The final season of Agents Of Shield is here with “The New Deal,” an episode that seamlessly blends the high-concept sci-fi the series is known for with the vintage, classic feel of 1930’s America.
The premiere episode of Agents of Shield’s seventh season had it’s hand in many pies, from Coulson’s return as an LMD, to Simmon’s return from time travel without Fitz, to Agent May’s frightening escape from the Cradle. Agents Of Shield has always thrived with a healthy amount of mystique in the mix. One of the driving plot points of the prior season was the mystery of who Sarge was and why he looked just like Coulson. Agents Of Shield has always straddled the line between science-fiction epic and spy thriller. You can rest assured that the show’s never performed this balancing act with more finesse then was seen in “The New Deal”.
A Brief Agents of Shield Refresher
To get newcomers up to speed and to refresh longtime fans’ memory, the basic conflict of this season of Agents of Shield is with the Chromicons. A race of time traveling alien androids who plan to turn Earth into the new Chromicon home world, since Chronyca-2 was destroyed by Izel and her Shrike plague. They utilize time travel to go to 1930’s New York where they intend to permanently alter the timeline by killing a key player in history. The team assumes that future president Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt is the Chromicon’s target, an assumption that leads to a heartwarming moment shared between LMD Coulson and FDR.
The look on Coulson’s face when he realizes that he’s in the presence of one of America’s greatest presidents is truly touching; This scene convinced me of his humanity and his genuine existence as an android. Coulson was reborn (courtesy of FitzSimmons and Enoch) as a Life Model Decoy enhanced with Chromicon technology at the very end of season six, and I do mean the very end. No other information was revealed at the time, and personally, I was extremely skeptical of Coulson’s return at the time.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore and cherish Clark Gregg and his iconic MCU character, whether it was Coulson in Phase 1, Ghost Rider Coulson, or even Coulson as Sarge/Pachakutiq. (Who technically wasn’t even Agent Coulson, despite wearing his face.) It didn’t matter to me.
My concern with the season six cliffhanger was more with the means behind Coulson’s resurrection and the motivation behind it. Coulson had expressly stated to the Shield team that he wished to stay in the ground after his death back in season five. It was simply a betrayal of our hero’s dying wishes to bring him back in the form of an LMD. LMD Coulson also appeared to be unaware of his origin at the time, adding to the deceitful and disrespectful atmosphere encompassing his return.
Thankfully, “The New Deal” quickly showed me that not only was I wrong to fear that Coulson’s rebirth would cheapen the adventures of the final season, I was wrong to think LMD Coulson would simply be a carbon copy of his human predecessor. Quake quickly took matters into her own hands upon encountering LMD Coulson, revealing to him that he was not reborn, but rather reinvented against his wishes. Time is spent deliberating the moral and ethical implications of this unique scenario, but fortunately LMD Coulson quickly comes to term with his new reality.
He has the memories of Coulson, the personality, charisma and skill in leadership that made him such an effective Agent Of Shield, but that’s not all. On top of all of that, he has cybernetic enhancements and, as an android, he’s effectively immortal. When he realizes that the concept of death no longer applies to him, that’s when the fun begins. LMD Coulson exhibits ruthlessness in combat and negotiations that differentiates him from the original. In one particularly thrilling scene, Coulson relishes his enhanced abilities, telling Quake how excited he is that they’re both superheroes now.
Other highlights of “The New Deal” include Patton Oswalt’s return as Ernest Koenig, Yo-Yo’s crisis of identity as an amputee and Deke’s explanation of his understanding/belief regarding the rules of time travel. The premiere episode of season seven was a fantastic, thoughtful and engaging episode of Marvel universe storytelling, and as a fan, I’m so happy to see the Shield team back in action for one last ride. #CoulsonLives.
What did you think of the season seven premiere of Agents of Shield? How do you feel about Coulson’s return? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media!