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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D picked up for full season; is Agent Coulson a LMD!?

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ABC has picked up “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” for a full season.

Though the series, a spin-off of tentpole blockbuster “The Avengers”, hasn’t been lauded with rave reviews (in fact, both critics and comic-book fans seem a little disappointed with it so far), the show’s interest factor has seen it pull satisfying ratings in it’s timeslot. It’s also the No. 1 new show of the 2013-14 season among adults 18-49.

The 9 extra episodes that have been ordered bring the show’s first season to 22.

And if you’ve been watching the show, you’ll also be aware that creator Joss Whedon is yet to fully explain how Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) survived being bludgeoned by Loki in “The Avengers”. We’ve been offered hints – he spent some time in Tahiti following the event, and it seems to have cost him his reflexes, because he keeps referring to being a little bit ‘rusty’, but just what went on in Tahiti…  better still, was there even a Tahiti stopover or is this simply what Coulson has been fed?

Many are speculating that Coulson is indeed a Life Model Decoy – or a replica of the original Coulson, which didn’t survive the attack at all.

Here’s what a few colleagues suggest could be going on with ‘Coulson’

Unleash the Fanboy says :

”For all of those who are just now learning about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s inner workings, I’ll drop some quick knowledge. In addition to their guns, blue jumpsuits, and giant helicarrier, one of the main staples of their arsenal are life model decoys, or LMDs. LMDs are non-biological automatons designed to mimic the behavior, appearance and speech of various S.H.I.E.LD. personnel. They are identical in every way to the original subject they are replicating (fingerprints, retina scans, etc). In the comics, they were used by Nick Fury and Maria Hill whenever a mission had a certain level of danger beyond what either one was comfortable with. Tony Stark even mentioned them in The Avengers, solidifying that they do exist in that universe. Knowing their need for secrecy, I could see Coulson just being an LMD that was implanted with false memories and isn’t even aware of its true nature.”

They also suggest that Asgardian Tech/Magic saved Agent Coulson.

”Right before Agent Coulson ‘died’ he shot Loki with an experimental weapon based on the power of The Destroyer from Thor. The fact that it was able to knock him down gives us a glimpse of its power. But what if that same power based on Asgardian magic saved his life? When asked about where he went to recover from his wounds Coulson always says ‘Tahiti. It’s magical.’ Sounds to me like that some otherworldly force had a hand in his continuance with us. I know that sounds like a bit of a stretch but that’s not the case for any of Marvel’s recent movies. In fact, it’s practically the premise of the Iron Man series. At first, Tony Stark’s repulsor technology was mainly used to power his very destructive (and slightly awesome) weapons. But after a few months in captivity, he not only decided to use it to power his Iron Man armors, but to find a way to use it as a clean energy source for mankind. Turning bad into good is a staple of the Marvel Universe so I can imagine the same energies that gave The Destroyer his/her power is enough to heal a mortal man.”

Thirdly, the same site says Coulson could also be ‘The Vision’…

”By far the most accepted rumor involving Coulson among fans, many believe that he is an android that will eventually become the Avengers’ resident robot. One fan believes is so much, he even sculpted a bust of Vision with Coulson’s facial features (seen here). In the comics, Ultron (one of The Avengers’ biggest villains) created Vision to help in his battle against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. If my LMD theory turns out to be true, Ultron could hack his systems and alter him to become Vision to help him fight the Avengers in the upcoming movie Avengers: Age of Ultron. According to Joss Whedon, we know that Tony Stark is going to be directly involved with Ultron’s creation instead of Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man. Stark was the worst affected by Coulson’s death in The Avengers so I can see Ultron using this as an advantage to keep Iron Man from fighting him.”

Collider say :

”I believe the reason the muscle memory is gone is because this Coulson is either a clone or a “Life Model Decoy” (LMD).  Coulson doesn’t have the muscle memory because whatever he is, he can’t fool his body.  All of his personal memories may be intact, but the body isn’t “rusty”.  It’s new, and it can’t remember particular actions it hasn’t done.

I was unfamiliar with the concept of the Life Model Decoy until I floated my clone theory on Twitter earlier today.  Silas Lesnick from ComingSoon and Dan Bettenhausen mentioned the Life Model Decoy, and then Silas took it one step further by saying that Coulson was a clone/LMD even before Phase One.  Coulson could have been a real person back in the 1940s, which “explains his love of Cap and vintage items.”  That’s a very cool extrapolation, and it would neat if Marvel took it that far.  However, if Coulson is an LMD, then that’s some pretty advanced technology for the 1940s.  It would be tough to believe that Howard Stark, the best inventor of his time, couldn’t make a flying car, but he could make a perfect android.”

I think that’s the case too, not only because of the storyline hints but because Whedon said upfront that he’d be reviving Coulson in a way that wouldn’t cheat the fans and wouldn’t tarnish that emotional arc in “The Avengers”. The death had to mean something.

I don’t mind the series, I think it has potential, and as a Whedon fan I’m appreciative of that witty character banter and ‘fun’ tone the series has plenty of. Still, I think we need to get back onto Coulson, and shy away from Skye’s storyline a bit. Coulson is the glue holding this show together.

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About Brooke

Australian entertainment journalist and publicist, now based in Los Angeles. Works in film and television production. Has written for such publications as Tom and Blockbuster Interaction.
Author: Brooke
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