Coulson’s Fate is Revealed in Agents of SHIELD’s 100th Episode “The Real Deal”

Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC

It’s episode 100! It has been a long road to get here but now that we are, prepare for nostalgia and feels. This whole episode is a love letter to fans and a celebration of how far Agents of SHIELD has come. Let’s dive in.

The explosion from last week opens up an interdimensional rift in the basement of the Lighthouse. That what happens when three monoliths explode at once. Based on the little intel he’s able to gather, Fitz believes the rift is leaking a “fear dimension” into the base. Whatever each of them subconsciously fears is manifesting. And they’re pretty real manifestations. While gathering supplies, Deke and Daisy are nearly killed by a Kree warrior. Daisy manages to shoot him and he disappears into dust.

Fitz has a plan to close the rift but it’s not a foolproof one. Someone would need to carry a gravity device down to the basement and get it inside the rift. The likelihood of that person not dying in the process is slim. A general argument breaks out about who should or should not take the ring to Mordor, so to speak. Coulson pipes up that he’s the only expendable one, to which everyone immediately disagrees. Daisy even gets in his face about it, saying they need him to lead but he counters that she’s the one to lead SHIELD moving forward. Before their argument can get even more heated, Coulson collapses.

When he comes to, he sends Deke topside to do a series of errands, then goes to meet with the team. Simmons relays the bad news. Coulson is dying. As he explains, the deal he made with Ghost Rider undid whatever repairs Nick Fury and SHIELD managed to do to make to the life-ending wound from Loki’s sceptre. Now the tissue around that wound is dying, taking Coulson’s lung and heart with it.

Daisy explodes again. In the future, there was the ability to revive dead tissue, as we saw with Tess’ miraculous resurrection. But Coulson doesn’t want to endure yet another dead-to-life experience. He’s come to terms with his death. But no one else has. In a private moment, Daisy cries that she and SHIELD are nothing without Coulson. They only exist because of him.

Next, Coulson needs to explain himself to May. She correctly guesses his impending death is the reason they took steps back in their slow-burning romance. In a touching moment, Coulson says he didn’t want her to waste her time on “another lost cause,” and May says that’s for her to decide. They, disappointingly, do not make out after this moment.

Entering the basement, Coulson proceeds with caution but all that he finds waiting for him is Mike Petersen. And he still looks like Mike, not Deathlok. While Mike admits he’s a manifestation from Coulson’s own mind, he insists that so is everything we’ve seen in the past five seasons. It’s all be an elaborate dream created by Coulson’s brain to cope with the fact that he’s dead on an operating table and doctors are trying to bring him back to life. Despite himself, Coulson is taken in with this suggestion. Everything he’s done the past few years, from having his own team to travelling to outer space to finding the daughter he never had (Daisy), has been the fulfilment of deeply held hopes and dreams.

Without contact from Coulson, the team is getting anxious about whether he will make it out alive. Things seem about to get worse when an aircraft flies in above the Lighthouse but it’s a SHIELD craft. When it lands, Deke emerges, having called in back-up per Coulson’s errands list, and the real Deathlok is right behind him. In the basement, Coulson finally rights himself and Deathlok is there to help him destroy every manifestation that arrives. Lash, aliens, and Hive are among those Deathlok turns to dust. Then Coulson activates the gravitron and seals the rift.

With the thrilling heroics finished, Coulson, Fitz, and Deke ride the elevator to a level that turned into a beautiful forest (Deke is afraid of the bugs, flowers, and branches). There, Simmons waits in her wedding dress, Daisy and May at her side. Coulson officiates the ceremony, joking that they should make it quick before the next disaster happens. And after some very touching vows, FitzSimmons are married!

Deke makes small talk with Deathlok, telling him getting supplies for the wedding, including the rings, was part of his errands list. The ring he picked for Simmons was one that reminded him of his grandmother’s ring. Oh, that’s right. In case the implication wasn’t enough, General Hale has been looking into the DNA and prints Deke left behind in jail. There’s no trace of him ever existing but his DNA does link him to two other people: Jemma Simmons and Leopold Fitz.

Field Notes

  • Deke is their grandson?? I am so happy!!
  • For a second I thought I was going to have to apologize for suggesting that Deke and Daisy had a brother/sister relationship but then Daisy told him they had never had “a moment.” Yup, definitely siblings.
  • No Philinda kiss? Really, AOS? Even after 100 episodes you couldn’t just give us this??
  • Phil Coulson may be dying but dang is he looking extra good lately. The scruff is A+.


Stephanie Coats
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