeCharacter:
** Donnie Gill is named after the [[LegacyCharacter second]] Blizzard, but his status as an engineering genius comes from Gregor Shapanka, the original SilverAge Blizzard.
** In "Ragtag", John Garrett is revealed to be [[spoiler:the original Deathlok]].
* ConflictBall: In both "The Hub" and "The Magical Place", Victoria Hand forces Coulson's team to go out of their way to do things in the most difficult manner possible: denying them information, disrupting their usual working process, and showing as little regard for their lives that she can manage, in complete contradiction to the way that the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. is shown to operate. [[spoiler:This goes UpToEleven when the CivilWar breaks out within S.H.I.E.L.D. and she orders her troops to attack the crew of the Bus with automatic weapons, believing they have been infiltrated by HYDRA.]]
* ContaminationSituation: In the November sweeps episode "F.Z.Z.T.", Simmons is infected with a virus carried by Loki's soldiers that will eventually cause her to explode, taking the entire plane (and all the other characters) down with her. After apparently failing to develop an anti-serum, she [[spoiler:jumps from the plane, in what is intended to be a HeroicSacrifice.]]
* ContinuityLockout: Despite spinning off from a movie series with seven films in it as of December 2013 (and still growing), the show does a pretty good job of averting this. Characters are mostly independent of the movies, and while call backs are made to specific events and characters in the MCU, with at least one episode explicitly set in the immediate aftermath of ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'', the overall effect on the show is small. When the effect is larger (like with the pilot and Extremis), it's explained so that you don't have to have seen the movies to understand.
** The episode "Turn, Turn, Turn" is tied to the events of ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', which was released a few days prior. The film explains the [[spoiler:sudden resurgence of HYDRA]], though the episode still makes sense without watching the film. It does, however, heavily spoil the film, including the ending, and subsequent episodes build on this.
** The Season 1 finale requires a bit more knowledge of the events of the film, in particular [[spoiler:why Nick Fury has gone underground, and why he isn't wearing his trademark eyepatch anymore. The significance of his showing his blind eye also makes more sense after seeing what he does with it in the movie.]]
* ContinuityNod: The show is naturally stuffed to the brim with references to the rest of the MCU, including:
** The explosions in the first episode (as well as the source of Mike Peterson's powers) are a result of [[Film/IronMan3 Extremis]]. Even better, they find this out via recreating the scene of the crime in a massive hologram, outdoing Tony in the movie by making it act like a PensieveFlashback as well.
** Thor is mentioned by name in a conversation between Agent Ward and Maria Hill.
--->'''Ward:''' I don't think Thor's technically a god.\\
'''Hill:''' [[MrFanservice You haven't seen his arms]].
** The first time we see Ward, he is recovering a "Chitauri neural link", presumably a relic from the events of ''Film/TheAvengers''.
** Coulson cracks a one-liner at Tony Stark's expense.
** Coulson mentions that the last 0-8-4 was [[Film/{{Thor}} a hammer]].
** Lola turns out to have tech from the anti-gravity car that Howard Stark invented [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger in the 1940s]].
** Ward is stated as having the highest grades as a StealthExpert for an agent since [[ComicBook/BlackWidow Romanov]].
** Mike notes that it depends on [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger "what kind of person you are"]] in reference to his powers.
** The first user of the Centipede device acts similarly to Emil Blonsky after his super soldier serum injection in ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'', yelling at the lab worker "I want to feel more!"
** While talking to Ward and May about recruiting Skye as a consultant, Coulson mentions that [[Film/IronMan2 "technically Stark is one"]].
** The 0-8-4 from the episode of the same name is [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger HYDRA tech.]]
** Skye mentions that S.H.I.E.L.D. had covered up [[Film/{{Thor}} New Mexico]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Pegasus Project Pegasus]] (where they were studying the Tesseract).
** Coulson mentions [[Film/TheAvengers sacrificing his card collection to help Fury]] in "The Asset".
** Inverted in the pilot; Ward tells Maria Hill that he is level 6 and knows that Coulson died on the Helicarrier. [[LateArrivalSpoiler Coulson emerges from the shadows]] and says, "Welcome to Level 7." Later, Ward asks if the Avengers know that Coulson is alive. Coulson says they aren't cleared Level 7.
** In "The Asset", Dr. Hall mentions the S.H.I.E.L.D. Tesseract experiments seen in ''Film/TheAvengers.''
** In "Girl in the Flower Dress", Coulson uses the same type of bomb used in ''[[Film/IronMan1 Iron Man]]'' to open the door. He and the team even turns their back to the bomb like in ''Iron Man''.
** Agent Blake, from ''Film/TheAvengers'' Blu Ray bonus short film "Item 47", appears in "FZZT". ("Item 47" featured criminals who end up being recruited to S.H.I.E.L.D. as technical experts, in the same way Skye joined up. Blake, along with Agent Sitwell, was assigned to recover alien technology that had fallen into civilian hands; very much a proto-''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' mission.)
** The Chitauri helmet artifact and the virus it carries [[spoiler:which Simmons becomes infected with]] were relics left in the wreckage after [[Film/TheAvengers the Battle of New York]].
** Agent Jasper Sitwell, who appeared with Coulson in "The Consultant" short film, makes an appearance in "The Hub."
** Agents Barton and Romanov (aka {{Hawkeye}} and Comicbook/BlackWidow) of ''[[Film/TheAvengers The Avengers]]'' are mentioned in the same episode; apparently they are the only S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are badass enough to go on missions without an extraction team. [[ColdOpen Which the movie actually confirmed in Romanov's case.]]
** "The Well" picks up directly after the events of ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'', with the team helping on cleanup of the university campus after the battle, and then dealing with some leftover Asgardian business.
** In "The Well", Coulson gives a small reference to his former [[Film/TheAvengers cellist girlfriend from Portland]]. She's brought up again in "The Magical Place" as part of Raina's attempt to get Coulson to work with her. She [[http://www.tvguide.com/news/agents-shield-amy-acker-coulson-cellist-1079676.aspx appears in person]], played by Creator/AmyAcker, in "The Only Light in the Darkness".
** In "The Bridge", Mike mentions having bought his son a complete set of Avengers action figures. In the pilot episode, the boy was shown looking at said toys in a store window, though he claimed he didn't want any due to their shaky financial situation.
** In "The Magical Place", [[spoiler:Edison Po]] is killed using a sonic device like the one Stane used all the way back in the first ''Film/IronMan''.
** Vanchat is mentioned in "Pilot" as the one selling a Chitauri Neural Link in the black market, most of which is bought by Project Centipede to use in their devices. He's also mentioned in "Eye Spy" as the one responsible for killing a S.H.I.E.L.D. team and keeping Akela Amador prisoner before selling her to Centipede. He finally appears in "The Magical Place", still selling chitauri metal. His capture and interrogation at the hands of Agent Ward leads to S.H.I.E.L.D. raiding Centipede locations all over the world.
** In "Seeds", BuckyBarnes is listed on the S.H.I.E.L.D. memorial at the academy. Also doubles as a bit of {{foreshadowing}} for ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''. In the same episode, Simmons mentions HYDRA from ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' and A.I.M. from ''Film/IronMan3'' while giving a lecture about the possibility of science being used for nefarious purposes.
** Coulson threatens to have Ward assigned to [[Film/TheIncredibleHulk Blonsky's]] cell [[ReassignedToAntarctica in Alaska]] if his [[spoiler:relationship with May]] threatens the team.
** Sif from the ''Film/{{Thor}}'' [[Film/ThorTheDarkWorld movies]] appears in "Yes Men".
*** The reason she appears is because an Asgardian criminal escaped during the Dark Elf Invasion.
*** Sif's prior appearance on Earth[[hottip:*:during the events of ''Thor'']] is how the team identifies her as a friend of Thor and therefore an ally. Coulson later mentions her role in the battle with the Destroyer when vouching for her combat prowess. They also don't know her name, because S.H.I.E.L.D. never learned in the movie.
*** When she first sees Coulson, Sif is initially shocked and suspicious, having heard of [[Film/TheAvengers his death]] from Thor.
*** She also refers to him the same way Thor did in his first movie, as "Son of Coul".
*** In the same episode, Sif mentions the Kree, one of the alien races playing a major role in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy''.
*** After recapturing Lorelei, Sif mentions that Odin has ordered her brought back to Asgard alive. [[spoiler:Audience members who've seen the film will know that Odin has been replaced by Loki in disguise, hence his desire to have a dangerous enemy returned unharmed.]]
** In "End of the Beginning", Agent Sitwell is told by Agent Hand that he is being reassigned to the Lemurian Star, the S.H.I.E.L.D. freighter he is seen onboard at the beginning of ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''. All episodes immediately following this one relate directly to the events of ''Winter Soldier.''
** In "Turn, Turn, Turn," Fitz mentions that the "mouse hole" laser cutter that he and the team use to escape the Bus is something he developed but was never mass-distributed. In ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', Nick Fury and Maria Hill use the device. Garrett mentions that "the top agents always want the good stuff for themselves."
** Natasha "Black Widow" Romanoff gets a name-check in "Providence", as does Maria Hill. Agent Koenig also says that he's been living at the titular S.H.I.E.L.D. outpost since the Chitauri's invasion of New York.
** "The Only Light in Darkness" contains yet another ShoutOut to Black Widow, as well as a piece of energy absorption technology designed by [[Comicbook/TheIncredibleHulk Bruce Banner]]. Triplett is also revealed to be the grandson of a Howling Commando from ''Captain America: The First Avenger''.
** The opening scene of "Nothing Personal" shows Maria Hill on the phone to [[Film/IronMan Pepper Potts]]. [[spoiler:Pepper is now Hill's boss at Stark Industries, following her resignation from S.H.I.E.L.D. at the end of ''CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''.]] During their conversation, Hill paraphrases Tony Stark's "privatizing world peace" line from ''Film/IronMan2'', which is apparently now something of a company mandate.
** In "Beginning of the End", [[spoiler: Nick Fury]] shows up to give Coulson a weapon to fight the Centipede soldiers: the BFG he used on Loki in ''Film/TheAvengers''. He also [[spoiler: finally explains why Coulson's death in ''The Avengers'' was undone. The episode also directly references his actions following the events of ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier''.]]
--->'''Coulson:''' I know what it does.
* CoolCar: Lola, Coulson's 1962 C1 series Corvette convertible. She's outfitted with Stark hover tech. On the other hand, Camilla Reyes calls it out as a MidlifeCrisisCar in "0-8-4". Coulson countered by calling it an ''After''life Crisis Car.
** Particularly cool, in that we have seen her [[spoiler:drop from the Bus in flight to eventually land in a parking lot.]]
--->'''Attendant:''' That'll be twenty dollars.
* CoolPlane: The S.H.I.E.L.D. Mobile Command Unit, the precursor to the Helicarrier. Its codename is the Bus. It's cool both in how it can fly -- the engines can rotate so that it can hover -- and in the interior, which includes a garage, bunks, training rooms, and a mini-bar. Unusually, the fact it's a cool plane is regularly referenced by the characters (most other shows just take such things for granted), and lampshaded in the second episode when Nick Fury vetoes Coulson's plan to install a fish tank. One character even quips that the brig must be between the jacuzzi and the squash court.
* CPRCleanPrettyReliable: Simultaneously played with, played straight, and averted in "The Well", when Coulson performs open-heart massage on a fallen Asgardian. Played with; given the faster healing rate of the Asgardian heart, all he has to do is keep it pumping for a few moments until it can repair itself. Played straight; the patient is walking around by the end of the episode. Averted; Coulson ended up bloody to the wrists--it wasn't pretty.
* CrazyPrepared:
** Coulson, as acting Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (he's the highest agent left), enacts the Odyssey Protocol, effectively sending the entire organization underground.
** Fury has secret bases that Level 8 agents are unaware of. Not even Coulson, his "one good eye", knew about Providence. He created them in case SHIELD fell.
* CreatorCameo: Creator/StanLee in "T.R.A.C.K.S."
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: [[spoiler:Rip the General's rib out, then stab him to death with it as a demonstration of your super-soldier powers?]] Nice one, Garrett.
* DangerTakesABackSeat: Coulson with the doctor in TheStinger of "The Magical Place". Given the circumstances, the doctor looks like he expects to be killed, and is quite relieved when [[StealthHiBye Coulson has gone]] and he is still alive.
* DarkAndTroubledPast: Most of the team.
** Ward's lack of social skill is not a surprise "considering his family history." He later reveals that he had an [[BigBrotherBully abusive older brother]]. He learned to fight in order to protect himself [[BigBrotherInstinct and his second, younger brother]], which eventually led to him becoming a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. [[spoiler:We have seen that he evidently set fire to his family home, killing the abusive brother, and was in danger of going to prison before Garrett recruited him, direct from the juvenile holding facility.]] When the Berserker staff unlocks his worst memory, it causes him to become incredibly angry and fragile for some time even after putting the staff down.
** Skye is implied to have unpersoned herself at some point; one doesn't do that on a whim. She is also the child of two people who were unpersoned by S.H.I.E.L.D. for some reason. Also, she was dropped off at an orphanage by an unidentified S.H.I.E.L.D. agent -- and Coulson hints that there's things in her past he won't tell her, because some secrets cannot be revealed. [[spoiler:When he does, she finds out she herself is an 0-8-4 and that her family, village, and team sent to protect her were slaughtered in the attempt to abduct her. It's also strongly suggested that her parents are "monsters" of some sort.]]
** May is a legendary S.H.I.E.L.D. agent known as "The Cavalry" but she hates that name and hates field work, which was why she ''volunteered'' to become a paper pusher. Turns out [[spoiler:she had to kill twenty cultists to save a number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and one civilian. With no weapons. Her comments to Coulson imply the civilian died and that she is haunted by the number of people she had to kill.]]
** Coulson ''died'' [[Film/TheAvengers at the hands of Loki before an alien invasion]], and his continued existence isn't as simple as "he went to Tahiti to recuperate", like he believes. Unlike most versions, we saw the DarkAndTroubledPast before the series started. He's implied to have done a lot before the MCU films started too.
** Although Fitz's life still wasn't a cakewalk despite not being outright traumatic. He feels alienated from his parents despite them meaning well, because they can't understand him or what he does, and had few to no friends even at the Academy up until he met Simmons because no one else could relate to him either. (And she may well still be his only real friend.) Really, only Simmons seems completely well-adjusted out of the main cast, [[spoiler:which actually turns out to be a bit of a flaw, since it leads to a bad case of BreakTheCutie after the "Uprising" arc.]]
* DarkerAndEdgier: Episode 11 ("The Magical Place"), compared with what went before. Fitz loses most of his {{Adorkable}} traits; the entire team is a ''lot'' angrier than we've ever seen them. Even the team's costumes are in line with this: Fitz-Simmons abandon their usual bright colors and dress in black; Ward wears a combat jumpsuit versus his normal leather jacket. The episodes that follow are also considerably darker than the first 10.
* DarkLordOnLifeSupport: Played with:
** "End of the Beginning" has Garrett and Coulson track down Thomas Nash, who they believe to be the Clairvoyant. They discover that he's in a wheelchair and requires breathing tubes, and can only communicate through a speech synthesizer. [[spoiler:He's a subversion; the real Clairvoyant set him up as a fall guy and had someone else running the synthesizer before having Ward shoot him.]]
** "Ragtag" reveals that [[spoiler:Garrett, the real Clairvoyant, really is one. He has a cybernetic implant feeding him Centipede serum, yet he has no super strength because he's so far gone that the serum only brings him up to "normal", and he's going to die without the GH serum even with it.]]
* ADayInTheLimelight: Although the series is an ensemble theme, every character has had at least one episode devoted to letting them stand out in some way.
* DeadpanSnarker: This being a Joss Whedon production, it's more like WorldOfSnark, but special mention goes to Coulson because he snarks at the team just like he did with the Avengers.
* DeathByIrony: Almost: in "FZZT", [[NightmareFetishist Simmons]] says that it's sad a man was killed by the unexplained phenomena of the week, yet still very interesting. [[spoiler:It's a virus, and she gets infected with it. She doesn't die, but it's very close.]]
* DefrostingIceQueen: May seems to be becoming one, based on the ending of "Repairs" when she plays a prank on Fitz. She used to do that kind of thing much more, until being traumatized by field work.
* {{Determinator}}: ''Never'' tell Coulson "there's no way."
* DifferentlyPoweredIndividual: The series uses the term "Gifted" to refer to those with powers, presumably because FOX has the rights to nearly all of the mutants and the word "mutant".
* DistractedByTheSexy: Simmons can't seem to keep her eyes, or hands, off Mike in "The Bridge". He's been working out and she likes it.
* TheDividual: Fitz and Simmons spend so much time together that they're referred to as "Fitz-Simmons" and it's joked that not everyone knows which is which.
* DoesNotLikeGuns: Discussed with May and Ward when Fitz introduces the [=ICErs=]. When May picks one up, Ward remarks that he thought she didn't like guns; May says she only uses them when she needs them, and they seemed like a perfect fit for that particular mission.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: The plot of "FZZT", which involves firefighters contracting a Chitauri virus after helping out at the [[Film/TheAvengers Battle of New York]] is eerily similar to the real life instances of rescuers who developed fatal illnesses after helping search for victims of [[TheWarOnTerror 9/11]].
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale: Ward gets mind-controlled and raped by Lorelei. Yet he shows no signs of trauma, and he is the one apologizing at the end of the episode.
* DownerEnding:
** "The Bridge" - [[spoiler:Coulson's been betrayed and kidnapped, Skye's trust in Coulson took a turn for the worse with May telling her that Coulson isn't really looking into her parents, Mike is most likely dead (and Ace watched him die), and Ward at best is seriously injured.]]
** "T.R.A.C.K.S." - [[spoiler:Skye has been gut-shot and is near death.]] Exacerbated by the series taking a month-long hiatus, in part in order to avoid having to compete with the Sochi Olympics.
** "Turn, Turn, Turn" - [[spoiler:S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by HYDRA, Agent Garrett]] turns out to be the Clairvoyant, and [[spoiler:Grant Ward]] reveals himself as TheMole [[spoiler:by murdering Victoria Hand and freeing Garrett]].
* DrivingQuestion:
** Who is in charge and what is the purpose of the Centipede project? [[spoiler:The Clairvoyant is in charge of it, and is revealed to be Garrett. The Centipede project is a subdivision of HYDRA.]]
** What really happened to Coulson after Loki stabbed him? As of "The Magical Place", this is finally answered: [[spoiler: he was dead for ''days'' until S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to resurrect him, and then rewrote his memories]]. But there is more to this story...
** Who is Skye? "Seeds" reveals everything S.H.I.E.L.D. knows, which isn't much - [[spoiler: She's an 0-8-4 that some unidentified group really wants to get a hold of and is willing to kill anyone close to her to do so. S.H.I.E.L.D. {{UnPerson}}ed her and arranged for her to get continually shuffled through the foster system to keep her hidden]] - but that doesn't fully answer the question and they're currently out of leads.
** Who is [[spoiler: the alien whose corpse provided the miracle drug that revived Coulson and saved Skye? How did it end up in such a situation? If its function is to heal, why was it under such heavy guard that only Director Fury, level 10 clearance, could freely access the place it was held?]]
** Who ''else'' is [[spoiler:going to turn out to be working for HYDRA? Who will survive the coming CivilWar?]]
** Who was in charge of the T.A.H.I.T.I project if it wasn't Nick Fury? [[spoiler: The closing scene of "Nothing Personal" reveals that it was Coulson himself]].
* DrunkOnTheDarkSide:
** This seems to be a side-effect of the Centipede serum. Both characters shown exposed to it ended up falling victim to this.
** This is explicitly stated to be the result of contact with the Berserker Staff from "The Well." By its very design, it gives you super strength, then makes you feel angry and unstoppable.
* DullSurprise: In "Ragtag," when Coulson finds out [[spoiler: he himself was involved in the T.A.H.I.T.I. project before [[Film/TheAvengers his death]], he looks shocked, but his reaction is simply: "huh."]]
* EmergingFromTheShadows: Wait a minute, Coulson is dead, it's in the report, he died before the battle of New York. Cue for Coulson to step out of the dark and clarify that the [[ReportsOfMyDeathWereGreatlyExaggerated Reports of His Death Were Greatly Exaggerated]].
-->'''Coulson''': Sorry, that corner was really dark, and [[IAlwaysWantedToSayThat I couldn't help myself.]] ''[{{beat}}]'' I think there's a bulb out.
* EmpoweredBadassNormal: Ward and May each get their turn swinging the Berserker staff in "The Well".
* EpisodeOnAPlane: "Repairs" is ''Demons on a Plane''.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: In "0-8-4," the cars are extremely combustible once the rebels attack; shooting a Chevrolet pickup through the ''rear window'' will cause it to detonate.
* EverythingIsOnline: In "Girl in the Flower Dress", Miles can use his computer to control traffic lights and all the doors in a building. Globally the trope is played straight, but in a less unrealistic way than usual. Skye can hack absolutely anything, from NSA satellite systems to security doors in a building, but in some cases (The Extremis lab in episode 5, Quinn's estate, the Hub communication panel) she has to physically get into the facility to access the local network. So everything is online, but at least not everything is directly accessible through the Internet.
* EyeScream: Akela Amador gets pointy things to the eye twice in "Eye-Spy" and by the end of the episode, is one less. Then again, the alternative was to have said eye implant explode, taking her out with it.
* EveryonesBabySister: Fitz and Simmons both qualify as this trope. The other characters' reactions to their lives being endangered in [[ContaminationSituation "F.Z.Z.T."]] and "Beginning of the End" exceed what we've learned to expect when Coulson, May, Ward, and Skye risk their lives. Fitz and Simmons are the non-field agents on the team, and two of the youngest. In "F.Z.Z.T.":
--> '''May (of Simmons):''' She's only a kid.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: Fitz seems to be of this opinion, at least.
-->'''Fitz:''' What we need is a highly trained monkey.\\
'''Simmons:''' ''[exasperated]'' Oh, Fitz!\\
'''Fitz:''' He could turn off the alarm with his adorable little paws!
* EvilAllAlong: As of "Turn, Turn, Turn", [[spoiler: The large number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who were actually members of HYDRA. Including Garrett and Ward.]]
* EvilCripple: "The End of the Beginning" introduces Thomas Nash, who Coulson and Garrett believe to be The Clairvoyant. When they raid his headquarters, he never moves and only communicates through a speech synthesizer. In the end he [[spoiler:is a subversion. He was really catatonic and not controlling the synthesizer at all, and the real Clairvoyant goaded Ward into shooting Nash in the hopes that people would believe the Clairvoyant to be dead.]]
* EvilEvolves: The Centipede organization is constantly improving their technology, most of which appears to be originally stolen from other sources. The Centipede device itself is an excellent example.
* ExactWords:
** In "The Magical Place", May gives Agent Hand her "professional opinion" that Skye "will be of no use on the plane". Which is precisely true, since she knows [[ObstructiveBureaucrat Hand will never let Skye do what needs to be done to locate Coulson]] and Skye is of better use out in the field.
** In "Ragtag", Coulson tells Skye to get ready to receive a "large file transfer". Which involves throwing an entire file cabinet full of paper files out of a window.
** In "The Only Light in the Darkness", TheMole uses this to evade detection.
** In "Beginning of the End", [[spoiler:an angry and confused Coulson confronts Nick Fury over why the T.A.H.I.T.I. resurrection process was enacted on him if it was specifically intended for the resurrection of an Avenger. Fury makes it clear that as far as he is concerned, Coulson ''is'' an Avenger.]]
* ExiledFromContinuity: [[http://splashpage.mtv.com/2013/09/24/mutant-marvels-agents-of-s-h-i-e-l-d/ According to]] WordOfGod, the show cannot use any ''ComicBook/XMen'', ''Comicbook/FantasticFour'', or ''ComicBook/SpiderMan'' characters since [[Film/XMen their]] [[Film/FantasticFour2015 film]] [[Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan rights]] are owned by [[Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox Fox]] and Creator/{{Sony}}. They can't even use ''the word'' "Mutants", which is why similar terms like "Gifted" are used to describe characters like Scorch. It's reinforced every time someone insists psychic powers aren't real. In the ''X-Men'' films, it's clear everyone (at least in positions of authority) knows that they certainly are. The presence of superpowered individuals is likewise considered a new thing to the general public in the MarvelCinematicUniverse, whereas ''X-Men'' not only had very public displays of superpowers, there was a political campaign about registering people with them.
* ExplosiveLeash: Several characters are fitted with bionic eyes that provide x-ray vision and HUD instructions -- and explode to instantly kill the subject if they disobey.
* EurekaMoment: Skye has one in "End of the Beginning":
-->'''Coulson:''' I feel like he's still out there...in our heads.\\
'''Skye:''' Or in our ''files.''
** Also, Fitzsimmons in "F.Z.Z.T":
-->'''Simmons:''' [[spoiler:The antibodies from the three firefighters aren't strong enough to fight this virus. It's born from alien DNA. There's noone to create an antiserum from, because noone's actually survived this, except...]]\\
'''Fitzsimmons:'''[[spoiler:...the Chitauri.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:F-H]]
* FaceHeelTurn: The show has featured this trope multiple times, both played straight and as a fake out.
* FacialDialogue: Half of one, as Coulson speaks, and May doesn't but he reacts like she's been answering him the whole time.
* FakeNationality: InUniverse: Fitz and Skye pose as a couple while on a mission, so Fitz suggests that they should pretend to be the same nationality. After hearing Skye's terrible Scottish accent, he decides to adopt an American accent instead.
* FakeShemp: Nick Fury and Maria Hill make a "cameo" during a {{Flashback}} in "The Magical Place", but are only shown from a distance and have their faces obscured.
* FakeStatic: Coulson pulls this to avoid orders in "FZZT". It wasn't a good excuse and the other person knew it was fake, but he was pressed for time.
* FakedKidnapping: In "The Asset": [[spoiler:Dr. Hall set up his own kidnapping once he knew that Quinn needed him in order to take him down, but S.H.I.E.L.D. had no idea he did this and Quinn himself thinks the whole thing was his idea.]]
* FauxAffablyEvil:
** Raina. She manipulates, kidnaps, and tortures while never saying a single harsh word. The most egregious example is when she purposefully leaves Debbie to her death and says "I wish you all the best" as the elevator doors close between them.
** Then there's the Clairvoyant. He maintains the chummy attitude he's previously been using in a civilian disguise, even after his true identity is revealed. Even when TheDragon is experiencing a VillainousBSOD, he kept laughing and joking, not caring about what was happening. His charm and affability is only a charade though, and there's no one he won't sacrifice to further his goals.
* FireForgedFriends: The team begins this process in "0-8-4", to a greater or lesser extent depending on which characters.
** "The Girl in the Flower Dress" implies that this happened between Skye and Miles prior to the series.
** Simmons and Triplett apparently have complete trust in each other by "Providence", as a result of being trapped together at the Hub during the [[spoiler:HYDRA takeover]]. This doesn't extend to the rest of the team, though - Coulson eventually accepts her arguments that Triplett should be allowed to join the Bus for a while, but he and [[GreenEyedMonster Fitz]] at least still have their doubts.
* FirstEpisodeSpoiler:
** #[=CoulsonLives!=] This is the hashtag for the 7-second teaser.
** [=FitzSimmons=] turning out to be [[TheDividual two people]] midway through the Pilot. (Up until they appear on-screen, they're referred to as if they're a single person, with pronouns deliberately avoided, and the singular often used.)
* FiveBadBand: The Centipede Group a.k.a. [[spoiler: HYDRA]]
** BigBad: [[spoiler: John Garrett]] / The Clairvoyant leads the group.
** TheDragon: Edison Po, [[YouHaveFailedMe later replaced]] by [[spoiler: Raina]] and then by [[spoiler: [[EvilAllAlong Grant Ward]]]]. Each of them served as the spokesman/pointman for The Clairvoyant.
** TheEvilGenius: Ian Quinn is implied to be the R&D arm of the Centipede Group because his episodes focus on developing new technology: the gravitonium, the weather control device, the cyborg implants, etc.
** TheBrute: Deathlok is forced to become The Clairvoyant's hitman and augmented with great physical strength and firepower to do this.
** TheDarkChick: Raina's role is to use empathy and manipulation to convince others to help The Centipede Group, such as convincing Gifted to join them.
%%%%
%%%% Do not re-add five man band here. It's been removed before for being a shoehorn.
%%%%

* FlatEarthAtheist: In "Eye-Spy", people point out that science hasn't confirmed the validity of psychic powers. This being in a universe filled with Norse gods, aliens, and gamma radiation monsters. Skye points out the absurdity of this.
* FlockOfWolves: The Bus has a serious mole problem:
** Skye is a mole for [[spoiler:the Rising Tide terrorist/hacktivist organization, though she cuts ties as she begins to warm up to SHIELD, and specifically when her mentor turns out to be a blatant hypocrite]].
** May is a mole for [[spoiler:Fury, given the full details of Coulson's resurrection and tasked with keeping an eye on him to make sure there were no side effects. She also built the team (short of Skye) specifically to help take him down and fix him if it became necessary]].
** Ward is a mole for [[spoiler:HYDRA, specifically the Clairvoyant and the Centipede project. While he was trawling for information in general, his mission goal was to discover the secret behind Coulson's resurrection]].
** Fitz-Simmons are a mole for [[spoiler:...no one, actually. They seem to be just a pair of skilled scientists who managed to get on the Bus and dumped into the heart of some of SHIELD's worst conspiracies through no fault of their own - though they do set up an encrypted line to allow them to relay their research about the TAHITI serum to each other, which ends up causing some trouble despite the fact that their intentions were good. However, May does reveal that they were brought onto the team for the sake of reprogramming Coulson should he become unstable, though they were unaware of this]].
** As of "Nothing Personal", [[spoiler:even ''Coulson himself'' is revealed to have inadvertently worked against his own current interests in the past, (though he's lost the memories of doing so), by heading the T.A.H.I.T.I. project shortly before becoming its first true success.]]
* FlyingCar: Lola, which [[BrickJoke makes for the difference between "new" and "improved"]].
* FoodPorn: Fitz describing his sandwich in "The Hub" certainly qualifies. No wonder he gets mad once Ward throws it away.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** Coulson's "rusty" when it comes to breaking down a handgun. He makes a remark about how he had it down as muscle memory. Akela, who knew Coulson quite well before his 'death' and effectively has x-ray vision, is very concerned, and asks "what did they do to him?" Another hint that he's not quite the man he was prior to ''Film/TheAvengers''.
** In "0-8-4", Coulson explains to Skye that an 0-8-4 is "an object of unknown origin. Kind of like you." [[spoiler:"Seeds" reveals that Skye is indeed an 0-8-4.]]
** At the end of the pilot, Coulson notes "we didn't cut off the head of the Centipede." [[spoiler:Which organisation runs Centipede? HYDRA? The one with the motto about having their heads cut off?]]
** In "The Hub" Ward asks Fitz "How long can you hold your breath underwater?" [[spoiler: In "Ragtag" Ward drops the pod with Fitz and Simmons into the ocean.]] Fitz's reply is "Not very long." [[spoiler:He nearly dies from oxygen deprivation in "End of the Beginning" while escaping the pod.]]
** In "T.A.H.I.T.I.", one of the facility's security guards eventually recognizes Coulson and asks of they've met. Coulson doesn't remember him but says they may very well have met, because he may have "spent some time" in the facility [[spoiler: being ressurected.]] His suspicion is correct, but the conversation takes on a whole new meaning when we learn that Coulson was also [[spoiler: in charge of T.A.H.I.T.I. before it was used to resurrect him.]]
** In "Turn, Turn, Turn," The Clairvoyant said if he wanted Team Coulson dead he could have killed them anytime he wanted. [[spoiler:Since Ward is his inside man, he's probably right.]]
** In "Turn, Turn, Turn" Fitz tells [[spoiler: Garrett]] that he will suffer for what he's done, and that he (Fitz) plans on being a very big part of that. [[spoiler: Four episodes later, Fitz uses an EMP device to short out Garrett's cybernetic components, bringing him to the edge of death.]]
* FourPhilosophyEnsemble: Coulson is a Realist, Ward is the Cynic, Skye is the Optimist, May alternates between Conflicted and Apathetic, and Fitz-Simmons are Apathetic.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Coulson is Phlegmatic, Ward is Choleric, May and Fitz are Melancholic, and Skye and Simmons are Sanguine.
* FreudianSlip: Fitz has one while talking to Skye in the pilot.
-->'''Fitz''': So, uh, when you get back, I'll show you my thing. Uh, thing, it's not...[[DiggingYourselfDeeper it's my hardware. My equipment!]] ''[to himself]'' Hang up...
* FunnyBackgroundEvent:
** In the first episode, when S.H.I.E.L.D. attempts to apprehend Mike, he promptly kicks a van door off. The crowd scatters... except for one man in the distance, who looks at the door and then, [[UnfazedEveryman uninterested]], saunters off.
** In "0-8-4", after the skirmish at the end, if you pay attention, you can see Fitz holding onto one of the pillars for dear life. Also in the episode is a brief shot of Fitz and Simmons taking a selfie with the Peruvian ruins.
** In 'The Asset', when Ward is teaching Skye how to box, there's a moment when Fitz can be seen in the lab annoying Simmons with the laser they're working on.
** In "Girl in the Flower Dress", as Agent Kwan asks how they will get into the building, May shoots off the ground towards the roof.
** In "Yes Men", when Ward is trying to convince May that he's no longer brainwashed, Sif walks in leading the imprisoned Lorelei. The look on Sif's face when she sees Ward, May, and the half-destroyed Bus is hilarious.
* FunWithAcronyms:
** {{Lampshaded}} by Ward during his interview.
--->'''Maria Hill:''' What does S.H.I.E.L.D. stand for, Agent Ward?\\
'''Agent Ward:''' Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.\\
'''Maria Hill:''' And what does that mean to you?\\
'''Agent Ward:''' It means somebody really wanted our initials to spell "shield".
** A meta example would be the official name for "the Bus" - the Mobile Command Unit, or [[MarvelCinematicUniverse MCU]].
** Two episodes, "T.R.A.C.K.S." and "T.A.H.I.T.I.", are stylized as acronyms which are never actually explained. Though T.A.H.I.T.I. appears InUniverse, so it may get some explanation down the road.
* GambitPileup: By the end of "The End of the Beginning", it's clear that there are no less than three factions within S.H.I.E.L.D., each with its own agenda. There's the main team, led by Agent Coulson; an unnamed group trying to keep the details of Coulson's resurrection a secret from Coulson and everybody else; and [[spoiler:a more villainous faction who answers to the Clairvoyant (revealed to all be HYDRA moles)]].
* GenderEqualEnsemble: The six main characters. They've also balanced out the {{action hero}}es with the {{action girl}}s. May is the most {{badass}} member of TheTeam, while Skye and Simmons have no particular ability in combat whereas the men have two badasses (Coulson and Ward) as well as the weakest team member (Fitz).
* GenreSavvy:
** Having more mileage in the MCU than anyone else, Coulson is all over this trope.
*** Coulson's reaction to learning of Scorch's name:
--->'''Coulson:''' Ah crap. They gave him a ''name''.
*** In "Yes Men", when Coulson finds out that Sif has been blown out the hatch in the interrogation cell, he immediately responds: "She's an Asgardian! Open the hatch and let her back in!"
*** In "Providence", Coulson immediately realizes that Colonel Talbot's "peacekeeping" forces are anything but, and orders an evacuation of the Hub.
*** In "The Only Light In The Darkness" he explains that their current target worked in a physics lab which was trying to harness "something called '[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Dark Force]].' [[SarcasmMode And nothing bad ever happens when you work with something called 'Dark Force']]."
** May has no evidence to suspect that [[spoiler:Nick Fury]] would be NotQuiteDead and not really dead as reported, and yet, she was right.
* GratuitousForeignLanguage: On the cover of the Mobile Command manual given to Skye in "0-8-4", the [[GratuitousRussian Russian]] text can be translated as "of the vehicle-born mobile station command", with the last word's grammatical form being one used in phrases like "giving a command". ''And'' it starts with a lowercase letter. Not sure about the other languages.
* GravityScrew: When Dr. Hall puts the graviton device on full power, gravity in the compound starts going every which-way.
* GreenAesop: A subtle one in "The Asset": Quinn is implied to use ecologically short-sighted methods like strip-mining to make a profit, but it's not the focus of the episode, and [[spoiler:in the end, Dr. Hall is the one who nearly kills everyone.]]
* GuestStarPartyMember:
** Sif joins forces with Coulson's team in "Yes Men".
** Maria Hill teams up with Coulson, Fitz-Simmons and Triplett in "Nothing Personal".
** [[spoiler:Nick Fury]] in the Season One finale.
* HeroicBSOD:
** Simmons has a brief one in "FZZT" [[spoiler:after realizing she has been infected by the Chitauri electromagnetic virus]].
** May is in the midst of an extended one when she is recruited back into the team.
** The whole team experiences this in "T.R.A.C.K.S." after [[spoiler:Skye is shot]].
** In "T.A.H.I.T.I.", after Coulson finds the [[spoiler:alien corpse]] that serves as the source of the GH drug, he's so shocked that Garrett finds him wandering down the hall like a zombie.
* HeroicSacrifice: In "The Bridge", [[spoiler:Coulson voluntarily surrenders himself to Raina to get Mike Peterson's son released.]]
** In "The Beginning Of The End", [[spoiler: Fitz ''tries'' to do one of these to save Simmons. She will have none of that and saves his life, but he's not in good shape at the end of the episode.]]
* HerosFirstRescue: In the premiere, Mike Peterson's heroic debut was climbing up the side of a burning building to rescue a woman trapped in the top floor.
* HesBack: See WhamLine, below.
* HiddenAgendaVillain: For much of the first season it was unknown what Centipede's end goals were. They are creating super-soldiers, but why? "Providence" eventually gives an answer: [[spoiler:Garrett's conversation with Raina suggests the group was founded by HYDRA and recruited with promises of "changing the world", meaning they've always been pawns in HYDRA's goals.]] "Ragtag" makes it even more clear: [[spoiler:John Garrett is being kept alive by first-generation Deathlok technology, which is failing. He wants the Centipede tech to replace it and the GH-325 drug is the last element.]]
* HiddenInPlainSight: An ancient Asgardian citizen has been living in hiding on Earth for centuries and is currently [[spoiler:the foremost expert on Norse language and mythology.]]
* HighAltitudeInterrogation: A variant: During an interrogation, Ward straps himself to his chair while Fitz/Simmons open the ''ceiling'', threatening to pull someone out via the difference in air pressure.
* HighDiveEscape: In "The Asset", Skye escapes from Quinn's mansion by leaping off the balcony into the swimming pool.
* HijackedByGanon: The identity of the Clairvoyant is revealed in "Turn, Turn, Turn". However, mere seconds later, it's also revealed [[spoiler:he wasn't working towards his own ends, but for HYDRA]].
* HoistByHisOwnPetard:
** By the time of "T.R.A.C.K.S.", Centipede has developed dendrotoxin grenades that have similar effects as the Night-Night Gun, [[spoiler:because they somehow got their hands on the formula]].
** Also in "T.R.A.C.K.S.", May is captured. One of her captors stabs her in the shoulder with a knife to torture her. She then uses said knife to cut herself loose and kill his henchmen.
* HollywoodEncryption: Skye's hard drive can only be decrypted at a specific geographic location.
* HollywoodHacking: Regularly when Skye's hacking skills are involved. Hacking the NSA satellite streams? No problem, it shouldn't take more than one hour.
* HollywoodMidLifeCrisis: Cammila Reyes, Coulson's NewOldFlame, suggests he's going through this in "0-8-4." Coulson suggests it's more of an ''after''life crisis.
* {{Homage}}:
** The pilot contains a clear homage to ''Film/BackToTheFuture''. The scene where Lola takes flight is shot very similarly to the [=DeLorean=] taking flight at the end of the first movie.
** Same scene, different homage, to the scene in ''The Avengers'' when Steve Rogers tells Nick Fury that there is nothing he hasn't seen before. Skye says incredulously to Coulson "You're going to show ''me'' something new?". In both scenes, the characters are proven wrong by a flying vehicle that shouldn't fly.
* HonestyIsTheBestPolicy:
** Invoked in the pilot. Coulson jabs Ward with a truth serum and leaves him for Skye to interrogate, just to be absolutely clear they have nothing to hide from her.
** Skye uses it herself in "The Asset". Rather than trouble herself with coming up with a lie to get into Quinn's office, she just tells him the truth: [[spoiler:that she's a mole inside S.H.I.E.L.D.]]
* HopeSpot: In "Ragtag", [[spoiler:Ward is under orders to kill Fitz-Simmons. The episode is intercut with flashbacks to his experiences with Garrett's dog Buddy, who he was also ordered to shoot during his training. Ward appears to [[BaitTheDog let the dog go]], flashing forward to Ward admitting he does care for his old teammates... a weakness which is exactly why he needs to kill them, flashing back to someone, probably Garrett, [[ShootTheDog sniping the dog]] as Ward ejects them from The Bus.]]
* HostageForMacGuffin: In "The Bridge", [[spoiler:Centipede kidnaps Mike's son and offers him up in exchange for Mike... until it turns out they actually want Coulson.]]
* HumanWeapon: Akela in ''Eye-Spy''. She is controlled by people who implanted her with a cybernetic eye which can see through walls, transmit video streams, display messages, ... and monitor everything she does, and explodes should she run away or get caught. The ending reveals that [[spoiler:her controller is also a pawn who got the exact same treatment.]] Then, in "A Magical Place", we see the technology again used on Deathlok and some enemy soldiers.
* HurlItIntoTheSun: Objects deemed too dangerous to be kept are disposed of via "The Slingshot", a facility where the offending device is stuck in a missile and launched into the sun. "Providence" reveals that [[spoiler:the items are actually secretly tucked away in the Fridge, and the missiles are just for show.]]
* HypocriticalHumor: [=FitzSimmons=] are particularly prone to this.
** In "FZZT" Simmons (along with Fitz and Skye) has great fun doing unflattering impressions of Ward. Later, when Fitz does a terrible falsetto impression of Simmons mid-argument, she angrily responds with "I hate when you do that voice, I don't even sound like that!" (Granted, the circumstances were dreadfully dire at the time and the whole scene is [[TearJerker intentionally far from funny]], but the way she says it makes it clear that it's a recurring annoyance.) She also later criticizes Skye's "awful" attempt at an English accent in "Yes Men", despite it not really being any worse than her attempt to mimic Ward's American accent in "FZZT".
** In "Repairs" Fitz accuses Simmons of [[ScreamsLikeALittleGirl screaming like a girl]] when a classmate pulled a prank on her; she irritably responds that it's allowed because she ''is'' a girl. Later, when Fitz accidentally falls victim to a prank he himself rigged up and then forgot about, he lets out an incredibly high-pitched and prolonged scream; Simmons, while clearly surprised and alarmed, is noticeably less vocal.
** Fitz's [[GreenEyedMonster irritation and snarky comments]] towards Simmons whenever she flirts with anyone is pretty funny, considering he spends the first few episodes blatantly hitting on Skye - to which Simmons is apparently oblivious, which just adds to the execution of the trope.
** Simmons gets annoyed with Fitz in "The Asset" when the only explanation he can come up with for a female agent gaining a male suspect's trust is by flirting with him (or, as he more succinctly puts it, "boobs"). But then in "Yes Men", when Fitz gets mind-controlled by Lorelei, Simmons tries to reassure him with a comment about how he couldn't help himself, since all men are weak around attractive women. (Admittedly perfectly true in Lorelei's case, but she seems content to leave the statement generalized.)
** There's also this exchange in "The End of the Beginning", after they've secretly set up a secure line so Simmons can keep Fitz in the loop as to developments at the Hub:
---> '''Simmons:''' Fitz?\\
'''Fitz:''' Don't use my name, Jemma!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:I-M]]
* ICallItVera: Coulson calls his car "Lola".
* IHaveYourWife: Raina coerces Mike's help by kidnapping his son.
** Cybertek has this as standard practice for gaining employees. It's known as the "incentives program".
* ILoveNuclearPower: It's suggested that Scorch gained his [[PlayingWithFire pyrokinetic]] abilities thanks to a nuclear plant that caught fire near his house.
* INeedADrink: Coulson's first move after retaking the Bus in "0-8-4" is to the convenient on-board bar. Which Fury, in the stinger, notes that he generously provided.
* INeverSaidItWasPoison: The Clairvoyant's identity is ultimately revealed this way; he knows too much about Raina.
* IdiotBall:
** Victoria Hand seems to be the designated carrier, as a side effect of carrying the ConflictBall. The whole deal with extracting Fitz and Ward in "The Hub" makes no sense because if she wanted Coulson's team to be the extraction team she should have said so in the first place instead of stone walling them. In "The Magical Place" she acts as if Skye wanting to follow the money is some crazy hacker's trick instead of being one of the most sound, fundamental and time-proven methods of running an investigation known to man. Finally, in "Turn, Turn, Turn," [[spoiler:her method for determining who is ''not'' an infiltrator for HYDRA is apparently to pretend that ''she herself is an infiltrator for HYDRA'', then demand that agents swear loyalty or be executed. How this is meant to detect genuine HYDRA infiltrators, versus [[PoorCommunicationKills maybe getting her shot by loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents,]] is unclear. It's also based on the idea that no loyal SHIELD agents when given the choice between betraying the group and death [[FakeDefector wouldn't simply lie.]]]] Added to this is the fact that she assumes ''all'' the members of Coulson's team must be [[spoiler:HYDRA moles, just because she has evidence to believe that Coulson is one, even though the team is relatively newly assembled of people who were mostly unknown to one another beforehand. Furthermore, having ordered them all to be killed on sight because of the risk she believes they pose, she's willing to give Simmons a chance to prove her loyalty for apparently no other reason than that she happened to be in the Hub, and not on the Bus, when the Uprising started.]]
** In "Yes Men", Ward gets the drop on Lorelei with a tranq gun. He's been told that she has the ability to charm men with her voice and her touch. Not only does he not [[KillHimAlready shoot her immediately]], he allows her to get within arm's reach.
** Eric Koenig gets this in "The Only Light in the Darkness" when he debriefs Coulson's team with a super-accurate lie detector. Despite his suspicions that one of them is TheMole and the lie detector throwing big red warnings all over the place, one adroit answer (with a liberal use of ExactWords) is enough for Eric to conclude everything's fine.
* IgnoranceIsBliss:
** The reason Coulson's special team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents exist is that TheWorldIsNotReady for most of the weird things happening in the world. He even gives an AppealToObscurity example to hammer his point. PlayfulHacker Skye feels differently and thinks an [[TheUnmasquedWorld Unmasqued World]] is the way to go.
** "Providence" reveals [[spoiler:that once S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secrets have flooded onto the Internet, Skye realizes that Coulson was right: TheWorldIsNotReady.]]
** Coulson's being kept in the dark about his resurrection, [[spoiler:and the implanted memories of Tahiti were specifically to keep him ignorant of the real circumstances of his resurrection (see AndIMustScream), which otherwise were too unbearable for him to go on living.]]
* InformationWantsToBeFree: An early theme in the series is the security vs. privacy debate, as well as the control vs. freedom of information debate. The show mostly comes down in favor of the security and control of information sides, and the message seems to be that it's easy to demand freedom of information when you're not responsible for its consequences.
* InMediasRes: "0-8-4" opens with the crew on their way back from a mission, Coulson saying that he thinks they've seen the last of the trouble, and an explosion; then it cuts to "19 Hours Earlier". By the time the story gets back to Coulson's remark and the explosion, it's turned out that several things aren't as they first appeared.
* InsistentTerminology:
** [[Film/{{Thor}} Thor's]] not just handsome, he's ''dreamy'' according to Skye and May.
** In "F.Z.Z.T," it's not a ''vaccine'' it's an ''anti-serum''.[[note]]Which is technically correct; a vaccine works to ''prevent'' infection, and is useless for treatment, while an anti-serum is used to ''treat'' an active infection.[[/note]]
* InspectorJavert: Colonel Talbot doesn't care if Coulson's team was involved with the villains or not -- he has his orders to bring them in, no matter what.
* InstantSedation: The Night-Night gun, as well as its smaller counterpart the Night-Light gun, puts out anyone hit with it.
* InterserviceRivalry: There is a school rivalry level one between the various S.H.I.E.L.D. academies. Operations takes pride in how difficult their training is. Science and Technology takes pride in how hard it is to get accepted into their academy in the first place. Both of them look down on the Analysts.
* {{Irony}}: TheMole was on the Bus to find out the secrets behind Coulson's resurrection. In the process, they [[spoiler:seduced May solely to cement their cover--not knowing that she had the full details of the project the entire time]].
* JustPlaneWrong:
** The custom S.H.I.E.L.D. transport plane has an extra pair of engines hanging on the tail, directly behind the engines on the wings and consequently sucking in their ''hot exhaust'', which is bad for jet engines. Not to mention that the interior is [[BiggerOnTheInside way too big]] for a C-17. As it turns out, the extra engines are necessary when the plane hovers in "The Hub". But making her a VTOL just brings up more technical problems, like insufficient thrust and structural support for the engines. AppliedPhlebotinum plus RuleOfCool is the only possible way to overcome these problems.
** In "0-8-4", the Bus makes a landing on a dirt landing strip in the jungle, kicking up much dirt and debris directly into the engine intake. FOD (Foreign Object Damage) appears not to be a consideration.
* JustShootHim: In "The End of the Beginning", Ward's reaction to [[spoiler:finally meeting the Clairvoyant. Except he turned out to be a decoy; which (as of "Turn, Turn, Turn") it seems Ward knew all along.]]
* KarmicDeath:
** In "Girl in the Flower Dress", Debbie, the Centipede doctor, who experimented on people and caused them to explode, is incinerated by one of her test subjects.
** In "Beginning of the End," [[spoiler: Garrett, who betrayed SHIELD to HYDRA and used Mike Peterson as a lab rat for techniques to save his own life, first gets beaten within an inch of his life by Mike, and then finished off by Coulson with the HYDRA beam weapon.]]
* KarmaHoudini: At the end of the first season, [[spoiler: Quinn and Raina, despite brief turns in prison earlier in the season, are able to escape Garrett's downfall.]]
* KickTheDog: Quite a few.
** In "T.A.H.I.T.I.," Ian Quinn mocks Garrett about the agents he lost trying to track Quinn. He gets beaten down for his troubles.
** In "Nothing Personal", TheMole shows that in addition to being a traitor, a multiple murderer, and a member of an organization founded by a Nazi, they're also sexist.
** In "Beginning of the End", The Clairvoyant taunts killing Fitz and Simmons with heavy sarcasm.
** In "Ragtag", Garrett [[spoiler:actually orders Ward to kill a dog.]]
* KidnappedScientist:
** In episode 3, Dr. Hall is kidnapped, with the intention of using him to finish a bit of powerful superscience. [[spoiler:This is played with the whole time, though. At first, it seems like Hall willingly going along with the scheme in order to finish his life's work. Then, [[FakeDefector it turns out Hall was playing Quinn the whole time,]] [[WellIntentionedExtremist and joined up with him to destroy the extremely dangerous invention by any means necessary.]]]]
** Later in the series, this is The Clairvoyant's plan for Fitz when he gets captured, and possibly Simmons as well.
* KirkSummation: In "Turn, Turn, Turn", Coulson brushes off The Clairvoyant with "This is you being a psychopath."
* LampshadeHanging:
** During Ward's interview in the first episode.
--->'''Maria Hill:''' What does S.H.I.E.L.D. stand for, Agent Ward?\\
'''Agent Ward:''' Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.\\
'''Maria Hill:''' And what does that mean to you?\\
'''Agent Ward:''' It means somebody really wanted our initials to spell "shield".
** Coulson hangs a lampshade on his dramatic entrance.
--->'''Coulson:''' Sorry, this corner was really dark and I couldn't help myself. ''[{{beat}}]'' I think a bulb is out or something.
** May and Ward both argue with Coulson about his odd insistence on hiring Skye, with Ward pointing out that she's a member of an anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. terrorist group and May flatly stating that the team already has a lack of combat-ready agents.
** "Providence" sees the use of the [[spoiler:double-fisted "Hail HYDRA!"]] salute getting ridiculed by Garrett, who says it makes the user look like a cheerleader.
* LaResistance[=/=]YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters: Skye regards Peruvian anti-mining rebels as this in "0-8-4" when Coulson arrives in the Peruvian countryside, fighting against perceived injustice due to the Peruvian government's willingness to exploit the countryside for natural resources. [[spoiler: The Peruvian Army's military police soldiers were perfectly willing to kill the team and blame the rebels (even though they'd rescued them from the rebels and Coulson was their leader's ex-partner, in more ways than one) to get the device (a powerful weapon which they'd commissioned former Nazi/HYDRA scientists to build in the first place).]]
* LastNameBasis: Everyone is referred to by their last name, barring personal moments, with the exception of Skye, who doesn't have a last name.
* LateArrivalSpoiler:
** Coulson's "death" in ''The Avengers''.
** The episode ''"Turn, Turn, Turn"'' ends up being one for ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', provided you didn't see the movie that only opened four days earlier. In a deliberate attempt to give the audience some breathing room, the episode was aired as a rerun before the following week's new episode.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall:
** The flight designation for "The Bus" is S.H.I.E.L.D. 616.
** After the rocky reception the first half of the season received from critics and fans, Coulson's line about being sick of secrets and conspiracies could be seen as one.
* LegacyCharacter: "Rag-Tag" reveals that there have been several different Deathloks before Mike, the first of whom was [[spoiler:John Garrett]].
* LikeBrotherAndSister: Fitz and Simmons, with their constant, comfortable switching between gentle concern and indignant bickering with each other.
* LittleNo: Fitz gives a slow, soft one despair and denial in "F.Z.Z.T," when it looks like [[spoiler:Simmons' last hope for surviving the alien virus has failed.]]
* LocationSubtitles: Every location gets the name of the area, and a quick geostamp describing where it is. Except for S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities, which inevitably get "Location: Classified."
* LockedOutOfTheLoop: Due to S.H.I.E.L.D clearence levels certain information is off limits to certain people. Notably everything about Coulson's death is classified to even the higher up agents except Fury himself. [[spoiler:May knew all along, but was ordered to keep it to herself and report to Fury on a secret encrypted line in case Coulson CameBackWrong. Coulson is furious when he finds out, especially since Fitz found the encrypted line but not what it's for.]]
* LoveTriangle: Either a [[TriangRelations Type 3 or Type 4]] forms around Simmons towards the end of Season One, with Fitz and Triplett on the other two sides.
* LowerDeckEpisode: The entire show, from the perspective of the greater Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse.
* [[MonsterOfTheWeek MacGuffin Of The Week]]: Many of the first 10 episodes followed this formula, with only hints of a broader story arc. "The Bridge", showed retrospectively how several of those episodes connected in to the larger mythology.
* {{Macgyvering}}: Fitz builds an anti-weapon blaster out of the pieces of the separatists' Overkill Device in "The Hub".
* MagicalDatabase: The Index, the list of all known [[DifferentlyPoweredIndividual Differently Powered Individuals]] and "special objects" (re: identified 0-8-4s). It's said to not be a very ''long'' list, but given the rate at which these things keep popping up, it will likely grow to be one.
* {{MayIncatec}}: The Inca temple in "0-8-4" looks like it was built by Mayans, right down to the writing on the inside walls. The Incas didn't even ''have'' writing.
* MeaningfulEcho:
** In "The Asset", when Skye tries to respond to Quinn referring to S.H.I.E.L.D. as "Big Brother" by paraphrasing a story Ward had told her about his family, only to [[{{Metaphorgotten}} lose track of what she's saying]].
--->'''Quinn''': S.H.I.E.L.D.'s against everything you stand for. They're big brother.\\
'''Skye''': Maybe, but they're the nice big brother who stands up for his helpless little brother when he's getting beat up because he ate a piece of cake that he wasn't... you know, you kidnapped a person!
** A moment later, Quinn coincidentally says something Ward had said earlier.
--->'''Quinn:''' ''[after Skye takes his gun]'' Do you have what it takes to pull the trigger?\\
'''Skye:''' Nope. [''jumps out the window'']
** Something that Fitzsimmons says in "The Girl in the Flower Dress" gets this treatment in the finale.
--->''[after finding out Skye may have betrayed them for another Rising Tide operative]''\\
'''Fitz:''' Why would Skye do this to us, for him? I thought she was our friend.\\
'''Simmons:''' I think she is, Fitz. He's just obviously more than that.\\
''[later, as [[spoiler:Fitz]] is about to [[spoiler:make a HeroicSacrifice]]]''\\
'''Simmons:''' [[spoiler:Why would you do this? You're my best friend in the world!]]\\
'''Fitz:''' [[spoiler:Yeah, you're more than that, Jemma.]]
* TheMenInBlack: The show has a broad B-plot of showcasing the people behind the dark suits and sunglasses. In addition to being a high-level national security outfit, teams like Agent Coulson's operate as [[ArtifactCollectionAgency Artifact Collection Agents]] (whether those "artifacts" are inanimate objects or ''people'').
* MildlyMilitary:
** While Coulson, Ward, and May are professional S.H.I.E.L.D. field agents, Fitz-Simmons and Skye aren't. During a stake out, they break radio silence to ask if Ward left them any snacks in the van.
** Further invoked when Fitz brings a [[FoodPorn prosciutto and mozarella sandwich]] along on a stealth infiltration mission; Ward throws it away because enemy tracker dogs can easily follow them by the smell.
--->'''Fitz:''' [[SarcasmMode You've destroyed the world's most dangerous sandwich!]] Congratulations!
* MemoryGambit: An involuntary one, as revealed in "Nothing Personal": [[spoiler:One of Coulson's current drives was to find out who supervised Project T.A.H.I.T.I., since, after TheReveal that S.H.I.E.L.D. was infiltrated by [=HYDRA=], Coulson suspected that [=HYDRA=] might have had a hand in resurrecting him and possibly using him as an asset. But then, May manages to get Coulson the file that reveals who supervised the project... and it was ''Coulson himself'', under Nick Fury's orders. T.A.H.I.T.I. was a project designed to resurrect a fallen [[Film/{{The Avengers}} Avenger]] if worst came to worst, but Coulson not only recommended cancellation of the project, he even handed his resignation because of it. Coulson revealed that the only apparent way to be able to survive Project T.A.H.I.T.I. sane was through FakeMemories, since the process was so traumatic it'd drive the subject insane. And that's exactly what they did]].
* MinorCrimeRevealsMajorPlot: [[Recap/AgentsOfSHIELDS1E1Pilot Some average Joe gets Extremis injected into him]] --> [[spoiler:[[Recap/AgentsOfSHIELDS1E17TurnTurnTurn a conspiracy to bring S.H.I.E.L.D. down from within]].]]
* TheMole:
** "0-8-4" reveals that [[spoiler:Skye is acting as one for the Rising Tide. However, in "Girl in the Flower Dress", it is reveals that she's just there to find out what S.H.I.E.L.D. knows about her parents.]]
** In "The Asset", [[spoiler:Dr. Hall]] acts as a mole within S.H.I.E.L.D. to [[spoiler:set up his own kidnapping.]]
** In "T.R.A.C.K.S." [[spoiler:a supposedly friendly agent is on the take from The Clairvoyant's organization and sets the team up, going so far as to interrogate and torture May. [[HoistByHisOwnPetard The latter works out about as well for him as you would expect]].]]
** The end of "Yes Men" reveals that [[spoiler:May is reporting on the team to someone, presumably the people within S.H.I.E.L.D. who brought Coulson back to life.]] "Turn, Turn, Turn" reveals that someone to be [[spoiler:Director Fury himself]].
** "Turn, Turn, Turn" [[spoiler:Ward to HYDRA. Garrett too, but given how deep HYDRA goes, he doesn't really qualify as a Mole.]]
* MomentKiller: Coulson and May are sitting in a car, waiting for a target to show himself. In the meantime, they talked, and May confesses that she had sex with Ward. There's the man! Don't lose him! The discussion about Ward had to be resumed later, when the mission was done.
* MonsterOfTheWeek: The non-myth-arc episodes that don't have the agents pursuing a {{Macguffin}} feature a super-powered villain or phenomenon of some kind, at least at first glance. These sometimes prove to be a BaitAndSwitch.
* MoodWhiplash: In "Providence", the audience is treated to a truly somber scene where Agent Koenig informs the team that Nick Fury [[spoiler:has been shot dead by the Winter Soldier]]. While the team mourns, Koenig pulls Coulson aside and casually, almost jokingly, informs him that [[spoiler:Fury actually survived his gunshot wounds and is chasing after HYDRA in Europe]].
* MoralMyopia: In ''T.A.H.I.T.I.', the team brutally assault the "Guest House" facility and kill the two guards posted there. Those two people are not bad guys. They are not even [[PunchClockVillain Punch Clock Villains]], they are just not villainous at all. They are JustFollowingOrders, and those orders come from Nick Fury and are not even evil. Sure, the team tries a peaceful approach first, and they are a bit in a hurry because of Skye dying, but it is a bit surprising that absolutely nobody in the team has any second thoughts about murdering two basically decent guys. [[spoiler:The fact that two out of four members of the assault team were HYDRA agents trying to discover the base's secrets was probably part of the suspicious lack of moralizing]].
* MouthOfSauron: Edison Po serves as the spokesperson for the Clairvoyant. [[spoiler:After his death, Raina takes his place.]]
* MovieSuperheroesWearBlack:
** When Mike finally suits up to kick some butt, it's in a black S.H.I.E.L.D. jumpsuit. Then averted when he finally becomes Deathlok; his new outfit has plenty of red and yellow.
** [[AvertedTrope Sif wears red and silver armor.]]
* MrFanservice:
** Ward is by no means unattractive and tends to display his muscles for at least half of any given episode so far. In "Eye-Spy", he also spends a fair amount of time in glasses that give him the look of Clark Kent. He also has a decently long scene without a shirt in "The Well", and wears only a towel in "Repairs".
** Even though he hasn't appeared in the series, every time Thor is mentioned in the presence of a female agent, they start gushing about him.
--->'''Ward:''': I don't think Thor is ''technically'' a god.\\
'''Maria Hill:''' You haven't seen his arms.
** In the episode "The Well."
--->'''Skye:''' He's dreamy.\\
'''Coulson:''' I know he's handsome but--\\
'''May:''' No. He's dreamy.
* MsFanservice:
** Skye, starting with the "reverse interrogation". "The Asset" is another notable example, having her run barefoot in a low-cut dress that's been soaked by a jump into a pool, and "Girl in the Flower Dress" has a scene with her, post-sex, in just her underwear.
** Melinda has her fan-servicey moments, notably performing Tai Chi in "The Hub". She also has her own post-sex scene with [[MrFanservice Ward]] in "Repairs".
* MythologyGag:
** Skye tells Mike that "[[Franchise/SpiderMan with great power comes]]... a ton of weird crap that you're not ready for!"
** Simmons asks Ward if he is excited to join them on their "journey into mystery." ''[[JourneyIntoMystery Journey into Mystery]]'' is a former Creator/MarvelComics anthology title. It was also the comic that debuted ComicBook/TheMightyThor, and in recent years has been brought back as a secondary ''Thor'' title.
** At the end of the pilot, Coulson quips that they have yet to "cut the head off the Centipede", which might be a reference to HYDRA's (S.H.I.E.L.D.'s rival organization) motto "Cut off one head, two more will take its place." [[spoiler:The connection is later confirmed as it's revealed that Centipede is part of HYDRA.]]
** Coulson mentions cleaning up a fragment of Anti-Matter that crashed down near Miami - the Anti-Matter Universe being a sizable part of the FantasticFour's mythos.
** Coulson's mobile command is designated S.H.I.E.L.D. 616. The primary Marvel comics universe is designated in-universe as Universe 616.
** Supervillain Graviton was created in the Marvel universe in a complex called Research City, in the Rocky Mountains. The truck at the start of the episode that provides his origin story is emblazoned "Rocky Mountain Office Supplies."
** The equation that Ward is sent to photograph in "Eye-Spy" had some sections written in Skrull.
** Akela mentions that she was held prisoner in the small village of Shang-Chi, which is named for a longtime Marvel character.
** The climax of "Girl in the Flower Dress" has Coulson confronting Chan, just to distract him as May puts two syringes into him to mess up his powers, mimicking the climax of ''Film/XMenTheLastStand''.
** According to Simmons, there is a S.H.I.E.L.D. base called the Triskelion that is even bigger than the Hub. Not only is the Triskelion taken from the UltimateMarvel universe, but in a rare case of preemptive ContinuityNod it is ''also'' the base seen in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''.
** A FreezeFrameBonus example in "The Hub," as when the Team is walking through the Hub itself there are numerous signs pointing out other divisions of S.H.I.E.L.D. , such as [=PsyOps=] and H.A.M.M.E.R.
** The gas station in the beginning of "Repairs" is called "Roxxon", an energy corporation in the Marvel Comics.
** In "Seeds", it is mentioned that a "[[{{Quasar}} Professor Vaughn]]" is a member of the faculty at the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy.
** In "Yes Men", Lady Sif rattles off a list of blue-skinned alien races from the MarvelUniverse, including the [[{{Captain Mar-Vell}} Kree]] and [[Comicbook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy Centaurians]].
** In hindsight, the fact that Mike Peterson's first name is "Mike", much like [[spoiler:Michael Collins, one Deathlok in the comics]].
** In "End of the Beginning", there is a reference to Department H, the Canadian governmental organization responsible for the creation of {{Wolverine}} and AlphaFlight.
** In "Turn, Turn, Turn", there's a brief disagreement between Garrett and Coulson as to what HYDRA's motto talks about getting cut off, a "limb" or a "head". Their original appearance had it as the former, and it was changed to the latter by the time the MCU got started.
** In "Turn, Turn, Turn", In response to Coulson asking whether The Clairvoyant really believes in [[spoiler:the HYDRA goals of spreading death and destruction]], he answers "I wouldn't Say I'm a True Believer". This is in reference to Stan Lee's famous quote from the comics editorial pages.
** "Providence":
*** Garret mentions putting away a guy named Johnny Horton, who had replaced his hands with lion paws. Johnny Horton was an actual C-list marvel villain named "the Griffin".
*** The [[spoiler:HYDRA]] base in the same episode is accessed via a barbershop chair, just like the old S.H.I.E.L.D. barbershop locations in the comics.
*** Skye says they're now "Agents of nothing". ''Nick Fury: Agent of Nothing'' was the title of the oneshot comic that led into ''ComicBook/SecretWarriors'', also a story about [[spoiler:an unofficial team after S.H.I.E.L.D. gets disbanded, and revelations that S.H.I.E.L.D. were controlled by HYDRA the whole time]].
** "The Only Light in Darkness":
*** It is stated that Blackout got his powers from the Darkforce - a two-fer, since in this continuity it's a form of [[Comicbook/FantasticFour Cosmic Radiation]].
*** In the scene where Koenig questions the team, it's revealed that Triplett's grandfather was a Howling Commando. Upon hearing this, Koenig says that he would be "thrilled to have a grandfather that was a Howling Commando" - a reference to the fact that in the comics, Koenig ''was'' one of the Howling Commandos.
** In "Nothing Personal," Maria Hill is questioned about a "Man-Thing."
** The X-Men are ExiledFromContinuity, but they still had a man in a chair with psychic powers. A paraplegic man with his whole body immovilized, not just his legs. Still, they found later that things were more complicated than that.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:N-R]]
* NebulousEvilOrganization:
** The organization behind the Centipede project, revealed in "Turn, Turn, Turn" to be [[spoiler:HYDRA]].
** The group that abducted Akela and put her on an ExplosiveLeash for their use, which may or may not be the same group as the above. [[spoiler:"The Bridge" proves that they are one and the same.]]
* NeverFoundTheBody:
** It is unknown if [[spoiler:Chan]] from "The Girl in the Flower Dress" was consumed by the Extremis explosion caused by an overdose administered by May as a last resort, but he's presumed dead.
** Mike Peterson is also caught in an explosion... which happens to be unrelated to the Extremis within his system. Coulson is told he's dead in "A Magical Place" but the episode's stinger reveals he was captured instead.
* NeverTrustATrailer:
** The trailer for "Girl in the Flower Dress" made it look like Coulson [[spoiler:had expelled Skye from the team for being a traitor.]] In actuality, the line "I'm done with you" [[spoiler:is spoken to convince Skye to reveal her darkest secret, and the full line is actually, "You have a secret, Skye, and one chance to come out with it -- that's now! -- or I'm done with you."]]
** The promos for "The Hub" showed Coulson handcuffed and hooded, and clearly implied that he would be the goal of a rescue mission in the main storyline. Coulson's rescue was completed during (roughly) the first minute of the episode, and it was [[spoiler:Ward and Fitz]] who were stranded behind enemy lines.
** Prior to airing, the bulk of the publicity for "The Well" focused on the episode tying into the aftermath of ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld''. The tie-in lasts for all of the first scene of the episode, before moving into an unrelated plot about an Asgardian hate group and their attempt to claim the pieces of a hidden Asgardian weapon.
** In a similar vein to the trailer for "Girl in the Flower Dress", the trailer for "The Bridge" makes May appear to be cold towards Mike, telling him, "You shouldn't be here." [[spoiler:The line is in fact spoken to Skye and is actually at the tail end of a BrutalHonesty speech by May and a reprimand to not let her personal attachments get in the way if she wants to consider herself a true member of the team. The full line in question? "If you can't put aside your personal attachments, ''then you shouldn't be here.''"]]
* NewOldFlame: Comandante Camilla Reyes for Coulson in "0-8-4". They had an intimate several days at some point in the past.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Fitz using the EMP joy buzzer [[spoiler:to short out Garrett's Deathlok system leaves Raina with no way to keep him alive but injecting him with her super-soldier serum; which works completely. So HYDRA Agent Garrett is also now Super-Soldier Garrett]].
* NiceJobFixingItVillain:
** In "The Asset," it appears for a few minutes that [[spoiler:Skye]] might be lured in by Quinn's arguments. She resumes carrying out the mission right after he makes a remark that reminds her of a conversation from earlier in the episode with another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
** "The Magical Place": Raina and Edison Po's interrogation of Coulson allows him to unlock his real memories of how he came BackFromTheDead after [[Film/TheAvengers Loki killed him]]. Although how "fixed" he is remains to be seen.
* NoKillLikeOverkill:
** The name of the device in "The Hub" roughly translates into "The Overkill Device" from Russian.
** The varying descriptions of what Melinda May did to earn her "Cavalry" nickname.
* NonindicativeName: You would think that a place named "The fridge" would be located in Alaska, or some other very cold place. Its location is classified, but [[http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Fridge when we saw it]], it did not appear to be in the arctic at all.
* NoodleIncident:
** The Miami Antimatter Meteor incident. It almost swallowed half a city.
** How did Melinda May get the nickname "The Cavalry" and why does she hate it? (Unlike most noodle incidents, however, this one has now been explained.)
** In "The Magical Place", Hand's comments make it clear that Skye was blamed for shooting Sitwell in "The Hub". It's never made clear how Skye ended up getting blamed, since Simmons was face-to-face with Sitwell when she shot him and was clearly the one responsible. Indeed, Skye is protesting her innocence when Hand interrupts her.
* NoSocialSkills:
** Ward, as is repeatedly pointed out by other characters. Maria Hill gave him the lowest rating in this department, even drawing a small porcupine (which Coulson mistook for a "little poop with knives sticking out of it") on his assessment sheet.
** Donnie Gill is even worse, with Agent Weaver saying he's unable to converse with anyone who has an I.Q. under 175.
* NotDistractedByTheSexy: In "0-8-4", Coulson [[spoiler:instantly recognizes that his old flame Reyes is only coming on to him as part of a plot for her troops to seize the Bus.]]
* NotInThisForYourRevolution: Despite [[spoiler:HYDRA]] being the primary villains, most of the people working with/for them don't seem to share their beliefs.
** [[spoiler:Garrett]]? IFightForTheStrongestSide, with indications towards TheStarscream.
** [[spoiler:Ward]]? MyMasterRightOrWrong
** Quinn? Probably OnlyInItForTheMoney
** Raina? ForScience[=/=]IJustWantToBeSpecial, [[spoiler:and she has some ties to Skye's dad]].
** Deathlok? [[spoiler:[[IHaveYourWife I Have Your Son]]]]
** Cybertek?: [[spoiler: For at least some members, also a case of IHaveYourWife]].
* NotSoDifferent: Lady Sif pointed that Asgardians are bound by their codes and honor as much as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are by their own ones.
** In "Beginning of the End", TheMole attempts this with Skye, alluding to the "darkness" Raina says is inside her, but Skye doesn't take any of his crap.
* NotWearingTights: Deathlok is really the only character who wears anything remotely resembling a costume.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Victoria Hand gets bonus points for simultaneously carrying the ConflictBall and the IdiotBall.
* OffscreenAfterlife: According to Coulson, the other side is "''beautiful''". Although it is possible he was just saying this to reassure the doomed fire-fighter in "FZZT" because he knew he was about to die and there was nothing else he could do for him.
* OmnidisciplinaryScientist:
** Averted. Fitz, Simmons, and Skye all have different specialties within the role of "TheSmartGuy": engineering, biochem, and computer science/hacking, respectively. This is taken even further in "Eye-Spy", where Simmons explicitly points out that she knows nothing about eye surgery and Fitz has to ask Ward about disarming a bomb. In "T.A.H.I.T.I.", the two of them come across an encrypted file and remark "Skye could handle this..." [[spoiler:but the reason they need access to the file is treat Skye's critical injuries.]]
** Increasingly played straight with Simmons, who after protesting her lack of surgical knowledge in "Eye-Spy" is nevertheless frequently shown acting as TheMedic, despite the fact that her doctorates are supposed to be in obscure fields of biology and chemistry, not medicine. This is {{Justified}} by how she's capable enough to perform advanced first aid, which makes sense given the rest of her character and her general dedication to knowing everything about her field. However, events in "The Well", "Seeds" and "T.R.A.C.K.S." demonstrate that she can't do much more than attempt to stabilise a critically injured patient. The scene showing her crying in the supply room after [[spoiler:Skye gets shot]] seems to indicate that the writers haven't forgotten that she lacks the formal training to cope with medical emergencies.
* OneManArmy: Both Ward and May. [[spoiler: They come to blows with each other in "Yes Men", and again in the season finale.]]
* OneOfUs: [[invoked]] Coulson continues to demonstrate that he's an avid collector with his array of antique spy equipment which he will sometimes show off. His love for his classic car "Lola" is well known (Nick Fury refers to it by name), and reaches the level of obsession.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Skye is a name she gave herself, and she doesn't use her legal name. It's finally revealed in "The Only Light In The Darkness": [[spoiler: Mary Sue Poots]]. No wonder she stopped using it.
* OnlyMostlyDead: Coulson explains that he (just barely) survived Loki's attack in ''The Avengers''. [[spoiler:At least, that's what he was told, instead of the traumatizing reality.]]
* OvertOperative: For a top secret organization, our heroes sure have a lot of S.H.I.E.L.D. logos and big black eagle emblems on their vehicles. There is even a S.H.I.E.L.D. SUV decked out with police equipment (flashers and ram bar). In "The Asset", S.H.I.E.L.D. is described as an international agency along with the United States and Europe, so in the MCU, they may be the equivalent to Interpol.
* OverTheTopSecret: S.H.I.E.L.D. does this discretely, basically saying "This is classified Level X". The highest level clearance on the team is Level 8 (Coulson), though the classification levels as a whole appear to go up to 10 (Director Fury's Eye Only).
** And even above that, there are things like [[spoiler: the Guest House]] and [[spoiler:Fury's secret bases]], which are so secret they simply don't have any official existence anywhere in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s files.
* ParentalAbandonment:
** Skye's parents disappeared when she was a kid, and she's been searching for them ever since, [[spoiler:dead-ending with a redacted S.H.I.E.L.D. file. The unredacted version of the file reveals that her parents, and pretty much everyone else in their community, was killed by an unknown group looking for her]]. Later in "Ragtag" it turns out that her parents were looking for her. Unfortunately [[spoiler: the community that was wiped out and the SHIELD team that investigated were protecting Skye from them, as it turns out they were the unknown group who went on a rampage searching for her.]]
** Apparently Coulson's father died when he was a child (implied to be in front of him), and his mother died years later. Raina calls the former his "defining moment."
** DisappearedDad: It's not really played a major story role (yet), but Fitz mentions a couple of times that his mum raised him alone.
* ParentalSubstitute: Coulson is this to Skye; emotional support, guidance, discipline...no wonder she refers to an argument between him and May as "Mom and Dad fighting".
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: The verbal pass phrase to disengage Skye's WalkingTechbane bracelet is "[[spoiler:disengage bracelet]]."
-->'''Skye:''' Seriously?\\
'''Coulson:''' I thought you'd like that.
* PasswordSlotMachine: The [[spoiler:[=HYDRA=] activation signal]] in "Turn, Turn, Turn".
* PetTheDog: Literally, during Ward's "origin story" flashback in "Ragtag". [[spoiler:Ward can't bring himself to kill the dog who has been his hunting companion for five years, at Garrett's behest. However, he (or Garrett) then shoot the dog from farther away.]]
* PlaceboEurekaMoment: Coulson walks in on May doing Tai-Chi in "The Hub" to discuss whether he should keep trusting the system, or question it like Skye does. He eventually decides to agree with her and keep trusting the system, even though May doesn't say a ''single word'' during the scene.
* PoorCommunicationKills: Both [[spoiler:Phil Coulson]] and [[spoiler:Victoria Hand]] thought that the other was a traitor to SHIELD, and acted in consequence. But, although there ''were'' traitors among them, neither of them was one.
* PortmanteauCoupleName: Used as a gag in the pilot; we only learn the name "Fitz-Simmons" actually refers to two people after it's been used a few times. Used consistantly since, since they're TheDividual.
* PunnyName: In the third episode we meet Agent Mack, who drives a semi-trailer for S.H.I.E.L.D..
* PureEnergy: The 0-8-4 in the second episode fires a beam of it that can blast through 50 tons of solid steel.
* PurpleIsPowerful: In "Ragtag", Raina [[spoiler: combines the Centipede serum with the reverse-engineered sample of GH-325. The resulting fluid glows a vivid purple colour.]]
* PutOnABus: The Rising Tide hacker/activist group (and Skye's connections to it) looks like an important plot element at the beginning of the story, but it is gradually phased out. After a few episodes it is just occasionally mentioned as a convenient plot device, and during the second half of the series we virtually never hear of them.
* PuttingOnTheReich: The [=HYDRA=] salute makes its return... and is promptly mocked as making the user look like a West Texas cheerleader.
* PsychicPowers: A running gag is that psychic powers don't exist. [[note]]most likely a joking nod to the fact that Franchise/XMen, and therefore mutants in general (which includes many human psychics in the MU) have their film rights held by a different company and therefore unavailable to the MarvelCinematicUniverse[[/note]] In Episode 16, Coulson finally says that meeting an Asgardian obviously gifted with psychic powers opened up his mind on the topic.
** Someone can fight crowds and detech hidden objects with their eyes closed? Telepathy! [[spoiler:X-ray vision.]]
** Objects move on their own around this particular person? Telekinesis! [[spoiler:A teleporting stalker is responsible.]]
** Only Skye considers the possibility that "The Clairvoyant" might indeed be clairvoyant. [[spoiler:He's a high-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with access to psych evaluations.]]
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: Ward is an excellent operative but has NoSocialSkills (and Coulson comments that he's surprised he's not worse with his background), May has issues that make her dead-set against going back into field work with very likely a case of PTSD thrown in, Skye's a [[ConspiracyTheorist conspiracy theorist]] who doesn't trust S.H.I.E.L.D. at all, Fitz and Simmons are both brilliant, but are also quirky and have no field experience and Coulson himself is a previously fake-dead [[spoiler:(later revealed to be dead-dead and revived with false memories)]] field agent. Though it's never the subject of a TitleDrop, Episode 21 is entitled "Ragtag", presumably an allusion to this phrase.
* ARealManIsAKiller: Deconstructed and ultimately subverted with Ward. He embodies a lot of popular ideas of how a "real man" looks and behaves: he's conventionally attractive, has exceptional fighting skills, and doesn't let emotions get in the way of his mission. He can also kill without hesitation or remorse, but this is never presented as a positive thing and earns him a WhatTheHellHero when he [[spoiler: shoots the decoy Clairvoyant.]] As the series goes on, it becomes clear that Ward has spent so much time following [[spoiler: Garret's]] orders that he has no idea how to think for himself. Skye contrasts him against Fitz, whose compassion and willingness to believe in the good of others makes him more of a man than Ward could ever be.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Some fans have questioned the authenticity of Fitz and/or Simmons's accents, despite their accents (Scottish and English respectively) being the actors' own natural accents.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Coulson and May, the team leaders, have yet to give an arbitrary or unneccesary order (although some have come off that way before all the facts were known). Ward, Skye's training officer, generally went of his way to be reasonable despite her deliberate provocations. All three looked even better when we had ObstructiveBureaucrat Victoria Hand for comparison purposes.
* ReassignedToAntarctica: "T.R.A.C.K.S." has Coulson threatening Ward with duty in Alaska, guarding The Abomination's holding cell.
* RecklessGunUsage:
** In "Eye-Spy". Skye accidentally ejects the magazine on her Smith and Wesson 910 while looking for the safety catch.
** In "Yes Men", Fitz when showing the improved Night-Night Guns[[note]]now rechristened as "I.C.E.rs"[[/note]] to May and Ward, he inadvertently points one at May, who quickly grabs it out of his hands. May be a gray area between this trope and ArtisticLicenseGunSafety, as though Fitz is a formally trained member of S.H.I.E.L.D., he is not a field agent.
* RecruitedFromTheGutter: One of the Clairvoyant's agents grew up in an abusive family and was facing prison time when the Clairvoyant recruited him and gave him purpose. The result is that he has strong personal loyalty to the Clairvoyant, saying at one point that he owes the Clairvoyant "everything".
* RecycledTheSeries: It's sort of one to the MCU, though it helps that it features an element that hasn't taken center stage in the movies.
* RedSkiesCrossover:
** "The Well" was hyped as a tie-in to the then-recently released ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld''. While it does deal with Norse Mythology and Asgardians extensively, and the team does participate in a cleanup effort after the results of the previous film's climactic battle, most of the action takes place in Spain and Ireland, and the events of the movie itself are barely mentioned in passing after the opening scenes.
** Ironically inverted in the next episode, "Repairs", where a direct connection is made between that episode's plot and ''Dark World'', yet received no advertising as such.
** "Yes Men" is a direct result of ''Dark World'', as it was the Dark Elf attack that facilitated Lorelei's escape. It was mainly advertised as "Guest Starring [[LadyOfWar Lady Sif!]]"
** "Turn, Turn, Turn" turned out to be much more closely associated with ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', to the point where the cast and producers strongly recommended going to see the movie before watching the episode.
* ReluctantWarrior: The Norse Mythology expert in "The Well". [[spoiler:He's an Asgardian who grew tired of his life and settled into becoming a pacifist.]]
* RestrainingBolt: Miles and Skye are fitted with special bracelets that will allow S.H.I.E.L.D. to keep tabs on them, impair their ability to use electronic devices, and inflict other punishments as needed.
* ReTool: The "Uprising" Arc near the end of the first season could be seen as this. The show dives more involved into the Centipede Group as a whole, but the show itself was given a "game changing" slogan for "Turn, Turn, Turn" upon the release of ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''. News reports even use the word retool to describe the show after the release of ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', cementing the fact the show went from standard [[MonsterOfTheWeek cases of the week]] with some MythArc about Coulson's death and rebirth to full on action movie style episodes.
* RetractableWeapon: Lady Sif's sword, later accidentally {{Bifurcated|Weapon}}.
* RightBehindMe: Happens to Ward when talking about Mike.
* RoguesGalleryTransplant: The show uses Franklin Hall (an [[Comicbook/TheAvengers Avengers]] villain), Donnie Gill (an Comicbook/IronMan villain), and Glenn Talbot (a [[Comicbook/TheIncredibleHulk Hulk]] villain) as enemies of the agents.
* RunningGag:
** Fitz's awkwardness and apparent gift for everything he says that isn't scientific being heavily flavored with ThatCameOutWrong. There's also his obsession with trained monkeys.
** There's no such thing as psychic powers... or is there?
** Fitz being hit in the head and knocked out. Acknowledged in "Yes Men", when after he gets knocked out for the fourth time, Simmons feels sorry for him and says that he's always getting hit in the head.
** Simmons's bad acting and inability to lie, and her unerring ability to unnerve or insult people when she's trying to be reassuring, or even just pay them a compliment.
** Fitz [[BigEater frequently complains of being hungry]], but almost never actually gets to eat, [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodSandwich even if the food's right there]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:S-Z]]
* SavvyGuyEnergeticGirl: A downplayed example, with Fitz and Simmons. Simmons has a cheerfully optimistic fascination with everything new and exciting and is the one who wanted to go into the field, while Fitz is more cautious, pragmatic, and worried about potential problems.
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight:
** In "T.A.H.I.T.I.", Coulson ignores orders from his superiors, gives Fitz-Simmons a file classified above their clearance level, and tracks down and assaults a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility even ''he'' isn't supposed to know about, all to save the life of one of his agents.
** By the following episode, Coulson's officially hit his breaking point, as he tells Skye to hell with the protocols and rules he used to put so much faith in -- he ''is'' going to uncover the whole truth behind his resurrection and the related secrets seen so far, no matter what.
** In "Nothing Personal", Maria Hill tells Coulson that he should play ball with Talbot. Coulson refuses, and when he reveals that [[spoiler: Ward is HYDRA and has Skye]], Hill quickly switches sides, helping Coulson take out Talbot's men and escape.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere:
** "T.A.H.I.T.I." reveals that since Coulson's little visit in "The Magical Place", Dr. Streiten has gone into hiding.
** In "Providence", Coulson [[GenreSavvy immediately realizes]] that Colonel Talbot's "peacekeeping" forces are actually on their way to [[spoiler:shut down S.H.I.E.L.D. and arrest or kill them all]], so orders an evacuation of the Hub.
** In "Nothing Personal", after finding out that Deathlok is nearby, Coulson's announces a new plan: "Run!"
** In "Beginning of the End", in light of both Team Coulson's attack on Cybertek's facilities and The Clairvoyant having gone off the deep end, Quinn and Raina grab their respective research and get the hell out of dodge.
* SequelHook: Season 1 ends with quite a few dangling threads for Season 2 to pick up on: [[spoiler: Coulson is now Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and tasked with rebuilding the organization; meanwhile, he has started to compulsively draw the same alien symbols that Garrett was. Fitz, meanwhile, is left in critical condition, with his future uncertain. It is question as to who Ward is without Garrett. At the same time, both Quinn and Raina escape Garrett's downfall, the former with the gravitonium, and the latter getting in touch with a mysterious figure who is apparently Skye's father.]]
* ShipperOnDeck:
** Melinda May tells Ward that Skye would need a good supervising officer, with a sly smirk.
** Skye's comments in "FZZT" about how she wishes her relationships with Ward and Miles were more like what Fitz has with Simmons makes it seem like she's either mistaken them for an actual couple, or she's playing with this trope. Or, of course, it could be that she just knew Fitz was flirting with her and was deliberately deflecting him onto another subject.
** Agent Garrett tells Coulson that they will meet again soon, because his subordinate, Agent Tripplett, has a crush on Simmons.
** "The Only Light in the Darkness" sees Fitz trying to encourage Coulson/Audrey, urging Coulson to tell her that he's still alive, since it seemed like they had something special.
** In the same episode, both Ward and Coulson try, with varying levels of subtlety and identical lack of success, to encourage Fitz to say something to Simmons about his increasingly obvious feelings for her.
* ShipTease:
** There were hints of affection between Coulson and Hill during their scenes together in the "Pilot".
** Skye and Ward's first interactions together while he interrogates her in the "Pilot" hints at BelligerentSexualTension, which crops up time and again over the course of the series. [[spoiler:Unfortunately when they finally get their RelationshipUpgrade it's just as Ward turns out to have been EvilAllAlong; [[VillainousCrush he remains attracted to her]], but by the end of the season she can't stand the sight of him.]]
** Fitz and Simmons start off as PlatonicLifePartners, but over the course of the series it becomes apparent that there ''could'' be something else going on there. This is particularly the case with Fitz, who from "FZZT" seems to be going through a drawn-out LoveEpiphany towards Simmons, and becomes a GreenEyedMonster whenever she meets another potential love interest.
*** WordOfSaintPaul from their actors has it that they were in love with one another from the start, but neither of them [[CannotSpitItOut can ever bring themselves to admit it,]] [[ObliviousToLove and so they try to ignore it]]. [[spoiler:This becomes a case of ExactWords in the Season One finale, when they ''still'' can't face directly admitting it, but end up talking around it so much that it becomes clear in context.]]
** Fitz is really excited about Skye being in the bunk right next to his, an episode after he offers to show her his [[ThatCameOutWrong thing/hardware/equipment]]/gotta go...
** Coulson and May have a few scenes hinting at a past attraction.
** Prof. Randolph's open attraction to Simmons in "The Well", which she eventually seems to regard as quite flattering, at least.
** Ward and May, at the end of "The Well," and the opening of "Repairs."
** Simmons can't stop ogling Mike in "The Bridge".
** The noticeably friendly and comfortable scenes with Simmons and Ward, especially post-"FZZT" have been noted by fans if not initially intended.
** Agent Triplett develops a crush on Simmons in "T.A.H.I.T.I.". It's brought up again in "The End of the Beginning", when Triplett acts as Simmons's escort during her debrief at the Hub. Fitz has noticed this and very unhappy with it.
** Skye and Simmons seem to be developing something of a RomanticTwoGirlFriendship after the events of "T.R.A.C.K.S." and "T.A.H.I.T.I."; whether the LesYay interpretation was intended or not is still open for debate.
** [[AscendedExtra Audrey's]] introduction in "The Only Light in the Darkness" leads to an episode-long Ship Tease between her and Coulson, despite them getting only one brief scene together.
* ShoutOut: [[ShoutOut/AgentsOfSHIELD Has its own page]].
* ShownTheirWork: Skye correctly mentions the existence of Shining Path when they are in Peru in "0-8-4".
* ShutUpHannibal:
** At the end of "Yes Men", when Lorelei is taunting Sif about her lover who Lorelei used and is implied to have killed, Sif literally shuts her up by using the PowerNullifier collar, which renders her mute.
--->'''Sif''': You were saying?
** In "End of the Beginning" the Clairvoyant is ranting about how they will come for Skye, kill everyone else, and nothing can stop this [[spoiler:and then Ward just shoots him]].
** In "Beginning of the End", after May beats TheMole by nailing their feet to the ground, they start to plead with her, only for her to punch them in the throat, cracking their larynx and literally shutting them up.
** In the same episode, while a now-insane Clairvoyant starts [[MotiveRant ranting]] about his power and purpose, the heroes just ignore him and snark on how crazy he is.
* SigilSpam: S.H.I.E.L.D. ''really'' likes that eagle. They could be forgiven for putting it all over their headquarters, but putting it on all of their vehicles is a bit conspicuous for a covert organization.
* SixthRanger: Agent Triplett joins Coulson's team around the final six episodes of the season.
* SnarkToSnarkCombat: Quite a bit of this, especially between Skye and Ward.
* SomethingOnlyTheyWouldSay: Ace proved Mike that he was free by writing those words he sees in his eye. But those are just words, how can Mike be sure it's really him? Because he said "What are we? We are a team"
* {{Spinoff}}: From ''The Avengers'' and the rest of the [=MCU=].
* SpiritualSuccessor:
** [[WordOfGod According]] to [[http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/08/21/this-weeks-cover-joss-whedon-agents-shield/ Joss Whedon]] this is basically a TV series of the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode [[Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS3E13TheZeppo "The Zeppo"]].
** The Bus is beginning to feel more and more like a 21st-century incarnation of ''[[Series/{{Firefly}} Serenity]]'', only cleaner. Especially now that we have seen her in a hovering, BigDamnHeroes rescue, and pulling a [[DoABarrelRoll Crazy Ivan]].
* SpoilerOpening: the opening cast credits for "The Beginning of the End" [[spoiler: spoil the "surprise" appearance of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury midway through the episode. To be fair, however, ABC's own promos for the episode had already spoiled his appearance and US entertainment media spoiled that Jackson would be appearing in the finale a full month before]].
* SpontaneousHumanCombustion: that's what happen to most people who got treated by Centipede, because of the unstable Extremis.
* StatusQuoIsGod:
** As far as the plane is concerned. The fish tank has to be scrapped on orders.
** This is not the case with the show itself as things pile up over the episodes.
* StartOfDarkness:
** Mike's despair forced him to use his Extremis-induced powers to destroy anyone against him.
** Dr. Hall [[spoiler:became adamant to use the graviton machine to sink down Quinn's compound even when Coulson implored him that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents could die alongside it. When Coulson managed to toss Dr. Hall into the rampaging machine (shutting it off), TheStinger reveals that it's the birth of the supervillain Graviton.]]
** Donnie Gill [[spoiler:is injured when his ice machine explodes, which also kills his buddy Seth. The closing scene of the episode shows Donnie, bitter and heartbroken over having lost his only friend, [[WhamShot discovering that the accident has given him cryogenic abilities]]]].
** "Ragtag" is one for The Clairvoyant's mole, and to a lesser extent, The Clairvoyant himself. [[spoiler:Garrett pulled Ward out of jail, then gave him a TrainingFromHell in the forest which ended with ordering Ward to shoot his dog, which had been his only companion for years. It's clear Ward is loyal to him because he sees him as a surrogate father figure, having come from the terrible childhood we saw glimpses of in earlier episodes. Garrett also recounts the story of how he lost his loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D.; he was injured in battle and felt they weren't putting forth enough effort to rescue him, so he patched himself up and decided he'd only look after himself from then on.]]
* StealthHiBye: The antagonist in "Repairs" can appear and disappear at will, and pulls several entrances and exits that are functionally this trope. Then, during his first attack on May, ''she'' disappears on ''him''.
* StealthPun: The "noisemakers" in "The Beginning of the End" are disguised as graggers, a type of noisemaker commonly used during the Jewish festival of Purim. They're even activated by spinning them, which is exactly how you make noise with the real thing.
* StockFootage: Its viral website [[http://www.wearetherisingtide.com/blog/ The Rising Tide]] shows clips from previous movies made to look like poorly filmed camcorder footage. Funnily enough, one clip that claims to be of the Hulk is actually the [[Film/TheIncredibleHulk Abomination]] recolored.
** "The Well" opens with a montage made up of recycled footage from ''Film/{{Thor}}'' and ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld''.
** "The Magical Place" reuses footage of Coulson's death from ''Film/TheAvengers''.
** "Providence" reuses shots of one of the Helicarriers [[spoiler:that was brought down by Captain America and TheFalcon]] during ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''.
* StormingTheCastle:
** In "The Asset", the team infiltrates Quinn's Malta villa to rescue Dr. Hall.
** In "The Girl in the Flower Dress", S.H.I.E.L.D. attacks the Centipede facility in Hong Kong to rescue Chan.
** In "The Magical Place", the team attacks the Centipede facility where [[spoiler: Coulson]] is being held, while S.H.I.E.L.D. launches attacks on other Centipede locations worldwide.
** In "Beginning of the End", the team launches a full scale assault on Cybertek's Centipede headquarters to bring down The Clairvoyant once and for all.
* StunGun: The Night-Night rifle and its pistol equivalent the Night-Light gun, the latter able to fire multiple shots.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAliens: "The Well" contains a discussion about the Asgardians, who are stated to be advanced aliens that [[AncientAstronauts early humans simply mistook for gods]]. Skye then jokingly asks if Vishnu is an alien as well, [[http://www.thewrap.com/agents-of-shield-vishnu-abc-hinduism-rajan-zed which caused criticism]] [[DudeNotFunny from real life Hindus]].
* SuperPrototype: Averted with the Nite-Nite gun. It's a decent nonlethal weapon, but Fitz's ICER is a superior weapon. The team still uses both because the Nite-Nite gun still works, but the ICER is seeing higher production numbers.
* SuperSerum: The Centipede serum, a cocktail of gamma radiation, super soldier serum, and Extremis. It boosts physical ability and powers if applicable, but is unstable and causes the user to explode, in addition to making them crazy. They haven't quite worked out all the bugs yet.
* TakeTheThirdOption:
** Invoked by Coulson in the pilot, when he tells Fitz-Simmons to find one that will let him save Mike.
** Skye in "The Asset"; faced with a choice between surrendering or shooting Quinn, she goes out the window.
* TalkToTheFist: In "The Magical Place", a very angry Skye walks into the house where Coulson is being held by Raina, who hastily tries to claim that what she's doing is for Coulson's own good. Skye downs her with one punch.
* {{Technobabble}}: A good deal of Fitz-Simmons' "science" talk and to a slightly lesser degree Skye's hacking talk falls into this category. Basically, the writers know just enough to throw in some technical-sounding terms with their made-up explanations for how things work.
* TheTag: Episodes usually end with one. It's not unlike the movies' use of TheStinger.
* TheTeam: Coulson handpicked a number of people to create a response team for stuff like [[SuperStrength Mike]] and [[{{Magitek}} the HYDRA tesseract cannon]]. He himself is TheLeader and he chose them for their skills: Ward for his combat and stealth, Fitz-Simmons for their science, Skye for her hacking, May to "[[AlmightyJanitor drive the bus]]". As of the third episode, May has decided that sitting back isn't for her, and requested to be put into combat. Although Coulson questions her decision, it's hard not to see it as a JustAsPlanned moment. [[spoiler:Fury really recruited May to keep an eye on Coulson and she picked the team members. Fury then manipulated Coulson into recruiting them by giving him a mission profile that would require their specific profiles.]]
* TeamDad / TeamMom: Coulson is the oldest and the leader thus the affectionate yet tough dad. May is effectively his female counterpart. Skye even referred to them as "Mom and Dad" in "Eye Spy".
* TeleportSpam: Tobias can do this via jumping back and forth between dimenions like Night Crawler.
* TemptingFate:
** The pilot:
*** Skye records a message to S.H.I.E.L.D., boasting that the agency won't be able to find her. Coulson shows up outside the door of her van before she even has a chance to finish her sentence.
*** Also, Ward states early on that he's more at home defusing a bomb than working with a team... and in the end they realise they're dealing with an ActionBomb.
*** Just to score the trifecta, May is hesitant about joining the team and returning to the field - her second trip to the field as Skye's backup sees her [=KO-ed=] by Mike, and Skye kidnapped.
** The second episode begins with an explosion immediately after Coulson says he thinks their troubles are over. [[spoiler:When the scene is revisited later in the episode, it turns out Coulson knew exactly what he was doing.]]
* TheyLookJustLikeEveryoneElse: The big reveal of ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' fell like an atom bomb in SHIELD, both the team and the whole organization. Who is a traitor? May? Fitz? Ward? Skye? Hand? Coulson? Triplett? Garret? Those unnamed agents coming to us? How many of them?
* TheVirus: The weird Chitauri contamination in ''FZZT''.
* TooDumbToLive: As of "Turn, Turn, Turn", [[spoiler:Victoria Hand. Every major call she makes through her run in the series is wrong, up to allowing one of Garrett's own proteges to escort him to the Freezer when she knows that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been deeply infiltrated by Hydra.]] One wonders how she got to be such a high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the first place.
* TookALevelInBadass: Everyone on the team did this as of Ep. 11, "The Magical Place", [[spoiler:in response to Coulson's abduction in the previous episode]]. Further levels were taken after [[spoiler:the civil war with HYDRA]].
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: The pre-series media campaign featured Coulson so extensively that his surviving Loki's attack in ''Film/TheAvengers'' was basically a non-reveal by the time it came. Wisely, [[TheReveal the reveal]] itself was lampshaded and [[PlayedForLaughs played for laughs]].
* TrainingFromHell: Ward's introduction to S.H.I.E.L.D. started with Garrett stranding him in the wilderness for six months with nothing but a bag of clothes and a hunting dog.
* TrainJob: In "T.R.A.C.K.S.", the team goes undercover to pull one of these.
* TruthSerums: Used in the pilot when Skye is captured. However, it's not used on Skye, but rather on Ward, so that she can trust Coulson. A couple episodes later, Ward claims that S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't have a truth serum and he was just playing along. Given the events of later episodes, he's probably right.
* TwoFacedAside: When Talbot gave some orders to Coulson. He politely replied that it "Sounds good!" with a smile, then close the communication and said with a serious face "This doesn't sound good!"
* UndersideRide: In "The Hub", Ward and Fitz use a magnetic pouch to attach themselves to the bottom of a truck in order to gain access to the separatist compound.
* {{Understatement}}: In the pilot Coulson states that he's certain that he was dead for longer than eight seconds. "The Magical Place" reveals that he was right - by several orders of magnitude.
* UngratefulBastard: After the events of ''Winter Soldier'', S.H.I.E.L.D has been labeled a terrorist organization and the surviving agents are being hunted down by national militaries. It's a case of RealityEnsues, but after all the good they've done a ''little'' slack would be nice. What happened to the World Security Council isn't mentioned.
* TheUnmasquedWorld:
** Going by the pilot, it seems to be a major theme. Skye is mistrustful of S.H.I.E.L.D.; they kept the masquerade before, so what else are they hiding now? And in the pilot, Mike had this as his motivation for volunteering for superpowers: he'd failed to live up to being just a man, being unable to provide for his family, how can he stand against gods and giants?
** "The Well" shows that, with the revelation that Thor and the Asgardians are real, university professors now consider NorseMythology to be Norse ''History''. Additionally, some people aren't exactly thrilled at the thought that gods can just teleport to Earth and cause city-wide damage. At the same time, Skye's conversation with Coulson and the others at the episode's beginning implies that, while humanity is aware of Asgard, the fact that Thor and the others are just SufficientlyAdvancedAliens hasn't become public knowledge yet.
** It's stated at various points that S.H.I.E.L.D. has a massive index of all the known superhumans in the world, and that the Avengers are simply the only people with powers known to the general public. As a result of [[spoiler: Black Widow leaking all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secrets to the world during ''The Winter Soldier'', this information is out there in the open for everyone to see]]. Presumably this will be dealt with in Season 2.
* {{Unobtainium}}: "Gravitonium" is a supposedly naturally-occurring element (symbol Gr) mined out of the earth with an atomic number of 123. Its physical properties, not the least of which is gravity manipulation, fall squarely in the realm of ArtisticLicensePhysics. The explanation for how it manipulates gravity is pure, unadulterated {{technobabble}}.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: In episode 2, the team's plan to escape the Peruvians is not discussed on-screen.
* VehicleVanish: Akela does this at the start of "Eye-Spy", vanishing as a train passes through a subway station. She seems to be doing this for the benefit of the camera as there's no one else there to witness it.
* VillainousBreakdown:
** In "Beginning of the End", [[spoiler: after [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity being injected with the GH serum]], Garrett is left completely unhinged, talking about being "the key to the universe]].
** In the same episode, TheMole seems to lose it completely when they find they don't have any orders to follow.
* VillainHasAPoint: Dr. Hall [[spoiler:wants to destroy the Graviton device in spite of collateral damage because he doesn't believe that any group is responsible enough to control it]]. He cites the events of ''Film/TheAvengers'' as evidence that S.H.I.E.L.D. can't do it either. Coulson doesn't argue the point.
* VillainsWantMercy: Two examples in "Beginning of the End": first, when TheMole finds themselves nailed to the floor by May, they try to plead with her, only to get punched in the throat, crushing their larynx. Then, [[spoiler: when Deathlok breaks free of Garrett's control and turns on him, he pleads with Coulson to make Deathlok stop, only for Coulson to [[DoWithHimAsYouWill stand by and watch]].]]
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: Quinn is seen as a philanthropist and advocate of freedom of information, but really is only in it for greater profits.
* VisionaryVillain: What Quinn sees himself as, though in practice, he comes off more as a CorruptCorporateExecutive (an impression he hates). From his perspective, the methods he uses are justified by the fact that he is opposed by an organization with governmental resources but no real accountability and next to no regard for the rule of law that is dedicated to maintaining complete control of new technology.
* WeaponOfChoice:
** The Night-Night Guns used by Coulson's entire team. They represent the preferred MO of S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty well: powerful weapons that neutralize the target, but are nonlethal and in some situations even manage to help the target get better.
** Simmons, who's technically a non-combatant, has shown a marked preference for wielding a fire extinguisher as makeshift weapon.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Dr. Hall is well aware of the danger of unchecked superscience when in the wrong hands, and after the events of The Avengers doesn't believe S.H.I.E.L.D.'s hands are the right ones for the job. [[spoiler:He's willing to kill himself and potentially dozens of innocent people in order to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands, forcing Coulson to act against him.]]
* WhamEpisode:
** "End of the Beginning": [[spoiler:S.H.I.E.L.D. finally catches up to the Clairvoyant, only for Ward to shoot him dead. Skye and Coulson realize that it was set up a little too neatly, and that the Clairvoyant isn't a psychic, but a high-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Fitz discovers May's mole-line, and during the confrontation over that, the Bus is remotely hijacked and begins heading to the Hub, where Victoria Hand prepares to kill everyone aboard.]] TheStinger features a scene from ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', showing [[spoiler:Nick Fury being attacked by the Winter Soldier.]]
** "Turn, Turn, Turn": This episode kicks the Wham up several notches. In addition to integrating the big twists from ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' (namely, that [[spoiler:SHIELD has been infiltrated by HYDRA, events at the Triskelion have effectively destroyed SHIELD, and Nick Fury is dead]]) into the series, the episode has its own: [[spoiler:May was reporting to Fury, and picked out the team to deal with Coulson should his resurrection have side effects. Victoria Hand is a loyal agent whose actions at the end of the previous episode are motivated by mistrust of Coulson. Garrett is the Clairvoyant and is working for HYDRA. While escorting Garrett to prison, Ward kills everyone else aboard, including Hand, to free him.]]
* WhamLine:
** After Ward confirms he has Level Six clearance and says he ''knows'' Coulson was killed prior to the Battle of New York (if you watch the trailer not knowing the FirstEpisodeSpoiler). Also a CallBack to [[Film/MarvelOneShots the Marvel One-Shot]] ''The Consultant''.
--->'''Coulson:''' Welcome to Level Seven.
** After Mike begins to lose it when his BadBoss refuses to take him back.
--->"[[StartOfDarkness You're the bad guy and I'm the hero.]]"
** From the end of "0-8-4":
--->[[spoiler:'''Skye:''']] ''[texting]'' I'm in.
** The last line of "The Bridge", from Raina to [[spoiler: a captive Coulson]]:
--->'''Raina''': We want you to tell us about [[spoiler: the day after you died]].
** The last line of "Seeds," during a phone call between Coulson and Ian Quinn:
--->'''Quinn''': I have a message for you. [[spoiler:The Clairvoyant]] says hello.
** The end of "Yes Men" has this, more for who says it than what was said:
--->'''[[spoiler: Melinda May]]:''' Coulson knows.
** Though it was suspected by a lot of fans, this one from "End of the Beginning" still qualiies:
--->'''Coulson:''' The Clairvoyant doesn't have ''abilities'', he has [[spoiler: security clearance. He's an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.]].
* WhamShot:
** The final scene of "Seeds", showing that Donnie has developed cryonic superpowers, while ominous music plays in the background.
** TheStinger at the end of "T.R.A.C.K.S", which reveals that [[spoiler:Mike's cybernetic leg is listed as "Project: Deathlok"]].
** The scene in "T.A.H.I.T.I." where Coulson is investigating the titular room in the Guest House and finds the source of the miracle GH drug -- a tank containing [[spoiler: a ''decomposing alien corpse'']].
** The final scene of "Nothing Personal" has May set up a laptop so Coulson can watch a video communication sent to Fury from the director of the T.A.H.I.T.I. Project. [[spoiler:The face that pops up on-screen is Coulson's.]]
* WhatDidYouExpectWhenYouNamedIt: In "The Only Light in the Darkness," Coulson says the man they're after got his powers while working on project "Dark Force," then [[LampshadeHanging dryly remarks]], "[[SarcasmMode Because nothing bad ever happens when you're working on a project named 'Dark Force'.]]"
* WhatTheHeckIsAnAglet: At the end of the episode "Repairs", most of Coulson's team is shown playing TabletopGame/{{Scrabble}}. Simmons makes the word "aglet", which leads to an argument about whether it's a real word, settled when Skye looks it up online.
* WhatTheHellHero: The team doesn't take it well when they discover [[spoiler:Skye helping fugitive hacker Miles, and Coulson calls her out on her hidden agenda. Skye herself becomes disenchanted with Miles when it is revealed that he sold out.]]
* WhenThingsSpinScienceHappens: In the episode "The Asset", there's Dr. Franklin Hall's giant graviton machine.
* WhoYouGonnaCall: The government agency type. S.H.I.E.L.D. is responsible for keeping weird and dangerous stuff contained so it doesn't hurt anyone.
* WholeCostumeReference: Skye dresses like May in order to pose as her in "The Magical Place". May later sees the outfit.
-->'''May''': Nice jacket.
* WhyDontYouJustShootHim: Averted in "T.R.A.C.K.S." by [[spoiler:Ian Quinn. After a "robot speech" with Mike, asking if he would shoot Skye if he orders him so, Mike left... and Quinn simply shot Skye himself]]
* WouldHitAGirl: DoubleSubverted with Ward in "T.R.A.C.K.S."; he hesitates before knocking a female opponent unconscious but ultimately does it. Played entirely straight with many villains, particularly those that get in any kind of fight with Agent May.
* WrongGenreSavvy:
** As the pilot progresses, Mike starts thinking he's a superhero living through his origin story and getting revenge on the petty evils that wronged him, rather than a rapidly-degrading test-subject jacked up on Extremis.
** Skye spouts random spy-related jargon when trying to tell the team that she's spotted Quinn. May and Simmons have no idea what she's saying.
* XRayVision: This enables the thief to find diamonds and kill people in darkness with her eyes shut in "Eye Spy". Also played for laughs during the episode's stinger, when Fitz wants Skye to use it to see cards but she reminds him that she'll also see him naked. After Fitz gives up and walks away, Skye uses it to check out Ward.
* YouHaveFailedMe:
** The Clairvoyant kills [[spoiler:Edison Po]] for the failure of his ineffective approach to interrogating Coulson.
** In "T.R.A.C.K.S.", The Clairvoyant has Deathlok kill the security team who delivered the latter's new cybernetic leg for leading S.H.I.E.L.D. to their location.
** The Clairvoyant's minions are equipped with bionic eyes that can be set to detonate.
* YouWouldntShootMe: In "The Asset", after Skye disarms Quinn and points his gun back at him:
-->'''Mook:''' Kid's got balls.\\
'''Skye:''' Thanks, but...yuck.\\
'''Quinn:''' But do you have what it takes to pull the trigger?\\
'''Skye:''' ''[beat]'' Nope! ''[jumps out a window]''
** In "Beginning of the End", TheMole tells Skye she doesn't have it in her to shoot them. She agrees, but says she doesn't need to, since [[spoiler: May, who he [[WomanScorned slept with and used]], will just kick his ass instead.]]
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