In my review of the premiere episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I mentioned the fact that Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) might be either a clone or a robot frame with Coulson's essence implanted in it or something. Coulson himself doesn't know he died in the battle of New York, telling others that SHIELD faked his death to spur the Avengers into action. During that episode, on two occasions he repeated the same phrase about Tahiti (where he assumed he rehabbed from his non-mortal injuries) -- "It's a magical place" when the subject was broached.
In last week's episode, again on two occasions, Coulson repeated the exact same line (which I cannot remember verbatim) while struggling to work the slide on his pistol -- something along the lines of "This used to be easy, I must be a little rusty."
In last night's episode, the team goes after a former protege of Coulson's -- Akela Amador, who now has a robotic eye and is being forced to commit thefts for some mysterious controlling entity. The whole episode had sort of a Ghost in the Shell/puppeteer vibe for me. But anyway . . .
At the end, Amador is talking to Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) about Coulson. She asks what happened to him to change him so. May mentions the New York incident. But Amador pushes on with "But what did they do to him?" When May asks what she's talking about, Amador pulls back and walks away.
So what do we have now? If Coulson is a robot, he bleeds like a human (see his fight in a previous episode), so that seems a bit improbable. But he is exhibiting traits of programmed behaviour -- rote responses to certain questions or situations. And someone who knew him well long ago instantly recognizes something different, possibly physically, about Coulson. Hmmm . . .
The clone thing is looking more like a possibility. But if they're digging into MARVEL's vault of characters, you've got bio-engineered beings like Vision and mystics like Dr. Strange who could have re-animated a dead Coulson and altered his mind in some way. So I'm sort of back at square one here. There's more clues, but all they do is confirm something's hinkey with AC (as Skye calls him).
Oh well, guess I'll just have to keep tuning in. heh
And since it's a Whedon-esque post, here's some Eliza Dushku goodness to finish things off nicely: