Agents of SHIELD: Does Coulson Return in the Season Finale?

The sixth season of Agents of SHIELD has already come to an end, and one long-awaited question has finally been answered: does Agent Phil Coulson return? Short answer: Yes, but it’s complicated! After his beloved character died at the end of season five, Clark Gregg returned to season six as Sarge, and most of the episodes were spent uncovering the mystery of why he had Coulson’s face and exact DNA. A couple of episodes ago, we learned that when Coulson went into the “fear dimension” last season, the three monolith energies combined to create another Coulson through space and time on another planet, many years ago. The new Coulson was left there when the real Coulson sealed the Gravitonium device.

It turns out, when the second Coulson's body showed up in the other dimension, a non-corporeal being took him over, which resulted in memory loss for both parties. Over the last couple of episodes, Sarge started to remember some of Coulson’s memories and it appeared he was on his way to becoming his old self again. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way, and Sarge and the entity inside him both died at the end of the latest episode. However, not all hope is lost! The episode’s end tag showed the reveal of a brand new Coulson, made from Chronicom and LMD technology.

“He has all of his old memories,” Jemma explains. “And has been upgraded with complete knowledge of everything he’s missed. He has Chronicom hardware, which makes him our most advanced LMD.”

She goes on to say that the new Coulson will serve as a great right-hand to Mack, and admits while she was “deeply against it at first,” she eventually thought that Coulson would understand why they did it and that it was “the right thing to do.”

“And frankly, I miss him,” she added.

Jemma leads Mack and Daisy to a room where Enoch presents them with an activation button. While Mack suggests considering the “ramifications,” Daisy presses the button without hesitation.

“Hey, guys,” Coulson says right before the season ends.

While it’s not quite the result we were expecting, we have to hand it to the Agents of SHIELD showrunners for surprising us once again. How do you feel about this Coulson return? Tell us in the comments!

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Agents of SHIELD stars Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson), Ming-Na Wen (Melinda May), Chloe Bennet (Daisy “Quake” Johnson), Elizabeth Henstridge (Jemma Simmons), Iain De Caestecker (Leopold Fitz), Henry Simmons (Alphonso "Mack" MacKenzie), Natalia Cordova-Buckley (Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez), and Jeff Ward (Deke).

The first five seasons of Agents of SHIELD are streaming on Netflix, and half of season six is currently available on Hulu.