New Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Clip: Could Coulson Become a "Supervillain"?
Spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season three follow!
In the midseason finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson did the Marvel version of "breaking bad" when he killed Grant Ward in cold blood rather than leaving him to languish on an alien planet. We knew that this would be a huge moment for the character, and if this new clip is any indication, that decision will have significant ramifications going forward.
In the clip from the midseason premiere, "Bouncing Back," Coulson and Fitz discuss the possibility of using the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine, which he used to recover his lost memories of the T.A.H.I.T.I. project, on someone else who may know more about Malick. They also deal (or don't deal, as the case may be) with the emotional fallout of their decisions on Maveth, with Coulson coldly saying, "Sometimes there's no choice but the hard choice."
Clark Gregg confirmed in a recent interview that the events on Maveth will have a huge impact on Coulson's character:
"He crosses a very serious line because he could have left him on this alien world," Gregg told TV Guide. "But he chooses a different path."
Gregg went so far as to tease that there's a chance that Coulson, one of the Marvel Universe's most lovable characters, will become a "supervillain":
"I don't think he comes back with any easy answer. I think in the moment, it felt like the only course of action possible to him," he said. "I don't think he's going to know for some time if this was a terrible mistake that changes him and maybe turns him into a super-villain - it becomes, really, a show about a team run by a super-villain - or not."
This would be very exciting, but I doubt it's going to happen. I think this will spur some notable development in the character, and will probably make him flirt with "going bad" for a little while, but it would be a little too much of a sudden shift for Coulson to go full-on supervillain. He technically killed Ward "in cold blood," in the sense that it wasn't directly self-defense, but Ward has been responsible for so many deaths (including Coulson's sort-of girlfriend), it's hard to argue that Coulson was completely unjustified, and so it's also hard to imagine that the show would take him down the villain path. If anything, these statements from Gregg indicate that Coulson will be taken to an even darker place than we expected, but I think we're safe from a complete paradigm shift for now.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comes back next week, March 8 at 9pm ET on ABC.