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Fridge Brilliance

     Season 1 
  • Coulson lost his parents at a young age, as revealed by Raina in episode 11. It certainly sheds some light on why he's so adamant about not letting Mike Petersen die in the pilot, specifically referring to making sure Ace doesn't grow up without a father.
  • Simmons' comment on being "ready for a Journey Into Mystery" is used as a Mythology Gag to Thor's debut in the comics because it's also a Call-Back to the fact that Thor's appearance in the MCU is what really took things from "billionaires in metal suits" to the "whole new world" of alien technology. And the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be released after the pilot first aired? Thor: The Dark World, which will be delving deeper into the Asgardian mythology of the MCU.
  • When we first meet Skye, she's a computer hacker trying to take down the most powerful Government Agency of Fiction on Earth. Naturally, she lives in a van: mobile with no address.
  • The viral-marketing Rising Tide site having Abomination images mislabeled as the Hulk makes sense in-universe considering the Army's smear campaign against Banner; they would try to pass off their own much-worse accidental monster as a form of the Hulk, and a conspiracy-theory group like the Rising Tide could fall for it. Also, out-of-universe, it helps hide the problem of Edward Norton's Hulk looking nothing like Mark Ruffalo's Hulk.
  • Ward points out that someone really wanted their initials to spell out S.H.I.E.L.D. Makes perfect sense since S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded by Howard Stark and Agent Peggy Carter, both of whom had tremendous respect for Captain America.
  • In "F.Z.Z.T.", Blake orders Coulson to dump any "infected cargo" if necessary. Coulson is, therefore, not truly disobeying orders when he does not throw Simmons out of the plane because people don't count as "cargo."
  • May practicing tai chi in "The Hub" makes more sense after watching "The Well". Apart from the obvious martial arts applications, she uses tai chi as a form of meditation to relieve stress and maintain her stoic demeanour, and deal with what happened to her in the past.
  • They mention that only Barton (Hawkeye) and Romanov (Black Widow) never needed extraction plans in "The Hub", which is true if you watch Black Widow's first scene in The Avengers.
  • Why Nick Fury and such go to such efforts to help and protect Coulson makes sense after rewatching Dollhouse's penultimate episode. He's Nick Fury's closest friend. He's family. Wouldn't you do anything to save your family?
  • In "Seeds", when the team is trying to revive Seth, the fact that Coulson is the one to tell them to stop defibrillating him is especially significant given how traumatic his own Back from the Dead experience was.
  • Stan Lee's character is the only one to fall for Simmons' over-complicated cover story in "T.R.A.C.K.S.", which makes a lot more sense once you consider that - by dropping in a lot of expositional detail at odd moments - she's talking a lot like a character in a Golden Age comic book.
  • Some people complain that Coulson's outrage about the truth of his revival is hypocritical for someone who used to be totally cool with all S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secrecy. But if you watch closely, you'll note in previous episodes like "The Hub" that, while Coulson is fine with people simply not knowing about stuff that doesn't involve them, he's not cool with deceiving people or hiding truths about things that directly involve their well-being. So while he told Skye to just deal with not being cleared to know about the mission, he was outraged at them keeping the plan from Fitz and Ward whose lives were in jeopardy because of it. This is also why he's fine with keeping the truth of the Guest House from everyone but Skye. It affects her directly, but not the others.
  • Even when the agents enter Thomas Nash's chamber, there is a subtle hint that he's just a prop and not the real Clairvoyant: the voice does sound Creepy Monotone, but still has an intonation, for example it sneers at Coulson. It is not Machine Monotone, as a computer voice would have been.
  • After The Reveal of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury's reason for creating Team Coulson becomes perfectly clear: Look at the people he assigned to the team (not counting Skye and May, who were recruited by Coulson): Agent Ward, while apparently a loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, doesn't work well with others and views himself as the whole solution to any problem. In short, he's something of a Cowboy Cop. Fitz and Simmons are lab techs, not fully trained field agents, meaning they are likely to resist the bureaucratic system of S.H.I.E.L.D. to an extent. Finally, there's Coulson himself, with his belief that getting things done should come before "the red tape". Fury suspected that the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization had been compromised, so he created a team that would work outside of that organization, just in case he turned out to be right.
  • After "Turn, Turn, Turn", the reason for May's constant distrust of Skye becomes clear. She built the team (by giving Fury a list of roles she needed, which he translated into team parameters to give to Coulson) in case he Came Back Wrong. Ward to physically take him down, Simmons to fix his body, and Fitz to operate the machine that would fix his mind. Not only is Skye an outsider, but she's a disturbingly clever hacker who hates secrets and feels a strong bond with Coulson. If anyone could figure out the secrets behind Coulson's resurrection and bring the whole house of cards tumbling down, it would be her.
  • In "Turn, Turn, Turn", Simmons, who's a Bad Liar that likes to follow the rules because it "makes [her] feel nice", has to learn to lie and break the rules repeatedly to keep herself and others safe. Meanwhile Fitz, who's a Cowardly Lion that wants to avoid battle whenever possible, has to stand up to a HYDRA agent he thinks is going to torture him and has to take out another in what is almost certainly his first time killing anyone.
  • Looking back to Agent Garrett beating Ian Quinn up and gleefully telling him that he's been abandoned by the Clairvoyant for his failures... He's actually saying "You Have Failed Me".
  • One-Man Army though he is, one might be tempted to question how Ward came out of his 1 vs. 12 fight with only superficial injuries, especially since he was getting kicked around rather thoroughly at one point. The Reveal that Ward is a HYDRA agent answers the question: The whole thing was most likely a show improvised for Skye's benefit. Ward had to keep pretending he was a loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, so when he started attacking his fellow HYDRA operatives, they just rolled with it. It was never as brutal a fight as it appeared.
  • Where would Centipede get all the Super Serum components for their Super Soldier serum? S.H.I.E.L.D. knew and studied them and probably had access to Extremis and Gamma rays, etc. Garrett had access to these components being a HYDRA agent within S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Centipede's name. In-universe, it's mostly meaningless, being just a reference to the incidental shape of the device that injects soldiers with the serum. However, from a meta perspective, it makes perfect sense. It's a subset of HYDRA. While HYDRA's motto is currently "Cut off one head and two more will take its place," it's also been "limb" before. A centipede has lots of limbs. HYDRA has had a lot of time to grow... Later, during the big reveal, Garrett says, "Wait, heads? I thought it was limbs" when Coulson quotes their motto.
  • This one's a tie-in to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Remember how HYDRA says that if you cut off one head, two more take its place"? Consider that in the AoS tie-in episode, Garrett and Ward take over now that Pierce is dead. Two taking the place of one.
  • Erik Selvig's comment in the first Thor movie, about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. confiscating their research like "jack-booted thugs" takes on a whole new level of meaning after events in the episodes surrounding and including the second Captain America movie.
  • "T.R.A.C.K.S.":
    • Where did the security team get their Night-Night Gun-like grenades? Ward had access to the research, he then passed it to Garret, who used it to attempt to protect Ian Quinn. This is implicitly confirmed by the CyberTech recruiters in "Ragtag", where they mention they've seen ICER bullets before and turned them into aerosol grenades.
    • When the team infiltrate Quinn's Italian mansion, Coulson is packing real heat, while Ward is using twin Night-Night pistols, a non-lethal weapon. Who else but the HYDRA mole/Clairvoyant lackey would want to ensure that as many people affiliated with Quinn and Centipede are only temporarily put out of action?
  • With the revelations that S.H.I.E.L.D. is infested with HYDRA operatives, including Ward and Garrett and that Nick Fury had to fake his death by assassination to fight them, coupled with the fact that the mythological hydra was a serpent, it seems that Samuel L. Jackson is once again dealing with Snakes on a Plane.
  • Skye: Canon Foreigner or so it seemed, Audience Surrogate, and Ascended Fangirl. Quickly integrates into a well-oiled team of specialists, and is Easily Forgiven after being outed as The Mole. Everyone likes her, the troubled hunk on the team has a thing for her, and the Badass Normal of the MCU is her father figure. Is it really any wonder that her real name turns out to be Mary Sue?
  • "T.A.H.I.T.I.":
    • Coulson seemed to find the room that held the GH325 drug rather quickly without any false turns. The reveal in "Nothing Personal" that Coulson was actually the Supervisor of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. now sheds light on this. Even though his memories of what happened to him were altered, on some level he still remembered his way around the facility from before his death.
    • One of the soldiers that they shoot seems to recognize Coulson. But why would he recognize Coulson if Coulson was only brought there after he was dead? Because the soldier worked for Coulson before Coulson quit the project. It also explains the soldier's "Then you know about the countdown." A random patient wouldn't know about it—but the director of the project would.
    • This explains why they got so agitated when they realized Coulson didn't know the response to the question "How was the drive from Istanbul?" He was in charge of the project, so he should know the call-sign. This was the first sign that something was off.
    • Coulson seems to be in shock after looking inside the "T.A.H.I.T.I." room; stunned, walking slowly, barely articulate. Except that he's adamant that Skye not be given the drug. Okay, so it's an alien body, big whoop. Except that he's just been hit by a year's worth of pent up psycho, just itching to come out and start drawing on the walls.
    • Skye's recovery being without side effects makes a lot of sense. Aside from just being Not Quite Dead as opposed to the very dead Coulson, she's of inhuman descent, which means the Kree blood isn't as harmful to her as regular humans.
  • It is absolute genius that the team is hit so hard by Ward's betrayal, since Ward is the one member of the team that has had a bonding episode with everyone else on the team: he bonded with Simmons in "F.Z.Z.T", Fitz in "The Hub", May in "The Well" (and well as their, erm, extra-curricular activities), and his entire main character arc revolves around his bonding with Skye (and by extension Coulson). Ward is the one member of the team that had proven himself to everyone else on the team on a personal level, and basically carved a niche for himself as the reliable one. Ward being HYDRA basically yanked the safety net from underneath the entire team; they basically built him up to bring the rest down.
    • Additional Fridge Brilliance when you realize this isn't an accident or clever writing — Ward most likely did this intentionally to integrate himself.
  • Quinn shot Skye in the stomach in T.R.A.C.K.S. to ensure that she would be in a critical condition. Considering that Garrett was slowly dying from organ failure due to an IED blast causing critical damage near his intestines, this was probably an additional way to make sure that whatever saved Coulson from death could save him from organ failure and the accompanying issues (likely sepsis or septic shock).
  • Why can Garrett "feel the universe"? Because he's experiencing the negative mental effects that made Coulson want to shut down T.A.H.I.T.I. in the first place.
  • Garrett declaring that he and Coulson are "blood brothers" is essentially laughed off by the latter and Nick Fury as being more crazy talk. However, as we see in The Tag, Garrett just might be not too far off the mark with that statement.
  • At the time, it seemed really stupid that Ward allowed Lorelei to get close enough to touch him instead of shooting her when he had the chance, but then consider his relationship with Garrett. As Skye points out in the finale, Ward is not as strong-willed as he presented himself to be at the time, so mere proximity to Lorelei could have been affecting him.
  • A meta example from the season finale. Garrett getting Killed Off for Real by Coulson is not just a Crowning Moment of Funny, it's also an audience-satisfying bit of thematic sense. After all, Coulson and Garrett had been long-time friends and comrades, with numerous escapades together; having Deathlok kill Garrett denies Coulson the closure needed to resolve Garrett's betrayal. Bringing back Garrett for a villainous Moment of Awesome, only for Coulson to obliterate him in the most trivial way possible, is a thematic Curb-Stomp Battle for Coulson.
  • Ward mouthing off about how "someone really wanted our initials to spell 'shield'" in the Pilot takes on a new significance after The Reveal that he's actually been The Mole for HYDRA the whole time. He was asked what it meant to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and what was his response? He snarked about it to the agent who asked him. A sign that his belief in the S.H.I.E.L.D. cause isn't as true as he pretends it is.
  • Young Ward having issues killing the dog Garrett left him with isn't just a literal Pet the Dog moment. It's an insight into Ward's true personality. Think about the essential personality traits of a dog: They're fiercely loyal to their masters, but they'll become listless and sad when they're not around. In short, they're nothing without their masters. Is Ward not the same way with his master, Garrett? Notice how, when Ward has no mission and no orders, he just seems lost. In some ways, his personality is more dog-like than human-like. No wonder he had trouble pulling the trigger.
  • The very first scene of the series involves a major twist on the Damsel in Distress trope, where the damsel is soon revealed to be more sinister than initially let on. Sound like another Mutant Enemy production?
  • In the pilot episode, one factor that contributes to Coulson recruiting Skye onto his team is that she discovers Centipede's involvement in Mike Peterson's powers before S.H.I.E.L.D. does. With Coulson emphasizing how rare it is that S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't know that piece of intelligence but a random hacker does, it initially feel out of place and maybe just a weird way to paint Skye as an effective addition to the team. The reveal that HYDRA is secretly in S.H.I.E.L.D., and that Centipede is one of its projects, makes it easier to understand why S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't know about them. It is reasonable to assume that HYDRA could cover up their projects and activity with the right people monitoring and covering up any leaks.
  • Given that S.H.I.E.L.D. knows about Ward's traumatic family history—something established in episode 1—it might seem strange that a spy agency would recruit him for highly sensitive jobs. Unfortunately, this is actually Truth in Television. Many intelligence agencies, including the CIA, preferred to recruit young men from broken or abusive families because they displayed a higher than normal degree of sociopathy, making them more effective for "dirty work."
  • The absence of the Rising Tide in the second half of the season (and the rest of the show). A hacktivist group dedicated to uncovering and exposing S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secrets. In The Winter Soldier Black Widow effectively does their job for them, making all S.H.I.E.L.D.'s files available to anyone. Suddenly S.H.I.E.L.D.'s reputation crumbles and the Rising Tide are no longer relevant.
  • For the first half of the season, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s catch phrase is "trust the system." Just obey orders without asking questions, and everything will be fine. Who else demanded unquestioning obedience? The Nazis. HYDRA's specific goal, to control the world because people couldn't be trusted to control themselves, also fits in with the theme.
  • In the pilot, Coulson sticks a highly potent truth serum into Ward by surprise in order to gain Skye's trust. If Skye or Coulson had asked the right questions at that moment, HYDRA's entire plan would have gone to hell. Ward must have been losing his mind internally at being put in this situation.
  • At the end of "Beginning of the End", where Coulson chews out Fury over T.A.H.I.T.I., Fury calls him a member of the Avengers, then asks him to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. as its director. This actually makes a lot of sense and could even be expected, looking at the history of each of the Avengers. Every Avenger at that point in the MCU had experienced some kind of death and rebirth/revival, before being given a place in S.H.I.E.L.D. or declaring themselves an ally. Captain America survives plunging the Valkyrie into the arctic and getting frozen for decades- something that should have killed him- and is revived and reborn into a new era, thawed out by S.H.I.E.L.D., which he soon joins. Thor is almost killed by the Destroyer before being revived when he regains Mjolnir and his powers, is introduced to Coulson immediately afterwards and declares himself an ally. Tony, or a part of him, "dies" in Afghanistan (Obadiah even says something along the lines of being relieved when Tony came back alive, but then realising he never really came back at all) and after declaring his identity as Iron Man- his revived self- is approached by Fury in the post-credits scene for the Avengers Initiative, a program set up by S.H.I.E.L.D.. Bruce suffered a death and rebirth when the Hulk was created, and was soon tailed by S.H.I.E.L.D.; also, previously to the Avengers, he had attempted suicide- death- and by the end had come to somewhat accept his abilities as a tool to help and protect people- rebirth. Natasha should have been killed by Hawkeye, but he decided to make a different call, and was likely psychologically reborn when she joined S.H.I.E.L.D. as a person and not a weapon, probably also taking on a new name and identity. We can infer that something similar also happened to Clint, going by his comics backstory; even if we don't, we have the events of the Avengers, where he suffered a "death" through the sceptre, then a "revival" when the mind-control was broken and he re-joined S.H.I.E.L.D. and became an Avenger. And Coulson? Died, was literally revived and comes to accept this somewhat with closure from Fury, who insists that it was worth it, and is then given a new place at S.H.I.E.L.D. as its director. No wonder Fury calls him an Avenger.
  • May normally says that if she needs a gun, she'll take one, by which she means, she'll take one from someone else in the fight. However, in Yes Men she, somewhat out of character, takes a brand-new ICER with the explanation that 'When you're up against people being controlled, sometimes it's hard to distinguish friend from foe' with an odd expression on her face. We don't learn exactly what is going on there until a season later.

     Season 2 
  • Coulson says that the damage to Fitz's brain is too severe and that Fitz will probably never recover. But the conversations Fitz has with his imaginary version of Simmons where she reminds him to take his medication and helps him with words he can't immediately recall show that Fitz's brain has created a way to deal with the trauma and work around the damage, meaning that his knowledge is still there, it's just that he can't directly access it.
  • The Quinjet Triplett and Skye hijack cloaks itself but it still casts a shadow because the technology simply projects an artificial image on top of its body.
  • Remember that tech-disrupting bracelet Skye had in season 1? The wristband she uses to track her heart-rate as she kills someone for the first time in Season 2 is a call-back to that, except it shows how she's grown.
  • Coulson being so nice to Simmons while she's undercover and defending Simmons' actions to go undercover to Fitz is totally understandable - after all, as seen in most of Season 1 and especially in The Only Light in the Darkness, the guy knows all about staying away from the people he loves so that they can heal, regardless of his own feelings.
  • The song that plays while Simmons heads off to work for HYDRA is called "God Help the Girl" — an appropriate comment when you send in the team's worst liar as The Mole.
  • Hunter's response to finding out his ex-wife vouched for him to join S.H.I.E.L.D. — an appalled "Why would you do that?!" — seems at first like just another level of abrasiveness. But as of "The Things We Bury" it makes more sense: he's secretly terrified that as a super-spy she has ulterior motives for everything and is never being honest, which is why they broke up in the first place.
  • Why did The Doctor have that You're Insane! moment with Whitehall? He wasn't calling Whitehall's GOALS insane. He was accusing Whitehall of being a bad scientist, a much more cutting insult.
  • When meeting with Whitehall, The Doctor comments that "it's always good to look your enemy right in the eye", likely referencing his confrontation with Coulson. However, it's more likely he's pretty much referring to staring down Whitehall, the man responsible for killing his wife.
  • The Doctor's story about the aliens coming to end the world was more than just him correcting Whitehall about a legend, it was another insult directed towards the man. Whitehall shows an intense fixation on these legends and being corrected on them for even a minor point would likely make him infuriated on the inside, which The Doctor would enjoy.
  • When Bobbi interrogates Bakshi, she references borderline personality disorder, by way of explaining his unreasonable commitment to Whitehall. This also illuminates Ward's psychology and motives, grounding his character in something more concrete than "Someone who betrays people a lot." It's also consistent with his behavior towards Skye since Garrett was killed.
  • Ward's behavior towards Skye comes across as a stalker, but when you look at what Garrett put him through, you realize it's more than that. Garrett constantly abused Ward and forced him to suppress his emotions, and before that he was at the tender mercies of his mother and older brother. It's likely that he has never experienced a healthy relationship with another person, so he has no idea how to interact with others positively. Acting like a Stalker with a Crush is the only way he can express himself to someone he's attracted to.
  • Trip's death gains new meaning when you remember that his grandfather was a Howling Commando. His death is symbolic of the death of the old guard that was S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • The Doctor's violent mood swings make a lot more sense when you realize his name is Cal and his daughter is an Inhuman named Daisy. For those needing more explanation, this is confirmation that he's the MCU version of Calvin Zabo, AKA Mister Hyde.
  • Skye starts off as a computer hacker, and in the second season we find out that she's the MCU version of Daisy Johnson. A little known fact about Daisy is that she was originally modeled after Angelina Jolie as she appeared in the 1995 cyberpunk film Hackers. Three guesses what her character, Kate Libby AKA Acid Burn, did in that film. Pretty smart foreshadowing there, writers.
  • When Team Coulson was brought to Earth-616 (the comic universe), the only members not to get counterparts were Skye and Ward. For Ward, this makes sense: He's a traitor, not a real member of the team, so no counterpart for him. But Skye's loyalty has never once been in question, so why wasn't she given a counterpart? Because there already was an Earth-616 version of her.
  • Skye noting that there'll be a lot less laughs amongst Team Coulson thanks to Tripp's death also serves as a double meaning for how the show itself at this point is a far cry from the episodic and lighthearted "Superhuman of the Week" nature of the early first season episodes.
  • Xenobiology and Simmons:
    • Simmons' view of xenobiology following Trip's death initially seems to come out of left field. However, her opinion that superpowers should be treated like an epidemic and eradicated, even if that means the death of individuals with such powers, makes a little more sense upon remembering she herself contracted an alien virus in season 1 and came very close to dying and taking the rest of the team with her - in fact, she attempted suicide, throwing herself off the Bus when she saw no other way out.
    • Although audiences may be familiar with Inhumans from the comics, the team are encountering them for the very first time in the MCU, and Simmons' only other points of reference for whatever might have happened to Skye are Raina, who sprouted wickedly sharp claws and spikes all over her body, and killed a number of her fellow scientists in the City, and Trip, who got Taken for Granite. Basically, while the audience knows that this is a superhero story, Simmons thinks it's a horror story.
    • Additionally, there are no mutants or Fantastic Four or Spider-Man (until recently, when they announced that Spider-Man does exist in the MCU). No one who has gotten superpowers accidentally, save the Hulk, has become a superhero in the MCU. (Depending on the backstory of some of the new Marvel series, but let's assume that Simmons doesn't know about them.) The only real success story of 'getting superpowers and being good' is Captain America, and that was a deliberate scientific experiment. Everyone else who gets 'altered' by any sort of process, even if that process is entirely Terran, was a danger to start with, like Donnie or the Hulk or Mike Peterson, although if they're a good person they can overcome it. But she already knows that Raina is not a very good person, and has murdered multiple people during her escape. So the situation would be dangerous even without any alien involvement. Add in the fact it was unknown alien tech that gave the superpowers and it's DEFCON 1.
  • When Talbot is trying to identify which of his female subordinates is actually Agent 33 in her nanomask, he skips over one to jump to another who suddenly gets his attention. Since the officer is one 33 had earlier duplicated, and she was acting nervous, from a normal standpoint this makes sense. However, Talbot was actually being observant; the woman he skipped was African-American. While the mask would have allowed 33 to change her facial features and skin tone easily enough, it wouldn't have done anything to disguise the skin on the rest of her body, such as her visible hands.
  • Early in the season, Cal mentions to Whitehall that he'll "meet his family again in the afterlife." A simple statement at first. He LITERALLY meant that he'd meet his family in the Afterlife!
  • Why did Agent Peterson (Deathlok) hit that escaping Quinjet twice with his EMP missiles? With it being a military vehicle, there were probably backup electrical systems that kicked in to keep it flying after the first hit, necessitating the extra shot to keep it down.
  • How did Agent May fail to notice that the gun that Gonzales handed to her during his Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand gambit in "Afterlife" really was loaded after all? It was his grandfather's WW2-era pistol, a weapon of a type and model with which May likely would not have been familiar. On top of that, May might have actually noticed that it was loaded and declined to shoot anyways, and then claimed that she thought it was unloaded merely to deflect Gonzales' suspicion. note 
  • Last season, Raina worked for The Clairvoyant, who turned out to just be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent-turned HYDRA sympathizer (who did, to be fair have an alien serum injected into him). After her exposure to the Terrigen Mists, she herself became a clairvoyant of sorts.
  • It seems odd at first that Coulson, Fury, and Hill – whose entire lives are dedicated to fighting to preserve humanity's safety and freedom – are so opposed to Gonzales' more democratic form of leadership. Then you remember that S.H.I.E.L.D. did have a group leading it before: the World Security Council. And the last major decision they made was to drop a nuclear bomb on Manhattan.
  • Despite being antagonists for several episodes, "Scars" has "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D. allowing Coulson to dictate terms with relatively little discourse. While they appreciate him helping to save thousands of lives in Avengers: Age of Ultron by donating the Helicarrier, it's equally likely they decided that Coulson was being nice by not calling in Nick Fury and the Avengers to put a stop to this nonsense. They could push the issue, but they'd be significantly outgunned.
  • Ruth Negga's forehead prosthetic doesn't allow her for much facial expression, other than her mouth and eyes. Thus we viewers can't tell if she's lying when she claims she had a vision of Afterlife being bombed if Jiaying talked to the S.H.I.E.L.D. envoy to Afterlife.
  • It seems a little convenient that Jiaying took so long to drain Skye. But when she drained the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, he was restrained with Gordon there to help, and she killed Raina by cutting her throat instead. Draining people always takes her that long, which is why she doesn't use it as an execution most of the time.
  • There were a lot of people complaining about HYDRA shifting to a more overt stance after their decades of success as the most secret of secret organizations. But recall Baron Strucker's attitude in The Stinger of Winter Soldier. He is dismissive of HYDRA as a whole, and tells Dr. List that they'll use other cells as decoys while they work on the Staff. Since he was the highest ranking operative left, this let him use the entire organization in a We Have Reserves ploy. HYDRA served him better as an Evil Army stalling S.H.I.E.L.D. than a careful and subtle spy organization.
  • HYDRA's continuing devolution also makes sense given their recruitment standards, command philosophy, and their organization's prime problems with the Fascist, but Inefficient trope. Red Skull, Zola, and Pierce all lead them fairly successfully, but the latter two did so predominantly as a sabotaging parasite of S.H.I.E.L.D., and their command staff afterwards is made up of primarily power hungry, self-centered megalomaniacs (Garrett was looking for a way to stay alive, and Strucker explicitly wanted to feed the Avengers the other parts of HYDRA to distract from himself). Each time a "head" is lost, another two "heads" take their place... another two heads which are exactly as flawed as the last one. In other words, "Cut off one head, and two more shall take its place..." And then promptly turn on each other. Which is in keeping the original myth.
    • Pierce dies, and HYDRA's leaders seem heavily disorganized in his wake. Garrett, one of the highest ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to have been flipped, and armed with multiple super sciences, is fixated on solving his own problems, and thus is vulnerable to Nick Fury's counterattack with Coulson. His "limb" turns on itself, with Raina leaving to inform the Doctor of Skye, and Deathlok being immediately turned against him. This foreshadows the overall theme of S.H.I.E.L.D. vs HYDRA for early season two- a more heavily armed and apparently more intact HYDRA failing to defeat the remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D. because they are Fascist, but Inefficient.
    • Whitehall and Strucker lead HYDRA in conjunction with the High Council. Whitehall recruits Cal, Grant, and Raina. While he seems to be able to juggle them initially, he still ends up being used by Raina, countermanded and sabotaged by Ward, and very nearly murdered by Cal, who also uses him. Also, his men seem very aware of the possibility of espionage, but fail to catch not one, but two cases of The Mole from Coulson. He had just as many advantages as Garret did, but folds just as quickly.
    • Whitehall's death leaves the High Council in command...and they are almost immediately slaughtered by Coulson's Batman Gambit with Whitehall's Number Two when he runs a short, very quick con game that gets them to unleash Chronic Backstabbing Disorder on each other, effectively wiping out all leadership outside of Strucker and his The Dragon, Dr. List. HYDRA's most destructive leadership is its largest, and in comparison to S.H.I.E.L.D., causes much more internal damage in their Enemy Civil War.
    • On the subject of Coulson's Batman Gambit to destroy all the leadership of HYDRA at once: How was the HYDRA of Greek legend defeated? By taking out all of the heads and cauterizing the necks simultaneously. Which is just what Coulson did to the organization.
    • Finally, Dr. List and Strucker, the two leaders who sacrificed their peers to survive, are exposed and annihilated by S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers with the aid of three of their own former agents. Leaving HYDRA (which started the season with most of the cards, resources, manpower, and with their enemy disorganized, disregarded hunted by other armed services) basically reduced to a few thugs and their new leader Grant Ward.
    • After The Reveal in season three, it makes even more sense: HYDRA actually is an Ancient Conspiracy with entirely different goals, so while they took advantage of infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D., the higher-ups just lost interest afterwards and only a fraction of their resources was left to them. It also explained why Strucker and List were so cavalier about sacrificing other HYDRA cells to remain hidden. They were the ones doing the actual work trying to figure out the monolith and recreate Inhuman powers to create foot soldiers for the ancient Inhuman's army of conquest. The others, the spies and politicians and the criminals, weren't directly assisting HYDRA's true purpose.
  • From Jiaying's perspective, Gonzalez's demands look exactly like what the Nazis did to the Jews in WWII. Not to mention they still have the strange monolith she's so scared of. As far as she can tell, S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA are still one and the same.
    • From Gonzalez's perspective, the Index is a perfectly reasonable thing to have, and when you really stop to think about it, its purpose is essentially analogous to real life documentation of individuals, such as medical records and government identification. He never once demands, requests, suggests, or even mentions anything more invasive than that when talking to Jiaying. The only powered individuals who merit more scrutiny are those that commit crimes, which is also analogous to real life.
  • Mack's being a part of the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. makes sense when you rewatch Season 2. He's uncomfortable with the thought of being led by a man with alien D.N.A. is his system (Coulson) and his outburst after Tripp dies about everyone being obsessed with the alien writing both point to him not being a true believer in Coulson's version of SHIELD.
  • Listen to the soundtrack. The HYDRA theme is almost an exact ominous inversion of the heroic main S.H.I.E.L.D. theme — perfect for a secret organization masquerading as the good guys.

     Season 3 
  • Simmons dragged Fitz up from the bottom of the ocean, and now Fitz's all but returned the favor, dragging Simmons back from another planet. Also, the Fitz that regretted not jumping to rescue Simmons in FZZT has come a long way - now he'll jump into a possible portal to who knows where for a one-in-a-million shot at rescuing Simmons.
  • Nuke:
    • "Among Us Hide..." explains a plot point in The Avengers (2012). Remember that guy on the Council who Fury was talking to? He was HYDRA. He convinced them to launch the nuke, probably not to contain the threat, but to kill off all the Avengers before they could become a problem. Ward mentions he is the one all the other heads were afraid of; wouldn't you be afraid of the guy who would nuke a city to kill 6 heroes?
    • Gideon Malick's allegiance to HYDRA also explains why he wasn't among the councilmen lured to their deaths in Captain America: The Winter Soldier—HYDRA wouldn't kill one of their own.
    • We also find out later HYDRA's origin is far more ancient than World War II. Its original purpose was to ensure the return of a powerful Inhuman exiled through the monolith to a distant planet. Malick had been working to bring the Inhuman back to rule the Earth. Nuking New York would eliminate both any opposition to the Inhuman (The Avengers) and competition for the Earth (Loki and the Chitauri).
  • "Among Us Hide..." gives a big clue as to why Andrew left May for no reason when they were in Hawaii. It's more than likely he had already begun the process of becoming Inhuman, and left so he wouldn't accidentally hurt her with his powers.
  • Lash being Andrew explains why he spared Daisy. It would stem from how close she is to May, given that he and May were trying to start a family before the incident in Bahrain. She is the closest thing to a daughter that he has ever gotten.
  • Malick agreeing to work with Ward to take down S.H.I.E.L.D. makes sense beyond finding out how they rescued Simmons. HYDRA has existed for millennia and in the current day have been seen to have a presence in major organizations to the point that exposing them just isn't possible. Fury not only exposed them but gave Coulson the means to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. So Malick likely wants to get even with the group that basically got one over on him.
  • In "Turn, Turn, Turn", Garrett mentions that "HYDRA always comes back" after Coulson and the team learn that there is a HYDRA activation signal broadcasting on S.H.I.E.L.D. frequencies. While it comes off like a reference to HYDRA of the comics (as the Captain America: The First Avenger claimed they were a rogue Nazi science division), Malick reveals that HYDRA has existed for at least a millennium, not since WWII. They probably have had at least one fall and comeback since their beginning. Later on, we see the leaders of HYDRA turn on one another as well, which probably has happened at least a few times before and has forced the organization to rebuild. The two separate factions of HYDRA - one aimed at world domination through force or subversion, the other aimed at bringing Hive back to Earth only ensured the continued survival of the organization. If one side was lost, the other could rebuild it.
  • The reveal that HYDRA has existed for millennia and at least some of the leadership knew at least part of the truth about alien presence on Earth in the past not only explains how the Red Skull possibly knew about alien artifacts such as the Tesseract, but also his confidence that such artifacts weren't mystical mumbo jumbo but scientific and alien in origin. It also explains why Arnim Zola rebuilt Hydra after Captain America: The First Avenger despite that film portraying him as a Reluctant Mad Scientist. He knew the truth of Hydra's origins and was loyal to its cause, but as WWII went on he realized that Red Skull's vanity and delusions of godhood were overpowering his loyalty to Hydra as a whole. This makes Zola's betrayal of Schmidt in The First Avenger come off in hindsight as a massive Xanatos Gambit: either Red Skull succeeds in conquering the world, in which case the other leaders of Hydra will kill him for his betrayal before turning their focus towards bringing Hive home, or Captain America defeats Skull and his supporters, allowing the remaining Hydra agents to retreat to the shadows and rebuild.
  • The reveal of Hydra being an Ancient Conspiracy to bring Hive back to Earth combined with the knowledge that the Tesseract is actually the Space Stone explains why Hydra wanted it in the first place in Captain America: The First Avenger: the stone allows teleportation, and they wouldn't need the monolith to bring Hive back if they had it.
  • Fitz not finding anything bad about Will makes perfect sense after learning he was sent from HYDRA as a sacrifice: of course, either they got rid of those who they couldn't blackmail for recruiting or, if he was connected to them, they had been very careful in removing any possible connection to them.
  • What made the planet Simmons was stuck on so horrifying in that it actively worked to prevent people from leaving takes on a completely different meaning knowing what had been sent there before her. She had literally been dropped into a prison and the planet was attempting to prevent its prisoner from escaping. That, or its first prisoner was deliberately using its Inhuman powers to mess with them.
  • HYDRA ancient conspiracy:
    • Given their origins, both as an ancient cult seeking to find a way to control a space portal and as the Nazis science division, it makes perfect sense that the successful (Malick, Strucker, Whitehall) Hydra heads are those that run scientific operations. Hydra's main function has ALWAYS been scientific research. The fascism, spywork and conspiracy is simply how they get powerful and rich enough to support it.
    • Being an ancient conspiracy also provides an explanation why a supposedly Nazi organization (the Nazis not being well known for their inclusive views regarding a person's ethnic/racial origin) apparently adapted so easily to a colorblind one that later infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and was revealed to have membership all over the world. The Nazi group represented something of an anomalous period where at least part of the organization acted openly, and where they were acting restricted the type of membership that could be openly acknowledged (namely white, European men).
    • It also explains a possible end-goal of the world domination department of Hydra - hand Hive an already-conquered world.
  • Hive and the Hydra Ancient Conspiracy explains why the Inhumans were so antagonistic and quick to react with violence last season. Afterlife was likely established by the very ancient Inhumans who banished Hive, and while the specific details of the Monolith might have become lost, their oral traditions might have a record of Hive's possession powers and Hive's worshipers that would grow up to become Hydra. The Inhumans knew that Hive had followers who would know about them, and would treat any organization that made contact with them with extreme suspicion in the not-unreasonable chance it could be them (which it very well could have been if the existence of Inhumans had been discovered before the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier). The idea of an unsecured list of Inhumans and their powers would be equally horrifying, since it would essentially be an itemized and detailed menu of sacrifices for Hive. Given Hive's ability to seemingly possess nearly anyone, Hive might very well be the reason the Kree abandoned the project on Earth, since a Yeerk-like body-snatcher is NOT something you want loose in a universe that contains the likes of species as naturally as strong as Asguardians, Drax and Groot.
  • The constant stream of sacrifices HYDRA was sending to Hive make much more sense in light of its Puppeteer Parasite nature. If it needs a host, then it stands to reason that lacking one would be detrimental. HYDRA wasn't just doing it to be cruel, they were keeping Hive alive. Eventually, Malick outright explains as such in "Bouncing Back".
  • The goals of the Hydra Ancient Conspiracy (to bring back Hive from the planet and serve it) help retroactively and rather neatly explain Von Strucker and Doctor List's plans leading up to and at the beginning of Age Of Ultron- they were assembling an army (consisting of soldiers armed with Chitauri-derived weapons and armor, and he attempted to create super-powered individuals using the Mind Stone, though they only succeeded in creating the Twins; the robotics experiments they had going on in the basement were most likely another aspect of this) in order to serve the Inhuman and make its conquest of Earth easier. Likewise, Project Insight from Winter Soldier was another attempt to eliminate the opposition and make the Inhuman's conquest easier.
  • Coulson idolizes Captain America. He dreamed of being Cap's best friend, and now just like Cap's best friend, he has a cybernetic left arm.
  • Gideon Malick mentions to Werner von Strucker that his father wouldn't send out untested operatives into an important assignment: Kind of like how Strucker refused to send the Maximoff Twins against the Avengers.
  • In retrospect, the scenes in "Spacetime" when Daisy is training May on how to do the fight in the server room is essentially filming the training that Chloe Bennett had to do when it came time for her to do The Oner of that fight at the end of the episode.
  • In "Paradise Lost", the Inner Circle of HYDRA is shown the true form and face of Hive. The audience does not see it. It only wanted its followers to see, and the audience is not meant to be on its side, thus we were left in the dark.
  • In "The Team" we are told one of the Secret Warriors is a Mole. While all are suspected none of the Red Herring Clues points to the eventual reveal of Daisy whom many believed had Plot Armor. The Brilliance sets in when you realize Hive has Ward's memories. Which means of all the available Inhumans to convert he deliberated picked Daisy. Ward knew she would have the highest access and the most trust among S.H.I.E.L.D., would be the least suspected and would have the best chance of killing Malick, getting any valuable intel and items and getting out.
    • However, the writers do give us a real clue in Paradise Lost. Malick describes his death and we see it. The way it is filmed, make it seem like Hive did it like he kills others, and Malick thinks that, presumably because he felt so much pain he couldn't pay attention. But once we realize that it couldn't be Hive, an astute viewer could realize that Daisy was the only one who could have killed him the way he described, if they remember what was said an episode ago and ignore the red herrings.
  • Coulson justifies his cybernetic hand having a shield by saying that "the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D should have a shield". It might also have to do with a certain obsession of his...
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, it was stated that the Super Serum enhances the existing traits of one's character. An evil person becomes more evil, a good one becomes better... Now, whom did the Kree choose for testing their own "Serum"? A stealthy, patient hunter who is loyal to his family and tribe above all. The principle seems to have worked perfectly.
  • Why is Hive okay with the primitive Inhumans instead of letting Dr. Radcliffe run a couple more tests? Because Hive himself started out as a primitive hunter running on nothing but instinct. Sure, he has memories of other people and time periods, but seeing the primitives felt like coming home.
    • Furthermore, the primitives are actually a Mythology Gag harkening to the Alpha-Primitives, the genetically inferior subhuman slaves engineered as servitors for the Inhumans in the original comics. Given Hive's personality, he probably likes the idea of preserving the descendants of "his tribe" whilst reducing the rest of humanity to subhuman slaves who will allow the minority of Inhumans to enjoy a life of endless leisure and comfort.
  • Lash's powers:
    • Lash's ability to cure someone of Hive's infection might seem like New Powers as the Plot Demands, but consider his true identity and the statement "That wasn't Lash". Andrew Garner is a Neurologist and Forensic Psychologist who specializes in working with gifted individuals. Hive is described as chemically addicting Inhumans to him and adding them to his personality cult. If something of Andrew Garner survived the final transformation then it makes perfect sense for him to try to cure Daisy of Hive's influence. Either she's free of Hive, and thus no longer dangerous, or she dies, and is still no longer dangerous.
    • His powers were a bit of a foreshadowing of his role. He was eliminating Inhumans one by one, which was a bit of a Batman Gambit mixed with a Xanatos Gambit. If he caught the Inhumans, he would kill them before Hive got to them (Hive converted almost every named and living Inhuman on the show up to that point who wasn't a part of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and if they ever made contact with other Inhumans (say to warn others or to call for help, see Batman Gambit), he's smart enough to take advantage of that to hunt them too. If they ever created a list of Inhumans for any reason for the government, S.H.I.E.L.D., or Jiaying, he would use that to hunt them down, so it forces any surviving Inhumans to either tie themselves to a powerful enough organization to protect them and keep them secret (i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D.), or be so far off of the grid that no one would ever find them. Either way, Hive never finds them, or it delays him enough for the Inhumans to mount a defense.
  • Elena's personality:
    • One odd part about Elena, the speed Inhuman, is that she always seems more at peace and just plain happier than the others. But that makes sense given the nature of her powers, she can travel anywhere she wants within the timespan of one heartbeat before she is pulled back. It's a power that you don't need control for. Unlike Skye, Joey, and Lincoln, who all need some level of control of their powers or else they hurt others (When she first got her powers Skye iced herself to keep from bringing the base down by accident, when Joey was changed he would've brought down a building if it wasn't for S.H.I.E.L.D., and even Lincoln killed one of his best friends even with years of training), Elena's powers are based just on herself, anybody she hurts (or helps) is because of her own judgement and actions, not because of her powers (admittedly, she could conceivably hurt someone when she snaps back, but it's far, far less unpredictable than most Inhuman powers). Which would tie back to her belief that it was a "gift from god", her powers weren't inherently good or bad as most other Inhuman powers appear, so she would have a far better impression of powers than most other Inhumans and see it as a "gift" to be used however she saw fit (this might also relate to the fact that she was trying to be a superhero when S.H.I.E.L.D. found her, the whole "with great power comes great responsibility thing").
    • Another reason she is happier is that her powers actually make her life easier, unlike the other Secret Warriors. Their powers are primarily offensive (shockwaves, electricity, low level ferrokinesis) and can't really be used for mundane things. Her powers allow her to do chores, taxes, plumbing, or basically anything boring faster, so she probably is more relaxed just because she doesn't have to deal with as much in her civilian life.
    • Her powers let her afford to be more relaxed on the battlefield. In battle, she is completely sure of herself and she even has a massive grin on her face half of the time. She is having the time of her life. In fact the only time she actually looks concerned is when she has no idea what is going on, like in her first encounter with Mack and when she was locked in a box. But when she has to break into the police station and is fighting dozens of corrupt cops she is just great (even though her cousin died hours earlier). This is because of the nature of her powers. Theoretically, she is fast enough that almost nothing is a threat to her unless she is caught off guard. This means that as long as she knows what is going on, she is calm and collected, but if it is an unknown situation then she begins to get worried.
  • Alveus dies because of something Grant Ward said about himself all the way back in Season 1. He's bad at welcoming committees, and he was S.H.I.E.L.D's guy for disarming nuclear bombs.

     Season 4 
  • In "Uprising", the Miami EMP knocks out the S.H.I.E.L.D. team's electronics upon entering the blackout zone, including the ICERs. While the show itself never explains the acronym, supplemental information states that ICER is short for Incapacitating Cartridge Emitting Rail-gun. Since rail-guns use electricity to fire projectiles, of course they would be rendered useless in an EMP-emitting zone.
  • May being fooled by Aida despite being a highly competent agent makes a great deal of sense given May's personality. She dislikes it when other people waste her time in meaningless conversation or try being friendly or worry about someone's feelings, so Aida not doing that sort of thing and being strictly professional and direct makes her easier to fool because it's the sort of thing May wishes everyone would be like. This also explains why Aida chooses to send what is presumably a Life Model Decoy of May to infiltrate the team, instead of mimicking one of the other members. May's strict professionalism is not hard for an A.I. to imitate, and May acting emotionless would not be anything new to S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • During "Deals With Our Devils" Fitz is the one who is never shown really losing himself to Hell, unlike Robbie or Coulson. Why? Because unlike them, Fitz hasn't died before.
  • In "Wake Up":
    • When we see May use the glass to cut herself free and then escape the chamber, after apparently defeating Aida, she enters a staircase and proceeds to head up it. We then cut to a number of different scenes lasting several minutes. Then we cut back to May still climbing the staircase. What at first appears to be sloppy editing ends up being brilliant when it's revealed that May is inside a simulation that has been replaying over and over. So when we return to May climbing the stairs, she's likely now experiencing another cycle of the simulation.
    • Similarly, May running up the stairs instead of out the front door after stabbing Aida with a poker seems at first like sloppy writing. Given that the simulation features at least one trap (Aida waiting behind an opaque door to punch May) and Aida's later comment that May is retaining 'trace memories', it's likely there's another trap waiting if May tries to leave through the front door, hence why she instinctively tries to escape up the stairs instead.
  • Radcliffe's anger at AIDA for killing and wishing to kill May appears to make no sense when we see her kill and seriously injure various Watchdogs at his signal in "Hot Potato Soup," especially in light of him doing everything in his power to make sure Sam doesn't get tortured earlier in the episode. The brilliance sets in when you realize he's going out of his way to protect S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Anybody with an ounce of sense knows that dead Law Enforcement Officers are a quick way to get the hammer dropped on you. Aside from the practical aspect, there's a moral one for him. He's a Well-Intentioned Extremist who's doing what he does for what he thinks is the best for humanity's future, and knows that S.H.I.E.L.D. is generally good people trying to do good even if he thinks they're going about it the wrong way because they don't understand, and if they did, they'd agree with him. The Watchdogs, on the other hand, are just bigoted criminals, terrorists, and general scumbags.
  • The Framework was stated to be a place where you can undo your greatest regret, but when Daisy and Jemma jump in via a back door it appears this isn't the case, since Jemma is DEAD and Daisy is dating/living with Grant Ward rather than Lincoln. Then you remember they were not placed in the Framework like the others, but hacked in without AIDA knowing, therefore she could never 'repair' the regrets they had.
  • Anton Ivanov is known as "the Superior," in a reference to his boast: "Man is the superior machine... and I am the superior man." After Daisy defeats him, people start referring to him as simply the Russian, because he's not superior to anything any more.
  • The only reason the Watchdogs are a threat is because people in power keep using them for their own goals. A senator funded them, then Radcliffe gave them technology and intel. This is a subtle reminder that hate groups only have power when we give it to them.
  • When the team first discovers the Darkhold, they repeatedly refer to it as Pandora's Box. In the myth, opening the box releases evil into the world, but the last thing in the box is hope. In the Framework, Mack's daughter Hope is alive.
  • The massively out-of-date tech used by the HYDRA agents and lack of smartphones by everyday people in the Framework World seems odd given how its suppose to be 2017 as well. Then you remember that HYDRA is controlling the Media, and thusly the information flow. HYDRA would have heavily restricted such things as smartphones (with cameras) in order to keep its tight control over the information flow and insure its control over people. Holding back or restricting research on such things would be necessary, and if they do exist they are ONLY used by the Elite HYDRA members.
  • While the above explanation would explain the civilian society, it is odd that even Hydra themselves also have comparative schizotech, such as the use of old style interfaces, tasers (instead of ICER) and large drones (instead of the small mini one) — even though Fitz is the head scientist. Well, seeing that Hydra had taken over the world, no doubt they eliminated Tony Stark as part of the Project Insight. Fitz, without Simmons, may also ended up not being as good scientist as he is in the real world, and his anger and authority will just make it worse; his focus seems more on torturing Inhumans, and thus may not lead to his real world's inventions.
  • Without Coulson to put the team together, it makes perfect sense that Ward wouldn't know Simmons, but that raises the question of why he does know and work with Skye/Daisy. Coulson's lecture to his class drops a big clue about why she may have joined HYDRA—HYDRA came to power by revealing the "truth" about Inhumans that SHIELD was concealing, a perfect lure for Skye as the Rising Tide hacker of Season 1.
  • The Framework version of the world seemingly has continuity issues on your first visit to the fridge, but makes more sense if the simulation factored in the presence of alien artifacts and DNA on Earth but didn't simulate any other planets. None of the recent contact with aliens happened, and the sorcery of Doctor Strange isn't possible without other dimensions that can't be simulated.
  • AIDA/Madame Hydra's obsession with Fitz makes perfect sense in that of all the people she interacted with Fitz was the only one who treated her with respect as her own entity rather than just a tool or machine. But as she is a very 'young' AI and didn't have a good base for her personality (JARVIS was based off the real Edwin Jarvis), nor a good creator to show her correct ways to act and interact with people. So it's easy to see that in AIDA's eyes that basic respect Fitz showed her got twisted into love and she's not about to let him go, going so far as to make sure Jemma is dead in the Framework.
  • Mack's lack of Fantastic Racism in the Framework makes sense when you remember that it became more pronounced after his possession in "Ye Who Enter Here", which probably never happened in the Framework.
  • The reveal that AIDA can't kill people who are hooked up to the Framework (unless they've hacked in) adds a lot of brilliance.
    • She constantly goads the prisoners into killing people instead of doing it herself or ordering the NPCs to do it. As Ivanov showed, things made by AIDA are under the same restrictions as she is. It also explains why the HYDRA agents had such terrible aim when fighting May and Daisy at the Triskellion; they could theoretically hit Daisy, but hitting May was impossible.
    • That begs the question of why she doesn't just call in Ivanov's men and have them shut down the Framework. But she has to protect the Framework; if they tried to shut it down, she'd have to stop them. On a related note, that's why she created Ivanov's LMD body in the first place. She wanted to go into the Framework, but couldn't leave it unprotected.
    • And then there's the question of how the airstrike killed Mace, or how HYDRA agents shot Coulson. These things were directly ordered by Fitz, a real person inside the Framework, which AIDA can leverage to get around the block.
  • When AIDA confronts Fitz and Jemma in the last episode, despite AIDA massacring her way through agents, Jemma still needles her with things like "The "A" stands for artificial" which pisses AIDA off enough to kill Jemma. This seemed like it was recklessly dangerous given that AIDA killed her, until the surprise at the end that "Jemma" was actually an LMD. It's entirely likely that she was programmed to needle AIDA to throw her off balance for the final fight, or that Jemma told her LMD to do it because it would be too dangerous for her to needle AIDA herself.
    • And where did the LMD for Jemma come from? Team SHIELD wouldn't have had time to construct and program one in such short time. But then again, AIDA was planning on replacing her with one originally, and the Fitz LMD even attempted to upload her mind right from base. AIDA conveniently provided them with a Jemma LMD already.
     Season 5 
  • The reason that the servants of the Kree are silent is because they're deaf. Often with deaf people, they're also mute because they can't hear their own voices.
  • In "Rewind", Polly confides in Fitz that at times, Robin doesn't even recognize her as her mother. Given Robin sees all points in time, this makes a bit more sense when we learn in "The Last Day" that she lost her mother in the destruction of Earth and gained a new one in Melinda May.
  • The pattern of the black goo dripping from the mouth and eyes of odium users resembles the black paint on Ronan the Accuser's face. Given his Blood Knight tendencies, this may be deliberate.
  • Of course Ivanov would upgrade his definition of "humanity" to include his current state - the robotic bodies, unlike his very much human brain, aren't the parts that matter..
  • It shocks both the audience and the other members of Team Coulson when Daisy digs up Jiaying's corpse and directs Simmons to extract DNA samples from it but it makes perfect sense in context. She does this with the cooperation and blessing of May who is, for all intents and purposes, her real mother, and she does it for the sake of Coulson, who is likewise the closest thing she's ever had to a father. They are the ones receiving her filial piety.
  • The entire season is built around the idea that the team is trapped in a Time Loop and that everything will result in a Bad Future where the Earth is destroyed. This, of course, starts to mess with everybody's heads, including Fitz and Yo-Yo, who start to resort to drastic measures to try and avert the destruction of Earth and in the process cause chain events which bring the end closer (for example, Yo-Yo's murder of Ruby causes General Hale to sic the Remorath on the team, resulting in Talbot becoming Graviton, who in the original timeline breaks the Earth apart. Only Mack, a religious man, decides to do the right thing regardless of what happens in the Bad Future, promising not to lose himself and instead turn the other cheek and follow the good word even when every indication is that You Can't Fight Fate. The season ends with Fitz having a change of heart and sacrificing himself to save Mack and Polly, in addition to Coulson deciding not to take the Centipede Serum and give it to Daisy so she can defeat Talbot. It seems like a cop-out; the entire Season is built around this apparently unbreakable Time Loop that can't be altered, so without extradimensional help like Ghost Rider it seems unlikely that the team would be able to change the future at all. Except, it was Mack's faith that saved everybody. So in a way, the team did get help from the most extradimensional help there is.
  • Deke hurting himself when he hits Sinara isn't just slapstick humor. It makes sense because he and the other humans aren't eating well and as such, they have a lot less muscle weight. Later, when Deke is wearing less heavy clothes, it's easier to see that Deke is very skinny.

     Season 6 
  • Season 5 left things ambiguous as to Deke's fate after the events of the finale, but Season 6 reveals he is still around, which fits perfectly with what Avengers Endgame established about time travel. Changing the past does not alter the present, it creates a new timeline, thus Deke was never in any danger of winking out of existence as Fitz-Simmons feared. They changed events and created a new timeline from that point forward, but the original dark future would still exist too, and Deke as well.
    • It's a good thing Team Coulson started a revolution in that timeline, because even if the timeline doesn't disappear, humans can free themselves of the rule of the Kree.
  • Daisy would have solid reason to be eager to fight Doctor Leopold after he pushed Fitz into forcibly removing her inhibitor back in "The Devil Complex". This is something Simmons would be well aware of, which would make it true as well for the imaginary version of Daisy she conjures in the mind prison.
  • Why does Nightmare Simmons chew off Mack's head besides Black Comedy because Simmons was jealous of Mack and Fitz's friendship in season 2.
  • Its revealed that human minds can't control the creation monolith enough for it to build anything more than (usually short lived) manifestations of their fears. So then how was it able to create a fully functional, real in every way copy of Coulson that had nothing to do with his fears? Then one realizes Coulson was the one person who actually faced and overcame his fear completely back when he interacted with the creation monolith. He in effect became a human the monolith could use its full abilities with.
  • When first using the anti-Shrike bullets, Sarge compliments the idea then comments on how he hadn't had the idea himself before. Then he adds, "Just never been to a planet that was so into guns". This little throwaway line provides a neat explanation for an effect that's almost always seen in sci-fi action films/TV shows where Earth is present-day: specifically that while aliens only have handful of different handheld weapons (if there is more than one type shown at all), Earth characters have access to.... well, the entire variety of firearms present on Earth. The line indicates that most civilizations tend to stick to a "one tool for a purpose" philosophy when creating weapons, after all why design hundreds of type of weapons for short range personal defense when one will do and it can be distributed to anyone? Contrast that with Earth weapons: try to name every single make and model currently in production, just for handguns chambered for .32 ACP ammunition. The smart money says you'll give up before finishing with the Berettas. In short, the gun fetish Earth humans have explains why aliens have only one or two different ones.

     Season 7 
  • For all his faults, Deke shows genuine disgust at the concept of racism, especially how rampant it is during The '50s, as well as the idea that anyone would listen to him over seasoned S.H.I.E.L.D. agents simply due to the color of his skin. As a result of the Earth-Shattering Kaboom that led to the bad future he came from, only a tiny fraction of humanity remained and had to work together to survive the post-apocalyptic setting. Furthermore, with the Kree taking over and enslaving anybody, humanity had no room to hold prejudice against one another for things like race or sex. As a result, Deke had never even seen racism until fairly recently.
  • Coulson's remark to a younger Garrett that he "hasn't changed" makes more sense than Coulson himself realizes. He is thinking of Garrett from the perspective of his own time while viewing the younger version of him, commenting on how that Garrett he knew hadn't changed since his 80's days.
  • The introduction of Kora sheds significant light on why Jiaying was so adamant on making Cal promise to protect Daisy when she was born. She already lost one daughter, she wasn't about to lose another.
  • It makes sense that Fitz's plan for the team was nonlinear and nonsensical. He saw several million outcomes of the time travel mission using the Time Stream and the Chronicoms are robots. Fitz had to think outside the box and with as little straightforward logic as possible. The most straightforward plans were probably the ones that were successfully intercepted by the Chronicoms first. If the team went to get Kora right away, the Chronicoms would either plan contingencies, kill Kora or make sure Kora dies as she was supposed to. It also makes sense that Fitz would send the Team to the time periods the Chronicoms would go, especially in time periods where they would help HYDRA to stop the Chronicoms even if they were in a branch timeline and not their timeline. Any changes in the timeline could affect the birth of Kora and part of HYDRA already has an interest in Inhumans.

Fridge Horror

     Season 1 
  • It's a CMOF and CMOH when Ward goes all puppy dog sad and says, "Gramzy?" when Skye asks if his grandmother knows about the people he's killed in the pilot... but we learn in the second season Ward has a seriously fucked up family. Why's he really upset to recall Gramzy? How much did she know? What did she do?
  • Was it really Odin who sent Sif to recapture Lorelei? We already know that Loki was pretending to be him at the end of Thor: The Dark World. Sending Sif alone with specific orders to bring in alive a foe she had personal tragic history with? Totally Loki-style trolling. However, considering Lorelei's powers, could it be the next step in Loki's own story? Furthermore, Sif would most likely have to give a full report on what transpired on Earth. Including the fact that Coulson is alive. Even if she tried to keep it from Loki-Odin, he would either a) pull rank and order her to tell the whole truth as her King or b) Ask Heimdall about it. In either scenario, Loki now knows that Coulson is alive, and will be very curious about how he managed to achieve that feat.
    • Since Thor: Ragnarok reveals Loki was a lazy ruler who barely did his job of managing the Nine Realms, there's a large chance Loki wasn't the one who sent Sif to capture Lorelai. If he did order it, he probably only did it to keep up appearances and didn't care about the details of the mission.
  • Another one involving Loki: in The Avengers he tells Romanoff that members of her organisation "lie and kill, in the service of liars and killers." With HYDRA coming out of the shadows, and having infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. thoroughly, right up to its highest echelons, he was dead on the money.
  • Coulson's flashback in "The Magical Place" shows that he was awake through all of the surgeries they put him through, and he was in excruciating pain the whole time. What they don't show is him moving at all, which means he was probably being routinely injected with strong paralytic drugs. Imagine being in that kind of pain and feeling completely trapped because you can't even move.
  • Remember how Ward justified his kill count to Skye? He called the people he killed "terrible people". If he really is loyal to HYDRA, then who do you suppose he considers "terrible people?"
  • Given the events of Winter Solider, we know that S.H.I.E.L.D. was infiltrated by HYDRA. This means that Skye was right to worry about their reach and lack of oversight.
  • Asgard doesn't know about HYDRA. The next time they need to show up on Midgard, they'd be looking for S.H.I.E.L.D., knowing them to be allies. Which means that Asgardians could walk right into HYDRA without any suspicion. And to make matters worse, thanks to Lorelei getting control over Ward, she could know everything about HYDRA's presence...which then means that, as his prisoner, Loki might know as well.
  • At the end of "Turn Turn Turn" Coulson and Hand discuss how in the fall out, HYDRA has claimed at least 2 of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s bases, and an untold number of others. What happens if HYDRA gets their hands on a key base, like The Sandbox where they store all the 0-8-4's, or The Fridge, where they keep high security prisoners, like Blonsky? As of Providence, this has born fruit...and got a whole lot worse. Turns out not only are prisoners stored at the Fridge, so are all the 0-8-4's that Fury claimed were sent off on the Slingshot.
  • Combination of this and Fridge Brilliance: Regarding the episode "The Bridge", it's been noted that Ward was really stupid for taking a sniper position that prevented him from seeing the exchange, making him functionally useless if it went south. Given the reveal that Ward is a HYDRA agent and the fact that Centipede is a HYDRA project, it's entirely likely that Ward knew what would happen with the exchange and put himself out of the way on purpose. He allowed Coulson to be captured, all the while playing the role of a loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
  • With the revelation of who was in charge of T.A.H.I.T.I., consider the two guards at the T.A.H.I.T.I. base. Their old, friendly boss comes over acting like he doesn't know the procedure. Either they knew what had been done to him or not. To them, they were either killed by an imposter desecrating the image of their old boss, or they knew they were being killed by their boss who didn't know who they were. Given how Coulson treats agents under him, those two were likely his friends. Either way, horrifying.
  • One of the flashbacks Coulson had when remembering his resurrection was repeatedly saying "Please let me die" while getting his memory rewritten. "Nothing Personal" shows Coulson was the supervisor on the T.A.H.I.T.I. and described massive risks in psychological breakdowns observed in their test subjects. The issues could be minimized and possibly resolved through memory rewriting, but success was not replicable enough to have T.A.H.I.T.I. be considered a reliable solution to overcoming death. It's harder to tell now if Coulson's begging for death was due to the trauma of dying and getting resurrected, or because he knew what was happening and what possible side effects he would expect from the T.A.H.I.T.I. research being used on him.
  • In "Yes Men," Ward continues to attack May and attempts to shoot her after Sif subdues Lorelei. Seems like bad editing at first, right? That was his first attempt to eliminate May. When it fails, then he drops his gun and pretends to have just recovered from the effects of Lorelei's mind control.
  • The revelation that Ward works for HYDRA makes the events of "Yes Men" an even bigger threat than previously known. Though her control of Ward, Lorelai could have become aware of HYDRA’s existence. She could have worked her way up the HYDRA hierarchy and gained control of the organization, and through it, control of S.H.I.E.L.D. Lorelai was actually closer than anyone thought to taking control of the planet.
  • In "Providence", Ward encounters the Berserker Staff again in the Fridge raid. This time, although he's wearing gloves, he's got more of a satisfied, pleased look on his face, in comparison to the wariness and dislike of the Staff he displayed when allied with Team Coulson. Another indication that Ward is one screwed-up son of a bitch.
  • Phil Coulson is one of the most powerful non-heroes in the MCU right now. And the side effects from TAHITI are starting to kick in. He's utterly calm when writing the alien language on the wall... with a knife. He knows what the other side effects are. Eventually, he's going to be suffering from the catatonia, the delusions, the inability to communicate, and who knows what could be effected because he couldn't read a memo, couldn't write a note, or hallucination!Loki decides now would be the best time to recreate stabbing him.
  • So Project TAHITI was originally intended to revive fallen Avengers in the event of their deaths? Given the way ordinary human test subjects reacted to the treatment (going insane from the process)), just imagine how someone like Bruce Banner might have reacted (or heaven forbid, Thor, whose physiology is vastly different from a human's.) It's definitely for the best that the project was scrapped. This becomes even worse with The Reveal that the TAHITI drug was compelling those who were injected with it to recreate the image of an unidentified city. Imagine how, say, the Hulk might have accomplished this. The whole city of New York could very well have become his medium.
  • Looking the Fridge Horror entries on the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the Captain America: The Winter Soldier page, it appears that this series have taken all of those concerns, and put them in the Ascended Fridge Horror level:
    • When the movie had a Bittersweet Ending, with Agent Hill and Agent 13 seemingly being able to fit into a post-S.H.I.E.L.D. civilian life, here it turns out that in the case for Hill, even though she has renounced S.H.I.E.L.D., was instrumental in its downfall, and was in fact on the top of HYDRA's kill list, she remains under suspicion by the US government and is under constant surveillance. It was even hinted at by her phone call to Pepper that the only reason why she hasn't been arrested was because Stark is protecting her with his team of lawyers.
    • With the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., not only are thousands of non-HYDRA-affiliated employees now not only out of a job, even those that are morally upright loyalists that have resisted against HYDRA's attempted takeover (such as Team Coulson) are being hunted down by the US government as terrorists. Even non-combatants such FitzSimmons and Skye were threatened by Col. Talbot with imprisonment for their affiliation with S.H.I.E.L.D. Think about how it must be like for all the other S.H.I.E.L.D agents still out there. One day, at the S.H.I.E.L.D. base that you were working in, half of your colleagues who you have always thought were your friends, suddenly turns out to be working for a neo-Nazi organization and you were forced to kill them in self defense. Once the dust settles, you discovered that you have unwittingly helped further a plot to kill literally millions of people, and S.H.I.E.L.D. has been declared a terrorist organization. You now find yourself sitting at a base full of advance reversed engineered alien technology with military applications, all your funding and support has been cut off, your own government which you have loyally served is hunting you down like a criminal even though you have done nothing wrong yourself, and said neo-Nazi organization is still fully operational and is threatening to raid your base at any second.... So, what choice do you realistically have? Try to sell whatever you can to Oscorp or The Ten Rings simply to get enough to survive and make a run for it? Apply for political asylum in Latveria in exchange for your services? We are looking at the same level of chaos that were cause by the fall of the USSR taken up to eleven. With all this technology and manpower being up for grabs by unscrupulous corporations, despotic governments, and terrorist groups worldwide. With S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsed, who's going to stop them?
    • The outcome for any agents who are killed? They're put in unmarked graves, and don't get funerals. Chances are that their friends and family don't even know that they're dead.
    • And on top of that, SHIELD had a lot of resources, with at least one Helicarrier constructed if not in the field, at least one regular aircraft carrier, vast amounts of money, weapons, aircraft, cargo ships, and a nuclear strike capability. HYDRA presumably took a great deal of that with them when SHIELD fell, but how much of that gear wound up on the black market?

     Season 2 
  • The TAHITI drug caused those who were injected to experience the GH alien's last memories, including its frantic desire to get to an unidentified city, which is why they were compelled to draw the carvings (which turned out to be a blueprint of said city) using any medium they could find. The emotional states of the injected would suggest that the alien was in some kind of panic just before dying, which raises two questions: 1) What happened to make a creature like that so freaked out? and 2) Is whatever caused it to be so afraid still a threat in the present day? Season 2 revelations suggest it was the Inhumans. Since it's evident Terrigenesis was still occurring during that time, then like Van-Tak they were likely seeking to destroy the city. Scary point is if their knowledge and drive could be genetically encoded then the warning that Inhumans are programmed to be weapons is accurate. Furthermore, with the possibility that the Guest was seeking to destroy the city when he was killed, one has to make note that Coulson's plan upon finding the city was to, well, destroy it as well (though, this was to keep it out of HYDRA's hands too).
  • When Whitehall is torturing Agent 33 he comments that he once operated on a woman for a week and that "the hard part is staying awake." Later, it is revealed in The Things We Bury that he operated on and ultimately killed Skye's mother to gain back the youth he had lost.
  • The fact that Odin!Loki still pays enough attention to Midgard to send Sif to deal with the Kree that lands there searching for the Diviner. And if she chooses to tell him about what's going on with Skye, that puts her in Loki's crosshairs.
  • Mack spends a great deal of time and effort trying to convince Coulson to let him work on Lola. Now we know that Mack is a double agent working to overthrow Coulson as Director. Is there an ulterior motive (beyond the scanner in the model) for him to want to work on a car that Coulson won't let anyone else drive?
  • As it was revealed in the episode Afterlife, Skye's mother is alive. And since we know Doctor Whitehall used Skye's mother's gift to return to his youth, there's a huge chance that those bullets Coulson put in him never kept him down. Even if that's not true, there's still the horror of knowing that Jiaying would have to live with the memories (and scars) of having been vivisected over the course of a week.
  • The revelation of Raina's precog gifts becomes this when she reveals that all she has are nightmares. What's going to happen that is so awful that it chases Raina in her dreams?
  • Jeff Bell has hinted at a time skip between Season 2 and 3 - just how long will Simmons spend in that Kree stone? And it's been said to be lethal to Inhumans, and Simmons isn't the Inhumans' biggest fan - how will the stone influence her in that time?
  • So Coulson and Skye are starting a secret super-powered team with the intent to keep its members anonymous for their own safety. That might hit a snag come Captain America Civil War.
  • Now that Gordon is dead, what will happen with the Inhumans that want to leave afterlife? What if they need something from the outside world, more important than pizza? And what if some inhuman is chased by S.H.I.E.L.D. or HYDRA and badly needs rescue, as Skye and Raina when taken to Afterlife the first time?
  • All of Raina's predictions came to pass. All and each one. Including when she told Skye that they would never talk again, when she was wary on her. And a short time later, Jiaying killed her. Does that mean that Raina saw her own death, and could not do anything to prevent it?
  • With the revelation that Jiaying's immortality is fueled by sucking the life out of others, Whitehall becomes even more horrifying, since he must've been doing that for the past couple decades as well.

     Season 3 
  • Lash:
    • With the reveal that Lash is Andrew it becomes both brilliant and horrific that he is in his position in a government agency. He is tasked to investigate new Inhumans and determine their ability to fight for a secret organisation, and his superiors don't actually realize he can kill off anyone who would be a threat to him, from right under their noses. His group are rarely able to find new Inhumans alive because he is the one who finds out the information and updates them.
    • This also explains the reason why he's so reluctant to give any Inhumans in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody a clean bill of health. He can't take the risk of letting Coulson put together a team that could take him down if they had enough firepower.
    • The fact that Andrew is a psychiatrist is terrifying within itself. Imagine having to fight Hannibal Lecter with super strength.
    • Lash kills Inhumans he deems unworthy or dangerous in part due to his own increasingly-warped psyche as a result of the Terrigenesis, and in part due to what happened to May in Bahrain. OF COURSE he's not gonna approve them for the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, he's keeping his targets apart and unsupported.
  • Maveth:
    • The planet Hive was imprisoned on centuries ago used to have a civilization worshiping it, until Hive destroyed everything around it. Now HYDRA want to bring it back, just so it can do it again...
    • The way Hive survived for centuries - Hive is not some all powerful monster, it is a tiny worm that reanimates the dead. Not only that, but it can access all of their memories and assume their identity. And if it weren't for any obvious signs of injury, nobody would have been the wiser.
    • On that point, how Hive actually escaped the planet. It reanimates the freshly killed body of Grant Ward. Coulson crushed his chest, and this guy is still kicking. How in the hell do you kill Hive when it has virtual immortality and can destroy civilizations.
    • Not only that, Hive is also very intelligent. After possessing Will, it could have continued to wander around the No-Fly Zone and wait for more sacrifices. Instead, it moved into Will's bunker and pretended to be Will until Fitz/Hydra found it. This implies that after absorbing Will's memories and learning about Simmons and Will's interactions, Hive guessed that someone would try to rescue Will after Simmons escaped. And that's exactly what happened. Now It—Hive—is in the body of Ward. It has access to Ward's memories, so it knows all about Coulson's team and how to manipulate them. And if its use of Nathaniel Malick's memories is any indication, its capacity for applying this knowledge for maximum painful effect is fairly high.
    • You know how the uninhabitable planet with desert conditions and occasional horrifying sandstorms is said to have once been a paradise? The sand/dust spore powers Hive shows from within an emaciated, weaker, fresh host are powerful enough to instantly convert Giyera and Lucio into believers who, while still fairly autonomous, will pretty much do anything he asks. What else can he do with that, what type of horrifying shit is he truly capable of?
    • Here's a thought: most dust is created by everything shedding skin cells, see that dust on your desk? most of it used to be you/your partner/child/pet/co-worker, Hive's power is to shed cells to infect Inhumans/kill people, Maveth was citied to be a paradise before Hive showed up, what if it wasn't a desert planet before he showed up? what if that "sand" is all of the cells Hive has used over the millennia? it isn't a desert planet, its a planet covered in corpses!
    • Hive is called Alveus, Latin for Hive. However, it is strongly implied it is far older than the Latin language. That means it was called "Hive" in an older language, like Proto-Indo-European or ancient Egyptian. Now, what are the words for hive in these languages? Well, apparently, There are none.
    • Given that Nathaniel Malick was sacrificed in 1970, and it's not known how frequent the stone ceremonies are, that figure in the black cloak could have been his corpse under Hive's possession.

     Season 4 
  • Senator Nadeer has a Terrigenesis mummy of her brother at home. It is implied that he died during the process, and that drove his sister to her hating Inhumans... but since we never saw such deaths since Season 2, there is a distinct possibility that Nadeer killed her brother when she saw him transform. Fortunately, "Deal With Our Devils" reveals that he's still alive, but reveals new fridge horror: Simmons easily gets him out by calming him down and reassuring him that everything'll be fine. The horror kicks in when you realize his sister never tried this in the several months he was in there. What was their relationship like beforehand? And what's it going to be now that he's an Inhuman?
  • When Daisy justifies leaving, Fitz is angry about her turning her back on the team. He was so angry because Daisy actually did what Simmons had seemingly done in season 2 (before her undercover mission was revealed), which clearly traumatized him.
    • That trauma also explains why he's so freaked out by Simmons going on a secret assignment.
  • Robbie's Rider form has cracks in the skull from which fire emerges. Pretty cool right? "The Good Samaritan" reveals that he died in the car accident that paralysed Gabe, and was brought back by the Rider implied to be Johnny Blaze, and the Spirit of Vengeance passed onto him. The cracks in Robbie's skull are from when it cracked open after he hit the road. Confirming this is how Johnny's skull looks totally different, having no cracks but a bullet hole instead.
  • The Superior's reasons for wanting to kill Coulson are flimsy at best, but it becomes a lot more horrifying when you remember something: the Superior is working with Radcliffe, who has agreed to help him, and has kidnapped May. In other words, the perfect bait to lead Coulson into a trap.
  • The Framework scenario (an alternate reality inside a Lotus-Eater Machine) at the end of "Self Control":
    • Coulson:
      • If Coulson wasn't a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, he never would have met all the empowered beings and superheroes, which made him a hate-mongering teacher against Inhumans. After all, not understanding something breeds fear and hatred. Though subsequent episodes reveal that he's just toeing the party line to keep himself out of trouble, and doesn't really buy any of what HYDRA is selling.
      • HYDRA taking over, Simmons being dead and the Inhumans being feared by the public seems drastic, until you remember the common thread in all of those scenarios... was Coulson himself. While it's reasonable to assume some events would have transpired regardless, his death cemented the formation of the Avengers, putting Captain America, Black Widow and Nick Fury in the path of HYDRA's ascension. Also, while Coulson did a lot of the heavy lifting on the show, his becoming a teacher instead of an agent undoes a number of significant events rippling back to before Iron Man even showed up. Without Coulson's death to unite the Avengers before the Battle of New York, it's entirely possible Steve and/or Natasha didn't survive the Chitauri invasion, if they were there or the invasion happened at all.
    • The implied horrors just keep stacking up. In light of HYDRA taking over and Coulson never becoming an Agent, what happened to Thor when he was dropped to Earth? Was Steve Rogers found in the ice, if so, what happened to him? Since HYDRA is so open...were Howard and Maria Stark murdered? What is Tony's current status/location? Heck, was Black Widow EVER recruited at all? The implications are mind blowing.
    • It's never addressed whether Hydra pursues Project Insight. Considering that Hydra took over in the wake of the Bahrain operation (six years before the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and the Avengers are nowhere in sight, it would have been a success if they did.
    • May:
      • While she still fits the Broken Bird trope after Bahrain, it's implied that she willingly jumped onto team Hydra instead of taking a desk job.
      • In a previous episode, it has been deduced that May's body is so conditioned to fighting. With her espionage and combat skills at the employ of HYDRA and no Phil or Andrew around, the consequences would be better left unsaid... for the time being.
  • In the Framework Jemma is dead and AIDA/Madame Hydra is in a relationship with Fitz. At first it seemed like she needed Fitz to replace Radcliffe as the technical brains to keep things running, but its getting clearer that AIDA is obsessed with keeping Fitz by her side, the horror kicks in when you realize that as far as his LMD counterpart was concerned, they would be reunited in the Framework where they would be living a happy married life, but in reality AIDA would have killed Jemma outright to insure she would never be uploaded so that she could keep Fitz to herself.
  • The team exposes the lies of HYDRA on live television, which cause riots, but do not stay to check the results. The sad thing is that HYDRA's fall is not guaranteed by doing this, as several real life examples may prove. Even if they turned into a 0% Approval Rating regime, that may simply force them to drop the Villain with Good Publicity masquerade and simply become an openly ruthless dictatorship.
  • The full extent of Project Looking Glass is revealed in the episode The Return: Aida/Ophelia used the Darkhold to create for herself an Inhuman body complete with every power from the Inhumans she captured in the Framework. The horror comes in when you realize that in addition to Gordon's abilities (teleportation), she also possesses Lincoln's electrokinesis. Making a logical assumption, she probably had Hydra attack Afterlife, capturing and experimenting on everyone that lived there, including Jiaying. Because of this, Ophelia is now one of the strongest beings on the planet, and there is probably nothing any Inhuman can do to stop her if bullets won't put her down...
    • The implication that Fitz was the one to perform the experiments on them all is both terrifying and heartbreaking. Fitz was motivated to create AIDA so that he could protect people like Lincoln in the future, and she turned around and made him torture the Framework version of the very man whose loss inspired her creation. Fitz will have to live with the memories of what he did to Framework!Lincoln for the rest of his life.
    • It gets WORSE in a preview of "Worlds End" the Season Finale... Robbie implies/reveals that AIDA's body is created from Dark Force/Zero Matter itself. Remember Whitney Frost? Remember what a normal human could do when infused with ALOT of Zero Matter? Now imagine an entire body made from it...and infused with perhaps as many as two dozen inhuman powers and hell bend on destroying the world...
  • The conversation AIDA and Fitz has in the real-life version of their Framework apartment upgraded AIDA from Ultron to Kilgrave levels of messed up. She didn't just brainwash Fitz into being in love with her and screw with his personality, which was already a violation of his heart and mind. She also physically slept with him in the Framework. Yup. They just implied that Fitz is the victim of rape via brainwashing. What was this show's rating again?
    • Combined with Fridge Brilliance, Fitz' reactions to AIDA's later actions such as his attempts to appease her anger and keep her calm, even going so far as to try to stay with her to redirect her rage ring true of some behavior patterns of domestic abuse victims who have been trapped in a bad relationship for a long time.
  • Ophelia arranges a LMD of Daisy to shoot Talbot in a government meeting, hoping that the incident will kickstart public hatred of both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Inhumans (as Daisy is both things). She was killed afterwards, but the events have already been put in motion. And, if the stinger is to be believed, the team will be elsewhere for a long time. Which means that they will not have the chance to explain themselves or put an halt to the paranoia, and the incident itself will be made worse because the criminals will be at large. By the time they get back home, the Framework may become the real world, and there won't be a magic portal out of it this time...

     Season 5 
  • Fitz, while trying to figure out what happened to the rest of the team, postulated that his previous brain trauma could have been exacerbated by his experience in the framework, and he may be suffering from Prodromal Schizophrenia, and he might have done something to the team, helped them escape or something worse. He's wrong, he did something to the team, but Prodromal Schizophrenia is a precursor to full Schizophrenia, and often precedes a psychotic break. Which Fitz then proceeds to have a few months later by hallucinating the Doctor and not realizing he is the one attacking Daisy and the team. What's especially interesting is that people who have Prodromal Schizophrenia can still recognize something is wrong with their thinking, unlike with full Schizophrenia, which means it probably wasn't a coincidence: Fitz correctly diagnosed himself with oncoming Schizophrenia and just didn't have any time to see a doctor about it.

     Season 6 

     Season 7 

Fridge Logic

On the headscratchers page.