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Warning: spoilers for last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are ahead!
When Constance Zimmer was added as Rosalind Price to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this summer, she was described as Phil Coulson’s “nemesis.” That certainly was the case early this season when she was leading the ATCU on their hunt for Inhumans, but in the last couple of episodes, they’ve built a relationship and seemed like they were going to have good times together. That was put to an end last night in “Closure.” As Rosalind and Coulson were about to dig into a meal of burgers and wine, she was sniped by Grant Ward, both as revenge for the death of his love Kara Palamas, a.k.a. Agent 33, and so she wouldn’t investigate her boss Gideon Malick, one of HYDRA’s heads. As she bled out in his arms, Coulson felt one emotion that’s going to continue to drive him this season: rage.
While Coulson has lost friends and allies before, Clark Gregg noted to THR that Rosalind’s death was different because of how unexpected it was, them having finally earned each others trust and then the trigger was pulled. Because of that, Gregg says the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be more rash and emotional he’s ever been as Season 3 continues. He explained:
It's going to get worse before it gets better. It will get darker. What has been unleashed by the events of tonight's episode is not something that is going to be resolved quickly or easily. This determined, enraged Agent Coulson is going to be around for a while.
Viewers saw Coulson take the first step on this dark path once he avoided being killed by some HYDRA goons following Rosalind’s death. After interviewing his teammates to exploit one of Ward’s weaknesses, he, along with Hunter and Bobbi, kidnapped Ward’s brother Thomas, who had been in hiding since Ward killed their parents. However, this proved to be for naught, as Ward and Malick had already their own plan in motion. Nabbing Fitz and Simmons while they were investigating an abandoned HYDRA compound (which resulted in Rosalind’s second-in-command, Banks, also dying), Ward convinced Fitz to come with him through the Monolith portal so that Simmons wouldn’t have to.
As detailed two weeks ago, HYDRA’s true goal is to bring back the ancient Inhuman from the planet Simmons had been stranded on so they can rule Earth. When Coulson called Ward with his brother on the line, HYDRA’s plans accelerated, and Ward took Fitz and a squad to the planet. Coulson, still determined to take revenge, skydived from his aircraft into the portal before it was closed, leaving him on the planet alone to stop Ward.
Just like last year’s midseason reveal of the Inhumans, next week’s episode “Maveth” will surely bring huge changes to the show, but Coulson’s new attitude isn’t something that’s going to be dealt with in one hour. It’s unlikely Ward will bite the dust in the next episode, but while May and Hunter have been the ones eager to kill him this season, now Coulson wants to pull the trigger himself. As Season 3’s plot points move forward next year, including the Secret Warriors being explored more heavily, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s leader will keep blazing ahead on this new crusade, finally falling prey to his emotions and willing to do whatever it takes to see Ward and his allies eliminated.
The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. midseason finale “Maveth” airs next Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST on ABC, and following that the show will take a hiatus until March 8 to make room for Agent Carter Season 2.