MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD is nearing the close of its fifth season. Let’s catch up with all that’s happened so far and answer some important questions: What’s happening with Coulson? Does the show tie in with INFINITY WAR? Will there be a Season 6? What’s the deal with the time loop? Here’s a recap of it all on MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

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Summary of S.H.I.E.L.D.’S Time in the Future

Season 5 begins with a mysterious group sending Phil, Simmons, Daisy, May, Yo-Yo, and Mack into the future via a monolith. What they find is a world that has been cracked apart. What remains is under the control of a Kree overlord, who deals in the planet’s primary resource: Inhumans.

The team learns that someone known as the Destroyer of Worlds was responsible for shaking the world apart, and many believe that that person was Daisy Johnson, A.K.A Quake.

Coulson
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Meanwhile, back in the present, Fitz struggles to find a way to the future to save his friends. Escaping from the custody of Air Force General Hale, Fitz cryogenically freezes himself, waking up in the future in order to find Simmons. Once he does, he rescues and proposes to her.

Reunited, the team learns that they are living in a time loop. Their actions in the present cause the future, however, it’s their time in the future that influences their actions in the present. Despite all of their attempts, they learn that they will cause this broken future.

Making it back to the present through the monolith, they decide that they will try anyway to change their fate. Daisy didn’t want to return, as her line of thinking was that if she’s the Destroyer, never going back to the present would mean the timeline wouldn’t play out as its fated to.

However, Coulson knocks her out and takes her with them through the monolith.

S.H.I.E.L.D. Back in the Present: Coulson is Dying

Now, with a new mission and the odds against them, S.H.I.E.L.D gets a new base in the form of the Lighthouse, an underground base that they team actually lived in during their time in the future. While there, Coulson reveals a secret he’s been keeping from the team: he is dying. Apparently, his time as the Ghost Rider in Season 4 burned away all of the alien technology that kept him alive after Loki stabbed him in the first AVENGERS film.

This is the reason that Coulson wouldn’t let Daisy stay in the future. He wants her to lead the team when he is no longer there. While everyone takes in the news with difficulty, Daisy takes it the hardest. Coulson has been her mentor and practically her surrogate father, giving her a family and a place to belong when she didn’t have either.

Even as they struggle with the inevitability of both these circumstances, Coulson pushes for some happiness. As predicted, he encourages Fitz and Simmons to have a proper wedding ceremony which he officiates.

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Gravitonium

If breaking the time loop wasn’t hard enough, S.H.I.E.L.D is trying to stay off the radar of General Hale, whose cover as an Air Force general lifts to reveal her leadership role in Hydra. After a time, Hale actually seeks aid from Coulson. She tells him that Hydra has an outstanding deal for protection with the Confederacy, a group of alien war clans.

They offer their protection in exchange for gravitonium, a dangerous, unstable substance capable of large amounts of destruction. In truth, Hale wishes to eliminate the Confederacy by infusing Daisy with the gravitonium they have, making her an unstoppable super soldier. She calls it Project Destroyer of Worlds. This naturally freaks Coulson out, as he’s seeing the future unfold right before his eyes.

Coulson
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Hale’s daughter Ruby was the original choice to be the Destroyer of Worlds, but Hale sees her as too volatile to handle the process. This causes Ruby to rebel, and she infuses herself with a small amount of the gravitonium. Sure enough, even the small amount she uses compromises her and is too much.

She inadvertently begins to bring the whole building down around herself, Daisy, her mother, and Yo-Yo. Hale tries to calm her daughter down, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Yo-Yo then makes a dark choice and slits Ruby’s throat. Yo-Yo believes that she has just killed the Destroyer of Worlds, and has broken the time loop.

Graviton

In her anguish, Hale goes to the Confederacy, giving them the location of S.H.I.E.L.D and the gravitonium they desire. As the Confederacy attacks the Lighthouse, Glenn Talbot seriously comes into play. Talbot was army General who served as a liaison between the U.S government and S.H.I.E.L.D. In Season 4, he was shot in the head and went into a coma. This gave Hale and Hydra, (Hale Hydra lol!) the opportunity to take him and lock him up.

For months, they interrogate Talbot for the location of the Infusion Chamber they need for Project Destroyer of Worlds. S.H.I.E.L.D rescues Talbot, but when he’s taken back to the Lighthouse, he succumbs to his Hydra brainwashing and broadcasts the base’s location. This is how Hale knew where to send the Confederacy.

Seeking to make things right, Talbot infuses himself with all of the gravitonium S.H.I.E.L.D has and becomes the official MCU version of Graviton. While he seems to be more in control than Ruby, Talbot appears to mad over the amount of power he now has. He crushes the invading alien forces, crumpling them with the clenching of his fist.

Talbot takes himself and Coulson up to the Confederacy’s ship, forcing them all to kneel before him. The new Graviton then declares himself Earth’s Mightiest Hero, a term usually reserved for the Avengers.

Coulson
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

INFINITY WAR Tie-In

Talbot learns that the protection the Confederacy offers is no protection at all. They had planned all along to leave Earth to its fate. That fate is Thanos. They tell Talbot and Coulson that Thanos’s invasion is already happening as they speak. Yes, Thanos gets a name-drop and we have the potential beginnings of a tie-in. Talbot is eager to leave and join the Avengers, and he has a plan. He wants to absorb all of the pockets of gravitonium under the Earth’s crust in order to be invincible.

This sounds an awful lot like a good way to crack the world apart by the Destroyer of Worlds, and Coulson thinks so too. When Coulson voices his reservations, Talbot becomes angry. He starts putting pressure on Coulson, telling him to kneel or be crushed. S.H.I.E.L.D attempts a rescue with Hale and she tries to make Talbot stop via his Hydra conditioning. It doesn’t work and he crushes Hale with his new powers.

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That’s where Season 5 stands currently until this Friday night. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the members of S.H.I.E.L.D and how this season has drastically affected them.

A Team Compromised

Seeing into the future and not finding a way to prevent it creates several problems for all of S.H.I.E.L.D across the board. Combine it with the fact that their leader is dying and things don’t look good at all.

Coulson
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Coulson dying causes some pretty big problems for May and Daisy. Coulson claims that while he’s in no hurry to die, he’s at peace with it. He just wants his team ready for when it happens. However, the knowledge of his impending death causes him to be more reckless than usual, much to May’s dismay.

She doesn’t want him to give up hope that he could be saved just yet. May tells Coulson that she loves him and he needs to stay alive. It’s a big step for their relationship, as it has always has had to take a back seat to the crisis at hand. Daisy is even more distraught. She doesn’t think she’s ready to lead, and she fears the idea that she might be the Destroyer of Worlds. She keeps looking for ways to save Coulson.

Darker Paths

Fitz takes a dark turn. He comes to the conclusion that if they are to break the time loop and save the world, they have to make harder choices. Choices they wouldn’t normally make due to their unethical nature. For instance, when they need to find a way to contain the gravitonium, Fitz takes what he sees as the only option.

He knocks Daisy out in order to remove her power inhibitor implanted in her neck by the Kree overlord. She didn’t want it out, seeing it as a defense against her being the Destroyer of Worlds. Simmons uneasily sticks by her new husband and his decision. Deke, a smuggler from the future they accidentally brought back to the present with them, discovers that he is the grandson of Fitz and Simmons. This leads Simmons and Fitz to believe that they are invincible and can’t die, so they take more risks.

Yo-Yo’s time in the future has arguably caused the most problems on the show. She actually speaks with herself in the future, and her future-self tells her that they fail to save the world because they try to save Coulson instead. This causes her to try and stop Daisy’s attempts to save him. It’s also what leads her to kill Ruby, making a choice no member of S.H.I.E.L.D would ever willingly make.

Furthermore, her future self’s arms are cut off, which happens to Yo-Yo right after they return to the present. Now with robotic arms, she becomes even more desperate to break the time loop. Her actions distance her from Mack, who loves her. He has difficulty condoning her choices, as well as Fitz’ and Simmons’.

Coulson
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

All in all, this season has pretty much taken the largest toll on the team’s bonds and unity.

Could Season 6 Work Without Coulson?

As of right now, we don’t know if Coulson is going to make it. May and Daisy are working on a plan, but it’s still unknown if it will work or not. It certainly would be strange to see SHIELD operate without him. He’s very much the glue that keeps the team together and makes the overall show work. One could also argue that Coulson dying is the reason the team is falling apart and they can’t seem to reshape the future. They don’t want to lose him, and they are scared considering the prospect. Coulson seems to think that he’s not that crucially important and Daisy could easily take command of the team. No one else believes that, especially Daisy herself. I think fans would have a hard team seeing him gone as well.

Coulson fans don’t have to worry too much though, as they can expect to see Phil’s return to the big screen in CAPTAIN MARVEL! Some could argue that characters like Daisy and FitzSimmons have gathered enough star-power to keep viewers interested if Coulson does indeed die, but it seems like it could still be an uphill battle.

Coulson
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The show’s ratings aren’t the greatest, and currently, it’s unknown if there will even be another season after this one. One can only hope that the show’s producers recognize this and have created a good conclusion not only for the season but also for the show if it happens to be the show’s conclusion as well.

We’ll have to find out in this season’s last two episodes. (Also, If the ending of INFINITY WAR doesn’t have an impact on S.H.I.E.L.D and its members in the episodes to come, I’m going to be SO ticked…)

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD airs this Friday 9/8c on ABC.

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