MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE AGENTS OF SHIELD SEASON 4 FINALE FOLLOW
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD concluded its fourth season with a bang tonight and ended on a surprising note that’s sure to have fans guessing for a while.
After AIDA was defeated, the Spirit of Vengeance was back where he belonged, and the Earth was saved, the Agents of SHIELD celebrated by sharing a meal at a diner. That meal came to an abrupt but not unexpected end when the lights went out and a group of soldiers and a shadowy government agent entered the diner. The government agent pulled out a small device and used it to freeze the agents of SHIELD in place so that they could be taken into custody without resistance.
Believe it or not, that wasn't even the most surprising moment from the finale. The final scene of Agents of SHIELD’s fourth season shows Phil Coulson – the same Phil Coulson who was frozen and taken into custody from a diner on Earth, or least that's what we're led to believe – waking up in what at first appears to be a cell. However, not everything is as it seems. Coulson flips a switch to reveal a window in the room looking out onto an asteroid field in space. After a moment of reverie, Coulson tells himself that he’s done sight-seeing for the day and that its time to “get back to work” before the show cuts to credits.
This moment, while surprising, was foreshadowed earlier in the episode. Coulson made a deal with Ghost Rider to allow the Spirit of Vengeance to enter his body. Once the deal is done, Robbie Reyes notes to Coulson that there’s only one reason why the Ghost Rider agreed to such an arrangement. Coulson acknowledges that he understands what Robbie is talking about, but asks that it remain a secret for now until he is ready to tell the rest of his team. Before Robbie and the Ghost Rider return to the dark dimension, Robbie tells Coulson that he does not envy him.
That Coulson is somehow in space seems to be the secret that Robbie was referencing. What’s more, that Robbie references it while Coulson was on Earth suggests that Coulson has either been somehow splitting his time between Earth and space or is somehow present in both places at once.
The final reveal may tie into the events at the diner on Earth as well. While the g-man and his soldiers seemed to be taking SHIELD into custody, it is possible that the agent is a handler collecting Coulson, an asset, and bringing the other SHIELD members into the fold.
This could have huge repercussions for Agents of SHIELD’s fifth season. Could we see SHIELD in space? It certainly seems that way, and that could bring connections to Thanos’ coming invasion of Earth in Avengers: Infinity War.