The Season 4 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was one wild ride, pitting our favorite spies against the threat of Aida. Fans were thrilled to see the return of Gabriel Luna's Ghost Rider, while the closing scenes set up an intriguing arc in space! What you may not have noticed, though, is that there's one other loose thread — the thread of the Watchdogs...
Who Are The Watchdogs?
Introduced in Season 3, the Watchdogs began as a social media movement who feared "alien" Inhumans. Little by little, though, they morphed into something very different, and much more dangerous. It took one misguided ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to organize them: Felix Blake, an agent who'd truly believed that the world needed to be protected from alien threats. Setting the Inhumans in his sights, Blake organized the social media movement into a brutal paramilitary strike force.
Of course, any paramilitary group needs funding, and Blake proved excellent at building ties to powerful men and women. He soon built inroads into every aspect of world government, ranging from the US Senator Ellen Nadeer to a number of Russian oligarchs. One of these was the Russian warrior named Anton Ivanov, who took control of the Watchdogs and expanded their reach beyond anything I suspect Blake could ever have envisioned. Ivanov took on the role of the Superior, and absorbed ex-Hydra agents into the Watchdogs's ranks. I suspect that's a line Felix Blake would never have crossed — but we haven't seen Blake since Season 3, so who knows whether or not Ivanov left him alive?
The Threat Of The Superior
Anton Ivanov has proved himself to be a terrifying threat. He's a ruthless, skilled tactician — with a deep-rooted hatred for Agent #Coulson, who he believes is personally responsible for the world's alien problems. Worse still, Season 4 saw him transformed; Aida literally cut off his head, and gave him the ability to control legions of LMDs. Although Aida may have been defeated, we have no way of knowing what resources are still under Ivanov's control, including how many LMDs.
Ivanov was under Aida's control for a brief while, but now he's back to work — and you can bet he's swiftly taking charge of the Watchdogs once again. So you have a high-tech paramilitary group, commanded by a leader who controls legions of robot bodies and has a passionate hatred of Coulson. You can tell this is one threat that's set to return!
How Will This Factor Into Inhumans And Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5?
Will the Watchdogs crop up in Marvel's #Inhumans TV series? It seems like a safe bet; it seems likely that the prejudice against Inhumans on Earth is the cause of Maximus's coup in the series, with the rogue royal aiming to attack Earth in a wrong-headed defence of all Inhumans. Given that likely arc, I can't see how we won't get at least a nod to the Watchdogs.
That said, Ivanov himself isn't going to appear in Inhumans; after all, he was filming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the same time Inhumans was filming in Hawaii. No, his story seems set to continue in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5, where he'll no doubt continue his vendetta against Coulson. Season 4 closed with Coulson and his team believed to be rogues, and you can bet that Ivanov will capitalize on that. As executive producer Jed Whedon explained:
"We’ve hit a low point in terms of the public view of S.H.I.E.L.D. because after the Triskelion fell and Hydra took over, it was vanished, and it gave them a gleam of hope this year of, “Okay, we’re going to try to do it right. We have this new director and this new PR mission,” and that could not have gone worse with Daisy now on tape committing a horrible crime — it was, of course, not her. The public perception of S.H.I.E.L.D. is at an all-time low, so we have not resolved that, and there will be still more fallout from it."
It's worth remember that there's no reason to believe Aida only had the one Daisy LMD — so Ivanov could well continue to wreak havoc in Daisy's name. Oh, and don't forget: Ivanov, too, has read the Darkhold...
The Watchdogs proved to be a ferocious threat in Season 4, and they're sure to return. Whether they do appear in Inhumans or not, they're clearly just one of the terrible threats facing Agent Coulson and his team when they return later this year!
Which 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' plot are you most excited about in Season 5?
(Source: Entertainment Weekly; Poll Image Credit: ABC)