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A new director, space adventures, Evil Coulson in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s S6 premiere

By Trent Moore
Agents of SHIELD Season 6

The fifth season of S.H.I.E.L.D. ended with what most fans agreed would make a fitting series finale, but ABC made the surprise decision to renew the show for two additional seasons. Thankfully, there still looks to be plenty of story left to tell in the post-Coulson era.

Spoilers ahead for "Missing Pieces," the Season 6 premiere of ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which aired May 10, 2019.

First up, the big question most fans are likely asking in the wake of Avengers: Endgame — no, the season premiere doesn't really acknowledge anything from the Snappening to the Unsnappening. And it's all the better for it, really. This show has always been at its best when operating on its own timetable, and this season premiere is a testament to that. We get to deal with the fallout of Season 5, and we get our own time jump (though admittedly not as long a one as we see in Endgame) to show how this team has changed and evolved. There's little to no connection to the film side of the MCU here, and that's fine. It doesn't need it.

That said, there's still plenty to see here. Daisy and Simmons took a team off-Earth in search of Fitz, and they've been in deep space for quite some time tracking down leads over where Frozen Fitz ended up after his ship was damaged. Piper and Davis get a bit more screen time as part of this motley space crew, and it's a wild adventure. They're also still dealing with the Confederacy, a tenuous alien alliance that is a mid-tier player in the intergalactic corner of the MCU. The team has clearly made an enemy of the Confederacy, as Quake makes a name for herself as a power across the known galaxy. We also get to see the seams coming apart for this crew, as Simmons betrays their trust and jumps them deeper than ever into deep space against the team's wishes. But she's determined to find Fitz – no matter who she pisses off along the way.

Agents of SHIELD Season 6 2

Back on Earth, Mack is finding his footing as the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D., though it's becoming clear he's isolated himself and alienated his friends in the process. He's no longer with Yo-Yo, as she's dating a new agent on the roster, played by Haven alum Lucas Bryant. Mack is also leaning on the wisdom of the dearly departed Coulson, who recorded some holographic thoughts and advice to leave behind in his absence. He's also been tracking these mysterious breaches where these new players from … somewhere are breaking through. We still don't know what they're doing, but they're loaded with some firepower that can take out a building like it's a house of cards.

May and her team get knocked around, only to realize the guy calling the shots for this new team of baddies is the spitting image of a grizzled, angry Phil Coulson. They seem to be from space or another dimension, maybe? So is this Coulson lookalike a Skrull who picked up Coulson's face back in the Captain Marvel era? Or perhaps some alt-universe Coulson doppelganger who is super evil? So many questions, but one thing is clear — this guy apparently has no clue who "our" Coulson is, and this version looks to be a legit threat to Earth. It's also deliciously fun to see Clark Gregg playing such a different character, as he finally gets to show a bit more range outside of the Coulson gig.

The only hint we have about these mysterious new baddies is that they're using ley lines to break into our world. Why? How does that work? We still don't know. But it stands to reason having Fitz back home and on the case will make it a lot easier to crack.

Endgame may have left us hanging, but don't worry — S.H.I.E.L.D. is still all about those post-credit scenes. This week's final shot finally caught up with Fitz, fussing about some "controller" who needs to calm down, and injecting himself with something that made his eyes glow. Is he working a job on some alien planet? Is he a prisoner? Is he just biding his time, or is he working an angle? Whatever he's doing, it's great to see a Fitz still out there alive and kicking.