Are AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Descriptions Teasing Another Allegiance Change?

"Nothing Personal" Teaser Poster
Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to release posters by comic artists, this week debuting an image by artist Stephanie Hans featuring Deathlok, Skye, and Ward in an image rife with meaning.

Um, SPOILERS if you’re not caught up with the show from here on out!

"Nothing Personal" Teaser Poster
"Nothing Personal" Teaser Poster
Credit: Marvel Studios

The image is painted in the red of Hydra, though Deathlok aka Mike Peterson stands in front of the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem. Skye, complete with snakelike hair, is standing with her hands draped over Ward in a strange mixture a threatening and protective stance, with Ward clutching his heart, head down. The image, coupled with the descriptions for the final three episodes of the first season, titled “Nothing Personal,” “Ragtag,” and “Beginning of the End,” however, has us thinking.

If Hydra gets Ward and Garrett - could S.H.I.E.L.D. be getting Deathlok?

Here’re the dots we’re connecting for this theory. It all starts with this image, which shows Deathlok directly in front of the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem. Then we start looking at the episode descriptions and cast listings. On, J. August Richards is listed as a guest star for the episodes, but how he’s listed changes from one to the next. In “Nothing Personal,” it’s as “Mike/Deathlok,” while for “Ragtag,” it’s just “Mike.” Add to this a tease on that the finale episode will reveal “who’s controlling Deathlok,” and producer Jeff Bell saying “Mike was there at the beginning, so we have to play that out,” and you have the makings of a theory.

In the comics, Deathlok has played both sides of the fence more than once. Quite often, it’s because the character is temporarily hijacked and/or controlled. All Mike Peterson ever wanted in the early episodes was to be a hero, so much so he was willing to go through S.H.I.E.L.D. training and very selflessly lay his life on the line. It would make sense, then, that if he’s able to regain control of himself, or have it taken away from his Hydra captors at least, that he’d still want to be a hero, and make up for what he’s done. It could be that in Ragtag, Mike takes full control once more, and it’s about the back-and-forth between the two sides to his nature. While the episodes before and after specifically mention Deathlok, “Ragtag” does not mention either Mike or his super powered cyborg alter ego.

And of course, while many were hoping Agent Ward would turn out to be a triple agent, secretly working for S.H.I.E.L.D. all along, that hope was pretty conclusively dashed in this week’s episode when he brutally and selfishly (and definitely) murdered Agent Koenig.

Deathlok becoming an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (or the S.H.I.E.L.D. remnants or whatever they become) would also solve a problem of many critics of the show: the lack of superheroes in this super-powered world. Even as a continuing recurring guest star, this time on the side of the angels, it would serve as somewhat of an equalizer to the loss of Ward. We like Agent Triplett, but come on, a guy who can punch through walls would sure be handy.

Of course, the basis for a lot of this is that listing of Richards as just “Mike,” and that could be nothing more than a simple mistake. Still, it’s fun to think about, isn’t it?

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