[Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.](tag:722469) season 2 showed us an agency shattered, trying to build up a new start in the wake of devastation left by [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](tag:254973). And while Coulson and the gang started fresh, another faction slowly came to light.
I am talking, of course, of Mack and Bobbi's "real SHIELD", a group founded on principles of transparency, hoping to combat the kind of super secrecy and compartmentalisation that allowed HYDRA to infiltrate Fury's SHIELD so completely. Considering that, even with such a small new team, Coulson already shared secrets with a select few, this other SHIELD's mandate seems admirable. But could they be just as dangerous as HYDRA?
New Inhumans, New Threat
The series ended with this other SHIELD and Coulson's team agreeing to merge factions. The other SHIELD would act as an oversight committee, advising Coulson's team and giving some kind of ethical governance. This might be an uneasy turn of events: after all, this is pretty similar to the plot of [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409), which will see the Avengers come under some sort of government control (you can read more about that here). Agents of SHIELD has a history of working in congruence with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Could this be foreshadowing for the rift between the Avengers?
This is likely to be an unstable truce. It was revealed at SDCC that the plot of season 3 will focus on the Inhumans, as more and more people become superpowered. Skye (wait, is she Daisy now?) will be forming her new team (likely to be the Secret Warriors), while SHIELD investigate the new Inhumans. Producer Jeph Loeb shed some light on the situation...
"There are people out there who are suddenly waking up and they're enhanced, they're Inhuman, and they don't know what to do about it, and SHIELD needs to get there and help them with that decision. And as we've seen in the past, SHIELD making that decision may not be the best thing for that individual. You immediately have that conflict."
And it is how the oversight committee reacts to this that will determine whether we have a new SHIELD splinter agency on the rise... Agents of SWORD!
SWORD vs SHIELD
Wait, back up, what's SWORD? For those of you who don't read the comics, this might come a little bit out of the blue. But trust me, it lines up with Agents of SHIELD perfectly. SWORD is an agency that Joss Whedon created during his run on Astonishing X-Men.
It stands for Sentient World Observation Response Department (someone really wanted the initials to spell sword...) and they really don't like aliens. They're the more vicious, less sensitive SHIELD, and their key mission is to monitor pretty much everyone and respond to extraterrestrial threats.
With plenty of potential threats popping up every day, and whole group of people who have been affected by alien DNA, how long will it be until the oversight committee disagrees with Coulson about how he responds to this? And how are they going to feel about Skye's team: young super powered mavericks who haven't had rigorous SHIELD Academy training. They aren't going to be easy to control. Oh, and Coulson himself may not be in his right mind. Loeb teased that we might see a kind of parasite plot in season 3, and that someone might be pulling Coulson's strings.
"For someone like Phil Coulson, who has lost a hand and has alien DNA inside of him and came back from the dead, he's starting to question his own humanity – literally. I've read some cool articles about parasitic insects that make other species think that they're doing their own free will but really they're acting out the dictates of some other species, which is creepy and amazing."
A lot of season 2 dealt with this idea, as Coulson felt compelled to travel to the hidden city by some part of the alien DNA that had been used to revive him. While Loeb's potential plot for season 3 may be retracing footsteps, it brings up another point where the oversight committee could splinter off from the new SHIELD again.
An uneasy future
Season 3 is not going to be easy on the team. With new threats to uncover, Inhumans to train, and an oversight agency breathing down their necks, they've got a lot to deal with. (Not to mention finding Simmons!) It won't be long until they find themselves facing an advisory council that disagrees with Coulson's methods, and may be prepared to take matters into their own hands.
Could we have a SHIELD civil war? Or is this the best thing for the new agency? Stay tuned to find out: Agents of SHIELD returns on September 29th!