Agents of SHIELD: What is SHIELD without Fury?

Kelsey McNeal/ABC
Kelsey McNeal/ABC

It was SHIELD vs. SHIELD on Tuesday night’s nail-biting episode of Agents of SHIELD. After last week’s sleepy submission, “One Door Closes” took us right into the action as Bobbi and Mack implemented the plan to take over Coulson’s base of operations and steal Fury’s toolbox.

Overall it was a strong episode that gave us a great indication of where we’re headed for the rest of the season. While Whitehall and Cal were a very ominous threat last season, Coulson and the team were always able to fight them head-on as a team. This time around everyone’s loyalty will on tested and Coulson will be forced to prove if he deserves the title of Director of SHIELD.

Agents of SHIELD has a tendency to pick up the action in the latter parts of the season. Last year we had the game-changing Hydra reveal, which was revisited tonight in flashbacks of how Bobbi and Mack survived the ordeal. The two, along with Gonzalez and the still-alive Isabelle Hartley, were on the Helicarrier “Iliad,” with Bobbi under orders from Fury to stop Hydra from obtaining SHIELD secrets by any means necessary.

Here is where the big question of the episode, or possibly the season, came into play: What is SHIELD now without Fury? At the end of last season, Fury handed Coulson the keys to his kingdom, so to speak, via his toolbox, which he claimed had the ability to rebuild SHIELD from scratch. He said Coulson represented the heart of SHIELD and that he had the ability to rebuild the organization in the right way–but by whose standards? SHIELD was built on lies and Fury was renown for his secrets and mistrust.

During the flashbacks, Bobbi was willing to lay down her life for the SHIELD that Fury led, but as the team continued to defeat Hydra operatives and take back the ship, they realized there was another way of doing things. The ideal of a SHIELD without secrets and an all-powerful Director is what SHIELD 2.0 is based on, which is not necessarily a bad thing. In a world where Fury’s word is no longer absolute, is Coulson truly the right man to lead the team?

Ultimately, I think this is leading us to the moment where Coulson proves himself to be the right choice for SHIELD. From the beginning he has been the hero of the story and I don’t think that will be changing any time soon. Gonzalez and the other leaders of SHIELD 2.0 are right to question Coulson, but Fury’s decision to make Coulson the director had far more to do with who Coulson is than how secretive he can be. Perhaps he realized that Coulson had the ability to be better than Fury himself. I, for one, am excited to see Coulson step up in the seven last episodes.

Kelsey McNeal/ABC
Kelsey McNeal/ABC

One thing I am unsure of is where everyone in the team will stand at the end of the day. We’ve seen them slowly move apart from one another this season and the introduction of SHIELD 2.0 is going to be the ultimate test. Unless the two sides of SHIELD learn to co-exist we may see some of Coulson’s team jump ship. Weaver’s conversation with Simmons about the Academy in particular set off some alarms for sure. The one person I’m not worried about? May. You’ve really got to admire her steadfast loyalty to Coulson.

Meanwhile, at the “Retreat,” Skye was introduced to Gordon, who told her about what he calls the Mist and revealed that there is a group of people that are just like her. She hesitated on the offer to go with him, but once SHIELD 2.0 attacked and caused her to release the full force of her powers, she called Gordon to take her away.

While the second half of this season has been great, I’m really excited for the chance to get a deeper look into the Inhumans. So far we’ve only had a small taste through Gordon, so it will be very interesting to see the group of them as a whole. It will be even more interesting to see Skye’s dynamic with them. Gordon offered her safety, but will she really be able to trust them? It’s still up in the air whether Gordon is a hero or villain in this story.

Before the door closes on these Agents of SHIELD points:

  • May: “The last person who betrayed me – I broke his larynx.” Another reminder that Ward has a terrible track record with ex-girlfriends.
  • The cabin Skye was staying in was built by Bruce Banner himself to contain the Hulk! That certainly explains the giant fist-print on the wall.
  • I loved the way Simmons tricked Bobbi with her gadgets. No one should ever underestimate that girl.
  • Did we ever get a clear idea of what Fury was trying to hide in the Helicarrier? Either I missed it or it may come into play later in the season.
  • On May’s Coulson rescue: “Really nice entrance.” No kidding.

Now that we know more about SHIELD 2.0 are you starting to root for them or are you Team Coulson all the way? Share your thoughts in the comments below. In next week’s “Afterlife,” Coulson’s mission to find Skye and defeat SHIELD 2.0 begins, while Skye meets another Inhuman, played by Luke Mitchell.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV and ABC.