First off, a great episode and such a great performance by Gregg of Coulson in a wide spectrum of distress, anger, and determination, all the while maintaining his Coulsonity. Coulsonitude. Coulsonicity? Did I miss or forget Fitz's transformation into Dark Fitz/Ward, Jr.? An interesting development, tho, seeing Fitz imprinting on Ward and Skye upon May, wardrobe-wise, at least. Would've liked to have seen more from this "thing we've never done before" with the seven drones/dwarfs in the opening bit.
The series of surgeries IS a bit of a let-down, but the visual was so spectacularly creepy that I do NOT mind. I'm also hoping that the tech involved will lead to some dark places—Zola? Hydra? Skull/Soviet Winter Soldier techniques?
Speaking of which… I think this notion of secrets kept for our own safety/security, aka "Trust the system," is going to continue to develop/unravel and lead into the world and story of WINTER SOLDIER. What would the logical fallout of a "who watches the watchmen" storyline be in the Marvel Universe now? Hrm… An objective artificial intelligence set up as an overseer of all covert and superhuman ops, perhaps?
Regarding the series of surgeries revelation. On one level, I think it's a smart solution/response to all the fan guessing/theorizing Out There. Deliver an explanation that can go to completely new places—perhaps a doctor Octavius or Pym or Connors or Strange was involved with those surgeries. On another level, we're still dealing with cover stories and implanted memories. Who knows how many layers of those there may be? Perhaps Doc Book's own memories were edited to match what Coulson recalled via the machine, eh? This idea opens up the possibility of circling back to fan faves—LMD, Infinity Formula, TimeLord regeneration, or a Valhallan spirit returned to its resuscitated human body.
Had some more crazy flashes of insight regarding the Clairvoyant…
He sees DREAMS? If that's not just flowery prose from Raina, then we may be talking mystic. A mystic who doesn't like physical contact. Hrm… Would be interesting to bring Dr. Strange in as a consultant in AGENTS, but that's probably out of sync w some Marvel master plan, right?
Still, maybe it IS just flowery prose. I'd kind of prefer it, because I *really* want the Clairvoyant to be someone (preferably someone we've already met and know) who got zapped back to the past from a possible future. Either he was Level 8+ or he pocketed a SHIELD sports almanac and is taking advantage of every scrap of info to set up an anti-SHIELD force ("Trust the system"). Maybe he jumped back intentionally, to prevent some catastrophic event/mission gone wrong. Or maybe he fell back sometime during the events of DARK WORLD, sucked into a convergence portal.
I'm still waiting to see some significant follow-thru on DARK WORLD portal jumping and weird physics. Who's curbing that Jotunheim pooch?
He knows personal things about our man Coulson, but can't see into his mind/read his fate like he apparently can other people. Perhaps he's a Coulson from the future.
The revealed insistence by Nick Fury that Coulson be saved, even against his own spoken "Let me die!" wishes, got me thinking that Fury brought Coulson back out of more than sentimentality and friendship (altho those are bonus factors, no doubt), but because he either knows that Coulson lives to see some event or events in the future, or knows that the scientifically resurrected Coulson will prove the perfect soldier against this Clairvoyant. In either case, how would Fury know? Because HE is responsible for the Clairvoyant. And MAYbe, the Clairvoyant is a future Fury, zapped back in time via manipulation of Asgardian superscience (portal fun).
How much do we know about Coul (as in Coulson's dad)? Was he in intel? Military? And his mother? I was really hoping that he'd be revealed to be Skye's father (or mother, Agent Philomena? =). Now I'm worried and kind of dreading the possibility that Raina is her mother. She talked about using the machine and I know it's her M.O., but seemed to be very sympathetic to Coulson's situation, as if she could actually relate. Having had secrets kept from her by someone. Perhaps she was a SHIELD agent, had her daughter, but for some reason or other couldn't be allowed to keep/raise her, so she was retconned. The Clairvoyant at some point helped her regain that memory, which of course would easily turn her against all things SHIELD.
Who's this Van Chat guy? How many other guys are in his line of work?
Those raids on Centipede facilities/stations cannot be surprise to the Clairvoyant. They are at least acceptable losses or disposable. At best, they are part of a plan, perhaps to get Centipede agents held as prisoners in SHIELD facilities.
Does anyone think that Raina actually minds being taken to "SHIELD headquarters" (Hand's words, I believe)?
Allright, I could go on and on, and probably will, but not just now. =)
Keep on keepin on~