After an eventful finale that featured some significant changes for a number of characters and one mysterious teaser to cap it all off, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. begins its second season later tonight. Here are seven questions that will likely drive the show's narrative during its opening batch of episodes:
7. What's the Status of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
With some help from Nick Fury and Deathlok, at the end of last season, Agent Phil Coulson and his crew were successful in defeating S.H.I.E.L.D. turncoat John Garrett and rogue Agent Grant Ward. But S.H.I.E.L.D. is still in tatters and needs to be rebuilt from the ground one. Fury appointed Coulson as director of this operation, but how healthy and revitalized can viewers reasonably expect S.H.I.E.L.D. to be when season two begins? With agents like Garrett, Ward and Jasper Sitwell having turned their backs on the agency, is there really anyone Coulson can unilaterally trust beyond his teammates? And can he even trust his teammates considering Ward's betrayal?
Between the events of season one of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Coulson, Fury and other S.H.I.E.L.D. loyalists may have won the immediate battle against Hydra, but the war is far from over. We have every reason to believe that Hydra will be back stronger than ever and looking to destroy an already decimated S.H.I.E.L.D. as this season moves along.
6. Where Does Mockingbird Fit In?
Over the summer, it was confirmed that Adrianne Palicki had been cast as comic book super spy Bobbi Morse, aka, Mockingbird, and that she would be appearing in the fifth episode of the second season. Fans of the comics were excited by this move. Morse has been a key part of Marvel Comics history for years as a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Avenger and love interest/ex-wife to Hawkeye. But how will Morse's character be utilized as part of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast? Initial reports indicate that in her first appearance, she will be opposing Coulson's group. But will she eventually be recruited to join the agency? Will she be a part of future Marvel Cinematic Universe productions as a member of the Avengers like she is in the comics?
One thing that is certain – Marvel wouldn't be introducing a character with Mockingbird's profile if they intended to use her as just an one-off guest star.
5. Will Fitz Recover?
One of the more shocking developments in the season one finale was the injury sustained by Agent Leo Fitz when he and Agent Jemma Simmons were trapped in a pod underwater. Fitz and Simmons managed to escape from their underwater tomb, but there was only enough oxygen for one. And after admitting that he had romantic feelings for Simmons, Fitz sacrificed himself for her and suffered brain damage.
While we know that Fitz is "alive," will he ever recover from his injury? And if he does, will he be capable of functioning at his previous high level of skill and engineering prowess? Plus, if Fitz is fortunate to recover, there is now a new added layer of complications/potential awkwardness since he admitted his love for Simmons, a character that seemed to treat him more as a brother than as a potential romantic partner.
4. Where's Deathlok?
In a bit of a surprise move, Mike Peterson, who was transformed into a superhuman by Project Centipede in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "Pilot," eventually became the cyborg Deathlok – a character that has been a part of Marvel Comics history since the 1970s. After being forced into becoming a hired gun and assassin, Peterson was eventually freed from the Clairvoyant's clutches in the season finale and appeared to walk off into the sunset.
But that can't really be it for Deathlok. With Marvel launching a new Deathlok ongoing series in October, the company is clearly all-in on the character and at the very least, one should expect Peterson to make an appearance in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to at least generate some buzz for the new book. Plus, despite Peterson's liberation from the Clairvoyant, will Coulson be okay with the idea of someone as powerful and unstable as Deathlok roaming the streets unchecked?
3. Will Ward Be Redeemed?
Agent Grant Ward's betrayal of Agent Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. during the epic "Turn, Turn, Turn" episode was one of the defining moments of the show's first season. However, based on where things ended up in the season finale, it doesn't appear that Ward has been left to rot in a prison somewhere where he will never be spoken of again. Despite the fact that the character killed a number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and attempted to murder Fitz and Simmons by dumping them into the ocean inside an airtight pod, the character could still feasibly be redeemed in season two.
As we saw in flashbacks in the first season's penultimate episode, "Ragtag," Ward had a troubled youth. The character has spoken about being abused by his parents and brothers when he was younger. With that in mind, perhaps Coulson's crew, namely Skye, who he appears to have sincere feelings for, can rehabilitate the character. Of course, even if Ward does show remorse and work to be a better person, will Coulson and his team take him back?
2. Will Coulson be a Good Soldier?
Phil Coulson's faith in S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury, and the overall system that governs the agency, was greatly tested last season on many fronts. After the character was miraculously and mysteriously resurrected for the "Pilot," Coulson slowly started to uncover the truth about his death at the hand of Loki in The Avengers and how Fury ordered his revival as part of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. When Coulson investigated T.A.H.I.T.I., he discovered that he was at one point in charge of the program before he advocated for it be shut down after learning that test subjects were exhibited severe mental disorders. Also, don't forget about how Hydra's infiltation of S.H.I.E.L.D. turned one of his prized pupils in Grant Ward to the dark side.
Despite having so much go wrong for the character, Coulson ended the season in charge of a new underground S.H.I.E.L.D. operation. But does Coulson have any reason to fight for the interests of S.H.I.E.L.D. or will he now start to look out primarily for himself and his teammates? After experiencing so much loss and betrayal by those he had the most faith in, what reason does Coulson have to be an obedient soldier?
1. Who are Skye's Parents?0comments
It's one of the questions that served as the foundation for the entire first season – will we finally get some substantive answers in season two? Skye's origins have been shrouded in mystery since the character first appeared in the pilot episode. We learned early on in the season that S.H.I.E.L.D. had redacted information about her family and intended to keep it secret from her. As the season moved along, more disturbing information started to trickle out. There was a reference to her parents being "monsters" that destroyed a village while looking for her as an infant. There were questions raised about Skye possibly having super powers – what was up with her speedy recovery from a gunshot wound after receiving that mysterious serum from the blue corpse? And finally, in the last episode of season one, we saw a man in shadow, covered in blood, who we were led to believe was Skye's father.
We do know that veteran actor Kyle MacLachlan has been cast as Skye's father in season two, but not much else beyond that. A quick check on imdb.com indicates that the character is listed without a name beyond "Skye's father." Was MacLachlan the man covered in blood or the monster who destroyed the village?