Okay, heads up and spoiler warnings ahoy, if you haven’t seen Captain America The Winter Soldier, you should wait to read this article, because this is your Captain America post-game and your “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” pre-game. To put it mildly, the movie changes everything, and I am sooo not kidding. Meet me after the jump and we’ll talk about SHIELD’s dark secret…
Last chance to bail if you haven’t seen Captain America or caught up on “Agents of SHIELD”… don’t say we didn’t warn you…
In Captain America The Winter Soldier, Agent Steve Rogers learns of Project: Insight, which consists of three helicarriers launched into orbit to connect with already existing satellites to canvass the entire world. Based on intell collected over the past several decades on everyone on Earth, these helicarriers would then target individuals before they perform terrorist acts and eliminate them before they do it. Yeah, shades of Minority Report. Once these helicarriers are launched, it’s estimated that millions will die at the hands of SHIELD all in the name of saving the world.
Sounds like a Hydra plot, doesn’t it? And there’s the rub, and the organization’s dark dark secret – SHIELD is Hydra.
Comics readers know Arnim Zola from the source material, he’s the Nazi scientist turned super-villain whose appearance makes MODOK look normal. Played brilliantly by Toby Jones in the first Captain America movie, he reappears in voice only in the sequel as a computer program, an algorithm within the SHIELD computer database. This program has not only been collecting data on everyone on Earth, it’s also been infesting SHIELD with Hydra programming.
In essence, SHIELD has been training Hydra agents within its infrastructure. The evil goes so deep that not only do the bad guys run the place, they’re also giving the orders to the good guys, telling them only what they need to know, so they don’t know they’re just cogs in an evil machine. In the movie of course Captain America, the Black Widow, the Falcon, Nick Fury, and Maria Hill save the day, but… in order to destroy Hydra, they must also destroy SHIELD. There’s just no other way around it, like an Alien invasion, they have to nuke the site from orbit.
So where does that leave “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” the television series? In chaos, complete chaos, but for the first time, everything is also in the clear. All the cards can be on the table, all the secrets can be out of the closet and in the light of day. Almost all of the who is zooming who and who is on whose side can be laid open for the first time in the series. Who can you trust? Well, now, we just might know, starting tomorrow night.
Two of the biggest secrets of the series this season may not be related to this revelation, so we’ll sort them out of the equation right away. There’s the death and resurrection of Agent Phil Coulson, and the identity and powers of hacker and new Agent Skye. We know that the resurrections of both characters are related to the DNA of an alien Kree body, and there’s also the possibility that Skye may be being groomed to become the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Ms. Marvel, but I doubt any of that has to do with Hydra.
Agent Melinda May on the other hand has been tasked by mysterious higher-ups to make reports on Coulson questioning his resurrection. She made it seem at first that she didn’t want to join Coulson’s team, but much like Black Widow’s need-to-know mission status in Captain America The Winter Soldier, she joined to keep tabs on Coulson. Who is she reporting back to? Fury? Hill? If either of them, she’s on the side of the angels, anyone else, it’s a crap shoot.
In last week’s episode, aptly titled “The End of the Beginning,” we saw a gathering of SHIELD higher-ups including Coulson, Garrett, Triplett, Felix Blake, Victoria Hand, and Jasper Sitwell. Sitwell shows his hand in the movie as a Hydra agent. The cliffhanger of the episode has Victoria Hand ordering everyone on The Bus taken down, and to deliver Coulson to her. If that doesn’t sound Hydra, I don’t know what does.
And then there’s The Clairvoyant, one of the unseen big bads of the season. The revelation last week had our heroes realizing that The Clairvoyant did not have psychic powers, he (or she) has SHIELD security clearance. I had suspicions of Felix Blake, although I think he covered himself, and Agent Triplett, and based on her final actions, Victoria Hand. Agent Ward may also be suspect as he shot the man thought to be The Clairvoyant, but I think he’s one of the good guys.
Who do you think is still SHIELD, and who is Hydra? Can May and Ward be trusted? And what do we really know about Skye anyway? Or Fitz and Simmons for that matter? Who do you trust? See you tomorrow night, right here, same SHIELD channel, same SHIELD time…