As if the “SHIELD” agents didn’t have enough threats trying to take them down, the March 29 episode introduces a new, ripped-from-the-headlines militia that further complicates issues surrounding the Inhumans: The Watchdogs.
This past weekend series stars Clark Gregg, Chloe Bennet and others appeared at WonderCon in Los Angeles to preview the episode for fans. Speaking with Zap2it, they gave us the lowdown on this violent group — and the return of an old fan-favorite.
“We’re introduced to this organization called the Watchdogs, an anti-government organization who has decided to take the Inhuman threat into their own hands,” explains Brett Dalton.
The armed-to-the-teeth vigilantes are determined to wipe out the Inhuman threat, which for obvious reasons doesn’t exactly endear them to Lincoln and Daisy.
“We learn about this group called The Watchdogs, who are very anti-Inhuman,” says Chloe Bennet. “And that doesn’t go over very well with some people who happen to be Inhuman.”
According to executive producer Jeph Loeb, this intense new storyline will play to the established strengths of Marvel.
“One of the things that we’re talking about a lot this season is: People with powers, should they be allowed to have the same world freedoms that humanity is allowed?” says Loeb. “Marvel always is at its strongest when it takes real-world events and puts them through the Marvel eye.”
“There’s something going on out there and it’s been going on for a long time, and that’s man’s inhumanity to man,” Loeb says of the new “SHIELD” threat. “Recognizing that there are differences between people, and that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing; learning tolerance is something that’s really important. The Watchdogs are a group of very real people who are very threatened by what’s happening, by people with powers and abilities, and want to do something about it — and maybe not do something about it that is within the boundaries of the law.”
Not only does this storyline tap into such headline-grabbing topics as Donald Trump and the recent Oregon militia stand-off, but it also flirts with some of the same ideas that will soon fuel the “Captain America: Civil War” film from Marvel. “When you get people fired up like that, you see terrible things happen,” says Loeb. “This is an opportunity for us to introduce a new antagonist to ‘SHIELD,’ in a way that feels very real and grounded in our world.”
“It’s real scary,” Elizabeth Henstridge says of the episodes she’s already filmed with The Watchdogs. “Things got real dark when they came on board.”
The episode also brings about some further developments in the lives of other characters worth keeping an eye on. “Hive, he’s been reborn, really,” says Dalton. “He’s consumed five people or six people, and he’s now finally out of that room. He was there for a while, with his caved-in chest, eating and trying to play catch up with all the activities that the humans have been doing.”
“My character is being tested by Coulson, because he is not totally reliable right now,” Luke Mitchell says of Lincoln. “After having an episode off, I come back in and have a few scenes with Coulson, and my episodes are tested.”
As for Coulson himself, he gets his own moment to shine via a re-emergence of an old threat. “There is an astonishing re-appearance from earlier seasons of ‘Agents of SHIELD’ that I think will make a lot of fans happy,” Clark Gregg says of Felix Blake, played by Titus Welliver. “He’s really cool in this character Felix Blake, a SHIELD agent who has always butted heads with Coulson.”
“It’s really interesting the way they bring him back,” Gregg explains. “Of the episodes this year, this one in particular has things that feel like they echo what’s going on in the real world, in terms of the way the world is changing making some people really angry, and they get a little militant about it.”
Gregg also drops an interesting trivia tidbit for “SHIELD” fans: The actors who play Coulson and Blake are much more friendly in real life than on the show, having once even lived together.
“He’s amazing, a great guy and a great friend,” Gregg says of Welliver, who attended school with him at New York University. “He stars now in a really, really good Amazon show called ‘Bosch,’ and he was briefly a roommate of mine in college.”