Back on Tuesday, September 20 for a fourth year of negotiating their way through near-catastrophic events that could be easily prevented by even one Avenger — well, maybe not Hawkeye — are the unsung heroes of the MCU: the ever-dwindling Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Led by the stalwart Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who may be the worst personnel manager on television and who totally got away with murder last season, these quippy but also earnest folk do their best to keep humanity safe, but with the Inhuman rates increasing exponentially, the imminent appearance of Ghost Rider and the evident betrayal/PTSD of beloved enhanced hacker Daisy (Chloe Bennet), it is all very worrisome indeed…


Agent Phil Coulson was first seen as far back as 2008’s Iron Man, as a trusted adjutant of Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), but it was his death in The Avengers that was his most pivotal action, serving to bring together the disparate heroes and unite them against their common enemy.


Mysteriously returned from the dead, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Phil Coulson handpicks a team to investigate and neutralize threats of superpowered origin. With the stoic Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) acting as lead field agent, Coulson also recruits the legendary Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), brilliant scientists Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and double-agent hacker Skye (Bennet), all of them tasked with keeping the world safe when the Avengers are busy…

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There is team building, team training, investigating of assorted paranormal/alien/covert ops threats and much general mystery-of-the-week anthologizing. BUT THEN. It turns out Skye has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. because she is trying to find her parents; that Agent Ward is a Hydra loyalist who has been working against S.H.I.E.L.D. this whole time (making him infinitely more interesting–not that that was difficult); that Coulson is assuredly back from the dead, and is markedly different as a result; and that shadowy forces are at work to create more superpowered humans, mostly for use in the military (of course). Plus there are visitors from the Cinematic Universe — Fury! Maria Hill! er… Sif! And betrayals everywhere you look, especially when S.H.I.E.L.D. is forced to go underground as a result of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Geez, thanks Cap.

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More betrayals! Also, new team members — welcome Hunter (Nick Blood), Bobbi (Adrienne Palicki) and Mack (Henry Simmons) — and we discover Skye’s true name is actually Daisy Johnson. Her insane father (Kyle McLachlan) has been at the root of more than one S.H.I.E.L.D. near-disaster, as he rampaged about the place attempting to find her after she — and her mother, Jiayang — were taken from him so long ago. It turns out that Jiayang (Dichen Lachman) is also alive, and the leader of a colony of Inhumans, enhanced individuals whose latent alien DNA has been activated by proximity to a terrigen crystal and who then develop extraordinary abilities and/or appearance. (It makes sense, really.) Skye also gets superpowers! But the family reunion is short-lived, as it turns out Jiayang is also more than a touch insane, really hates S.H.I.E.L.D. (she was tortured, it’s hard to blame her) and wants to create an army of Inhumans to take over the world. Instead, she is killed, but not before the terrigen is released into the ecosystem. Ward is also still doing stuff, and Simmons is sucked into a monolith…

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Lots of would-be healthy people are taking fish oil supplements and becoming superhuman, as a result of their rogue alien DNA. The newly-minted Daisy — only Coulson seems to have trouble with the change — is tasked with creating a team of Secret Warriors who have special abilities but are the good guys (most enhanced people tend to be dicks for some reason), while Coulson is dealing with the President’s (William Sadler) new alien defense agency, the ATCU, which could really use a better acronym. Head of the agency is the appealing Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer), with whom Coulson begins an intimate relationship, which is tested when he discovers that her agency is actively creating new Inhumans — about which she was as shocked as he. And then she dies. It was, of course, Hydra doing it, in their quest to bring back a terrifying entity from another world — the one through the monolith, from which Simmons was successfully rescued. Ward is tasked with bringing back the being, and after Coulson kills him, he does so, when the first Inhuman hitches a ride back in Ward’s dead flesh. Later named Hive, he has the ability to control other Inhumans, and Daisy becomes his willing slave. In the end, to save the world from falling to Hive, Daisy’s ever-distraught boyfriend Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) sacrifices himself and FINALLY kills Ward. Nice one, Lincoln! Additionally, Fitz and Simmons get together, May’s ex-husband Andrew (Blair Underwood) becomes an Inhuman serial killer, and Hunter and Bobbi leave S.H.I.E.L.D., in probably the show’s dumbest episode.


About the author


Rachel Hyland is Editor-in-Chief of Geek Speak Magazine and, she is pretty sure, the one true queen of Fantastica, raised in obscurity to protect her from the dark lord Sinisterium. If you see her magic sword, get in touch via twitter: @rachyland or Instagram: @rachelseesdeadpeople. The fate of the many worlds may just depend upon it.