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Season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ended with a flashforward that revealed a very different status quo for the agents we'd come to know and love. The loss of Lincoln in the showdown with Hive coupled with the events of Captain America: Civil War upset everything that the series had become to that point. Season 4 will explore the new status quo in a big way. The team has been split up and sent in different directions that could forge new relationships and strain old friendships. One big way they'll be changing in Season 4 is that the major characters will all be switching jobs or career trajectories.
The flashforward from the Season 3 finale tag revealed that Daisy had gone rogue, Coulson had been demoted from director and partnered with Mack, Dr. Radcliffe had developed a possibly dangerous new technology, and Fitzsimmons were going strong as a couple. May was undoubtedly kicking ass and taking names somewhere off-screen, and Bobbi and Hunter were MIA.
Well, according to ABC, it looks like Bobbi and Hunter are still MIA now that their S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff has been cancelled, but the rest of the crew will be busy in Season 4. The Sokovia Accords from Civil War and the end of Hydra have meant that S.H.I.E.L.D. can stop operating in secret. Unfortunately for Coulson, the world at large believes that he died way back in The Avengers. Rather than reveal that Coulson was brought back to life, S.H.I.E.L.D. has selected a new director to be played by Jason O'Mara. Coulson will officially be a field agent who works with Mack to track down Inhumans. The new dynamic duo are on the lookout for Daisy, and we can bet that they'll cross paths with Ghost Rider.
For her part, Daisy has been successful at evading her former pals. She'll be going solo and rogue when Season 4 kicks off in an ongoing effort to make good on her past wrongs. The world at large considers her a terrorist, however, which should get in the way of her intentions to help others. Her former mentor May will be busy training teams of specialists for S.H.I.E.L.D. duties.
Fitz and Simmons haven't lost their spark as a couple, and they'll be getting more serious than ever about each other in Season 4. The flashforward had hinted that an engagement could even be in the foreseeable future. Still, Fitzsimmons won't be without their difficulties moving forward. Simmons was promoted to a position as Special Advisor to the Director in Science and Technology, which will put her in close quarters with the new director and will cause Fitz doubt whether or not she can be trusted with all of his confidences. Fitz will continue his scientific endeavors with Dr. Radcliffe, who has invented a kind of Life Model Decoy that totally isn't going to backfire on them at all.
Personally, I'm cautiously optimistic about the changes in store for Season 4. The dynamic of the core team was one of the biggest appeals of Seasons 1 - 3, but the status quo had to change after what happened with Hydra in the second half of the third season. I'm surprised that the reason for Coulson's demotion was that the world thinks he's dead and not because he made a bunch of really terrible decisions as director, and I have to hope that there's not too much drama with Fitzsimmons. They went through so much over the first three seasons that they really deserve a break from the doom and gloom.