Throughout Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD “Providence” Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team delve into an identity crisis thanks to HYDRA’s uprising. Coulson and his team must become ghosts to dodge government and HYDRA threats. Not only has SHIELD collapsed, but his identity has been scrubbed.
The appearance of Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar), Hulk’s nemesis, prompts Coulson’s ghost protocol, but it also suggests a meta nod towards conflicted identity. In the Hulk comics, Talbot dies but is resurrected as a Life Model Decoy (L.M.D), a programmed imposter. The delicious irony of placing an imposter who chases after a split personality in tonight’s episode is intellectually gratifying.
After Coulson receives a cryptic message, he follows Fury’s coordinates and finds Providence. It is at the threshold of salvation, Providence, that Coulson loses himself.
He combats his team’s doubt and fear by screaming that they are not “the agents of nothing” and they can’t let HYDRA define them. Coulson’s individual identity is gone; he is SHIELD. His individual identity is expendable, it is the agency and its potential for good that drives him.
Revealing the Gravatonium at the end of the tumultuous episode, quite literally, emphasizes the gravity of the situation. Gravatonium is an element that reverses gravity, among other potentially disastrous things. Everything is topsy-turvy.
Nothing is as it seems as two powerful forces, HYDRA and SHIELD, draw their battle lines. People will question their choices and evaluate their character as they pick a side.
Sadly, it seems Agent Grant Ward, a SHIELD infiltrator, chose his side long ago, a decision born of misguided loyalty to John Garrett (The Clairvoyant). Reunited with Coulson’s team at their temporary safe haven, Ward will prey on Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) loyalty. He needs Skye to access information on a thumb drive that she coded.
Previews for next week’s episode focus on Skye and Grant and conclude with Skye sobbing in private. This raises the question, is she crying because Grant betrayed her and the rest of the team, or is it because she, like Grant, is misguided by mentor loyalty and helps him destroy Coulson? What do you think will happen between Grant and Skye? You can post your predictions in the comment section.