There are many, many shades of Agents Phil Coulson (Clarke Gregg) that we love: funny Coulson, weepy Coulson, revenge Coulson, and even daddy Coulson — come on, he’s totally the Team Dad, we all know it. The shade we love the best, however, is sassy Coulson.
As it turns out, the entire anti-Inhuman Watchdog crusade was mounted by one angry Russian guy Coulson had inadvertently screwed over a few years ago on a mission. In a successful attempt to steal a super-secret something with May (Ming Na Wen), Coulson accidentally got Anton Ivanov’s (Zach McGowan) entire squad killed for failing their mission. Thus started Ivanov’s lifelong vendetta to take down SHIELD — and particularly Coulson — as revenge.
Coulson had pretty much the best reaction we could have ever hoped for when finding out the truth: “Cool origin story, bro.”
Having gone on hundreds of ops in his time, this all-important retrieval mission to Russia barely even registers in Coulson’s memory, so mundane was the operation. It’s kind of a warped version of “never meet your heroes.” We guess someone should have told Ivanov to “never meet your enemies” because it’s pretty much the same let down.
One reason we expect Coulson remembered this mission at all is that it entailed quite a bit of flirting between him and May. Honestly, watching the younger versions of these two secret agents was probably the greatest part of this episode. And we absolutely need to see a flashback to this past “undercover married couple” mission. Please and thank you.
Unfortunately, the priority in the coming episodes will probably be saving Coulson, Daisy (Chloe Bennett) and Mack (Henry Simmons) — considering they’ve all been swapped out for LMDs. This time around, Fitz (Ian De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) at least know their teammates have been replaced, but three lethal LMDs running around SHIELD headquarters with only two scientists to stop them is not exactly encouraging.
Here’s hoping Fitz can reprogram them to figure out where May is being held. Like Fitz, we’re worried that so much time spent in a fake reality might have some negative consequences on her brain.
“Agents of SHIELD” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.