Headscratchers: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

New entries on the bottom. SPOILERS, naturally.

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    0-8- 4 Timeline 
  • So the device in the episode 0-8-4 was made by HYDRA, commissioned by the Peruvian government during WWII. Then how did Fitzsimmons mistake it for a several thousand year old artifact? The thing that tipped them off wasn't carbon dating or whatever, but just that the design looked German.
    • It had embedded itself in rock and soil in a way that made it look like the millenia-old rock had formed around it. Pro mjk,ibably wouldn't have fooled a geologist, but neither Fitz nor Simmons is a geologist.
    • She was sensing the Tesseract energy in it, which IS thousands of years old.
    • Reyes stated outright that it was commissioned by the Peruvian government after WWII, and later lost in the jungle.
    • And it was also stated in the episode that it emitted a beam powerful enough to melt the rock to embed itself into the wall.
    • In short; FitzSimmons screwed up. It was melted into the rock, and it used Tesseract materials as a core, which threw off their estimates.

  • Throughout "The Asset", Skye complains that Ward is riding her too hard as her training officer until she comes around to understand why he's putting so much pressure on her. Yet if you look closely at her boxing at the end of the episode her hands are improperly wrapped (i.e. she should have wrapped in between the knuckles not simply around them). Why would Ward not teach her a very basic part of training if he's being such a dick about it?

    Double-barrel pump-action 
  • In "The Asset", Ward disarms a man of a double-barrel shotgun. In the few seconds during the scuffle that Ward is offscreen, what sounds like a pump-action shotgun being racked is heard, despite the weapon having no such mechanism. Does anyone know if there is a means by which a double barrel shotgun can make such a sound, or is this simply a production mistake? This troper is inclined to think the latter, but is not very familiar with that particular type of firearm.
    • Production mistake. The sound is unmistakably a pump action, and is not something any double barreled shotgun is going to make.

    Eye Spy 
  • While pretending to be Akela, how did Ward drive to the building without seeing his hands on the steering wheel or looking into a car mirror?
    • He held the bottom of the steering wheel, sat up very tall, and moved the seat as far forward as it would go.
    • He actually looked at his hands a few times while talking to that guard and certainly looked at himself while beating him up.
    • Also, 'man hands', Skye? Really? That's the worry? Not the fact that Ward's hands are the wrong skin color?
    • Also, Akela's backscatter function activated when she closed her eyes. Did the team build a "blink" function into the glasses to briefly turn on the backscatter at appropriate intervals, or did the handler watch "Akela" appear to not blink during her entire mission?
    • It might be that the backscatter is already designed not to activate on short intervals such as blinks.
    • If you can see yourself in your car mirror while driving, then either you aren't facing the road or the mirror isn't aimed correctly.


  • For that matter, how did Akela's handlers never notice the height difference when Ward put on the glasses? Especially when towering over the guard she was meant to seduce.


  • Skye says that their backscatter glasses, based on Akela's eye, would allow her to see Fitz and Ward naked. But when Akela uses her backscatter while fighting Melinda, all she sees is a silhouette.
    • She either improved the technology or was trolling Fitz.
    • Most likely just a case of Rule of Funny.
    • It's possible the silohuette was some form of censoring for the audience and Akela really did see May without clothes.
    • This seems likely. In the same scene with May, we can see through a bed mattress and a footlocker. And the entire premise of the plot is that Akela could see through briefcases, which are much thicker than clothes. If anything, the images are a little too transparent for Skye to be leering at Ward. They should not only be seeing through clothes, but skin. (Someone write that fanfic.)

    Timeline of the show & films 
  • So, Joss says the show is "now" in the Marvel Universe, so are they saying that it's something like Avengers = late spring, early summer 2013, Iron Man 3 = Christmas 2013, Thor The Dark World = Roughly same as Iron Man 3, six months after Avengers? Coulson recognizes Extremis and names it in the pilot, but at the end says the person who sold it off is "still out there." We can assume assume he was referring unknowingly to AIM and Killian, but it still seems confusing; how did he know the name unless he knew about AIM?. Wouldn't they mention the events of Iron Man 3 if it had happened already, but if the show is proceeding in real time, maybe they will around Christmas? But if Thor takes place before Iron Man 3, it would seem weird for the government to be so concerned with the Mandarin and not the invasion that looks like it will take place in T:TDW.
    • By the time of this show, Killian has been defeated. Someone else recovered his data on extremis and used it.
    • Then why no mention of the Mandarin or Air Force One's destruction or Tony Stark's brief "death"? Everyone is talking about New York solely. If S.H.I.E.L.D. knew about Killian they would have said so in the pilot, and the evil doctor implies she got it from people who don't want to be exposed, just like AIM.
    • Not wanting to be found does not single out AIM. Not wanting to be exposed includes, well, everyone. They don't talk about Tony Stark's "death" because New York was so much bigger.
    • Maybe, but it circumstantially supports AIM ( assuming this is before Iron Man 3). Skye acts like "centipede" is completely new and no one references Killian at all. Just seems like too much of an oversight for them to ignore the events of Iron Man 3 if this takes place afterwards, especially for a show with so many Easter eggs.
    • Centipede is new. The series explicitly takes place after Iron Man 3. They're not going to go into a full recap and name a character who's dead and can't possibly be involved in it. Especially when nobody on the show was involved in the movie—Coulson wasn't there, and everyone else is a Canon Foreigner. Just because the show didn't make all the shout outs you expected it to doesn't mean the timeline is screwed up.
    • They explicitly named Extremis, which Maya had already named back in 1999. They didn't explicitly refer to any of Iron Man 3's events in the past tense. You're very likely right but it's possible the show has started between Avengers and Iron Man 3. Phase I didn't come out in chronological order, so it's hard to synch up these Phase II films and the show to each other time-wise.
    • Extremis only became known in the sense of it being 'healing powers that give you fire powers' during Iron Man 3. Iron Man 3 takes place over the course of, maybe, a week. So unless you're positing that the series takes place during that week, it takes place after Iron Man 3. It does not make sense any other way.
    • There is nothing that says Extremis has not been leaked well before the events of Iron Man 3. Killian was researching the product for years, it is fairly certain he had contacted other people and agencies before trying Stark Industries. As for the timeline, it is Post Avengers for sure, and the reason no one mentions the events of Iron Man 3 is that they are not the events that S.H.I.E.L.D. is concerned with. The agency and specifically the agents that the show is following have their mission orders and are following them (mostly). From a narrative perspective, there is no need to mention events that they are not connected to. Why no mention of Killian or AIM? No need/need to know. It is not important to events who developed Extremis, only what it does and how to stop it (or make it more volatile).
    • There's nothing that has to say Extremis hasn't been leaked, because it should be plainly obvious by the fact in Iron Man 3 that nobody has any idea what Extremis is. Killian clearly states he built up his own company, he didn't shop it around, and only came to Stark so he could beat down and humiliate Tony in particular. The idea that Extremis was at all known as giving superpowers before Iron Man 3 is just plain faulty. Iron Man 3 is pretty darn clearly the first time anyone, outside of Killian's group, ever realized what Extremis could do.
    • Tony and Pepper don't know about it, but Tony's not S.H.I.E.L.D., and Rhodey more or less states that the US government doesn't want S.H.I.E.L.D. interference at the moment. Given S.H.I.E.L.D.'s ability to cover up notable events (like New Mexico, in which extra-terrestrials leveled a small town) it would be relatively easy for them to cover up say, Mike Peterson and with Tony's reclusiveness and PTSD following New York, he may just be behind the times. As Coulson (or was it Maria Hill?) states, he and the other Avengers are not level 7.
    • You're grasping at straws now. The very, very, very clear implication in the first episode is this is someone else who somehow got hold of Extremis, not AIM. Killian was playing Extremis very close to the vest, which is plainly and completely obvious from Iron Man 3. He wasn't randomly giving it to people on the street. He had a specific plan, and was giving it to specific people for specific purposes. Everything about Killian and AIM as presented in Iron Man 3 is completely different from how the show is treating Centipede's methods. It is plainly obvious that Centipede is not AIM, and the show takes place after Iron Man 3. Just because they didn't namedrop someone who was, by this point, already dead and couldn't possibly be part of events, doesn't put it in the utterly impossible place in the timeline you want to place it in.
    • Utterly impossible? If the writers had wanted it to be so clear they could have easily had a line in the pilot explaining when the show takes place. Melinda May even asks "Who has the tech to do that"-i.e. create a super soldier, and nobody mentions AIM, even though Extremis soldiers were running around all over the place in Iron Man 3. Either the writers were lazy or didn't care about clarifying the post-IM 3 timeline or intentionally wrote the line that way to leave open the other possibility. As for Killian, he wasn't always that close to the vest. AIM had a public website, were the publicly recognized modifiers of Iron Patriot, Savin gave Taggart Extremis in public, and he and Brandt were running around that town in Tennessee wreaking havoc. Also, Killian himself states that there was a presidential ban on biotech enhancement research which AIM had been dodging for years, suggesting that people know such research is being done. How is it utterly impossible that someone in AIM leaked Extremis to Centipede, or that the two groups are one in the same? How can S.H.I.E.L.D. not know about this stuff pre-Iron Man 3? And if it's post Iron Man 3, how can someone have gotten a hold of Killian's data if he's so super secretive, and probably has had S.H.I.E.L.D. or someone confiscate most of his data? And this doesn't even touch on things like Ward's September 2013 ID badge which he obtained in the pilot and the December 23 2013 newspaper date in IM 3.
    • Yes, May asks who has the tech—AIM no longer has the tech, because AIM fell apart when Killian died. At this point in the timeline, AIM is a non-entity. S.H.I.E.L.D. knowing everything there is to know about Extremis—remember, part of the reason they recognize it is because the operatives explode eventually—has to place it after Iron Man 3, because it's a major plot point in that movie that nobody knows what Extremis is or how it works. Do you seriously think that S.H.I.E.L.D. would have known that something being developed by a public company with direct ties to the US government gives people superpowers and makes them explode, and would never think to mention it to anybody? Like, say, after all these people who had signed up for experiments with AIM started exploding, which began happening several months before Iron Man 3 takes place? No matter which direction you're coming from, S.H.I.E.L.D. knowing everything about Extremis and how it works before Iron Man 3 makes very little sense.
    • Again, S.H.I.E.L.D. had no need to inform the characters in Iron Man 3. They're the relatively secret spy organization which has been rejected by the US government. They don't answer to America or Tony Stark and mentioning Extremis to either of them before Iron Man 3 would have been pointless. The movie happens over a very short time frame so they would have small opportunity to help anyway. As for the exploding, Extremis has been blowing up plants since 1999 and people possibly before the first Iron Man. Just because Tony doesn't know about Extremis before Iron Man 3 doesn't mean S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn't.
    • They don't have to "answer to America or Tony Stark." Mentioning Extremis to the US when Extremis people were exploding and killing people all over the US would be the exact and complete opposite of pointless. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s mission is, if there is someone with superpowers, they go out and they do something about it. You're positing that they knew for a fact that these superpowers were out there, that they made people explode, and then out of some kind of petty spite they proceeded to do absolutely nothing about it and let people get killed. You're positing that S.H.I.E.L.D. is acting like complete morons here for no reason.
    • What can the US government do to track Extremis soldiers down that S.H.I.E.L.D. can't? Wordof God and Rhodey more or less say that Uncle Sam is beating its chest and trying to show they can handle their own problems. Rhodes rejects Tony's offer to help, saying the situation is American business. If they reject Tony, it's quite possible they'd reject S.H.I.E.L.D., especially if the US blames them for New York. You didn't see S.H.I.E.L.D. calling in the US in that movie, either. And which is less probable, that S.H.I.E.L.D. knows absolutely nothing about Extremis or that they're dealing with it off screen instead of helping the people who explicitly don't want help who they never were shown to call in previously?
    • The government can keep track of them if they know about it. And no, Rhodey refusing Tony's help is not at all indicative that they'd refuse S.H.I.E.L.D.'s help, and the suggestion is ridiculous. Tony is a playboy glory-hound millionaire with a smartass and independent streak who figuratively and literally flipped off the US government directly, while S.H.I.E.L.D. is a semi-governmental organization that direction works with the US government already. It's like saying that you'd refuse a cop's help investigating a robbery just because you didn't ask a street thug to help you out. Hell, look at all the trailers for The Winter Soldier—the bits where Nick Fury is meeting with and making a deal with what appears to be a US Government official. Again: The idea that S.H.I.E.L.D. knows all this about Extremis and never once spoke to the US government about the exact problem that is killing people in their country when "Find superpowered people and stop them before they kill someone" is one of the pillars of the organization, is not only ridiculous but paints S.H.I.E.L.D. as grossly incompetent.
    • I'm not sure what you mean by keeping track of them if they know about it. You're right about Tony being a jerk, but a S.H.I.E.L.D. fighter jet almost nuked Manhattan, and even people who've worked closely with them blame them for their research on the Tesseract triggering the invasion (Dr. Hall). The US wanting to distance themselves from S.H.I.E.L.D. makes some sense at least. Can't recall S.H.I.E.L.D. working directly with the US, in previous films, though. Iron Man: They claim to be a separate division from American intelligence agencies, and don't work with them directly. TIH: They help Ross track down Banner, but then turn around and put people off his trail. IM 2: They put Tony under house arrest, and Fury clearly has enough pull to twist Stern's arm, but it's still unclear. Thor: S.H.I.E.L.D. handles everything themselves. Ditto TFA and Avengers, except they answer to the WSC, who apparently are comprised of multiple nationalities (maybe a division of Marvel Earth's UN?) Samuel L Jackson said that Robert Redford's character is also one of the WSC, so he may or may not be a US government official. And while I still don't feel it's proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, I'll concede for now that you're probably right about it being post-Iron Man 3, although I still feel that some evidence (Ward's ID badge, among other things) hints otherwise.
    • Looks like an upcoming episode will deal with Thor 2. Since it doesn't make much sense for Thor 2 to be before IM 3, I guess that confirms the timeline. So maybe Ao S and Thor take place in 2014.
    • Why doesn't it make sense for Thor 2 to be after IM 3?
    • Sorry, I meant before IM 3. Changed it now.
    • They probably just didn't want to get too deep into Canon such that you had Continuity Lock-Out. My interpretation of Joss's quote is less about "it's 2013" and more about "the movies have all happened".
    • Thor 2 definitely takes place in between The Hub and The Well. Interviews claim that it takes place a year after Avengers.

     S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Earth Defense Policy 
  • So did S.H.I.E.L.D. just give up on Phase II? They're not gonna study the Tesseract weapon despite the existence of aliens and Norse gods against whom we have no counter save the Avengers? They don't recruit the unemployed guy with Extremis enhancements? who manhandled some of their best agents?
    • They had to remove the enhancements from him to keep him from exploding, so he's not going to be worth much as an operative. S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to develop weapons, and the Tesseract weapon they found was deemed too dangerous.
    • Who says they won't recruit him? The fourth episode takes place, what, maybe a month after the pilot? He could still be undergoing therapy to come down off the Extremis cocktail and will show up later. And while his powers were unstable in the pilot, there's nothing stopping the writers from coming up with an excuse to let him keep them later. Maybe S.H.I.E.L.D. can whip up a special injection that will keep him from exploding if he takes it every 6 hours (good way to add suspense if he gets stuck without it on a long mission). Maybe the Extremis cocktail altered his physiology and now he has inborn superpowers. Maybe the Extremis activated his latent metagene or something. People in comic book universes fall backwards into superpowers just like this all the time.
    • You have your answer - Mike Petersen was indeed recruited.
    • There's no point in studying the Tesseract weapon. They know exactly how it works. Phase II is dead because Tesseract weapons require the Tesseract, which they do not have.
    • The videogame Marvel: Avengers Alliance had an interesting idea: what if they reverse-engineer it, and create an artificial one? Sure, it won't work, but it would be dangerous...
    • No good. The Tesseract was taken away from them before they even understood how it worked, nevermind reverse-engineering it.
    • This option has been well and thoroughly killed by Thor 2, because one does not simply build your own Infinity Gem.
    • Earth is fully capable of creating a low-end proto-Tesseract. That's what an arc reactor is. Of course, it's also doubtful that Stark would be willing to provide a batch of reactors small enough to be used in a gun to a group that he knows is going to use them to power weapons.
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. did recruit Mike, officially recruited Captain America and seems to make it clear it welcomes superpowered people that want to work for them. That could be their plan for now, since things seem to have blown over for the moment (no massive world ending crisises since the Avengers) and they no longer can weaponize the Tesseract. The show goes alongside the MCU and it's "quiet" for the moment. If it's still running when Avengers 2 is out then maybe we'll see some action on that front.

     The Night-Night Pistol 
  • Why in the world did Coulson, after seeing the first three or four bullets from the night-night pistol not hit Scorch, continue to fire until he was out of ammo? And why wasn't he carrying a reload? The whole thing just smacks of contrivance.
    • Because he might get lucky and one of the bullets will go through. He was wrong, but he didn't have the benefit of Bullet Time to see precisely what was happening. As for the ammo, it's a new gun with a new type of ammo, bullets for it probably aren't cheap.
    • Truth in Television: Law enforcement agencies train people to keep firing until either the target goes down or the clip runs dry.
    • There are even reported cases of police officers continuing to pull the trigger after they've long since run out of ammo, even when the suspect is already down. Even large amounts of training sometimes isn't enough to overcome basic human instincts.
    • The explanations do not work well for a weapon intended to be non-lethal that uses a toxin. Giving a human a dose that will take down an elephant will kill him. If you are going to empty an entire clip into him, you might as well use bullets.
    • Except this isn't a normal toxin. It's a magic comic book super-science toxin. For all we know your average human could eat five clips of night-night rounds before dying. It makes exactly as much sense as a billionaire inventing superpowered exo-suit to fight international terrorism.

     Let's Blow Him Up!!! 
  • Why did Coulson and May feel it was necessary to inject Scorch with more Extremis until he blew up, as opposed to just shooting him? Especially considering that by blowing him up, they destroyed much of the facility, and all of the valuable information contained within.
    • Nobody is probably quite sure just what it takes to bring down someone with Extremis. In Iron Man 3, it took some kind of massive trauma to actually disable someone, and Killian had to be blown up like three times. So for all they knew, just shooting him wouldn't have worked. But they knew for a fact that blowing him up would finish him.
    • In the first episode, they seemed pretty sure that Ward could kill Peterson. However, this time around, they don't have a sniper with a high powered rifle ready to explode the guy's head. I'm uncertain whether a pistol shot to the head would do the trick.
    • Don't forget that he made a flame shield that destroyed the shots Coulson shot at him.
    • You're also forgetting the part where they had Miles seal the doors in such a way that the fire would take the path of least resistance. They destroyed very little of the building, and they certainly didn't damage the labs or most of the offices.
    • Here's another question: Why was their approach, after Instant Sedation failed, to immediate move to lethal tactics? It seems uncharacteristic for the "don't ever tell me there's no other way" guy.
    • Because he denied the non-lethal option. Explicitly and repeatedly. He had no need to kill Agent Qwan, no need to reject May's attempts to reconcile, and no need to block the stun bullets. Not to mention that they might not have had any other non-lethal options left. The point is that he decided he didn't want S.H.I.E.L.D.'s help. They tried to help him anyway, but when none of those worked, they knew the choice was between running around looking for another way while he was trying to kill them, or disposing of a nascent supervillain. They chose the latter.
    • Further to above, Coulson states outright after the stun bullets failed that it was Scorch's last out. It wasn't anger in his voice, it was dejection - he simply had run out of alternatives.
    • It's also summed up in Coulson's last line to him: "We don't want to hurt you... but we have to."

     Centipede vs Extremis vs Super Serum etc 
  • What is the difference between Centipede, Extremis, Super Serum and any other things related to the current mainline macguffin (or is it phlebotinum?) of the show? Centipede seems like the name of the new serum being developed by the as yet unnamed bad guy group. And Extremis and the Super Soldier Serum were simply a part of that new serum. But it seems as of Girl in the Flower Dress, that the organization is named Centipede and people are calling the serum Extremis...
    • Extremis is a part of the Centipede serum. Centipede is just the code name for the serum (based on the delivery device seen in the first episode, which is a bracer that looks like a centipede). So when Miles traced Raina and found out she worked for some company researching centipedes, he didn't look farther.
    • Based on memory from the first episode: Centipede is the name S.H.I.E.L.D. has given to the secret organization, as they do not have much info on them yet (and because the device resembles a centipede). Apparently, it is a mixture of the three known methods of gaining superpowers in the MCU (gamma radiation, the supersoldier serum, and the Extremis formula), with the device itself being created from Chitauri materials. There was focus on Extremis in "The Girl in the Flower Dress" because it is currently an unstable component, and results in explosions if the test subject cannot regulate its usage effectively.
    • Actually, IIRC, they identified the serum in the pilot saying it contained gamma radiation, alien metal and an Erskine-esque formula before Coulson named it as Extremis. It's possible that it is just Extremis and they're only now explaining what's inside it.
    • No, because Extremis is established in Iron Man 3 as having nothing at all to do with any of those, having been developed completely independently before half of those things came to light.
    • Coulson was identifying the Erskine-esque formula as Centipede. The "Centipede Serum" includes EVERYTHING the people had. Gamma irradiated Extremis within a Chitauri bracer. Very unrefined. As said earlier.

     The Englishman 
  • If the Englishman was being controlled by the same ocular implant then presumably all his orders came to him by being typed out in the same way. If so why would he bother changing the wording to British English. I'd understand automatically putting extra 'U's in words such as color/colour but completely changing the words he sees typed out into their British equivalents (trunk to boot) seems unlikely. Basically I'm saying that the assumption about him being English should not have payed off and yet he was revealed to be a former mi6 agent. (Perhaps I've just taken the logic one step further and discovered that the person next up the chain is also English, if so S.H.I.E.L.D. can hire me as a consultant.)
    • We don't know what his orders were. It could have been as simple as "Retrieve this; these are the assets you have to do it." Then he'd come up with the majority of the plans himself. There's no need to have him directly puppeteer by another handler. That would be far too inefficient, and it would take too long for orders to trickle down the chain of command.
    • Fridge Brilliance: The Englishman's espionage experience and skill at on-the-fly improvisation is probably why they "recruited" him in the first place.

    Chan's blood platelets 
  • Is removing all of a person's blood platelets even a thing? Is that even possible?
    • Apparently it is, via a method called apheresis which siphons off the desired blood product and returns the rest to the patient.
    • Some people who donate blood only donate platelets. It has the advantage of a much smaller recuperation time before you can donate again - generally 2 weeks instead of 8 for full blood.
    • Yeah, but...all their platelets? Without filtering every drop of blood through some sort of platelet-removing machine, how would that even work? And wouldn't Chan's body start producing new platelets after a while?
    • The Centipede group clearly wasn't worried about him surviving the process, so yes, they took all his platelets (or enough that it made no difference). And as noted above, he'd be back to normal after a couple weeks. It's just that S.H.I.E.L.D. found him after a couple minutes. He simply didn't have time to replenish his platelet count.
    • If you don't care about the patient's survival, just take all the blood and leave. You can centrifuge out all the platelets later, and the rest of the blood might be useful. Putting it back is really nice for an organization that basically left him for dead. Giving him back the platelet-less blood only makes sense if you plan to lock him up and keep him as a resource, since those platelets come back.
    • Think about it. They have him locked in a sterile place. Of course they'd keep him alive. Then, when he produces more platelets, he can be drained again ... and again ... and again ... Nightmare Fuel of the Fridge Horror variety, isn't it?
    • They can't have taken all of his platelets because even after the operation when he was no longer fully immune to the burning, he was still handling it rather well. Especially when he pumps out enough fire/heat to turn the doctor woman into a pile of ash without turning his own arms into ash as well.
    • Bear in mind, this was after he was treated with the Centipede cocktail. We know from Mike that one of its benefits is fast healing; I suspect what was happening was that Chan's powers were burning him, and his new regenerative capacity was healing the damage. Thus he could still function without incapacitating himself from burns, but it now hurt like hell.
    • Makes sense.

    Skye's 'betrayal' 
  • So we're led to assume that Skye is someone we shouldn't trust and Whedon does this all the time. But Coulson's role in this is odd. It goes against his character on a very fundamental level to distrust people or the group he's trying to build. If he wants his own Avengers, and bring this young woman—who has been trying and building a close connection—him acting in this manner is very much against his nature. May and Ward? Certainly. Not Coulson.
    • She betrayed his trust by acting as a mole and warning a suspect (who turned out to be guilty) that they were coming after him. Anger at betrayal is far from uncommon. There's a reason most murders are committed by friends and family members. Note though, that the second she showed him the reason she distrusted S.H.I.E.L.D., he turned around, let her stay on the team, and even agreed to help her find what she was looking for. The bracelet is the equivalent of grounding a teenage girl for sneaking out to a party with booze and boys.
    • The bracelet is certainly a grounding, but it's more than that. It comes with connotations of loss of free-will, that your thoughts and feelings are not your own. This is not the right time for Coulson to be playing Big Brother, this is the time for Coulson to be the hero we know him to be. And you're saying its a simple reprimand without weight behind it, but if one of the other characters had pulled something like this off, I seriously doubt they'd be getting watched from on-high. They're with S.H.I.E.L.D., she isn't.
    • You're forgetting that both Skye and Miles have committed numerous accounts of computer fraud and related crimes, and Miles could possibly get hung up as an accessory to kidnapping or murder. Skye's (and Miles') punishment really is a simple reprimand, because the very likely alternative is being behind bars for a really long time with no freedom. Him giving her no punishment at all just isn't remotely realistic.
    • This. Coulson specifically tells Miles, "You can take what's in this box, or we can put you in a slightly bigger box" — i.e., wear the bracelet or they'll put him in prison. As for Skye: Yes, she has a tragic backstory. But she also just admitted to joining the team under false pretenses, in order to act as a mole for an openly antagonistic organization. Coulson's main job is to take care of the team she betrayed. Part of that job is ensuring that there are consequences for that kind of thing. Keeping her on the team at all and offering to help her was being "the hero we know him to be". He is compassionate. He is also a professional.
    • Also, don't forget that Coulson never actually says to her 'put on this bracelet as your punishment.' He brings the box into the room, puts it down on his desk, and never even refers to it. Skye put it on herself, without any prompting.
    • I have a bit of a gripe with what Coulson was expecting from Skye. I know he's portrayed as idealistic, but did Skye at any point mention that she had cut ties with Rising Tide?
    • Generally speaking, if you willingly join with one covert group, you're kinda sorta expected to stop working with the covert group that's explicitly working against the one you just joined.
    • Plus he found out Skye had ulterior motives for joining other than wanting to help people and see strange stuff. He was initially furious, apprantly assuming she was working to take down S.H.I.E.L.D.. If that was true he'd likely have tossed her, but her reason, wanting to find out the truth about her family was innocent enough for him to accept she meant no harm. Same with the Hub. If she was just impatient/selfish to get to the parent looking that she'd try hacking S.H.I.E.L.D. as soon as she could, Coulson would have booted her off the team, but since her reason for hacking the database was because she was worried for Fitz and Ward, he accepted it, especially since this ended up saving them. The Bracelet was probably something he needed to have used to justify not tossing her, and to make sure she wasn't lying. Once it was clear she really WAS the relatively good person she appeared to be and went above and beyond the call of duty to save Coulson he took it off, seemingly satisfied that he made the right choice. As did the rest of the team, as even May seemed to finally start trusting her.
    • I'm sorry if I didn't make it clear. My gripe isn't so much with Coulson being angry, so much as how he didn't suspect it or anticipate any risks.

    The makeup of the crew 
  • Why doesn't the main team have a medic?
    • It would be very surprising if Ward, May and Coulson didn't have at least some training in field medicine. And Simmons is a biochemist, so poisons and things like that are pretty well covered — and she's proven able to perform complex and delicate surgery under less-than-ideal conditions.
    • Based on her performance in FZZT it would seem that Simmons is indeed a medical doctor in addition to being a biochemist.
    • But why would a medical doctor have so much trouble injecting someone with a syringe? (As seen in "Eye Spy").
    • It wasn't injecting someone with a syringe she had trouble with. It was injecting it into her eyeball.
    • And Simmons spent most of her time in the lab before joining the team. She's like a medical intern who has suddenly been thrown into an ER. It's not surprising she would be squeamish about operating on a real live person's eyeball, while a bomb is also ticking down. EDIT: Also, during that scene Simmons specifically says that ocular surgery is not something she's trained for. So in addition to the ticking clock and her general inexperience, Simmons was also being called on to perform a procedure she was never trained to do. If you asked a heart surgeon to perform brain surgery he'd probably be equally nervous.
    • Simmons is probably not technically a medical doctor. A medical degree is not just passing classes, it is, at minimum, three years of residency and other hands-on training. She'd probably that would suck up years of valuable time she could be doing research. She might have the knowledge, but she's never 'practiced medicine', at least not beyond some basic medic training.
    • It's made pretty explicit in-universe that Simmons isn't a medical doctor: she's consistently referred to as having two Ph.D.s, not a Ph.D. and an M.D., and I'm sure the writers have done enough research to know the difference. My guess is S.H.I.E.L.D. thought three field agents with at least some emergency medical experience and a highly skilled biochemist would be capable of keeping anyone alive long enough to get them to a medical facility - which is exactly what they end up doing/trying to do in most cases when someone gets badly hurt. While it seems irresponsible at first thought, you've got to remember that Coulson's team clearly weren't expecting to get into nearly as many life-threatening situations without additional agents sent in for specialist work and back-up as they eventually do.

    Is Coulson's survival supposed to be a big secret? 
  • In the first episode, it's stated that only level 7 and higher agents know Coulson is alive. Ward doesn't find out until he gets promoted, and the Avengers don't know because "they're not level 7." In every episode after that, Coulson doesn't seem to care about keeping his survival a secret, and The Hub reveals that Simmons is only level 5. So is it a secret or not?
    • It was a level 7 secret, but it appears it's not quite as big a deal now. The main point is keeping it a secret from the Avengers, and maybe limiting his exposure in case the dark secret behind his resurrection turns out to be something dangerous.
    • Also, Coulson stated that he didn't want to manage his team without all that red tape (secrets).
    • Ward says that at level 6, he knew Coulson died which implies that at lower levels, there are people who don't know he died at all.
    • It's not that people below didn't know he died—what Ward's saying is he's got really high security clearance so he should know if Coulson survived.
    • To elaborate further, assuming S.H.I.E.L.D. follows a similar system to the US, your security clearance (Level 1-8) determines what information you may access, but it does not mean you will get all information at that level. So, Coulson's survival is Level 7, which means that any agents below that level will not be privy to those details, and Level 7 and above agents will be privy to the fact that Coulson survived.
    • For the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that Coulson is openly interacting with, they are probably Level 7 or otherwise authorised for that information; for example, Kwan is suggested to be fairly high up, and Sitwell is implied to be a Level 8 like Coulson, Victoria Hand, and the team at the Hub.
    • As for Simmons (and presumably Fitz as well) who's Level 5, this means that she'd be restricted from ever getting any information on Coulson's survival by normal means. However, given that Coulson recruited Fitz-Simmons to his team, while they're still Level 5 agents, they've been read in on Coulson's survival - this information has been made known to them because it is deemed necessary in order for them to carry out their duties.
    • It makes sense with what Maria Hill said about the Avengers not being level 7 even though Captain America was seen looking at files on the Tesseract that were labeled level 7. He already knew about, so he probably got special clearance for those files but nothing else at that level.
    • More importantly if his death was really supposed to be a big secret then he should be holed away somewhere where nobody can find him and only Level 7 and above can read the paperwork proving he's still alive. Or if he's such an important asset that he has to keep working then stick him with Fury on the Helicarrier with high level agents and those sworn to secrecy about it. Having running around all over the globe in plain sight and talking to people kind of invalidates the super secret. Let alone having him walk around S.H.I.E.L.D. central in plain view of all personel regardless of clearance. People will notice. It would be one thing if they changed his apperance and gave him a new ID but he's still walking around in plain sight and going by Phil Coulson.
    • No point. Captain America fought in the Battle of New York. His heroism was hugely public, with cops taking orders from him to get people to safety, and even him personally saving a group of people holed up in a building - afterward, a woman even thanks him for saving her on a newscast. The fact that Captain America (and for those who know his identity, Steve Rogers) is alive is public knowledge. No amount of clearance level is going to keep that a secret. The goal here is to keep Coulson a secret from Steve, and all S.H.I.E.L.D. has to do there is make sure Coulson and Rogers never have a mission in the same place together.
    • That brings up another very important point though. Now that The Black Widow has released all the information on S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn't all the Avengers know that Coulson's alive?
    • Skye deleted all their info before anyone could notice.

    Sitwell's advancement 
  • Back in The Consultant, Sitwell was Level 6, and was surprised to find out about the existence of Level 7. Then we see him again in The Hub, and he is already Level 8. This is supposed to take place around 2 years later. How did he advance so fast?
    • Considering the casualties S.H.I.E.L.D. suffered at the hands of Loki as well as their operations being expanded, him being promoted to take on more responsibilities as an experienced agent makes sense.
    • Also Sitwell appeared Item 47 as a level 7 agent, so he was probably promoted soon after The Consultant to level 7 then promoted to level 8 after the Avengers.
    • It could be that before the Battle of New York, the highest commonly known level was 6, with people like Coulson and Hand secretly Level 7, and Commander Hill and Director Fury at Levels 8 and 9, respectively. Once knowledge of aliens and such became wide spread, there would have been a need for even higher security clearances. note  This would make sense seeing as how the theft of the Tesseract only rated a Level 7 while later on the Overkill device was a Level 8. Also, Sitwell never said what his rating was in The Hub. He seems to be working under Agent Hand now, so he might still only be a Level 7, much like May and Ward, but he's higher up on the Level 7 pecking order because of who his superior officer is.
    • If you still think Sitwell was advancing too fast then Winter Soldier pretty much clears that right up Sitwell being devout member of HYDRA and HYDRA pretty much controlling S.H.I.E.L.D., hence devout members get advancements to high places.

    The Norse-Pagan Transportation 
  • How did the Norse Pagans travel from Oslo to Sevilla, with their entire group, despite being sighted and identified in Oslo and thus logically expected for the authorities to be informed and airports on a lookout, and than from Sevilla to Ireland again with no delay and even faster than the Bus?
    • A group claiming responsibility =/= individual members are known and identified everywhere.
    • "Hey, you! Super-powered freaks, you are under arrest!" What do you think will happen next?
    • The members were identified, and logically their images and names would be handed to everyone. Also unless they can fly a plane themselves or hijacked one, the latter just making them easy targets, they would still be kept from leaving Norway or Spain.
    • What I'm wondering is how they can have their faces plastered all over international television with the word "TERRORIST" underneath, yet they're able to walk nonchalantly down a public street in Europe. It's like if Osama bin Laden took a stroll through Los Angeles and nobody noticed. You'd think somebody would have called the cops on them.
    • There's a difference: Bin Laden was just a man, like anyone else, and a well placed bullet would take him down like anyone else. Those guys are something else. Who says that the cops were not sent against them? Surely they were sent, and were disposed of in 5 seconds.
    • Then you send more cops. And then some more cops. And if that doesn't work, escalate to an armored division. I'm not saying they would have succeeded, I'm asking why they apparently didn't even bother to try. And if these guys are really so dangerous that the government is afraid to send law enforcement after them, why haven't the streets been cleared? Why is the government allowing completely defenseless civilians to walk into the path of these dangerous superpowered terrorists?
    • In a normal world, maybe. In the MCU, there's a point past which you step back and say, "Let's just let S.H.I.E.L.D. take this one, guys." That said...I'm still struggling to remember where it's ever said that individual members of this group are named and identified by the authorities.
    • I don't know if they were named, but their faces were clearly shown on international television and they were identified as the ringleaders of the neo-pagan terrorist group. EDIT: Also, I'm not saying we should have had scenes of cops being murdered in droves by the terrorists. It does make sense that the local authorities would have pulled back and let the military and/or S.H.I.E.L.D. handle it (although a scene where they established this would have been nice). What bothers me is all the other people who were just nonchalantly milling around the streets with a pair of internationally-known terrorists standing right in plain sight. Like I said, it's like if Osama bin Laden walked down a street in LA and nobody even noticed he was there. At the very least the people on the streets should have been pointing and running at the sight of them. And the cops may not be able to take these guys in a fight, but they can still clear the streets to minimize civilian casualties.

    The Asgardian guy 
  • If that Asgardian guy is trying to stay in Earth without attracting attention, why the hell does he have a steady job? Sure, it's not a high profile work as being a superhero or a film star, but it gets people to know him on a regular basis. And it won't take much more than a decade for people to notice that he does not age, that time passes and he stays the same, and what will he say? He will have to Un-Person himself and begin again in another place, all the time. In the middle ages it was easy, he just had to leave the city, go to another a pair of countries away, and that's it. But now, with all the systems of identification and public databases, it's not such an easy thing. In fact, several secret organizations may notice the pattern: someone appears from out of nowhere at X place, and strangely dissapears a few years later, same thing at Y place after it, same thing at Z place after it... and all those guys are very similar. It won't take long before they would realize that there is an immortal running around.
    • While there is a risk, it's more like 10-20 years each time, not a few years. He's old enough that lack of aging is less noticeable until many years have passed, especially since it's not odd for people to look younger than they really are. Heck, a quick check shows that Peter MacNicol is 59 while the professor looks more like he's in his 40s. And it's not that odd for someone to find a new job or new stomping grounds every 10-20 years or so. His only flaw was more the bad luck of posing as a Norse mythology expert right when Asgardians decided to return out of the blue, making him more known to S.H.I.E.L.D. this time around.
    • And even if the government catches on to him, what does he have to fear from them? We're talking about a guy who can bend steel with his bare hand and bounce back from a three inch hole in his chest. God only knows what else he can do. Unless they sic the Avengers on him (which they probably won't do, since S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't consider him a threat) I dare say he can handle almost anything they can throw at him.
    • The key words: he's an alien. A human-like alien, an alien with technology and biological properties that were considered magical or divine by ancient folks, but an alien nonetheless. Do I really have to explain why would the government be interested in capturing him?
    • Interested? Sure. Able to? Not so sure.
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. still has that weapon that Coulson used against Loki, right?
    • Probably, but S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't interested in killing or capturing him and they wouldn't just hand over the weapon to anyone that might be.
    • Why not? It was a main point of The Avengers that S.H.I.E.L.D. considers the Asgardians a potential threat. And with good reason. So, the knowledge of the Asgardian anatomy, and how to be able to kill an Asgardian would be invaluable strategic info. Yes, this Asgardian poses no threat to anyone, but S.H.I.E.L.D. must watch the bigger picture. What if for some reason two Asgardians begin to battle themselves in a populated area here on Earth? And what if an Asgardian tries to use his might to take over the world, or just cause random senseless destruction? Oh, wait... both things have already happened.
    • And it's a main point of the whole MCU that S.H.I.E.L.D. is not the kind of organization that's going to capture an innocent, non-threat person and experiment on them against their will.
    • According to whom? Let me quote:
      Nick Fury: We're going to neutralize a lot of threats before they happen.
      Captain America: Punishment usually came after the crime.
      Nick Fury: S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't stupid. This guy isn't interested in taking over the world, and they know this, and even if he was he doesn't have the resources to even try. He is categorically not a threat and never going to be a threat. In fact he's the exact opposite of a threat. He's a valuable asset who can provide lots of valuable intelligence if they treat him fairly. You seem to have completely misjudged what kind of organization S.H.I.E.L.D. is if you think they would happily abduct and vivisect this guy just to find out the best way to kill an Asgardian.
    • In fairness Simmons did suggest vivisecting him, but she was in giddy Mad Scientist mode. They never would have actually allowed it.
    • Every mention of The List suggests that he would not be detained, just kept under watch. S.H.I.E.L.D. does monitor for potential threats, but it would be crazy to assume the guy that has been running around for centuries with only one historical blip is going to decide to take over the world. It would also mean angering Thor if he ever found out. "Sure, Thor, you can see your Asgardian brother. He's right here, here, there, and some of him is down the hall."
    • Should I remind you that we talk about the S.H.I.E.L.D. that created weapons of mass destruction from the tesseract?
    • Which is irrelevant. Creating weapons out of a power source is not related at all to kidnapping an innocent person and vivisecting him just to find a way to kill him.
    • There is also the possible issue that Asgard knows he is on Earth and at this time doesn't care since he isn't causing any trouble. If S.H.I.E.L.D. were to capture and start experimenting on him for no reason that wouldn't sit well with Asgard or Thor. Thor did not react well when he found out humans were experimenting with the Tesseract since it implies Earth is ready to stand on its own. If he were to find out an organization he (Thor) were allied with and experimenting on his own people how could he convince Asgard to maintain protective of Earth. It might very well decide with withdraw and allow the other realms to start attacking Earth which is worse in the long run.
    • ...why would not having a job make him less suspicious? How is that even supposed to work? The cover that he was under was perfect enough that S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't even notice anything wrong with any background checks they ran. (Coulson realized it from his psychological responses and his pen.)

    Runic English 
  • The Asgardian staff has "INSPIRE", "RAGE", "FIGHT" and "POWER" engraved onto it in Futhark runes. Why on earth would it have (modern) English words on it?
    • I don't understand the question. Do you think that "inspire", "rage", fight" or "power" are modern concepts that the ancient folks could not understand?
    • What he means is that the Futhark runes are phonetically spelling the English words themselves, and not their Norse equivalents. So instead of whatever the actual Norse word for "Inspire" would be, it's instead the rune for the "i" sound, the rune for the "n" sound, the rune for the "s" sound, etc.
    • See the other wiki for a description of runes, which are an actual alphabet. If you saw someone reading "an I", "an N" and so on, it's a translator of runes "explaining" his work for the laymen who does not have a clue on what is he really doing (wich is both the other characters, and us spectators; just as in the episode, only a specialist would actually understand runes)
    • Yes, we know what runes are. The original question is not about the guy explaining what runes are, because he doesn't do that in the episode. The original question is saying that the ancient Asgardian staff—which was made long before the English language—has runes on it that, phonetically, spell out words that did not exist until centuries later.
    • It's a Genius Bonus gag that probably didn't have a lot of thought put into it. Someone just thought it'd be a cool idea for the design, so they did it.
    • Another in-story explanation is... Asgardians in the MCU speak English. If the original leaked script of Thor is still canon, that's not just Translation Convention, either, as Fandral responds to Darcy's question about how they (the Asgardians) are speaking our (human English-speakers') language by saying something along the lines of "My dear, you are speaking our language."

    Ward's Backstory 
  • Where the hell were Ward's parents when he was growing up? I mean, I can understand them dismissing the occasional fistfight between brothers as a sort of "Boys will be boys" thing. But the things his oldest brother was doing? No parent can ignore or dismiss that.
    • From later episodes, it appears as if Ward came from a wealthy messed up family a la the Kennedys. His older brother was a bully who tormented Ward and their youngest brother, even forcing Ward to abuse their brother. Their parents were probably blind to it all and, according to Ward's description of them, probably harsh disciplinarians when they did pay attention to their children. Ward apparently started acting out and instead of trying to figure out why, his parents sent him to military school, where he apparently snapped and tried to set fire to his family home while his older brother was in it. He was caught, jailed, and his parents were going to have him prosecuted. This was where Garret found Ward and used Ward's need for a semi-sympathetic authority figure to manipulate the young man into becoming a sleeper agent.
    • It's possible they weren't aware of it beforehand and might been told by the older brother it was an accident, as we didn't see what happened afterwards.
    • Unfortunately, parents can and do dismiss that kind of behavior, and for a variety of reasons — straight-up denial being one of the most common. It's not uncommon at all for an entire family to be aware that one member is abusing another, and to do and say absolutely nothing about it.
    • Knowing that Ward is actually a member of HYDRA, it is possible that his entire family were members as well. That could explain his parents' not punishing the elder Ward brother.
    • The brothers may have grown up in the foster care system, which is usually depicted as uncaring on TV.
    • Doubtful. He likely would have brought it up when Skye mentioned she was in foster care.
    • Ward also later says his parents were "even worse." They might not have cared that their oldest son was abusing his brothers if they were doing it too.
    • This was indeed the case, as revealed in "The Things We Bury". Ward's younger brother was the only one their parents didn't abuse, and that's why his older brother hated the kid.

    Extraction Plan 
  • What could possibly be the advantage of not telling your field operatives they'll need to extract themselves? Coulson was spot-on when he told off Agent Hand; when people like Romanov & Barton go on no-extraction missions, they're told in advance, so when the time comes, they aren't completely clueless on how they're going to get out. I understand & appreciate how security levels & need-to-know policies work, but it's one thing not to tell an spy what's in the file he's stealing, and quite another not to tell him whether or not they'll have help escaping with the file. Who needs-to-know that more than the guy going in!? That wasn't Classified Information; that was Poor Communication Kills.
    • That whole bit was a tad odd. She had no real reason not to tell them, but at the end of the episode when she's talking to Sitwell she seemed to imply she knew Coulson would go after them regardless.
    • I thought the point was for them to die. It was a suicide mission from the start. If they can get themselves out on their own that's a nice bonus, but they weren't expected to come back.
    • See the Batman Gambit entry on the main page. She was counting on Coulson's team finding out about the lack of extraction and providing their own. They do have the Cavalry with them, after all.
    • That doesn't make much sense either. If the plan was always for Coulson's team to provide the extraction, why didn't they just tell Coulson's team about it? That way they would have had time to carefully concoct an extraction plan that was sure to work, instead of having to slap together a last-minute improvised plan that had a very good chance of failing catastrophically.
    • The purpose was convincing Fitz that the whole thing was planned out, because their mission relied on sending a non-com into a combat situation. Fitz is not a hardened soldier. Telling him that there is a full plan for getting in and out gave him a sense of security in the mission. If he'd known that once the mission was complete, he was going to be SOL, it would have affected his ability to perform his job. Even Ward recognized this; he waited until Fitz was almost done before mentioning that they're screwed. For Ward, he's been played up to be the badass that Romanov and Barton are; an assumption was made that he can recognize what needs to be done and get himself out alive. For Fitz, either Ward can get him out alive, or he won't; Fitz is Level 5. He's kind of expendable. It's cold and kind of cruel, but that's the calculus that an officer like what we've seen Hand to be like would make.
    • That would make plenty of sense if Ward had been told, but he hadn't. It just appeared that he had figured it out on his own right at that moment. As is, Ward & Fitz's only hope of survival was the rest of the team defying orders to find & retrieve them. Which Hand seemed to be counting on. Which is idiotic, unless the whole freaking hierarchy of S.H.I.E.L.D. (save Fury & maybe Hill) is out to get Coulson.
    • Except if Ward had been told he might have told Fitz, defeating the purpose of keeping Fitz in the dark. As for Hand apparently having expected Coulson and team to save the day, she had probably not told them about the lack of extraction as a test of the team's resourcefulness. She wanted to know if these relatively untested agents and non-agent were as good as Coulson claimed. Maybe a little professional jealousy was mixed in, too, based on her referring to Coulson as Fury's "favorite" and acting as if his assignment on the Bus isn't important. What she did wasn't nice, ethical, and quite possibly broke a few S.H.I.E.L.D. codes of conduct, but she wouldn't be the first person ever to abuse a position of power.
    • That would mean Hand was willing to waste the lives of two valuable S.H.I.E.L.D. agents for no good reason. If this was all a "test" for Coulson's team it goes way beyond unethical or against S.H.I.E.L.D. regulations. It was straight up reckless and stupid, and brushes up against downright evil.
    • Another case in point: Skye shouldn't have hacked into the database in the first place. She wouldn't have had access full stop if it hadn't have been for Simmons. What if Skye had decided to do the right thing, or Simmons hadn't been as worried? Ward would have probably survived, but Fitz probably wouldn't have made it out. So, why not tell Coulson that he has to provide Ward and Fitz with extraction because all other assets are needed elsewhere? This would have meant that Ward and Fitz would know exactly what they should expect for the extraction (a big hovering plane), so they would have also been able to get to a more suitable extraction point on time. Also, Hand wouldn't have had a very understandably angry Coulson barge in during the middle of a major operation, Simmons wouldn't be as worried about Fitz, and Skye wouldn't have tried to hack into the S.H.I.E.L.D. Database. Agent Hand is not a good right hand to have.
    • Additionally, consider what Coulson and co. had to do in order to extract their people. Skye illegally hacked the S.H.I.E.L.D. database (again). Simmons assaulted a senior S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and broke into a secure area. Coulson willfully disobeyed a direct order and committed a very public act of insubordination. And May went AWOL to rescue Ward and Fitz. In most military organizations these are court martial offenses (and in Skye's case would normally have landed her in federal prison). Every member of Coulson's team, and Coulson himself, had to basically break the law in order to extract Ward and Fitz. If that was the plan all along, then that's a fucking terrible plan.
    • It could be that Agent Hand was running a gambit to try to gain ammunition to use against the team at a later date. The first half of season one showed that the characters on The Bus operate with a high level of autonomy within S.H.I.E.L.D. and that Coulson's way of running his team is starting to rub some people the wrong way. This promo seems to show Hand coming in to run the team during Coulson's absence. She might use the incident in South Ossetia to her advantage here and try and bring the characters more in line with S.H.I.E.L.D. doctrine.
    • Well given the reveal that Hand is either HYDRA, working for the Clairvoyant, or IS the Clairvoyant, this suddenly makes a lot more sense. The plan was stupid because she was likely trying to get Ward and Fitz killed, while using acceptable losses as an excuse. That's also probably why she was being so obstructive when it came to helping get Coulson back. She didn't want him returned.
    • Now an unreveal. Hand was loyal all along, but apparently suspected Coulson. This makes her actions in retrospect somewhat understandable; rather than carrying the Idiot Ball and/or the Conflict Ball this whole time, she thought that Coulson was a traitor and his entire team was compromised, but lacked the evidence to make a formal accusation. Hence her actions not to get them outright killed, but to leave them in situations where they had to keep themselves from getting killed. Once the civil war in S.H.I.E.L.D. began she ended up on the right side. Kinda makes you feel bad that Ward shot her dead, doesn't it?.
    • Wait doesn't that imply Hand was perfectly willing to send two people into a situation that could get them killed, because of a hunch that was wrong?
    • Truth in Television for the espionage world. Sad to say, spies are hung out to dry all the time by their own side for reasons no better than this. Ward was capable of dealing with it, Fitz not so much. Also, her hunch wasn't 100% wrong; Coulson's team is infiltrated. It's just not Coulson who's with HYDRA. And Coulson did lead the Clairvoyant to TAHITI. And if Coulson hadn't saved Garrett from the drone attack at the beginning of the episode, the Clairvoyant would have been killed right then. Oops.
    • If Victoria Hand's plan was to sabotage Coulson's team because she thought he was the Clairvoyant then why didn't she try to have the team arrested. I mean, Skye had hacked a government database, Simmons shot a superior officer, albeit non-fatally, and Coulson went AWOL. All these things could have Coulson and his team some major jail-time. Hand missed a perfectly good opportunity to take down someone who she thought was the leader of a terrorist organization.
    • Maybe she did try that, but Fury protected Coulson. Or maybe she knew Fury was protecting Coulson already, so this was basically a zany scheme to either get some of Coulson's traitorous team killed, or have them do illegal reckless things that would cause others to realize something was wrong with Fury protecting them. (Hell, maybe she thought Fury was the Clairvoyant.)

     Mike and Centipede 
  • So it's been firmly established now that the group developing Centipede technology are the same group that nabbed Akela. And it seems like it's standard procedure for them to give their "recruits" an eyeball bomb to enforce cooperation. Why didn't they do that to Mike? As the only Centipede test subject to actually survive the early stages of development, he seems like a pretty valuable asset that they'd want to keep on a tight leash.
    • Mike only survived the early stages of development because S.H.I.E.L.D. grabbed him. Before then, he was set to explode like anyone else.
    • Okay, but while he was a test subject, Mike was still just out there in the world, living his normal everyday life...with experimental weapons technology implanted in him. The Centipede group didn't seem to be monitoring him other than regularly scheduled check-ins with his doctor. That seems awfully lax in comparison to their behavior later on.
    • Eyeball implants may be expensive, so they didn't want to waste it on a test subject who was unlikely to survive long enough to be an actual asset. Or alternatively, something in the Centipede process was believed to interfere with the eyeball implants, but now they've fixed that bug.
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. was barely aware of Centipede before the events of the Pilot. The lab explosion plus Mike's very public superheroics focused S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attention on them, and Coulson's team proved surprisingly adept at hunting them. The bionic eyes are an extra precaution now that Coulson and co. are dogging Centipede's steps.
    • In "Eye Spy", we only saw eyeball implants in characters without Centipede serum: Akela and the Englishman. We don't see actual Centipede soldiers with eyeball implants until "The Bridge", well after the serum is stabilized. Centipede didn't want to waste their time putting the implants into people who could still explode all on their own at any moment.

    Centipede and treason 

  • Given that Ward knows that Centipede is in the habit of wiring their soldiers to self-destruct, why does he automatically decide that Peterson being with Centipede is a sign of treason rather than considering that he might be acting under duress due to being wired to blow?
    • I see two reasons. 1st-Same reason Akelah was still getting the book thrown at her. Mike was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent trainee. One of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s rules is likely not to assist known enemies under duress, EVEN with the penalty of death. Remember S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are expected to die for the cause if needed, so it would probably be expected that Mike should have defied Centipede and gotten his head blown up. Added to the fact that he's seemingly doing their bidding to see his son again, which they'd already established was a potential conflict of interest. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are expected to put the mission before family, and family is discouraged. That's why they prefer people like Skye who have no family as their favored recruits, and even Coulson lost his father by the time he was an adult and deliberately chose not to have a family for the sake of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Coulson even said Mike would have to make a choice, and he did, he chose his son over S.H.I.E.L.D. and what they swore to protect. The other example is the same reason Fitz was willing to kill every Centipede agent in their way to get Coulson back, even though he knew it wasn't really their fault. It was personal because one of their own was involved. Mike chose not to help Skye and she was nearly killed as a result, and Ward took that personally. Yes it's somewhat selfish and hypocritical of Ward to think like that, but he and the team (except Skye so far) already have shown they value their own higher than others, when they were willing kill Quinn if Skye died, and they went against orders and killed those Guest House guards to save her. Plus Ward never really liked Mike to start with. He was weary of him, and Mike blew their second chance they gave him by turning on the team for his own personal interests. It's might be hard to remember because Ward is usually with the team, who he likes and trusts, but Ward isn't exactly Mr. Sympathetic to people he doesn't really know.
    • On the other hand, it seemed like Mike could have killed Skye himself when Quinn told him to, but was allowed to choose not to kill her since it wasn't a direct order from his eyepiece. Having just woken up from stasis, he might not even have known that Quinn would shoot Skye after he left the room.
    • His orders were to kill the other people, not Skye, and he has to obey them. A moot point though because Quinn had a gun, and announced intentions to hurt her, so Mike was still leaving Skye captive and unarmed in a room with Quinn. It was common sense they were going to hurt her. So Ward's point still stands. Mike left Skye at the mercy of a guy who had a grudge against her with a gun, to go do the Clairvoyant's dirty work to save his own skin instead, when he could have taken Quinn out with one punch before his implant killed him. Mike wouldn't have known that Quinn would only slowly fatally wound her so Coulson would go looking for his miracle cure, but that only makes it worse as he would have expected Quinn to shoot her in the head and kill her.
    • Let's think about that for a second. Mike crunchitizes Quinn's head, his handler blows him eye implant, which means that he can't stop Quinn's bodyguards from shooting Skye anyway. And then the Clairvoyant's other agents kill Ace in retribution. Or kill Ace, show Mike the video, then blow his implant. Killing Quinn doesn't really help him at the moment.

     "An 0-8- 4 supercedes all national claims." 
  • That line from the second episode puzzles me. If it was some weird quasi-magical artifact that fell from the sky like Thor's hammer, then it would make sense that S.H.I.E.L.D. gets dibs. But how can the Peruvian government have no claim to an object they personally commissioned?
    • They never admitted they had it commissioned, and given who they tapped to do it, they wouldn't exactly look good for doing so.
    • Okay, maybe the 0-8-4 in Peru is a bad example. What I mean is, in general, what gives S.H.I.E.L.D. the authority to simply ignore the wishes of a sovereign nation? Unless I'm mistaken "0-8-4" just means "we don't know what this thing is or what it does". Does S.H.I.E.L.D. really have the authority to drop into any sovereign nation and take any unknown object they find? Even if that nation built it themselves?
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. answers to the World Security Council, which has the authority to do things like launch nuclear weapons at a major American city in minutes without, apparently, going through any of the US Government's regular channels. So, yes, it seems that S.H.I.E.L.D. has exactly that much authority. Also, the 0-8-4 doesn't just mean S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't know what it is—it means nobody knows what it is. Nobody's claiming responsibility for it, nobody's admitting to building it, nobody is even coming forward to say what it is. An 0-8-4 is, basically, shit that fell out of the sky and nobody knows what to do with it, and apparently S.H.I.E.L.D. is who you call when that happens.
    • It's actually a clever set up. Either somebody has to fess up to what the 0-8-4 is (which means if its a superweapon someone has to admit they had an alien tech superweapon willingly in their possesion and face the consequences) or S.H.I.E.L.D. gets it. That makes it impossible for someone to have an 0-8-4 type object they don't want S.H.I.E.L.D. to know they know they have without trying some complex plan like the Peru government feigning ignorance while having a small team try to steal it from S.H.I.E.L.D..
    • But they do know where it came from. HYDRA scientists built it for the Peruvian government and misfired during testing. The Peruvian leader explains all this to Coulson.
    • Yes—after she took over the Bus to steal it. No one claimed it originally, and the Peruvian government never officially said a word on it. Reyes was just indulging in some Evil Gloating. If asked, the Peruvians could have easily disavowed all knowledge of her and the device. And actually, Coulson implies that she was planning to use it to take over the country (thought she didn't answer), so maybe they really didn't have any knowledge of it, and she just stumbled on some WWII records and got lucky.
    • As far as the national sovereignty question, nations that allow S.H.I.E.L.D. to operate on their soil at all probably have treaty obligations that spell out its areas of authority and responsibility. And they probably agree to those terms for the same reasons that there are American military bases all over the world: they get the benefits without having to pick up the check.

    Coulson's Resurrection *CONTAINS SPOILERS* 
  • After the events of "A Magical Place" it seems to be confirmed that Coulson was very very dead in The Avengers. The doctor (Ron Glass) seen in the pilot was one of those who was involved in bringing him back from death, and it looked like he was called in partway through the process, while Phil's brain was being rebuilt (for lack of a better word) and Phil himself was wide awake on the operating table, begging them to let him die. And it isn't All Just a Dream this time, because there is independent confirmation from the doctor. The most obvious questions to arise from this are:
    • Why did they not call this doctor in to start with? With S.H.I.E.L.D.'s level of transportation technology, it seems like he could be fetched from anywhere on the planet within hours, yet the implication is that he was not brought in for days. Yes, there was a surgeon already present, but the implication is that Shepherd Book, sorry, Ron Glass' character was the best, otherwise why call him in at that point?
    • Given the doctor's reaction during the flashback and once Coulson confronted him, they may have decided that he would have been so against what they wanted to do, that it would be easier to bypass him, hoping that they wouldn't need him at all. Seeing as they brought him into the loop after Coulson was 'alive', his own morality and ethics wouldn't let him kill Coulson all over again even though that's what he was begging for. So instead he did the only thing could could do in the situation, tried to lessen Coulson's suffering as best he could, performing the 'lesser of two evils' by altering his memories to give him something to live for.
    • Why the hell would it be required for the patient to be awake during this apparently excruciating procedure? Doesn't the brain do everything asleep that it does awake? If your technology can trace the neurons well enough to rebuild them days after death, then shouldn't it be able to do that while you have a nice nap?
    • It is, in fact, Truth in Television to do brain surgery on an awake patient (sometimes). There are no nerve endings in the brain so it only takes a local anesthetic to open the scalp and cranium. Why? So that you can monitor the patient's cognitive processes and make sure that a) you're not breaking anything important and b) that you're operating on the correct area. The surgical team stimulates localized parts of the brain and the patient's reactions tells them what they're working on. Presumably, Coulson's agony was from the extent of his ordeal, as just the brain surgery shouldn't have done it; unless they were stimulating the pain center of his brain.
    • Why weren't the doctors wearing surgical masks? During open-brain surgery?
    • For the same reason TV and movie astronauts don't have sun visors on their helmets but do have those silly interior lights that illuminate their faces.
    • The fact that Fury would order this for Coulson makes it clear how valuable he really is (was); but at the same time doesn't it make Fury seem extremely selfish, to put Phil through this process "for the greater good"? Or is there truly nobody else who can do Coulson's job? (And could this be a Take That at fans who "refused to let Coulson die"?)
    • "is there truly nobody else who can do Coulson's job?" Can do the job, yes. Be Coulson? No! It's his heart, not just his ability to do the job. Remember Fury can count the people he trusts on one hand. He wasn't ready to cut off that finger. And for That position, he needs Coulson there, not because he can just do the job as well as many high level agents can, but because he has the heart, soul and Fury's trust.
    • That's if we assume that keeping Coulson alive was the true end goal of the experiment. That might have just been a bonus.
    • While there is no evidence that they are borrowing any of the back story of Coulson and Fury from the main continuity of the comics, if they are going with a variation of the two having known each other for years and being best friends prior to joining S.H.I.E.L.D., then one could maybe see that Nick was willing to do anything to save his best friend, even if he went to some truly horrible means to achieve it. Terrible things have happened for the sake of loved ones before in the MCU, and Fury's shown that he isn't above going to extremes for what he believes is right. With all that technology at his fingertips, he may not have even thought twice about trying to save his friend once the danger was over. It certainly doesn't justify the lengths to which he went, but it could explain his reasoning.
    • There is this little conversation from The Avengers
      Fury: Just stay awake. Eyes on me.
      Coulson: No, I'm clockin' out here.
      Fury: Not an option.
    • Taking the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier into the account, perhaps Fury was already suspicious that S.H.I.E.L.D. might have been compromised (hence establishing secret bases like Providence). Given the possibility, he'd definitely want someone he could completely trust to help him rebuild things if things went sideways.
    • What happened to Coulson's heart? It is said that the cause of death was his heart being torn into several pieces, so shouldn't he be getting heart surgery rather than brain surgery? (Sorry if it sounds stupid.)
    • Wasn't he supposedly dead for several days? Meaning he'd have suffered brain death as well. Fixing a heart is comparatively easy, you could probably get a replacement from an organ donor, fixing a brain is less so.
    • There are 6 brief shots of various types of medical/scientific equipment that are implied to be each of the previous attempts to save him; #3 looks an awful lot like an artificial heart. It, among other things, could have been what Akela Amandour saw inside of him with her cybernetic eye.
    • This is a great answer, but causes an additional Headscratcher for the O.P. Would it not have been better, medically speaking, to bring Coulson's brain back to life first, then rebuild his heart? If they have the technology to rebuild him, they should have the technology on the carrier to get oxygenated blood flowing to the brain almost instantly, thus preventing brain death; or else to put Coulson in suspended animation until he can be put into surgery. (I know we're in Joss Whedon's 'verse, so Break the Cutie is in full effect here, but still...)
    • The GH-325 was shown to have properties of cellular regeneration. Surely it was used to heal his heart. But, considering the source of that thing, a blue humanoid creature, it is possible that Coulson healed but that his body is now slowly become an hybrid between human and whatever that thing was (Atlantean, Kree, Na'vi, place your bet), and that's what horrified Akela so much.

     Victoria Hand 
  • In "The Hub" her entire plan requires Skye and Simmons to commit several crimes to save Fitz and Ward. However, in "The Magical Place", she insists on doing everything by the book, to the point of kicking Skye off the bus. Why?
    • There are a number of possibilities. It's been noted that she doesn't seem to like Coulson's team and Skye in particular (which might be why she claimed Skye shot Sitwell, when it was Simmons), so she might just be acting generally obstructive, but not enough so that she'll actually get in trouble if they come out on top.
    • It's also not clear that she ever intended for Skye and Simmons to save Fitz and Ward. Hand is a very ruthless individual. She may not have intended Ward and Fitz to come back at all; not maliciously, I'll note, she just didn't prioritize their survival as being particularly important. If Ward can get himself and/or Fitz out alive, that's a bonus, but not a required mission parameter. By her own admission, this is how Hawkeye and Widow operate.
    • As was pointed out in the "Extraction Plan" folder above, though, Hawkeye and Widow are told there won't be extraction before they end up in a position where the only chance of survival is another agent defying orders.
    • The bottom line is that Victoria Hand had the Conflict Ball super-glued to her forehead to set her up as a Red Herring to be the Clairvoyant. The fact that it didn't really work and just made her seem badly written is because she was just badly written.

     Mike and Centipede, round 2 
  • Okay, I'll believe that Mike's advanced healing could've saved him from the explosion at the end of "The Bridge". But how the crap did Centipede get Mike to put an eye implant into him? After the explosion, the Centipede team left & the S.H.I.E.L.D. team stayed. How could Centipede possibly have gotten to the body first? By all accounts, it doesn't make sense.
    • Centipede has shown to be very resourceful, they probably took him from the ambulance and faked his death at the hospital.
    • Or, since he's apparently the new Deathlok, they may not have faked his death at all.
    • Nope. If they could bring him back that easily, they wouldn't have needed to question Coulson about his resurrection.
    • The stinger where Mike appears minus a leg and an eye happens after Coulson is rescued from Centipede. And we don't know how much time passed between Coulson's rescue and Mike's reawakening. They could have learned just enough from interrogating Coulson to reanimate Mike after a few weeks of experimentation.
    • We see exactly what Coulson tells them. Nothing that Coulson says is actually helpful, and the only person he says it to is immediately captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.. There is nothing they could have gotten from Coulson that would have helped in reviving Mike.
    • We only see part of Coulson's interrogation. We actually don't know what Centipede learned from him. And if the Clairvoyant is as all-seeing as his name implies it wouldn't matter if the Centipede agents on the scene were captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.. At the very least they may have learned from Coulson's interrogation the name of the doctors who revived Coulson, and that piece of information could have easily led them to the secret of how to reanimate the dead. The bottom line is this: Mike is Deathlok, and Deathlok in the comics is traditionally a dead man brought back to life and turned into a cyborg. If he wasn't killed and brought back then there would be no point in the writers turning him into Deathlok at all. Ergo, it is at least probable that he was killed and brought back to life.
    • And "traditionally" in the comics Hulk got that way because he jumped on a gamma nuclear bomb. "Traditionally" in the comics, Nick Fury was a white guy who was active in WWII and kept getting youth serums and stuff to keep him active to today. "Traditionally" in the comics, Hank Pim creates Ultron. There's plenty of "point" to them using a character's name without using every single detail from their comics backstory. And the whole point of Coulson's interrogation was that the Clairvoyant couldn't see how he'd been brought back, and what we're shown of the interrogation makes it pretty clear he wasn't giving them a detailed play-by-play of everything that happened.
    • Watching "The Bridge" again, it's not 100% clear how many teams the Centipede project may have had on site. It's also not clear exactly what happened to Mike. They blow up the tankers as a diversion to cover moving Coulson from the limo to their helicopter, then blow up the limo as well. It's entirely possible, or even probable, that they had another team we never even saw at the scene, and they were the ones who not only triggered the limo explosion, but retrieved Mike. Alternate theory- when the tankers exploded, Mike was actually thrown clear, landing in the same area where the Centipede team was busy moving Coulson from vehicle to vehicle, and he was picked up at the same time. So Mike was in the back of the chopper, at the same time Coulson was in the front.

     The eyepiece 
  • Why doesn't the eyepiece have a microphone in it, so that the "handler" can listen in on their victim in addition to watching through their eyes? It seems like an easy thing to implement, and if so, Skye and Ward's scheme at the end of the episode "Eye Spy" never would have had a chance.
    • There probably just wasn't enough room inside the eyepiece (though there might be if they took out the kill switch device). The fact that they were even able to miniaturize it that much is a minor miracle. Even if they could do it, a tiny microphone would be pretty easy to disable. It would have to be placed on the outside of the head (as opposed to inside the mouth or the ear canal, where it would be drowning in ambient noise) so all Akela would have had to do is plant her finger over the microphone and she could talk to whoever she wants.

    Why is Centipede so interested in questioning Coulson? 
  • The technology that allowed S.H.I.E.L.D. to revive him and alter his memory is certainly something interesting in its own right, but there is no way Centipede could learn anything interesting about it by merely interrogating the patient. Even if there was something interesting to be learnt from Coulson in that regard, why would Centipede care about such technology? Centipede is a horrible boss and often kills its own employees when they disappoint him. Reviving dying employees is just not their style.
    • Raina told us the reason (or the reason she was told, anyway): The Clairvoyant wants to be able to bring his soldiers back from the dead. While it is unlikely they could get the full details out of Coulson, it's also likely that he's the only one they know for certain was involved in the project. So even if he can't give the full details, he can provide enough clues to know who to grab and interrogate next—and they will likely know more, and so on. What probably happened was that they just saw an opportunity to nab Coulson and took it. If it was a choice between him and Fury, they would have grabbed Fury.
    • They needed to know what he knew so they could perfect their Deathlok project.
    • Grabbed Fury? Easier said that done. The guy kicks all kinds of ass on his own and, as the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., he's probably surrounded by at least half-a-dozen agents at all times just in the ordinary course of his business. They might as well try to abduct Captain America.
    • Well, yes, of course, that's why they didn't. But the opportunity could have conceivably arisen. In reality, it was far easier to grab Coulson. If they knew more about the project, they would have grabbed Dr. Streiten, since he has even less protection.
    • But as we've seen in the stinger for The End of the Beginning and in The Winter Soldier, Fury actually does just drive himself around in an ass-kicking SUV with no escort. Remembering that he is head of a covert, mainly non-existent organization who wants as little attention as possible, therefore, no "S.H.I.E.L.D. Secret Service agents". And when HYDRA does try to assassinate him, as it turns out, it's still not that easy.
    • Don't forget the simpler explaination — Centipede doesn't want to interrogate Coulson for the answers, they want to dissect Coulson.
    • "Ragtag" explains things: Garret is the first Dethlok, and is dying from organ failure. His interest in Coulson is because he believes whatever brought Coulson back will keep him alive. Making an army of Centipede supersoldiers for HYDRA along the way is, as Skye said, triple bonus points.

    Putting the team on a plane 
  • What is the point of having a team that lives on a plane that flies everywhere? S.H.I.E.L.D. is an international organization. If there is a problem in, say, China why not just let a Chinese S.H.I.E.L.D. team handle it? Why wait hours to fly in this particular team?
    • They're a fireteam, supporting other cells. They need to be able to move quickly.
    • The same reason Mulder and Scully travel all over the country (and sometimes further) investigating an X-file, rather than "just let someone nearby look into it" or why the Criminal Minds team fly to various areas when there's a case they need to handle, rather than "let the local cops figure it out". They're the team that does this.

    Mike Peterson Powers and Injuries 
  • Why hasn't the Extremis virus regenerated his leg (or eye)? Wasn't that one of the plot points of Iron Man 3?
    • This version is watered down with other elements. It does vastly reduce the Healing Factor and mean they don't have pyro powers, but it also makes them much less likely to explode.
    • Also, since he's now Deathlok, he may have been killed and brought back to life, so he might not have any regenerative powers anymore, if he had any to start with.

    Why didn't he just shoot her? 
  • In "Yes Men", during the fight at the biker bar, Ward had Lorelei dead to rights with the night-night gun. Why didn't he shoot her right there?
    • Probably because he asked her to surrender out of force of habit, and while it took physical contact to overpower him, her speaking must have been enough to unbalance him until she could grab him.
    • It also probably wouldn't have worked. Asgardians are immune to regular bullets. It was unlikely a night-night round would have worked. He probably knew this and was hoping he could just scare her into giving up.
    • In light of the lengths Ward has gone through to gain the teams trust as an infiltrating HYDRA agent, its possible that he let Lorelei capture him on purpose in order to make the team save him as a trust builder.
    • As we learn after Ward being exposed as a HYDRA agent, he's actually pretty weak-willed, so it would make sense that just a few words from Lorelei would be enough to keep him from shooting.

    What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? 
  • Setting aside how pointless the scene was in general, are the characters going to completely ignore the fact that Ward was effectively Raped while under Lorelei's mind control?
    • Yes and no. Yes, that was a horrible thing she did, but, honestly, it's the exact same thing she was doing the rest of the episode. Every time she uses her powers, she's raping men, it's just Mind Rape rather than physical rape. So what's the point of bringing it up? The only person who needs to discuss it is May, and Ward and May have that whole "I'm totally more stoic than you" thing going on, so when he tried to apologize for hurting her (even though it wasn't his fault), she just brushed it off instead of discussing it, admitting she was hurt, but eventually forgiving him because he was mind controlled and thus not responsible for his actions.
    • If that's even what May was hurt by—I got the sense what hurt her was when Lorelei said that May wasn't Ward's "first choice," implying that he had feelings for someone else on the team.
    • Unfortunately, it appears that Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male is in effect to some degree here. Ward's a tough guy, and it seems that he's being expected to just suck it up and move on.
    • Or his HYDRA training has him so damaged that it "was just another assignment" to him, just like when he was having sex with May.

    The Clairvoyant and Rising Tide 
  • If the source of the Clairvoyant's powers is having an astronomically high clearance level within S.H.I.E.L.D., why was there any need to hire a hacker to get a hold of a S.H.I.E.L.D. datafeed?
    • Raina hired Miles and Raina obviously doesn't have access. It's obvious that the Clairvoyant wants to keep everyone in the dark about being high up in S.H.I.E.L.D., so it makes sense that they wouldn't just arbitrarily give away secrets to subordinates, which would tip off people fast.

     Victoria Hand's test 
  • So... Victoria Hand tests people to see if they're HYDRA by pretending to be HYDRA herself and then demanding they swear allegiance. This seems like a terribly flawed way of rooting out HYDRA agents, because a) we've seen that HYDRA members recognize one another within S.H.I.E.L.D., so real members of the group would know she wasn't one of them; and b) Loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents might just immediately decide to go down shooting (Agent Triplett could easily have killed one of her men, for example) or they might decide to take the chance to infiltrate HYDRA by faking loyalty. Either way, she's putting herself, her men, and the good agents at great risk and it doesn't seem like she's actually going to catch any HYDRA spies.
    • It's foolish to assume every HYDRA agent in S.H.I.E.L.D. knows every single other HYDRA member in S.H.I.E.L.D. by name and sight. Aside from compartmentalization (if one agent's captured, he can give everyone away; you think every grunt is going to know the top people?), there are thousands of HYDRA members in S.H.I.E.L.D.. That is just way too damn many of them for every individual to keep track of. And putting them at risk? They're all already at risk; they've reached a point where everyone's at risk of death at any moment.
    • When the guards bust in on Coulson and his team (and Garrett), Garrett says that he knows some of them had to have been recruited by Sitwell, and they know what to do. The implication is that the two guards who were HYDRA assumed (correctly) that since Garrett knew who one of their leaders was, he had to be HYDRA himself, but didn't know he was until that moment.
    • How many options does she have? (Given that she is once more forced to carry the Idiot Ball and Conflict Ball at the same time (one could say she has her Hands full), but that's plot related, not character, so it's not really relevant to why she did what she did.) She is aware that another organization has infiltrated her own, but has no real idea who is in it or even how many members there are. She needs a quick and dirty test to determine who might belong to this enemy group, or maybe even more importantly, who doesn't belong to it and might still be loyal to her. So, she uses the method seen. Maybe she was planning to arrest all those who agreed to pledge to HYDRA and sort it out later, but she figured that anyone who refused as vehemently as Simmons and Triplett, and then fought for S.H.I.E.L.D., was a safe bet to be loyal. Except for an agent in deep deep cover like Ward, who was so committed to his superior's survival that he would actually help capture him alive, so he could rescue him later....
    • It was pretty implied Hand killed honest S.H.I.E.L.D. agents because she thought they might be HYDRA (ie, anyone who resisted being taken) and she had guys attacking Coulson's team with lethal force throughout the ep, even though her hunch had been wrong. It's kind of a jerkish way to go about it but that's Hand for you. Hand probably figured 1. mook HYDRA plants wouldn't know the higher ups involved so they'd expose themselves by saying "No wait boss I'm HYDRA too see." and show off their HYDRA union cards or whatever. and 2. Anyone that easily caved to HYDRA was a traitor that couldn't hack it and deserved death. Granted Triplett passed her test a little too well when he almost killed that clean guy, but Hand likely decided anyone that picked the death option, even if they just sat back and prepared to eat bullets without resistance rather than futilely try to fight back was trustworthy.

  • Nick Fury has secret bases, presumably dozens all over the planet. That makes perfect sense. He or someone very high up contacted Coulson with coordinates to said secret base. Still makes perfect sense. There are serious problem with this though. First the base is so well hidden that Coulson is literally standing on top of it and only notices it because he hurls his badge in frustration. (The turret was designed to shoot fast moving metalic objects and might never have given away its position to them just wandering around and despite looking for it everybody present Failed a Spot Check pretty spectacularly. A base you can't find with directions to the front door is a bit too well hidden. Then worse, when they get in the caretaker is still keeping secrets from the team but allows Skye to call out on her cell phone of all things to an agent in the field? It's not like she snuck away she did it in plain sight and he asks who's she calling instead of just stopping her. Even if Ward wasn't with HYDRA calling out on a cell phone from a secured location is some serious amateur hour bullshit that someone should have stopped.
    • It's probably some crazy untraceable S.H.I.E.L.D. cell phone. Also the caretaker is in the other room with Coulson when she makes the call.
    • He saw her start making the call, though which was the point. He probably just thought better of trying to go over Coulson's head on that.
    • Why didn't Coulson or May stop her?! Even if it us some crazy untraceable S.H.I.E.L.D. cell phone the current arc is about how S.H.I.E.L.D. has been very heavily compromised by HYDRA. Far enough up the chain that Coulson, May and Ward have all have various fingers pointed at them. I think S.H.I.E.L.D. compromised trumps untraceable cell phone that they created. Even then they knew that the Fridge was under attack and Ward could very easily have been I dunno, acting under duress? There are so many reasons why someone should have stopped Skye that have absolutely nothing to do with Ward's current status that it screams collective Idiot Ball.
    • Because she's the paranoid uber-hacker who just erased all their information. All of it. By herself. If she thinks the phone's secure, it's secure, and she'd be able to tell if Ward was talking under duress—not to mention he has training to resist torture. And of course, they trust him, so they don't think him knowing where they are is a problem.
    • The same paranoid uber-hacker that they caught in the pilot episode? We know it's plausible she allowed herself to be caught but Coulson doesn't know that and the custodian probably doesn't know any of them except May and Coulson. And he doesn't even attempt to stop her he just asks who's she calling.
    • Coulson gave her the phone earlier in the ep, which was given to him by Hand, who assured him it would be untracable and the best secure way to stay in contact with her and Ward. What more can Coulson trust than that? He NEEDS to stay in contact with them in order for them to still coordinate. And the only reason it isn't secure is because Ward is HYDRA, but that's not Skye's fault, the whole team still trusts him and don't know they were played so badly. After Ward's been made, then maybe Coulson will start operating with the assumption that they cannot trust or contact anyone outside their small unit (and even then...man...they just might not even be able to trust each other. Damn you Ward.) ever again. But for the time being they still thought it was safe to call Ward and bring him to their base.
    • I think the team minus Ward will still be able to trust each other. Coulson was clean enough to get the coordinates to Providence, Fury trusted May enough to give her a direct line to him, FitzSimmons and Triplett all defied HYDRA in the battle at the Hub (Simmons and Triplett even expecting to die in their defiance), and Skye should want to stay as far from HYDRA as possible after they've directly threatened her.

  • So exactly why has all of S.H.I.E.L.D. been declared a terrorist organization? HYDRA may have infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. but that doesn't make S.H.I.E.L.D. itself evil.
    • HYDRA is S.H.I.E.L.D.. If you haven't seen Winter Soldier, do so. The organization is rotten to the core. There are good guys, obviously, and they may even be the majority, but S.H.I.E.L.D. needs to be burned to the ground. Now, the problem here is that the various world governments are less interested in making sure that HYDRA has been completely purged from the remnants as they are in stealing all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s supertech.
    • Imagine it in the real world. Imagine if the crazy conspiracy theorists were right and The Illuminati were in control of the CIA and had been from the very beginning. It's revealed when they make their move to take over the world. It gets stopped though. Now right after that some of the CIA people say "Not me, I wasn't and am not a part of that Illuminati that started the CIA with plans of world domination, so we can just keep doing our CIA stuff right? Are YOU going to say "Eh, I'm sure they were telling the truth and the wool won't be pulled over our eyes like it was for the last 70 years".
    • Also all the governments have basically had to deal with S.H.I.E.L.D. acting holier than everyone and being above reproach and everyone else's jurisdiction for the last 70 years. They are probably THRILLED to finally get the chance to crack down on the, from their POV, arrogant suits that forced their way above everything and did what they wanted in the name of "peace" but were too stupid to notice HYDRA sitting right under their noses all along. Plus we saw in Winter Soldier that the guys who basically admitted they screwed up and ditched S.H.I.E.L.D. for greener pastures like Hill and Sharon were allowed to relocate with no apparent fuss. It's the S.H.I.E.L.D. guys that stubbornly insist on continuing to try to operate like they were and trying to ignore or downplay what just happened they are going after, because they feel S.H.I.E.L.D. just cannot be trusted at all anymore, and anyone who refuses to realize that is dangerous.
    • The declaration they'd been made a terrorist organization happened after Coulson told everyone to bail out and ran himself. Just as they were leaving, he mentioned that most of the personnel at the Hub had decided to surrender when the American forces came. If you were a government, a quick and dirty assumption is that the honest people would surrender and distance themselves from S.H.I.E.L.D., and the ones who refused to and ran could be threats, and possibly HYDRA themselves.
    • Winter Soldier also revealed that HYDRA had penetrated the civilian government(s). It's entirely possible that HYDRA's deep-cover agents were influential enough to add a push for S.H.I.E.L.D. to be labeled a terrorist organization, just to make things more difficult for their enemy, if not destroy it totally.
    • Real world government do that all the time. When you want to wage a war against an group of persons and not call it a war, you label them "terrorists" (whether they are doing any terrorist activities or not) and say you fight terrorism. It may just be a reference to that. Besides, it is politically much more comfortable for world leaders to say "They are terrorists and we are fighting them" than "They are an international spying agency which we let operate for years with almost no control or supervision, and now most of their assets and technology have been taken over by real terrorists by our fault."

    Marcus Daniels 
  • Does Garret's line "Don't forget to follow your dreams", said to a random prisoner escaping from The Fridge, mean anything significant?
    • You'll find out next week.
    • It most likely might be relevant, but also consider that he released those prisoners as a general distraction. It doesn't matter what "dreams" they follow, just so long as they cause some mayhem that the good guys have to deal with.
    • Considering he knows about the Cellist thanks to Ward however, he probably was addressing Daniels in particular, knowing he'd go after her and Coulson would spring to the rescue.
    • Stalker with a Crush. See, next week.

     Sending men to deal with Lorelei 
  • Okay, so I've seen plenty of plots where the villain is "a woman who can use mind control powers only against men." Sif EXPLICITLY tells Coulson and the team that Lorelei can mind control men AND ONLY MEN. S.H.I.E.L.D. has plenty of female agents, but brazenly opts to send in Grant instead of Melinda, or Maria Hill, or Agent 13, or any other S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who is not male. But I guess the episode would have been boring if Lorelei just gets tackled by an all-female SWAT team.
    • There was a time limit, and women are still a minority in any type of armed forces. They just couldn't get an all-female team together fast enough. The plan was to have the men (and the women who were present, like May) handle the brainwashed guys while Sif slapped the collar on her. But then the collar got damaged, so that went out the window.
    • It also seemed possible Coulson and co just didn't take the warning too seriously at first. "Oh she can control weak minded men with her voice and others with a touch? No problem. We're not weak minded so just don't let her touch you and we'll be fine." Once they lost Ward, Coulson proceeds to send in an all woman team and keep himself away from the scene until they'd confirmed she was gone, so he'd learned his lesson. They were just careless at first.

     Ward and Lorelei *CONTAINS SPOILERS from 1x17+* 
  • Now that we know that Ward was Evil All Along, his behaviour with Lorelei seems weird. It seems quite clear that Lorelei's control totally overrides any previous loyalty and makes the victim her devoted slave while preserving his skills. So why didn't Ward tell her everything about HYDRA and the Clairvoyant?
    • We can of course speculate that he did tell her but it is never revealed to the viewer. But it is not likely for at least two reasons:
    • Lorelei's only goal in life is taking over powerful men to play sadistic games of power and domination with whole countries and worlds. Which means that if Ward had told her about HYDRA and the Clairvoyant, she would likely have been extremely interested. I can imagine the scene: "Oh, by the way, I was never truly loyal to those people, I was just inflitrating their team. I am a high-ranking member of HYDRA, an evil conspiration that infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and plans to take over the world. I followed one of their leaders, his name is John Garrett but those days he styles himself the Clairvoyant. But of course now I only care about you." What would Lorelei do? She would ask to be taken to the Clairvoyant at once so she can control him and take over HYDRA.
    • If Ward had spilled the beans, he would likely have been very upset about that after he is released from Lorelei's control, but he shows no such concern. And probably Lorelei would have tried to use that information as a way to destabilize the team or to bargain for her freedom when things were turning sour for her.
    • More likely he did tell her. Pillow talk "Oh by the way I'm secretly working for a different group called HYDRA" "I don't know what this HYDRA is. Why do I care? What's it got to do with me?" Without knowing the inner workings of S.H.I.E.L.D. and other secret gov. agencies it really wouldn't make much sense to her. She hadn't shown any interest in the inner workings of S.H.I.E.L.D. anyway. None of it mattered because she would soon be running the world anyway (according to her plan). It would be similar (based on her level above the mere mortals) to one of the cops she controlled telling her "by the way I'm taking money under the table from the drug cartel".
    • While it's possible Ward managed to remain in a position where he never had to be prompted to reveal that info to her, he could have told her. We don't know what their plan specifically was after taking the bus and taking out Sif. It could have been to go straight to Garrett to get him and HYDRA under their control. As for why Lorelei didn't immediately blurt it out, why bring it up when she was seemingly going to win anyway? And afterwards she couldn't talk.
    • On another topic, the Lorelei episode and its epilogue show that even though he is HYDRA, Ward does care for someone in the team (likely Skye).
    • Additionally, would Lorelei even know what to do with that information anyway? She doesn't seem to understand Earth politics well enough to even realize how valuable intel like that could be. She's not the most skilled tactician; her evil plan boils down to, "Make the strongest guy do what I say, then send him to break things."
    • Lorelei is not the smartest person around, that's granted. But HYDRA's goal is quite straightforward, and we can observe than people under Lorelei's control are extremely enthusiastic and eager to serve her. Phrases like "conspiracy infiltrated in any possible organization and government" and "taking over the world", spoken by someone like Ward which is quite credible and convincing, are understandable by anyone.
    • While she'd understand "taking over the world" from Ward, she was already doing that. According to HER plan. He tells her he's part of HYDRA and they're going to take over the world and her reaction would be "Silly boy. I'm taking over the world, and everything is going according to plan. Are you suggesting I should join this silly little group of yours with plans to take over the world secretly and subtly over many years?" Even if he said "Well you could use HYDRA" her plan is to use Everybody. Why does HYDRA secretly being part of S.H.I.E.L.D. and subtly manipulating things matter when she can rather than use them, just control the President.
    • The answer to this entire thing: Lorelei is dumber than a bag of hammers. Men hold the majority of power on this planet, and she could have trivially taken over the world with a tiny bit of work. Asking why she didn't take over HYDRA is the wrong question...why didn't she take over S.H.I.E.L.D.? Or the US government? Instead, she took over a small roadside diner. She could have had every man on the planet writing her checks, or handing over diamonds. Instead she takes over a frickin diner and sends some guys out on raiding parties, to get things she could have just asked for and they would have been provided. And then, when she teams up with Ward, she takes over...a hotel room? And then an airplane? She doesn't even bother to try to figure out how the world works, or anything useful. Her plan is to 'Find strong guys, make them go out and steal stuff for me', which is an absurdly unambitious plan for someone with her powers who can get half the population to freely give her all their stuff!
    • The bottom line is that Ward likely didn't tell Lorelei because she simply never asked. Her puppets react to her immediate wants and desires without using their own initiative. Thinking about long-term strategy, even on her behalf, is probably out of the question if she doesn't task them with it. Also, let's give Lorelei the benefit of the doubt. Asgardians have a lifespan of millenia and their culture hasn't changed appreciably since the viking age — and Lorelei has been in a dungeon for centuries. She probably hasn't realized that there's more to Earth now than "strongest guy rules" because that's the way it was the last she knew.
    • Even if Lorelei was stuck in the mindset of the Viking Age, she would still understand that S.H.I.E.L.D. was after her. She would at least ask Ward some basic questions about S.H.I.E.L.D., which would have revealed that HYDRA was the one really running the show.
    • Ward did not mention HYDRA because HYDRA was not, at that moment, in condition to help his mistress. They would change that when they execute Order 66, but at that moment, HYDRA was still vulnerable: the top-level agents who were not involved (such as Fury) were still alive, S.H.I.E.L.D. was still operating in order, and the insight project was still under construction. If Ward goes to the Clairvoyant and asks for support to the evil Lorelei (who was already being seeked by S.H.I.E.L.D.), he would accomplish nothing but just get them all in jail and ruin the whole conspiracy for nothing. He also knows that he can't get his mistress to replace Pierce or Garret in the conspiracy: it relies in subtlety, and Lorelei is anything but subtle (and it was stated that, even mind controlled, Ward is still Ward, so he won't make such huge strategic mistakes because of having his mind clouded). And of course he would never have HYDRA exploit her, as his loyalty will now lie with her and only her.
    • And not only the would it matter to her? point, but Would it matter to him at that point? He's secretly working with HYDRA infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. to take over the world...... Except now he's not. HYDRA's plans to take over the world now mean nothing to him and he is not part of it, because now he is with Lorelei and her plans to take over the world. HYDRA's plans and goals don't matter and he is no part of them now because Lorelei is soon the ruler of the world. It's like if you were working for the government, but were secretly working for North Korea, when Aliens came down and took over the entire world as a whole, and now control Korea, the US the entire world, does your old secret plans with N. Korea have ANY relevance when Aliens took over EVERYTHING?

    Talbot and Providence 
  • One problem with Colonel Talbot leading the raid on Providence - he's a member of the US Air Force Special Forces. Providence is in Canada. It's usually not considered good form to run military ops in other people's countries if you're not at war with them. Shouldn't that op have been run by the Canadian military? If nothing else the Canadian government should have insisted that they be informed of the operation and be provided with copies of the intelligence, and a cut of any captured S.H.I.E.L.D. tech. After all, the base was on their soil.
    • Maybe they were. It's not like they showed every step of the mission.

    Agent Coulson and Project T.A.H.I.T.I. Again 
  • Ok, let me get this straight and explain detail-by-detail as to how this made me scratch my head so here. We all know that Agent Coulson died at the hands of Loki by the 2012 Avengers movie. We all saw how Loki thrusted his sharp scepter in a gruesome manner. That tore his heart literally which is enough to say that he is gone. Nick Fury did some meticulous scheme on the aftermath. Yes we know it because he is the man of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Fast forward to the 1st episode, By the time Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came in, he was brought back from the dead thanks be to Project T.A.H.I.T.I. thru numerous tests as seen on that episode. Now, there are some of our beloved Agents that are questioning who are those behind the project besides Nick Fury, who is obvious, that doctor, his assistants, and those folks there. We go to this episode and found out who did what transpired after all of that and what Agent May took from the false grave of Coulson. Agent Coulson himself was the one who requested Nick Fury to stop i because of the adverse effects that it had. How is Coulson doing that after he himself is still dead? I mean, much as we learnt the memory alterations that it had, shouldn't Agent Coulson be still dead by that time? What is going on here?
    • He was in Charge of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. before the events of the Avengers, when the Avengers Initative was still around. He sent that message recommending the project to be cancelled. It was, but then Coulson dies and Fury for whatever reason needs to revive him. So he dusts off T.A.H.I.T.I. and revives Coulson.
    • Specifically, T.A.H.I.T.I. was Fury being Crazy-Prepared: It's not an exaggeration to say that the Avengers are the most important people on the planet, in the most dangerous roles. So he was trying to find a way to revive them if the worst should happen, and put his most trusted man (Coulson, his "one good eye") on it. Coulson did his duty, oversaw the project, and eventually recommended it be shut down. Fury complied. Then Coulson died, and Fury used T.A.H.I.T.I. to bring him back, as well as using Coulson's own recommendations about the treatment to wipe all memory of it from Coulson's mind, including being in charge of it originally.
    • The only problem with this theory is that the Avengers only existed on paper at this point. The project still makes some degree of sense in the case of just being Crazy-Prepared but Thor was off world with no way to contact him, Banner didn't want to work with the government, Stark was found wanting (and with War Machine/Iron Patriot running around he was kinda replaceable as an Avenger. One might even go as far as to argue he's too important to send out into the field where he might die. We appear to still be missing a major player in this scenario one that will probably be revealed in the next few episodes.
    • Those theoretical team members weren't looking likely, but the Avengers Initiative had been on the book since at least the first Iron Man movie. "Bring together a group of extraordinary people to fight the battles we never could" was still the plan, and it's a plan that could result in casualties among said extraordinary people. Hell, best case scenario for the T.A.H.I.T.I. project is that it works on anyone without side effects and they figure out how to synthesize the serum. There were a million reasons to research the drug whether or not Tony, Banner, and Thor were willing/able to be recruited.
    • Now we also know why Coulson was asking them to let him die: he knew he would come back wrong; he'd seen it before. Question now becomes, does Skye have the same thing hanging over her? She wasn't "dead for days," (ok, seconds maybe), but probably not long enough to get brain damage.
    • Skye took to the drug very well, which is speculated to be because she's an 0-8-4. So it's unlikely she'll suffer any side effects that won't end up benefiting her in the end.
    • Either the above or she was gone for such a short period of time that it didn't count. People in real life have been brought back from being dead longer than Skye was gone.

     Talbot and the Providence Interrogations 
  • Why didn't Talbott try to act on the intelligence that Team Coulson gave him willingly? I can understand him holding on to the team and trying to pry more information out of them, but as I understand it, his mission is to detain everyone in S.H.I.E.L.D. until the powers that be can figure out which ones are really HYDRA and what they should be doing with the rest of them. He was just handed the location of two more agents on a plate. All he would have to do is make a phone call to some military base in or near Los Angeles to follow up the lead he was given while he handled things in Providence and as far as he knew (Deathlok being a complication he would have no way of knowing about), he's soon have secured two more S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, their very nifty aircraft (There's only so many places you can park an airliner in a major city, and the extra engines mean that nobody who sees the Bus would mistake it for a civilian aircraft, so it's pathetically easy to find if you know where to look), and possibly (Assuming Coulson told him about the drive) kept a lot of juicy S.H.I.E.L.D. secrets out of HYDRA's hands and (Pending an interrogation of Skye for the encryption key) placed them in the hands of the US government. Add in an order to keep the two agents locked up in separate locations, and he would have also protected the allegedly good agent from the allegedly evil agent, which would earn him some goodwill and cooperation from the people he's trying to question. And all it would have cost him was a five minute phone call. So why didn't he try? Even after Team Coulson escaped, he still could have acted on that intelligence after waking up from the I.C.Er shot, at which point Ward's attempts to leave LA would have been easily thwarted by a flight of F-16s circling the airport and squawking something on the order of "S.H.I.E.L.D.-616, this is the Air Force. Power down and exit your aircraft and surrender to the company of Marines surrounding the runway or we will blow you to smithereens," followed by capturing all of Team Coulson (Where they would be going when they staged a breakout because he wouldn't act on their intel would be a no-brainer).
    • He knows Coulson personally. As we see just from the episode in question Coulson has people who are loyal to him who are willing to go outside the law to help him. He has access to at least one base that government might never have found or infiltrated without help from May and Maria Hill. He doesn't know that Coulson isn't HYDRA, what he does know is that Coulson is a clever sonbitch who's Crazy-Prepared to boot. Making a phone call to send troops after his supposed lead might actually somehow summon a strike team, lock down the base or dozens of other things. When dealing with high tier S.H.I.E.L.D. or HYDRA agents the best move is to never surrender a single inch.
    • If you're going to be that paranoid about it, then there's no point in interrogating the team at all, as anything they say could be a lead-in to a trap.
    • If you're not going to be that Genre Savvy you might as well leave him alone with Maria Hill long enough to plea his case. With Fury and to a lesser extent with Coulson it's not paranoia it's actually knowing who you're dealing with and taking appropriate measures.

     Why is Coulson allowed to be a field agent? 
  • If Coulson's resurrection is such a big secret, why is he allowed to go on missions that constantly expose the fact he's alive? For example, in "Yes Men" Sif found out he wasn't dead. She's likely going to tell Thor, who will probably tell the other Avengers. If S.H.I.E.L.D. is being so lax about Coulson's resurrection, why bother keeping it a secret?
    • Because he's still part of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The list of people that Coulson knows that aren't on the take is extremely small, and it's easy enough to make sure he never interacts with them. The Sif example was easily solved with "let me tell him".
    • Also, although it is never stated, it seems likely that Coulson's resurrection was an important secret in the beginning but is not so important now. Probably the main point was to keep the enemy of S.H.I.E.L.D. off the tracks of project T.A.H.I.T.I., and that has obviously failed since the Clairvoyant has been aware of it in the main lines for a long time (possibly from the beginning) and looking for more information ever since. The secondary reason is that Fury used Coulson's death to manipulate and inspire the Avengers in The Avengers (and may also have used it in the gods only know how many similar twisted plots and schemes), and he obviously doesn't want those people to know they have been fooled, and that one still more or less stands, but the Avengers are a very small group of persons and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. is in chaos.
    • Still all valid points, but just want to point out that technically, Fury never fooled the Avengers. Coulson really did die, so Fury never lied to them about that... he just made sure Coulson didn't stay dead.
    • And Coulson being a field agent could be Fury's way to try to get him to heal. Instead of being stuck in an office all day, he could be active again and rediscover a reason to live.

    Exactly how long was Ward in the woods? 
  • Ward was first found by Garrett 15 years before the present, making him about 16 or 17. Six months later, he's still played by the young actor. But in the next scene, he's played by Brett Dalton. How much time went by?
    • Watch the time stamp. When Garrett first breaks him out of juvenile detention, that was 10 years ago. At the end, right before he joined S.H.I.E.L.D. and when he was played by Brett Dalton, that was 5 years ago. That doesn't necessarily mean he spent the whole 5 years living in the woods though. That may have just become where they went to relax. In any case, by that point Ward certainly knew how to survive.
    • After 6 months in the woods, young Ward mentioned planning to build a cabin. By the final scene in the woods 5 years later, there was a small cabin built, which suggests Ward did spend a substantial amount of time living out there.
    • Actually, the timestamps show the Ward from juvenile hall was "fifteen years ago." And then six months passes in the woods. And then, later on, when he's played by Brett Dalton, it's "ten years ago." Which means that he trained for five years before being accepted into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Operations Division.

     Powers of Lorelei over a LGBT population 
  • Lady Sif says that Lorelei's powers only work on men, but what if the man is gay? Or if the woman is lesbian?
    • Vulnerability might be based on possessing a Y chromosome, which is independent of sexuality.
    • Nothing Sif said implied it had anything to do with sexuality or attraction, which does imply it's a Y chromosome thing. It might have been nice to get a explicitly gay man facing her so we had an answer one way or another, though.
    • If they sent a gay male he'd probably come down with a severe case of If It's You, It's Okay.
    • In the same vein (and especially with the whole 'men are weak' refrain throughout that episode), it would be rather interesting to find out what happens with someone who's trans*, or genderqueer, or intersex. So many options!

     Garrett's Fate 
  • So they really leave Garrett's body at Cybertek after Mike stomped his head? Why was it not collected by the military? Did Coulson know that he would have gotten up?
    • Addressed when Coulson blasts Garrett into oblivion right as he gets up and tries to implant more cybernetics onto himself.
    • They were still in the middle of cleaning up. They probably thought, reasonably enough, that a dead guy would stay where they left him while they dealt with capturing the living people still on the base.
    • A friend and I were also talking about this exact thing when it happened. We came to the conclusion that either Coulson didn't know Garrett was still alive and just grabbed the 0-8-4 to dispose of the body. Or Coulson suspected that Garrett was still alive and waited outside the room with the 0-8-4 until he heard Garrett begin to monologue, at which point he just blasted Garrett. Either fit Coulson because he's Genre Savvy and knows how to deal with things like this.

    Centipede effectiveness 
  • Does anyone get the point of centipede combining gamma rays, the super soldier serum, extremis, and alien tech when the result is inferior to pretty much all those processes? The centipede soldiers didn't have all the features of a super soldier like Captain America or the Winter Soldier, much less those injected with extremis, and they are hardly hulks. Considering the connections it was revealed the centipede operation had, I can't see them only having access to substandard versions.
    • No one has the full super soldier serum anymore, so a partial version of that is all anyone could get. Though why no one else could find a way to recreate it is another matter. I don't think anyone actually knows why the gamma rays made Bruce Banner the Hulk instead of just killing him. So that may be why those things weren't tried by themselves. As for combing them all, the point was probably to create the ultimate super-soldier, which was still a work in progress.
    • Well I haven't seen Winter Soldier yet, but wouldn't the winter soldier process be a HYDRA recreation of the supersoldier serum? And HYDRA has had his blood to test since WW2, even if you assume that HYDRA somehow lost the science. So that should be a huge head start in making a supersoldier serum at the very least. As for gamma radiation, in the cinematic universe I believe the Hulk was actually the result of a gamma ray mutation based supersoldier serum. Now it's a good bet that Bruce didn't leave that many notes behind, but I bet that Centipede would have the connections to get a blood sample from the Abomination. As for the extremis virus, I would assume they would have access to the full development of AIM, I'm sure Tony isn't sharing his iteration of the extremis virus though. So even if one assumes that they decided to sacrifice raw power for stability, one would assume that combining three different supersoldier methods combined would result in something as impressive as a single method they copied.
    • Each individual Centipede soldier is inferior to Captain America, the Hulk, etc., this is true. But the fact that they can be mass produced is a huge leap forward in supersoldier technology. And the Centipede soldiers have the added benefit of being more controllable than a guy like Cap would be if he ever decided to go rogue. In that sense Captain America was the experimental Super Prototype, and the Centipede soldiers are the current-gen production model.
    • Extremis makes you a but stronger, and way tougher, but has a tendency to make you explode. Hulk serum makes you way stronger, but leaves you uncontrollable. Super Soldier Serum has no side effects, but since they would only be knockoffs, the effect wouldn't be as noticable. Combining a weakened version of all three would reduce the side effects, and still be pretty effective.
    • Super Soldier Serum does have side effects, though. The only two individuals (not counting Bucky, since we don't actually know the full extent of what HYDRA did to him) aside from Steve to have undergone the Super Soldier procedure are Shmidt and Blonsky, both of which experienced physical deformity and (potentially) some degree of mental instability (though whether that is a side-effect is up for debate). However, it should be noted that Steve is also the only person we see go through the entire procedure. (It's a two-stage thing. First stage is being injected with the liquid serum, and the second stage is exposure to radiation — "Vita rays", to be exact — to bond the serum to the host. Blonsky didn't undergo the second part and had to be repeatedly injected with the serum to maintain his "competitive edge" against the Hulk. And after a few injections, had started to show physical deformity. It's also just guessing, here, but Blonksy doesn't seem to become permanently bonded with the serum until his exposure to Banner's gamma-irradiated blood, which further mutates him into "The Abomination". Maybe any radiation functions as a bonding agent, but only Vita Rays are the "foolproof" method.) It is possible that not only are Centipede soldiers not as strong as Captain America because the Super Soldier Serum is "a knockoff" but also because, at the point they started the project, there were twice as many documented "half-failures" of the serum than successes, so they dialed back on the amount used to help control that aspect of things. Also, let's not forget that the Hulk was created in the MCU as a result of Banner testing (what he believed to be a treatment to protect soldiers from radiation exposure) a Super Soldier Serum-derivative on himself, and exposing himself to gamma radiation instead of the prescribed "Vita rays". Perhaps the gamma is present because documentation on how to harness vita rays is virtually nonexistent, and gamma radiation is the only thing centipede knows for certain at least kind of works with the serum. And extremis was added as a way to try to counteract the potential negative side effects of both the Super Soldier Serum and the gamma, with hopes that they would, in turn, help counteract the explosive nature of extremis.

    Fun with Acronyms 
  • So, what is "T.A.H.I.T.I." supposed to mean?
    • Maybe nothing. It could just be a codename someone came up with. Like HYDRA doesn't mean anything either, it's a reference to the Hydra of Greek myth.
    • "T.A.H.I.T.I.", however, has the periods after every letter while HYDRA does not, implying that it's an acronym for something. Generally, in real life, project names like that happen in one of two ways: Either they chose a random codename so that outsiders wouldn't know what they were talking about and later someone found a way to make the real project title fit as an acronym, or the real project name acronym was close (maybe it spelled TAHT or TATI or something) and they whimsically added a couple words so it actually spelled something.
    • How about Transverse Alien-Human Interactive Treatment Initiative? This could count as fridge brilliance if the fluid had some ability to rebuild the patient's "transverse tubules; structures in myofibers which run transversely to the long axis of the myofibrils in skeletal and cardiac muscle" according to the online medical dictionary. Repairing the fibers in the cardiac muscles would have helped to rebuild Coulson's heart.
    • It means that someone really wanted the [project name] to spell [Tahiti].

     The Guest House guards not knowing about Coulson's memory alteration 
  • Okay, so Coulson comes to the Guest House and asks for medical help. The guards follow protocol and ask him for a call-sign. He doesn't know it, so they prepare to defend themselves. Understandable enough, since Coulson used to be their boss and his lack of knowledge of the call-sign could be a sign that he has been compromised in some way. The only problem is, they have to know that Coulson went through Project T.A.H.I.T.I., since this would have required Fury to bring him into the Guest House to have the procedure performed. Were they not made aware that Coulson's memories had been changed? It was an explicit part of the project, after all.
    • The guys who guard the front door don't necessarily know every detail about the project. They may not have known anything more than that they were guarding something very important.
    • The guy only thought Coulson was sort of familiar looking to him. This implies he didn't really totally recognize him. He probably didn't have much interaction with him, or was even brought over after Coulson left and only remember him as a patient or from the list of people that had been there. So they wouldn't know him from the video screen only.

    Ward and the Clairvoyant 
  • Ward knows from the begining that Garret is secretly an HYDRA agent, infiltrated in S.H.I.E.L.D. like many others, himself included. But, when Skye was shot, did he know that, besides that, Garret was also the elusive clairvoyant? After all, one thing does not imply the other: even if he knew that the clairvoyant would be an HYDRA agent, it could have been some other agent, such as Pierce. Did he kill Nash because it was according to plan, or because he really thought it was the guy who ordered to shoot Skye? In fact, if he knew it when it was happening I don't think he would think twice about killing Garret. Of course, Ward called him on it later... when Garret had already revealed himself, and Skye was saved by the miracle drug (and so the "you ordered to shoot her!" scene would be a bt pointless). When she had just been shot, they did not know if they could save her, and Garret suddenly pays a visit to the bus, the discussion would have had a very different outcome.
    • Ward seemed to be in on it from start. Not the shooting Skye part, but he was probably under orders from Garrett to use Skye as an excuse to kill "the Clairvoyant" and put the case the rest. Since Coulson was determined to bring them down, making it look like he'd died would mean they'd have to write him off as dead and move onto other cases (and thus stay out of Garrett's business) At best he'd get a slap on the wrist. At worse S.H.I.E.L.D. would throw the book at him but they could use their HYDRA pull to get him out. Of course Garrett wasn't expecting them all to be exposed only a few hours later, so in that respect the whole plan looks kind of pointless.

    Erik Koenig: Idiot 
  • In "The Only Light in the Darkness", why does Erik Koenig, trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, expert interrogator, and Nick Fury's hand-picked housesitter, turn into a total idiot when he's interrogating Ward? He was properly paranoid about not being able to trust Coulson's team when they first arrive, refuses to give them any sensitive information until after they pass debriefing, and is even savvy enough to draw a gun on Ward when he suspects him to be a HYDRA agent... yet even with his super-sensitive lie detector flashing red lights all over the place, he easily lets bygones be bygones after one oddly-worded answer. At the very least, why didn't he talk to Coulson, May, or one of the other agents he's already established as trustworthy to keep an eye on Ward?
    • In-universe, he accepted that Ward was hiding personal feelings as the reason for the lie-detector readings, vs. the fact that he was a traitor. Koenig not being terribly good at personal interaction himself (at least that's how he came off), he was convinced that this led to high enough stress levels to set off all the red lights. Story-wise, Eric was carrying the Idiot Ball because otherwise, Ward was caught at that point and would be shot through the forehead. An even better question would be why Koenig was conducting interrogations on suspected traitors solo and unobserved, once he had cleared the first agent. You would think at least one agent would be on the other side of a one-way mirror or observing through a camera, in case a traitor was suddenly identified and managed to be quick enough to take out Eric (who was honestly not that intimidating). Again- Idiot Ball.
    • Something that bugs me about this scene is that (at least as far as we're shown) Koenig never actually asks the other members of Coulson's team if they're HYDRA or not. He says he wants to start with some routine questions to establish a baseline, fair enough, but the worst he ever asks the others is "Why are you here?" He only moves to "Are you HYDRA" with Ward because Ward's answer to the first question set off the lie detector. Had Ward skipped the "It's my duty" line and gone straight to "I'm here for Skye" he probably could have passed the test without raising any flags at all.

    S.H.I.E.L.D's revenue 
  • How does S.H.I.E.L.D. manage to have an income? They don't get government funding like the MIB as they are a independent agency, S.H.I.E.L.D. universities also seem to be free... Do they steal their marks' wallet?
    • I think it's pretty clear that S.H.I.E.L.D. gets government (or governments) funding. They have official jurisdiction in certain cases so it makes sense they would have official funding.
    • I don't recall that the MIB got government funding. The movie explanation was that they sold off alien tech to fund their operations. Maybe S.H.I.E.L.D. sells 0-8-4s to the highest bidding government, once they determine they aren't something that has to be put on the Slingshot to preserve world safety? But it seems most likely that the member nations of the World Security Council are also the ones that fund S.H.I.E.L.D., which is why they get so irked when Fury does things without asking their permission (like sending the Tesseract back to Asgard). Otherwise it makes no sense that Fury would answer to anybody, unless he needed their money.
    • Even if this was true, it's probably no longer the case in Season 2 where S.H.I.E.L.D. has lost its government support. So how do they get funding now?
    • Fury probably stockpiled a few million dollars in his secret bases. And other than the plane tickets and food, I'll bet S.H.I.E.L.D. is pretty thrifty. It probably doesn't have to spend much on power what with cold fusion existing.
    • Exactly, no point in having secret bases if you don't have the funding to man and operate them.

    Coulson's and Garrett's Fridge and Slingshot Knowledge 
  • Coulson knew that the Fridge had a subbasement, but had no idea the Slingshot was a decoy. Garrett knew the Slingshot was a decoy, but had no knowledge of the Fridge's subbasement. They were both level eight agents. Why would their knowledge be so different.
    • In real life classified information is given out to people who have the correct security clearance and have a "Need To Know" (An official reason why they need that information). So if S.H.I.E.L.D. runs the same way then it would be possible (and probably common) for agents with the same security level knowing different bits of classified information.

     Ward's Larynx 
  • Is it even possible to fracture a person's larynx like that without causing their throat to swell up and suffocate them?
    • I've been hit in the throat before; my larynx wasn't fractured, but it was extremely difficult & painful to speak for about an hour afterwards. May didn't have to fracture Ward's larynx to shut him up. (I know that more circumvents your question than actually answering it, sorry.)

     The Winter Soldier and Ao S crossover 
  • So I am curious if anyone else has reconciled the timeline between The Winter Soldier and Ao S. From what I can tell, The Winter Soldier takes place over 5 days, not including the fallout after the final action scenes. The hard part I am trying to understand is from my assumptions, HYDRA was outing itself over multiple public S.H.I.E.L.D. frequencies a day before the INSIGHT launch, and attacking other facilities (we see the Science Academy under siege when Simmons calls Agent Weaver). Yet, no one at the Triskelion is talking about S.H.I.E.L.D. bases being under attack, or unusual chatter about "false" alerts or weird feedback in multiple channels that could an encrypted message. Not to mention that something like Fury's death seems like news that should spread fast. Am I missing some insight or detail about all this, or is this possibly just a case of information and events getting "compartmentalized" (and that maybe intelligence agents and spies are not that gossipy or gabby)? Based on whenever day/night transitions happen, the days are:
    Winter Soldier:
    Day 1: Steve and Sam meet while running/The Lemurian Star hostage situation that night
    Day 2: Steve's debrief with Fury and personal time, Fury is attacked in DC/Fury is "assassinated" and stops by in Steve's apartment that night
    Day 3: Steve escapes assassination, teams up with Natasha/The duo discover HYDRA is still active at the army base that night
    Day 4: The duo team up with Sam, get in a fight with the Winter Soldier/Bucky is memory-wiped in preparation for the INSIGHT launch
    Day 5: Project INSIGHT is stopped
    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    Day 1: Coulson brings in Sitwell, Hand, Garrett, Triplett, and Blake to hunt down the Clairvoyant. Sitwell is later reassigned to the Lemurian Star.
    Day 2: The plan to investigate suspects that could be the Clairvoyant is executed with three pairs of agent sent out. Blake is critically injured by Deathlok and hospitalized.
    Day 3: Blake is transferred to another facility, Coulson discovers that Deathlok was tagged. They follow the tracer to the fake Clairvoyant, Thomas Nash, who is executed by Ward.
    Day 4: Between day 3 and the early hours of day 4, the HYDRA activation signal goes out. Hand recalls the Bus to the Hub and works on rooting out HYDRA agents inside the base. Garrett is exposed as the Clairvoyant and HYDRA.
    Day 5: ?/Background reports of Captain America defeating the INSIGHT Helicarriers
    • From what I took from the episodes was that the message sent out to activate HYDRA agents was done around the time the insight helicarriers were launched. Coulson and his team were fighting in the Hub the same time Cap stopped the helicarriers and then the background reports were mentioned the day after that. And that the beginning of the Ao S plot may not have happened on the same days as Winter Soldier.
    • This. Even if it isn't the case, there is another easy method to justify it: If the HYDRA agents were smart, the first thing they would have done when taking over S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities would be to take control of communications. If there was news that spread to actual S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, it would mainly be what HYDRA wanted them to hear.
    • Also if Coulson and his team were in a different timezone then the US Eastern Coast (where 95% of Winter Soldier took place) then events taking place at night for one setting may be midday for the other even if its supposed to be happening around the same time.
    • When the episode of AOS aired with S.H.I.E.L.D. being revealed as HYDRA, Coming back from commercial break there was the scene with Fury trying to get away in his vehicle and it finally being blown up. It really seemed like it was part of the show. Of course it quickly turned out that it was a commercial for Winter Soldier. Besides being smart to air the ad during AOS, I always felt that they were also trying to cleverly indicate that that scene from Winter Soldier was happening right at that same time as the point in time on the show, to give a pretty fair timeline of how they line up.
    • The real question on the timeline is Fury's placement and recovery — him leaving at the end of Winter Soldier is at least a couple days after the big fight, and his arm is still in a sling. But he's there in time to pull Simmons out of the ocean and, more importantly, he's apparently recovered physically enough to not show any signs of his injuries when he does so.

     Absorbing Man's wardrobe 
  • Creel spends a significant portion of "Shadows" running around wearing only a pair of pants, which is handy for showing off his powers. However, on two occasions, he uses his powers as camouflage—by becoming transparent in his transparent cell and by blending into the concrete wall while Hartley passes by in the military warehouse. In both of these situations, his pants would have been clearly visible. So was this guy repeatedly stripping nude to blend into the scenery? If so, when and why does he stop to put his pants back on before attacking Hartley? It makes sense to put clothes on before heading out in public to attract less attention, but it would be a waste of time in the warehouse when the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents would have attacked him on sight anyway, and he might have needed camouflage again at any moment.
    • I recall the promos for Age of Ultron claim this time the Hulk will be wearing pants manufactured by Tony Stark to allow super-stretching. Maybe HYDRA similarly made Creel some pants with camo abilities instead, similar to Black Widow's mask in Winter Soldier.
    • Ask yourself—if you were about to get into a combat situation, wouldn't YOU want to take a minute to put your pants back on? Even if he can literally have balls of steel, he's vulnerable while changing material. And "looking like stuff" isn't camouflage once he's back outdoors, where a man with no pants would attract more attention than one merely shirtless.

     Coulson's Hypergraphia 
  • As we saw in "Heavy in the Head", Coulson still has his hypergraphia episodes, and that there's a secret plaster wall inside his office that May patches up after he's done carving into it. Wouldn't it be easier to just have a whiteboard/chalkboard?
    • Garret was arguably more in control of those episodes than Coulson, and he still felt the need to carve the symbols into a glass door rather than use paper. Perhaps part of Coulson's compulsion makes him seek out more permanent methods of recording.
    • OP here - Garrett only used a glass door because it was the only thing available to him (at least I think it was). Though you could be onto something about the method of writing. He carved into a plaster wall in his first episode. We don't know what Garrett would have done had he had another episode (on the account that he got unceremoniously vaporized).
    • I find it hard to believe that he couldn't find a notebook or some kind of easier writing surface in the lab he pulled the door off of. But maybe he was just in a hurry.
    • I would think that he's not himself when he has these hypergraphia episodes, and as a result, he simply cannot just make the glyphs onto a chalkboard or a notebook.
    • "The Writing on the Wall" reveals that the writing is a representation of a city that the GH alien knew or was from. It is possible that the desire to carve the writing instead of drawing it was an attempt to make a model of the city. Perhaps a 2D blueprint wasn't something the other subjects or the GH compulsion were able to do, and Klein's knowledge of welding/modeling allowed him to reproduce the memory of the city accurately enough to keep him sane.

     Oxygen control in Ward's cell 
  • Why exactly does Ward's prison cell have an oxygen control? It's hard to imagine any practical purpose it could serve. Perhaps for torture, like Fitz was doing?
    • It's not entirely clear whether Ward's cell was originally designed to be a prison or the space was repurposed when the team took over and needed someplace to keep Ward. So one possibility is that it was intended for storage of (non-living) items in a low-oxygen environment, or oxygen removal was intended as a fire suppression measure for the storage space, etc. I'd lean towards this explanation, considering that it's labeled as a "Vault," not a cell. Alternatively, S.H.I.E.L.D. may have designed some of their prison cells to accommodate non-human prisoners for whom Earth atmosphere may not be optimal. If they ended up imprisoning, e.g., an alien who was used to a lower oxygen content, it would be kinder to adjust the room air quality rather than the prisoner having to wear some type of breathing apparatus full-time.
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. exists in a world where there are a fair amount of supers and various metas. We've got at least Hulk and Thor's rogues running around in official cannon and the X-Men and Spiderman are I guess "quasi cannon"? I mean most of us know they should be around if not for various copy right laws. Being able to suck the oxygen out of a room might be a way to deal with the Hulk or keep some one with fire powers from escaping or other various unforseen issues. Why they stuck Ward in one could be the only one available to their new limited resources or maybe they thought he'd break out of a regular cell. He is quite competent.

     Lack of I.C.E.R.'s in the episode "Making Friends and Influencing People" 
  • How come Coulson's team uses lethal ammunition in this episode, rather than the Night-Night gun? As a result of this, Donnie Gill is seemingly killed by Skye note . On the other hand, had she merely stunned him, HYDRA would have still captured him, and added another powerful weapon to their arsenal—yet May and Hunter's lives would still be saved regardless. Also note that two HYDRA mooks were killed as well.
    • Didn't you kind of answer your own question? If they use ICERs, HYDRA gets Donnie. And two HYDRA goons being killed isn't a bad thing.
    • I liked the fact they didn't use the ICERS during that episode, it kinda bugs me how much they use the stun guns (mostly last season) compared to regular ammunition.
    • The production team probably rely on the ICERs to keep costs down. There are rules and regulations about using blank-firing weapons and a separate team of weapons handlers has to be brought on if an episode includes gunfire. The ICERs are modified airsoft guns that can be handled by the regular props department without having to jump through extra hoops to ensure on set safety.
    • ICE Rs so far seem to be used primarily for defence, when going up against figures like the US military (who they wouldn't want to hurt for obvious reasons) or when they're only as a backup. If they're going up against HYDRA, they likely don't bother abstaining from using lethal ammo since, well, who cares if they kill some HYDRA scumbags? The stun option allows them to avoid killing unless they have to, but HYDRA they don't bother because they consider them, largely, to be monsters that they don't lose sleep over killing.

     Why did Coulson keep the truth about Simmons hidden from Fitz? 
  • Here is my issue with this: I understand that Coulson didn't disclose to Fitz the fact that Simmons was infiltrating HYDRA for the same reason he didn't tell him that Ward was being held at Playground base: Fitz has completely understandable anxiety surrounding HYDRA, and, coupled with his already traumatic injuries, finding out that Simmons had either requested or been selected for the mission would have been likely to cause him a great deal of distress. But why let Fitz think that Simmons had left solely for personal reasons (i.e. that she didn't want to be around him due to his brain damage)? Considering that Coulson is fully aware of how emotionally attached Fitz-Simmons are to one another, and in Season 1 seemed at least partially to realise that Fitz was in love with Simmons and was afraid of her not returning his feelings, surely he, as The Heart, should have realised that to apparently suffer that rejection on top of everything else he'd been through would be exactly the sort of thing that would send Fitz into an utter meltdown. So - since he didn't keep from Fitz the fact that they had someone from HYDRA locked up on the base as an informant, just the identity of said asset, why didn't he tell Fitz that Simmons was on a long-term mission, and just be vague about the details? It seems like this might well have avoided the complete disconnect from reality Fitz suffers in the first two episodes because of Simmons' absence, even if he was still upset by it.
    • OP's theories: I suppose you can make the argument that he's keen to keep her undercover mission as secret as possible (only he and May know about it at first), but that brings up another couple of issues: first, why doesn't Coulson trust his other most proven allies - Skye, Trip, and Fitz - with the basic knowledge that she's away on a mission in the first place? It only causes them to distrust and resent her, since the idea that they've lost another team member doesn't exactly boost their morale; and if any of them end up in a situation where they're likely to disclose what they know about her mission, S.H.I.E.L.D. has more problems than blowing Simmons' cover anyway, since they all know so many other secrets. And second, isn't it at odds with Coulson's personality to essentially sacrifice one team member's sanity to add a (very minimal) layer of protection to another's cover story?
    • Coulson did tell Fitz that Simmons was away on an important mission. While still being vague on the details, at least Fitz knows that at least she didn't leave because of him.
    • Coulson also is now the director of an organization that was infiltrated very recently by HYDRA, he seems to be playing a lot of things secretive now. The more people know something the more likely that information (either intentionally or not)will end up in the wrong hands.
    • Exactly. She was infiltrating HYDRA. The HYDRA unit she was in knew she used to be S.H.I.E.L.D.. Now they will dig. IF they are able to get information... That information is either she left her old S.H.I.E.L.D. unit OR She is on a mission for S.H.I.E.L.D. which would tell them she's in HYDRA on a mission from S.H.I.E.L.D..

     Where is Deathlok? 
  • Coulson's hurting for resources. Hasn't he forgotten that he also has Deathlok available? I understand that he's out being The Atoner but I don't see how he would oppose to helping S.H.I.E.L.D. out. He even stated in the Season 1 finale that they can access his hardware to keep tabs on him. And I'm pretty sure HYRDA would want him back.
    • Give it time, I'm sure we'll find out later in the season.
    • Likely, they might have asked and he declined; he wanted to prove he was a hero, and doing so outside of S.H.I.E.L.D. might help with that.
    • Coulson wanted him arrested actually, and kind of made it clear he doesn't really think he can count on Mike to do the right thing, since Mike sold him out to save his son, and willingly did HYDRA's dirty work to keep himself and his son alive. Understandable that Mike did what he did, but Coulson probably doesn't want a guy who values the life of his kid over the greater good, since Coulson would have died than serve HYDRA and thinks others should do the same.
    • As it turns out Coulson has had Mike hunting HYDRA agents in Europe.

     Talbot in charge 
  • Why has nobody pointed out that Talbot has no grounds to be smug about the S.H.I.E.L.D./HYDRA connection? The head of that cell was the Secretary of Defense - his boss - and neither he nor anyone else in the Do D noticed or did anything to stop it. There's an Air Force base not that far from DC, and yet the only air support Captain America got while trying to stop Insight came from a retired serviceman using stolen equipment (The people at the Triskelion have the excuse that Bucky trashed their planes before they got airborne, the guys at Hanscom have no such excuse, and they should have launched the moment there was gunfire reported in the skies above DC). Given that, it would make more sense to conclude that the Pentagon was highly penetrated and needs to be examined before allowing any part of the US military to start investigating S.H.I.E.L.D. for fear of giving the job to a HYDRA mole. The lead on investigating S.H.I.E.L.D. should have gone to an agency that wasn't probably infiltrated by HYDRA at high levels, such as the FBI or CIA.
    • Given how deeply HYDRA had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., not to mention the amount of manpower and resources they have, I wouldn't be surprised if they had not only infiltrated the military, but the CIA, FBI and basically every other security and intelligence agency on the planet.
    • When was Pierce mentioned to be the Secretary of Defense? And as for why the military didn't respond to the Triskelion is probably because they didn't know what was happening exactly or who to attack. Cap only tells the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents inside that HYDRA is around them.
    • Pierce is referred to as "Mr. Secretary" by the World Security Council. When interrogating Sitwell, he claims the one of the targets is "the Under Secretary of Defense". The fact that he had to specify an other and assume Cap was aware of the first clearly suggests Pierce was one of the Secretaries of Defense.
    • Pierce could also be the Secretary of State, or Secretary of Homeland Security. Or the World Security Council could be headed by a Secretary-General (like the UN is in real life) which is Pierce's position. Actually, Pierce not being Sec Def would make more sense, since it would explain why only S.H.I.E.L.D. was affected by HYDRA's unveiling and not any other agency.
    • I assume that Pierce is the Secretary of S.H.I.E.L.D., basically authorized only to oversee any and all activities relating to S.H.I.E.L.D., likely installed by the Council.

     The HYDRA Building 
  • Just where exactly is it? It looks a bit too out in the open to be just a secret base they can hide in.
    • It's a legit office building that secretly has a HYDRA lab inside of it.

     Senator Christian Ward's age 
  • Ward's older brother Christian Ward is set to appear in the upcoming episode "2x06: A Fractured House". The actor who will be playing him, Tim De Kay, is 20 years older than Brett Dalton. While siblings this widely separated in age are already very unusual in real life (particularly when the two are full, rather than half siblings), it becomes Fridge Logic when the flashback in The Well indicates that Ward's older brother is likely very close to Ward's age. However, it is always possible that Christian Ward is a different, much older brother, as of yet not seen or mentioned.
    • A character is not necessarily the same age as the actor who plays him. Actors are often cast as characters much older or younger than they themselves are.
    • His age may be a case of In-Universe Younger Than You Look; politics can be a stressful career, and stress often causes people to age badly.

     Guest House 
  • Remember when Coulson stormed the Guest House with Garett, Ward and May in TAHITI and they killed the two guards. While we know that it wasn't a S.H.I.E.L.D. base, we also know that it wasn't an enemy base because Garrett didn't have access to it. Furthermore, the Guest House was guarding Project TAHITI, which Coulson was in charge of. So does this mean that Coulson killed two innocent guards who were probably working for him?
    • I never got that whole part, if the Guest House wasn't S.H.I.E.L.D. then why was Project TAHITI, which was run by Coulson, there in the first place? But yea, the guards probably weren't evil. Just doing their job of guarding the place.
    • You'll note that Garrett was subtly pushing Coulson the entire time, and quietly papered over the deaths. So that's part of it. And in a later episode Coulson uses "Two men died protecting this" as evidence that maybe the serum is too dangerous to just put out into the wild. He's clearly affected by what happened, it's just at the time he didn't think he had a choice, and later there was simply nothing he could do to change it.
    • I assumed the Guest House was something Nick Fury set up "off the books" as it were. Maybe a decommissioned S.H.I.E.L.D. base that was unofficially kept open, known only to a select few people that Fury trusted. A secret organization within a secret organization.
    • Yes. If you get straight to it they were two good men that Coulson's actions ended up killing. Though it's notably that Ward and Garret were the ones that killed them, who were both secretly HYDRA. But Coulson tried to deal with them, and thanks to what's spiralled since then who knows what could have been and whether sacrificing them was worth it. Skye's a heroine now, and she'd have died otherwise, so all the good she does is weighed against it. But if you only look at cold hard facts then yes Coulson ended up causing the death of two good men to save Skye.

     The Memorial Wall 
  • Is Coulson on it?
    • I would assume so, since faking his death was such an important point. Fury wouldn't leave a detail like that overlooked.

     Thomas Nash's voice 
  • In End Of The Beginning, when the agents confront Thomas Nash, The Clairvoyant apparently speaks to them via computer. Later, it is revealed that John Garrett, who is currently in that room, is in fact The Clairvoyant. So, who actually provided the voice in that room?
    • The Clairvoyant doesn't work alone. He's part of an organization, so he could have had anyone else feeding lines in.

     Agent 33's mask 
  • Okay, I know everybody keeps saying that the Melinda May mask was fused to Agent 33's face when May shoved the electric socket into her eye, but I have a hard time believing that. Mostly because it wasn't. Look at her page, it's got an image from Face My Enemy and the new episode. If you compare the iamges, you see clearly that the one in the silver dress has Maya Stojan's face, not Ming Na-Wen's. And yet when Raina runs into to Agent 33 at the cafe, she's still got the mask on. So, I ask, WHY? Why would she still were the mask when it's been destroyed? Was Maya Stojan unavailable that week or something? And if the mask IS fused to Agent 33's face (let's ignore the fact it creates a Plot Hole) why hasn't Whitehall, with his great technology, tried to remove it? Or at the very least get her plastic surgery?
    • I would say that the shot of the unconscious and burnt Agent 33 with Maya Stojan's face was a very quick-and-easy-to-miss moment, so it could just be a case of them ignoring that shot/retconning the scene so they can have this 'evil person with my face' thing going on. Alternatively, we can handwave it as a failed attempt at restoring her face; maybe they tried to fuse a second May mask to her in order to cover up her burns/allow them to keep her pretending to be May, only for something to go wrong thanks to her damaged face and thus causing the mask to worsen her burns while also fusing to her face or something like that. As for why Whitehall hasn't fixed it, well, he probably doesn't care too much.
    • Agreed, you would only really notice that she had Maya's face after geting the burn if you pause the episode. It was so quick it would be hard to notice normally. And for a more "in universe" answer, maybe the charge overloaded the mask revealing Agent 33's face right after the volt but returned to a normal setting afterwards, leaving her with Agent May's face.
    • This is pretty well explained in "Love in the Time of Hydra." Her own face under the mask was burned, as badly as the May-mask was burned if not worse. She wouldn't want to see it in the mirror and the May face might even be less conspicuous, as hard to believe as that may be. Also, the woman is going through an identity crisis. She was brainwashed into complete subservient loyalty to a complete monster who is now dead. That could be reason enough to not want to look like herself.

    Properties of the city 
  • Trip and FitzSimmons make a point of donning Hazmat suits to avoid what happened to Mack when entering the city. But when Trip goes in a second time, and Coulson chases after Skye, they aren't wearing suits but aren't harmed. Why? There might be a handwave with Coulson about the GH 325 altering him so that he can no longer trigger the security system, but Trip doesn't have that excuse. Also, Raina and Skye were using what looked like some kind of electric lamp while down there, while everyone else was forced to use torches. Why weren't those lights drained like everything else electric was when taken into the city?
    • I assume that only specific points of the City are booby-trapped to brainwash/possess anyone who touches it. As for why the lights worked, weren't they chemical glow-stick lights, which don't run on electricity and so should be fine? I may be mistaken, but the way those things work mean they wouldn't be effected by EMPs either.
    • Mack only got mind-zapped when he touched the carvings on the floor; Trip & Coulson never touched the floor bare-handed like Mack did. (Though, if Trip had been wearing his hazmat suit, he might not have gotten Obelisk'd.) As for the lights: They're basically just flashlights, a simple circuit with no EMP-sensitive electronics to it, in contrast with the silicon transistors of modern radios & remote controls.
    • It appears that Trip got petrified due to a shard of the Diviner, which would have sliced through his hazmat suit if he had been wearing it. It wouldn't have done any good.

    Trip and Inhumans 
  • Since getting hit with a fragment of the Diviner killed him, Trip must not have been worthy to become an Inhuman. But if that's the case, why didn't possessed!Mack hunt him down or try to stop him, as he did with Coulson?
    • Because he was busy leading Raina through the temple, and then busy fighting Coulson. The possession is clearly just a sort of mindless drone thing, not something that allows them to use their full intelligence and reasoning, so it's not like he could set traps or ambushes or anything.
    • Also Mac already had a Target, remeber he was stalking Coulson at time giving Tirp an opening to both defuse the bomb and make it to Skye.

    Counterintelligence in the MCU 
  • Everyone's hard on S.H.I.E.L.D. for not knowing about HYDRA, but let's take a look through the various security failures of the movies. Is there any counter-intelligence agency in the MCU that can honestly say they haven't seriously screwed the pooch in the past decade or so?
  1. Iron Man 1: #2 man at a major defense contractor sells weapons to terrorists, including brand-new designs that could only have come directly from Stark Industries, thus making the existence of an inside man involved in the weapons dealing a no-brainer.
    1. S.H.I.E.L.D. involvement: Attempted to act once they knew who was responsible (Which they only learned because an outsider handed them all the evidence they needed on a plate) and were involved in the cleanup after Iron Man killed the ringleader.
    2. Non-S.H.I.E.L.D. agency involvement: None
  2. Iron Man 2: Major defense contractor breaks highly unstable engineer out of prison and uses him to make an army of robots.
    1. S.H.I.E.L.D. involvement: Helped to contain the army of robots when it ran amok, but again failed to notice the situation until an outsider handed them evidence pointing to who was responsible on a plate.
    2. Non-S.H.I.E.L.D. agency involvement: Apart from War Machine, who only learned what was going on a minute or so before S.H.I.E.L.D. did, and was unable to do anything to help until Black Widow rebooted his suit, none.
  3. Iron Man 3: Government funded think tank turns out to be a terrorist organization, which managed to compromise the Vice President.
    1. S.H.I.E.L.D. involvement: None
    2. Non-S.H.I.E.L.D. agency involvement: Apart from Iron Patriot, everyone working on the Mandarin case was worse than useless (Only notable result of their efforts being to send Iron Patriot to various places 10,000 miles away from the real threat, one of which was a trap).
  4. Captain America 2: S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised by a terrorist organization.
    1. S.H.I.E.L.D. involvement: Many of them were involved in the threat, but with the exception of Falcon, everyone who worked to resolve it was also a member of S.H.I.E.L.D..
    2. Non-S.H.I.E.L.D. agency involvement: Apart from members of various groups who were also compromised by HYDRA without being detected (Or getting any bad press out of it), thus making the problem worse, none.
    • Welcome to politics, my friend. S.H.I.E.L.D. was where HYDRA was growing the whole time, to the point that S.H.I.E.L.D. sanctioned missions were actually HYDRA missions. Someone has to take the fall for that, and the World Leaders decide that S.H.I.E.L.D. should, since HYDRA had been under their noses for decades. The fact that other Intelligence agencies are terrible at their jobs is irrelevant.
    • I'm not certain whether you're answering to the whole WMG or the particular point, but I believe that, whatever's the case, there would probably be some concernes within the S.H.I.E.L.D. itself or within other intelligence structures (MI6 or CIA, to name a few more prominent/most heard of), considering that S.H.I.E.L.D. neither is above the jurisdiction of any country nor is protected by a protocol that would prevent other parties from investigating into the Division's business.

    Return to the Memory Machine 
  • So the team learns that a killer has killed a subject of T.A.H.I.T.I. and they toss Coulson into the memory Machine from "The Magical Place" Which puts him under significant stress. Except They revealed that they have the files on dead members of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Wouldn't a search for members of S.H.I.E.L.D. who died within a certain range and had recoverable bodies, coupled with a facial recognition search for them after they died solve the problem without that. I mean, using real world logic that'd be stupid, it'd take too long and the person could kill again or be hit by a car in the meantime and they wouldn't get their answers. But somehow, I suspect it could be done as fast as a TV DNA analysis, if the show didn't want to do the above.
    • Even based on TV logic, that would have been too timely and ultimately rely on making estimated guesses rather than real evidence; the memory machine was quick and accurate, even if it was stressful.

    Last Name Confusion 
  • So, admittedly, this is less of a headscratcher about the plot, but still something that bugs the obsessive comic fan in me. How exactly do Skye and Cal have their respective last names? To explain, in the comics, Cal's full name is Calvin Zabo and Skye is named Daisy Johnson. She doesn't share her father's last name in the comics because she took the last name of her adopted family. In the series apparently her legal last name is "Poots". Currently, we know neither character's last name officially, but as far as I can tell, there is no logical way to give both characters their comic book names without just throwing your hands in the air and saying "I don't know, but that's what we're calling them." As an additional note, in theory, Cal's last name could still be Zabo, and his wife's maiden name could have been Johnson, but I somehow doubt Johnson is a particularly common family name in the part of the world she hails from.
    • As you said, we know neither of their last names yet. You've got a Headscratcher about something that hasn't happened and may in fact not happen. Don't jump the gun.
    • OP here... The Headscratcher isn't about wondering what their last names will be, it's about the fact that the writers have sort of painted themselves into a corner as far as being able to give both characters their correct last names without either getting really contrived or just handwaving it. So, regardless of whether or not their last names have been given at this point, it's still a valid headscratcher to wonder why they decided to make these specific changes to the characters' backstories which cause more difficulty than warranted when it comes to something as simple as naming them.
    • It's really not that complicated or difficult. Names are not branded into someone and unchangeable, after all: "Skye, we found his records. Turns out your real last name is Zabo." "That man is a monster, and I don't want anything to do with him. Also that name sounds like one of the Marx Brothers. I'll just go with another name, like Johnson." "Okay, cool, I'll update the database, Daisy." "...Just call me Skye."
    • Considering that 'Mary Sue Poots' has been operating under the name 'Skye' for years, and hates the last name 'Poots', she presumably already has an invented last name, to give to hotels and credit card companies and people who demand two actual names. So she could have been calling herself 'Skye Johnson' this entire time. (And never told the team or S.H.I.E.L.D. because that is, after all, a completely made up last name and they went along with her 'no last name' claim.) This does not technically give her the name 'Daisy Johnson', but it does give her all the right name parts, if in the wrong places.
    • Alternatively, his real name is Calvin Johnson, but he changed it to Zabo in order to hide from HYDRA's detection so he could make his way into Whitehall's graces without him possibly recognizing his name.
    • Latest episode clarified it, and I was right: Their name is Johnson, but he changed it after Daisy was taken from him. 'Zabo' isn't given, but it's implied by his comments.

    Nobody owns a nail clipper? 
  • In "One of Us," one of the "supervillains" Cal recruits is a woman who has razorblades surgically implanted on her fingernails. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s method to contain her was to put her in gauntlets that covered her hands permanently. How, precisely, was this a better solution than just cutting off the blades?
    • Well, cutting them off would have been a terrible idea because it would have left little chunks of metal embedded in her fingertips, which is medically a horrible idea. But they could have just had them surgically removed instead. S.H.I.E.L.D. really didn't even need to be involved at all; a perfectly ordinary hospital could have handled it. Honestly, just pretend she gave herself a Touch of Death with some freaky chemical concoction. It makes much more sense.
    • It really does. Until they took those gauntlets off her, I was certain that's what it had to be.
    • Blame HYDRA. That makes it easier. Maybe a HYDRA agent wanted her for some sort of obscure scheme.
    • This bothered me for a bit too until Fridge Logic clicked in: It's entirely possible that S.H.I.E.L.D. tried to force Karla to have the blades removed surgically but her lawyer got the courts to block the procedure. As a civil rights matter in the U.S. you can't subject a competent adult to medical procedures against their will without a court order. Given that she only implanted the blades for the purposes of self-defense and (so far as we know) never used them in a criminal fashion before, the court wouldn't have a compelling reason to force her to get them removed. The gauntlets might have been S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Plan B.
    • That doesn't really work either. A court could decide that removing the obvious weapons that she put on can't be done, but let S.H.I.E.L.D. put crippling metal gloves on her forever? That...just does not make sense. Also, did S.H.I.E.L.D. even go through the civil court system while they were a secret organization operating in secret? Also also, I think "surgically grafting razor blades to your fingertips" probably counts against calling her "competent."
    • Since she and her abusive boyfriend both worked at a research facility, it's possible that she used some knew medication or something in the process, meaning that tthe blades couldn't be removed because no one knew what would happen if they were.
    • I seem to recall someone in the episode mentioning that they would have sympathized if she had just killed her boyfriend, except she went on to kill several unconnected people. That probably rules out the civil liberties argument.

    What Happened to Miles Lydon? 
  • I've been curious about this for awhile, but what do you think happened to Miles Lydon from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Episode 5: "Girl in the Flower Dress"). Last we saw of him he was Dumped in Japan by S.H.I.E.L.D., without any money, and the bracelet thing that keeps him from going near computers. Since S.H.I.E.L.D. had broken down after The HYDRA scandal, didnt most of their technology get shut off, and, as a result, Miles managed to regain his hacking tricks and get back to his home in Texas?
    • No. As demonstrated in "One of Us" with Cal's tech expert, the "no computers" device still works. That one was physically implanted rather than just a bracelet, but still. On the other hand, once Miles heard about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fall, he might have gone to more effort to get it off, assuming that there would be no one to come looking for him when he broke it. He's too small fry for either the show or the new S.H.I.E.L.D. to care about.

    Who took care of Buddy before Ward came along? 
  • In "Ragtag," Garrett took Ward hunting with his dog, Buddy, before abandoning both of them in the woods. But wasn't Garrett an active field agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. at the time? Based on what we've seen in the series, field agents are constantly on the move to the point Coulson's team live on the Bus. Who did Buddy live with while Garrett was off completing missions all over the place? Let's just hope the team never finds out that all of their troubles with Ward are the result of Garrett needing a full-time dog-sitter...
    • Plenty of active duty military have pets, they simply ask a neighbor or friend to look after it. Coulson's team seems to be a unique case most agents are probably at a base until its time for a mission (Cap had an apartment in TWS)

    Where does 'Real' S.H.I.E.L.D. get its toys? 
  • After the opening episode makes clear that Quinjets are a rare commodity, how does this secret S.H.I.E.L.D. subfaction not only have a small fleet of them that somehow were kept out of the military's or HYDRA's hands, but also have an aircraft carrier to transport them yet not be detected by either side despite not something easily hidden or supported?
    • It's feasible that 'real' S.H.I.E.L.D. has some sort of financial backing and/or support from someone within the US Government. Just who they are remains to be seen, however.
    • One possibility is the very common WMG: Stark is funding this, and this S.H.I.E.L.D. is the S.H.I.E.L.D. he'll be in charge of in AOU.
    • Their ship is quickly revealed to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship that they saved on the day that S.H.I.E.L.D. fell, and they used its quinjets to rescue everyone they could from the Academy. That doesn't preclude them being funded by Tony, but it does explain where they got some of their more obvious toys.
    • They started out on a carrier and proceeded to use it to gather agents and salvage S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff from all over the world. Meanwhile Coulson had to take the bus, whatever he could stuff on it in a few minutes and went into hiding before Talbot came down on them and Fury could only give them so much. 'Real' S.H.I.E.L.D. had better luck, in both having more stuff to start with, and being able to avoid the military to recover even more stuff while Coulson drew Talbot's attention.

    Ward aiming for Raina in the "The Bridge" 
  • At the finale of "The Bridge", Team Coulson is about to meet Raina so they can exchange Mike Peterson for his son. Everyone else is on the ground, but Ward is providing cover with a sniper rifle at the top of a nearby building. When Raina comes out of the car, Ward is aiming for her, but then she moves behind a truck so Ward can't get a shot, which makes him curse angrily, "dammit!". The problem with this scene is that Ward is there all alone, with no one else within a seeing or hearing distance, and later on we find out Ward has been a bad guy all along, and she and Raina are actually working for the same boss. So why is he aiming for her, and why is he angry when his aim is blocked? There's no one around, he doesn't need to fake being a good guy.
    • Well, aiming at Raina was probably the best way to ensure his cover remained intact in case anyone was watching. As for the "dammit," Garrett didn't keep Ward completely in the loop on his plans, even for things involving Team Coulson. For example, Ward didn't know that Garrett planned to have Skye shot until after it happened, and he was really angry about it. If he didn't know in advance that they were going to kidnap Coulson, then he may have just guessed what Garrett and Raina were up...and that he was about to be stuck handling a very upset and angry team (without Coulson's stabilizing influence) while trying to both maintain his cover and prevent Team Coulson from ruining Garrett's operation.
    • If you watch that scene, Ward's "dammit!" is a direct response to Raina moving outside of his line of fire. If the swearing isn't supposed to be a reaction to that, then it's awfully convenient it happens at the exact movement Raina goes behind the truck.
    • Yes, it appears to be in response to Raina moving behind the truck. The question is motivation. Originally, it looked like he was swearing because he couldn't adequately protect Coulson. However, it could just as easily have been swearing because Raina had suddenly diverged from whatever plan Ward expected and that was going to make his job more difficult.

    Where are the Avengers during season 2 
  • After the events of season 1, S.H.I.E.L.D. is seriously lacking manpower, it appears they only have a few dozen operatives around the world, and Coulson's team from season 1 mostly handles the most serious situations. And they have to face some big threats, like Whitehall's HYDRA faction, which leads to S.H.I.E.L.D. losing several its their already scarce agents. Why is it then, that they don't ask for the Avengers for some help? Coulson's team has no superpowered members (at least until Skye's transformation, and she can't really use her powers yet), so Thor or Hulk or Cap or Iron Man would've been terribly helpful against villains like the Absorbing Man. You'd think Black Widow and Hawkeye at the very least would remain loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D., but they're nowhere to be seen. Where are the Avengers, having a vacation?
    • Heroes don't generally cross turfs. Other than that, Coulson's S.H.I.E.L.D is an illegal organization, and Black Widow is in the middle of Senatorial Meetings. She probably can't get away, and Hawkeye is probably similarly detained. Their fame makes it hard for them to sneak off and fight Crusher Creel. They are Shadows.......a Giant Green Rage Monster does not do 'Shadows'. It smashes.
    • Also, given what we know about Avengers 2, the Avengers are likely taking out their own supervillain threats elsewhere while S.H.I.E.L.D. focuses on HYDRA.
    • Plus, in Cap's case, he's still likely trying to find out more about what happened to Bucky after the attack on the Insight carriers.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron sheds some light on this. In the movie it was mentioned that the Avengers had been looking for Loki's scepter for months. It is likely that the Avengers were fighting Hydra in Europe looking for the scepter the same time season 2 is taking place.
    • Post Age of Ultron.
      • Black Widow, Captain America, and Hawkeye are still trying to get the Avengers back up and running after Ao U and have a few new recruits to train, namely Scarlet Witch, Vision, Ant-man, and Falcon. Cap is also trying to find Bucky.
      • Thor is trying to figure out his vision from Age of Ultron.
      • Banner is still on the run.
      • Stark probably couldn't care less.
    • The Avengers might have been dealing with the Fridge breakout from Season 1.

     Jiaying and Cal 
  • "Afterlife" reveals that Jiaying is alive, surviving the dissection that Whitehall performed on her years ago. So if she was alive all this time (granted she probably needed a lot of time to recover), why is Cal out to avenge her death?
    • Whitehall vivisected her, and the events around her capture resulted in their daughter being taken from him, so he had plenty of reasons to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge even without her death. And that's assuming he's known the entire time she was alive, which isn't clearly stated in the episode; he might have only found out she was alive after Gordon captured him.
    • He's the one who stitched her back together enough for her Healing Factor to kick back in, so he knew, but the story only changes slightly. Instead of a lone Crusading Widower searching for his daughter, it was both of them cutting a bloody path around the world trying to find her. Every time he saw her scars, he'd be reminded of what Whitehall did to her. She eventually realized that they had become monsters and gave up the search, but Cal didn't, and without his wife rage was all he had to sustain himself. Simple as that. The Psycho Serum certainly didn't help.
    • Given what we now know about how her powers work, after being sewn together, wouldn't she still be dead. How were her powers activated to kick off the healing process?

     What would they do without Gordon 
  • We're told that no one can leave or enter Lai Xi without the aid of Gordon. Assuming as they told they've been doing this for hundreds or even thousands of years, how the Elders get their people from and to Lai Xi before Gordon came and gained control over his powers?
    • They used to have a perfectly ordinary village in China, but HYDRA raided it. Having one accessible only by teleporter is a new thing.
    • Though it does beg the question of what will happen once Gordon becomes too old to serve as Lai Xi's public transport system if they haven't found a successor.
    • In all likelihood, there's probably another way of reaching Lai Xi, but Gordon teleporting everyone there is useful for maintaining the location's secrecy.
    • Yeah, depending on whether or not the Elders turn out to benevolent ("Afterlife" certainly hints there's something fishy going on with them), it's possible the whole "only Gordon can access this place" is a ruse they came up with to stop newly recruited Inhumans (who might not share the Elders' views) from escaping Lai Xi or revealing its location to outsiders. It's perfectly possible Lai Xi isn't even located in a remote place in China, but somewhere else completely.

     Gun Weight 
  • In "Afterlife", a trained agent like May should have been able to tell from the weight difference of Gonzales' pistol that it was loaded after all.
    • I think it only had one round in the chamber. Not enough to use to escape but enough to allow May the actual chance to shot Gonzales.
    • It might have, and if it did, the weight would not be considerably different (15 gramms inside a 1 kilogramm pistol). As this troper has already pointed out in the Fridge Brilliance part of the series, it might have been May's infamiliarity with the M1911 due to absence of practice (she might have practiced with the model back in the field agent days, but with times keener senses fade - you know how to aim and shoot it properly, much like you remember how to ride the bicycle, but you don't remember how it should weight with or without ammunition) or the expectation bias (she might have expected the firearm to weigh more than it did - 15 gramms may feel insignificant or nonexistant if you're expecting 120, though it might be a big stretch as the idea comes from a troper who has never used a gun before).
    • Gonzales does unload what looks to be a full clip. Nonetheless, this is still fairly plausible. May herself says that she doesn't like to use guns, and given this week's most recent episode ("Melinda"), it's not surprising why. For the most part, she uses her bare hands or uses Night-Night guns, so she might be a bit out of touch with gun weights. Furthermore, Gonzales specifically states that it's an older piece, being a gun used in the Second World War, so she might not be familiar with the weight of that particular gun.
    • He unloads the magazine (clips were used in the M1 in particular; pistols and assault rifles, among others, most commonly use magazines), but it doesn't mean it had to be full (as this troper doesn't remember seeing the content of the magazine, and this troper peered with quite some interest). A quick Google search did not prove to be fruitful, but it might be that the M1911 doesn't fire without the mag in as a safety feature. This troper's heard of the few firearms that do so, and the US Army required several safety features in order to accept M1911A1 (the model Gonzales is sporting at the meeting) as a standard issue, so it may or may not be a stretch.

     Cal's "perfect" family evening 
  • When he first met Skye, his plan for a perfect meeting included flowers and 'little chocolate almond cookies'. We saw the flowers, but was he able to get Gordon to pick up the cookies for him?
    • I imagine so? If Jiaying was also open to the dinner (which she clearly is, given she's the one persuading Skye into it), she could have easily asked Gordon to go and get cookies for them.

     Pinning the blame on HYDRA 
  • Something that I feel deserves questioning. Throughout the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. plotline, the go-to justifier for Coulson's actions is that he was trying to stop HYDRA. But, HYDRA were not the original reason Coulson was trying to solve the symbols or find the city; he was compelled to the point of insanity to figure it out by the GH blood in his system; the only thing HYDRA's own search did was motivate Coulson to destroy the city, not his actual search. While, as far as we know, its out of his system, in-universe all they had to go on was Coulson's word that he was no longer crazy, which is perfectly valid reason to be suspicious of his actions and decision-making. Add in that the fact HYDRA were looking for it too was a plot twist when it was revealed, you can't pin the search entirely on HYDRA, and doing so is using them as a scapegoat to justify Coulson's behaviour.
    • So, what's the question here, exactly? Because if it's about them pinning the blame on HYDRA, I think that has less to do with excusing Coulson's actions, and has more to do with the fact that "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. is too wrapped up with their (admittedly, very legitimate) issues with Coulson and aren't focusing enough on the bigger issue of the fact that HYDRA is still out there (they may be crippled, but remember, cut off one head, two more grow back), and "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't really seem to be doing anything meaningful to stop them.
    • HYDRA was not the original reason to investigate the symbols, true. But it was the reason to find the city. By the time Coulson understood the symbols, HYDRA already had the Diviner and was actively searching for the temple themselves. So the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D are wrong about the reason to go to Puerto Rico. Coulson was already perfectly fine by then, but he still needed to make sure HYDRA couldn't get their hands on the ancient city.
    • But the link between the Diviner and the city wasn't known to Coulson's team; they'd never seen it do anything but turn people to stone, didn't even know its real name (they still called it the Obelisk), and didn't even know HYDRA had it anymore (last they saw, Raina had it). As far as they knew, HYDRA were looking into the symbols, but didn't even know what the symbols meant. Basically, they should have first verified what HYDRA had before they began trying to beat them to the city, because all it did was basically lead to HYDRA stealing all their Intel once they had the chance to.
    • You don't assume your enemy will remain eternally ignorant. They had good reason to believe that HYDRA, pursuing the same intelligence, could find the city with their superior resources. And how exactly are they supposed to confirm what HYDRA knows when Coulson lost both moles he had there?

     HYDRA tracking Gordon 
  • So Gordon's teleportation leaves some technobabble trail that is detectable by HYDRA and this is what leads them to Lincoln and Deathlok at the end of the episode. Why can't they use this to find Afterlife? If anything, he should be easier to find there since he's constantly teleporting to and from Afterlife.
    • It's possible they don't have satellite coverage in that area, or the detectors are ground-based installations.
    • Even if they can find Afterlife, they're smart enough to realize that any place that requires a teleporter to get to isn't someplace that they're just going to walk into. Also, they don't know how many superhumans are in Afterlife. Assuming that they found away in that didn't involve using Gordon's powers, mounting an invasion against an unknown number of individuals with unknown powers isn't much of a plan.
    • Okay, now this is bugging me even more. In "Scars" SHIELD also tracks Gordon in the same manner as HYDRA, and they do find Afterlife with it. Absolutely no explanation is given why HYDRA couldn't.
    • Hydra presumably was trying to, but hadn't been able to do so yet. SHIELD is able to do it with all the groundwork done by HYDRA already. SHIELD just put in the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle that HYDRA had been working on for weeks.

    Gordon's vision 
  • What can Gordon see? He definitely has some kind of radar sense, whether paranormal or just based on Disability Superpower, because he'd need some kind of spatial relations to use his powers at all. But I have no idea what else he can see besides shapes around him and his destination. If anything. Colors? Can he read? Can he catch a thrown projectile?
    • It's not defined, but at the very least Gordon can see the world around him with enough clarity that he has no trouble moving around, and clearly has an additional sense that allows him to teleport great distances very precisely.
    • Gordon must be telepathic to some degree since Inhumans can apparently call him from anywhere on Earth to come get them. He also knows whether they are alone since Skye told Coulson he wouldn't come for Lincoln and her unless they were alone. Again, that could be telepathy. Given that, he could actually be making use of the senses of the people around him to "see".
    • It's possible that he uses quantum entanglement to view things. Quantum entanglement allows for "teleportation" (sorta) and also for transmission of data. Perhaps some of his sensory organs (ears, whatever he has under the skin that grew over his eyes) can sense data transmitted from places he's teleported to recently - kind of like leaving microphones and cameras somewhere you visited awhile ago so you can perceive what happens there. It could also be how he sees things around him - he is entangled with the air around him to a limited degree, so he can "see" things around him. It'd fit with his preexisting ability.

    So, what about HYDRA now? 
  • After Whitehall and the Council, Bakshi is dead now too (and was brainwashed before) and as we know from Age of Ultron, List and Strucker are dead too. Is HYDRA done for now? Or who could take leadership now?
    • Like the motto says, "cut off one head, two more shall take its place." The question is who they might be and when they'll rear their ugly heads. In short, HYDRA may be down, but they're probably not gone forever.
    • HYDRA is more of an idea. Carter thought she got rid of them all back in the 50's, but that clearly wasn't the case. As long as there are people with drive to see themselves above others and the resources to pursue that goal, there will be a HYDRA.
    • Maybe I misformulated: Do you think HYDRA is done FOR THIS SHOW? Or will they keep appearing as antagonists here?
    • In the context of Agents of SHIELD, HYDRA makes for a convenient recurring menace, so possibly not. List's fate was never confirmed in Age Of Ultron, so it's possible he could return as HYDRA's leader in Season 3. Or perhaps a new character, either someone from the comics or a Canon Foreigner, will seize control. But in the context of the movies, yes, HYDRA is most likely done.
    • Let's not forget, Captain America: Civil War has Baron Zemo confirmed as a character. Given his past history with HYDRA for BOTH father and son Zemo, it's probable that HYDRA still can have steam to keep going both in movies and in the show for the immediate future.
    • Seems like my question is answered. Ward is now the leading head of the HYDRA!

    Coulson's Secrets 
  • Why exactly is Coulson keeping secrets such a big deal? Compartmentalization is a part of all classification systems. It doesn't matter what your clearance is, if you don't have a need-to-know for the information in question, you aren't supposed to know it (for example, even if they have an appropriate clearance level, a submarine officer has no reason to know about infantry deployments, and an infantry officer has no reason to know about submarine patrol schedules). Coulson not telling people about projects they aren't involved shouldn't be suspicious, it should be routine. The only person in all of SHIELD who should have any grounds to be concerned about Coulson having secrets is May, and that's purely because as his designated successor, she does have a need-to-know, so that if Coulson catches a bullet the next time he's in the field, she can hit the ground running, or failing that, at least know what she needs to be briefed on.
    • That's Coulson's point, and it's a good one. On the flip side, trusting the judgment of one man with no oversight is a bad idea. Ultron was created because Thor agreed to let Tony study the Mind Gem for a few days without keeping an eye on him. Even real-world spy organizations have oversight, and one of the major problems they have is that the need for secrecy makes oversight complicated. Theta Protocol specifically was incredibly suspicious because it had twice the budget of the rest of Coulson's SHIELD combined; that's really, really weird, especially when they're strapped for cash in general. May, of course, is only mad for personal reasons. Coulson could easily have told her about Andrew.
    • There's a difference between 'compartmentalizing' and 'not telling agents info they do need to know'. Coulson didn't inform the agents about a number of big issues, such as his own mental health, the reason for their search of the symbols, or even what they were really after in the first mission of the second season. Theta in particular, as stated, was hugely expensive, which made it suspicious, but as stated, he didn't even tell May about it, which again as stated, he should have done so as she's his direct successor. There is a need to know basis, but Coulson wasn't telling them information that they did indeed need to know, and that's the problem.
    • From what Coulson told Gonzalez about having the Toolbox possibly being temporary, it seems that he still somewhat sees Fury as really being in charge. In business terms, Coulson is CEO, but Fury is Chairman of the Board. Remember, at this point SHIELD is an entirely unofficial organization with no legit chain of command. Coulson is only Director because Fury said so. What happens when Fury says he isn't Director anymore?

     Expose Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the crystals? 
  • No percent is ever given for how many people are actually inhumans. Only that they are difficult to detect even with modern genetics until after being exposed and that they have descendants around the globe. She seemed to have expected at least a few amongst the present crew of the ship. The powers appear to be entirely random, especially if we're talking about powers that are of use in combat. Given that was Jiaying truly so far gone that she didn't see the huge flaw with killing say 99.99% of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but giving the remainder super powers? Note that she only seemed to have three people with good enough combat powers to take on regular agents.
    • Even if three agents did get superpowers, what would it matter? They wouldn't know how to control their powers, not to mention possible horrible mutations.
    • Step 1: Expose agents to Terrigen crystals. Step 2: Isolate painfully mutated agents from other humans; help them to deal with the inevitable resulting physical and psychological issues while convincing them that non-Inhumans will see them only as a threat to be destroyed. Step 3: Stockholm Syndrome.

     Terrigen crystals in the ocean? 
  • If fish and other ocean life are exposed to the Terrigen crystals, then would not they simply turn to stone? Or are fish and other ocean life themselves modified by the Kree?
    • If the heavier metal was filtered out by them dissolving, then they'd only be eating the crystals and wouldn't petrify. Alternatively, the metal may only petrify human tissue, not animal or plant.
    • Seems to be the first one. The mist was the color of the pure Terrigen Mists we saw in the Kree temple, not the gray mist normally seen from the Inhuman crystals. This will allow people to be empowered by the fish oil without leaving a trail of petrified bodies that would make the source obvious.
    • Answered in the Season 3 premiere. The metal that caused the petrification effect was left on the ocean floor (where it's relatively harmless, and where SHIELD might very well have made a point of burying it) while the Terrigen Mist dissipated into the water.

     Kree stone security 
  • Why on earth would the security on the dangerous alien artifact be so weak that Fitz could open it by ACCIDENTALLY LEANING ON THE LOCK? Mack wanted the door to not be opened ever, so why did they not have better security? I know that it wasn't sealed away from everyone because they want to study it, but they couldn't have done something better for security? An eye scanner that only Mack could open (and he never would)? Two separate keys that need to be used at the same time? Heck, even a simple combination lock would have been better than what they had. We have seen S.H.I.E.L.D. use much better security, so why was this door so easy to open?
    • Simmons did seem to have a You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me reaction, not to mention that it snatched her up with suspicious timing, so maybe there's something more going on that we don't know about. Maybe it has some intelligence, and sort of baited the trap? We know basically nothing about the artifact, other than something vague about it being a weapon against Inhumans.

     Multiple Woman Prime 
  • The season 2 finale has an inhuman with the power of Self-Duplication. Her selves are seen exchanging visual signs, meaning she does not possess a true Hive Mind. They also avoid No Ontological Inertia enough to not just dissolve into nothingness when she gets knocked out. However... Rendering the original unconscious does get them all. What is the logic there, beyond a convenient way to "checkmate" this enemy?
    • Could be that she can control them directly, but they can also operate autonomously. We know originally Skye was fighting the original along with clones, so it seems like once she was making a good fight of it, the prime withdrew and went into white-eye mode, either to control them directly, make more, or both. It seems like white-eye mode is the weak point, since otherwise the prime would never be on the front lines.
    • It's also entirely possible that they do share a Hive Mind, but the hand signals they shared were just the girl deciding to be cute for a moment. I mean, they never make any signs indicating they were seriously communicating, so it's possible they did them moreso for personal amusement.

     So can TAHITI still revive people? 
  • It's obviously still used to erase peoples memorie's and give them new identities, but without that blue alien guy, can they still bring people back from the dead?
    • No. The TAHITI protocol originally had two steps: Inject them with a serum derived from Kree blood (the blue alien guy), and then wipe their memories and give them a new identity to keep the Genetic Memory from driving them crazy. The corpse is gone, as are any notes on the process, so resurrection and other miraculous healing is off the table, but apparently the mind wipe/new identity thing is within reach.

     The Bus Team Shot Themselves In The Foot With The Whole Ward situation 
  • Let's see: you have a known enemy, who's dangerous and smart, claiming he wants to help and redeem himself. You hate his guts because he hurt you all a lot, but you're a spy/secret agent and the guy might be useful. Yet your idea is to give the enemy to his abuser and just being openly hostile all the time instead of buttering him up and try to mold him into as much an ally as you can for as long as you can, using also precautions just in case.
    • They tried to be nice. For months between seasons 1 and 2, they offered him every opportunity for redemption if he would just work with them. He refused, insisting on only speaking with Skye. That made it clear that he didn't give a crap about helping, he just wanted to get into her pants. By the time they actually needed him enough that they were willing to send Skye down, they were done being nice, and decided to treat him as what he was: A monster hiding under a thin veneer of civility.
    • They knew they couldn't trust him as a field asset (he's a manipulative psychopath who doesn't care about killing others and is a very dangerous combatant, after all, meaning they would need to waste resources keeping him in line that could be used to instead do whatever tasks he would be useful for), and they got all the information that he was useful out of him as they could. By the time they handed him over, Ward had expired his usefulness as an asset, and as a spy agency, giving him to the military police was the next logical step (well, besides executing him, but it'd be harder to route for them if they did that).

     SHIELD shut down 
  • Am I the only one who feels that the "SHIELD gets shut down" plot point was underdeveloped? They have multiple bases of operation, they're fully staffed with agents and scientists, they're not lacking in weapons or equipment, their relationship with Talbot gives them government connections and thanks to Age of Ultron they're more public than ever.
    • Well, there's only so long you can keep on a plot point before it becomes Arc Fatigue. They spent time on the run and had to earn Talbot's trust and cooperation. If they kept it for too long, people would've gotten bored of the direction.
    • I don't think it was really underdeveloped. It was more a specific period, and we saw them overcome it, rather than stayed in it as a status quo. Right after the turning point, HYDRA had all the upper hand against SHIELD: more facilities, more manpower, more toys, less interference from other agencies, etc. But, from then on, they gradually restore their good standing, and gradually blown HYDRA to pieces. Now Hydra is basically just Ward's band of thugs, and that was all their doing, and we saw the whole process on-screen.

    Creel and the diviner 
  • It appears Creel's an Inhuman, what with the diviner not killing him, and the fact that it's made of an alien material would explain why he's having trouble controlling it. But why would "compliance will be rewarded" suddenly make his little problem go away?
    • Creel is not an Inhuman. He managed to stave off the worst of the effects due to his unique ability, but with the side effect of absorbing the properties of the metal and randomly killing people he touches. Anyway, it's mentioned that he had trouble controlling his ability before joining HYDRA, and did so in an effort to fix it. The implication, therefore, is that part of his brainwashing involved gaining more control over his power. So the trigger phrase calms hims down and smooths things out.
    • Did you miss the part where the Diviner petrified Creel after his absorbing powers were blocked?

    Inhumans on the Index 
  • Has Gonzales ever heard the precept "Never pass a law you can't enforce?" Because that's exactly what he was doing when trying to get Jiaying to register all the Inhumans on the Index. First, while Lai Xi appears to be the only Inhuman community out there, it is not the permanent residence for all the Inhumans, possibly not even for most of them. Second, even if SHIELD can track Gordon's teleporting, there's no way he wouldn't be able to use his powers to break contact with them long enough to contact some of the Inhumans living elsewhere and have them spread the word to go to ground. Third, if the named Inhuman characters on the show are a typical subset of the race, then roughly three-quarters of Inhumans can pass for human so long as they don't use their powers in public, and the only ways to test if a random person is really Inhuman are A: A DNA test (Which is time consuming and doesn't reliably identify Descendants, only active Inhumans, assuming you can get the blood sample to test in the first place) or B: A Diviner (Which kills anyone who touches it who isn't Inhuman or a Descendant, which makes it impractical as an Inhuman detector). In short, unless the Inhumans freely decided to cooperate with any initiative to register on the Index, any effort to force them to register was doomed to miss a significant number of them.
    • It was a negotiation. He was basically saying "This is what I want. Tell me what you want, and we'll meet in the middle." If Jiaying had been negotiating in good faith, she probably would have pointed out that he couldn't enforce that at all, and request they be left alone completely. They'd go back and forth for a while, until they come up with something like Afterlife sharing their criminal profiles and calling S.H.I.E.L.D. when their people go missing, that sort of thing. But since the whole thing was just Jiaying looking for an excuse to start a war, it didn't matter.

    Terrigen Ecosystem Spread 
  • I totally get that the terrigen compund from season two would spread through the ocean as dissolved things in the ocean may, but I'm not sure how it'd spread through the ecosystem per se. It isn't like it really gets carried up into precipitation because... terrigen rain would probably render the team's clampdown on fish oil redundant, so I fail to see how it'd spread to freshwater sources, or areas other than the oceans: the simulation seen in one of the early season three episodes seems to indicate that the compound has infiltrated inland areas worldwide.

    Inhuman "Scientists" and Terrigen Crystals 
  • If terrigen crystals are basically water soluble (they dissolved in seawater, after all), leaving the harmful Diviner metal as some kind of precipitate, why hasn't any Inhuman scientist figured that out? Creating pure crystals from any impure sample of a water-soluble compound is basic chemistry. Even assuming that the terrigen crystals somehow only dissolve in saltwater, they're in a world where properties of such materials can be discovered easily by scanners, ie what Fitzsimmons does a lot in season one. Wouldn't they have figured that out by now?