Tonight's episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. left us scratching our heads in a few different ways.
Some of the questions that occurred to us along the way were big, sweeping and almost certainly key to the unfolding narrative of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Some of them are purely speculative and might come to nothing.
Okay, so this one's a little cheeky, but seriously: why would you use public transportation when you were trafficking millions of dollars in diamonds under the most heightened security possible because you knew you were being targeted?
I get it: they'd been hit in an armored car; they'd been hit in a vault; nothing is entirely safe. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But using public transportation introduces an awful lot of variables you can't control and all it really offers you in return is the false security that your attacker won't go after you in front of a bunch of people, in broad daylight.
But you lose the "broad daylight" part when you're on a train, which can be blacked out. As we saw.
Could we have just had Ant-Man teased?
Looking at the incredibly sophisticated technology behind Amador's eye-mounted device, Fitz and Simmons talked a lot about how it was impossible to duplicate, decades ahead of anything S.H.I.E.L.D. had...all while doing their trademark Whedon patter back and forth--quick, barely comprehensible.
The word "miniaturized," though, came out clearly, on its own, and it was given half a beat to breathe before they moved on to the next thing.
Could we be looking at someone who has either appropriated some of Henry Pym's early designs, or perhaps something that could send S.H.I.E.L.D. scurrying to find their own "miniaturization guy?" It doesn't seem like much of a stretch--especially since the film is ready to go into production any day now and the casting rumors are really starting to heat up.
There are some big questions lingering from the premiere, still, that came to the forefront in this episode. Don't expect to get any real resolution on this one, or on #5, anytime soon but it's worth mentioning that they're still out there.
"That's not me anymore," says Coulson, when asked why he doesn't hold Amador's feet to the fire about her mistakes. That's a suspicious line for a guy who was mysteriously "resurrected," and whom many people suspect could be either an android or a LMD. It, like the line "You got me!" in Breaking Bad, seems like the kind of thing that could be flashed back to later for effect. But there's more than just that...
"Coulson's different," Amador told May. "What did they do to him?" And when May didn't give her the answer she wanted or expected, it seemed she was upset by it. Given the particular skillset that Amador had, though, one has to wonder: did she have some way of seeing inside of Coulson and knowing that he had something--for instance, an arc reactor or some other piece of technology indicating that he'd been changed on a level more fundamental than is immediately obvious from the question "what did they do to him?".
What's that "target" tech?
It seems as though there are at least two players now: the villains, and whoever it is who were operating out of that building Ward infiltrated for the villains. Both of them have extremely advanced tech and, it seems, they may have different ways of coming about it. While (as mentioned above) the bad guys rely on what seems to be a slightly advanced strain of ordinary tech, augmented by miniaturization beyond S.H.I.E.L.D.'s current capabilities, the "target" tech on the blackboards is said to be "possibly alien."
Obviously it could just be repurposed Chitauri tech, or it could be that it's just advanced enough that they don't recognize it and suggest alien as a possibility...but what about something else? We know from Guardians of the Galaxy that aliens were here at least once before: in the '80s, when they took Peter Quill and his Walkman into space. Could it be related to that? Might we be seeing another corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe teased? The Nova Corps? Maybe even Ultron, should it turn out that he's created at least partially using alien tech in conjunction with Stark's, as many fans have speculated?
So who are the bad guys?
More and more, I'm getting the impression that this whole season is going to build up to HYDRA, or a rogue branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. that will pop up under the guidance of Robert Redford's character in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The fact that they've left the identities of the red-haired doctor from the pilot and now the people pulling the strings in this episode secret suggests that there's some level of organization among the bad guys that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't completely prepared for...and given the nature of S.H.I.E.L.D., it seems more likely that the two are connected than that they'd be unprepared for two different threats.