Phillip "Phil" Coulson was born on the 8 of July 1964 and his father died when he was just 9 years old, so he doesn´t remember him very well.
At some time, he became agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and ascended within the organization.
Coulson grew up being a huge fan of Captain America, and collected a set of vintage Captain America cards over the course of two years.
Working With Tony Stark
Phil Coulson was present during events surrounding the destruction of the Arc Reactor at Stark Industries, first making himself known to industrialist inventor, Tony Stark, and also trying to assist with investigating Obadiah Stane.
Months later, he found himself personally tasked with keeping an eye on Stark, until being reassigned to New Mexico.
S.H.I.E.L.D.'s scientific branch had detected unusual electromagnetic disturbances in the vicinity of Puente Antiguo, New Mexico, which drew Coulson to the site of an impact crater. While traveling there, he stopped at a gas station and overpowered two robbers. At the crater site, he found a number of town locals trying unsuccessfully to pull a hammer from the earth in which it was embedded. He called in S.H.I.E.L.D. and had the area cleared and secured for further investigation of the object.
New Mexico: Land of Enchantment
With the hammer secured, Coulson turned his attention to the surrounding area and soon discovered equipment which led him back to astrophysics researcher Jane Foster and her colleagues based in Puente Antiguo. He immediately confiscated the remainder of her equipment and research, and when she returned home to discover her possessions being hauled away, Coulson simply brushed her off and offered a check as compensation.
Coulson was later at the S.H.I.E.L.D. compound surrounding the hammer when alarms sounded, signalling an intrusion, and he became further concerned by a corresponding build-up of anomalous weather at the same time. An unarmed intruder battered his way into the compound, right to the hammer, leaving Coulson to make a choice on whether or not to use lethal force to prevent the man from reaching it. Intrigued, he allowed the intruder to reach it, only to witness the man struggle with it before crumpling in anguish. Ordering the man captured, Coulson confronted him, pressing for information on his background and apparent military training, although the stranger only offered limited answers in reply.
The following day, Coulson was approached by Erik Selvig who spoke on behalf of the stranger and claimed the man's name was "Donald Blake". Coulson quickly established that there were inconsistencies with Selvig's claim, but released his detainee before ordering him followed by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to find out more.
Coulson was responding to another find in the New Mexico desert when he received a curious report from his agents in Puente Antiguo. An agent reported the presence of four strangely dressed newcomers, but before Coulson could give this much consideration he was faced with a more immediate problem when a wind vortex appeared at the site he was investigating. Something large thumped down into the dust nearby and when the dust cleared Coulson found himself face-to-visor with a ten foot tall humanoid metal construct. He challenged it on the basis that it appeared to be unregistered weapons technology, at which point it opened fire and scattered the assembled agents.
Coulson escaped serious injury from the encounter, but could do little more than watch as the Destroyer laid waste to Puente Antiguo. He witnessed a miracle when the hammer that he had been guarding in recent days flew from its resting place to the hand of the stranger he had been detaining and saw the destruction of the rampaging machine as the man, now possessing the full power of Thor, battered it with the hammer. Coulson approached the man in the aftermath, pointing out that 'Blake' had not been completely honest. Thor told him that their goals were the same and that Coulson could count on him as an ally, if he returned the items that were taken from Foster. Coulson accepted and pointed out that Foster would need the equipment to continue her research. He then watched as Thor and his four strange friends left town.
Later, Coulson met with Agent Sitwell in a diner to discuss the current situation involving the Avenger Initiative. While Nick Fury's superiors had approved it, they also wanted Emil Blonsky (now dubbed "The Abomination") recruited onto the team due to his military record and status as a war hero. Since he was still being held by General Ross, they planned to blame all the destruction he caused during his rampage in Harlem on Bruce Banner in order to clear his name and have him released. With Fury unable to outright refuse, Coulson proposed sending a patsy to meet with Gen. Ross in the hopes of unintentionally sabotaging the meeting so that he would refuse to hand Blonsky over. Sitwell suggested they send the "Consultant", who turned out to be Tony Stark; an idea that Coulson was adamantly against. He eventually relented, which proved to be the wiser choice as Stark succeeded in his task with Blonsky remaining in the general's custody and off the Avengers.
Assembling The Avengers
Coulson's brushes with exceptional people were only beginning. He got to witness the revival of the World War II-era hero Captain Steven Rogers, famously known as "Captain America", before again being tasked to approach Tony Stark on a matter of dire urgency. Thor's brother Loki had stolen the Tesseract, an object of limitless power, and the gravity of this situation was such that the idea of bringing together a team of exceptional people had to be revisited.
After leaving Stark with a convincing portfolio of the situation, Coulson escorted Steve Rogers to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, taking the time to request autographs of his hero. Once on board he took up other duties, including some involvement in ensuring that Jane Foster had been moved to a safe location.
He was present on the carrier long after the capture of Loki, when rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Clinton Barton launched a daring commando raid. Coulson procured an experimental gun from secure containment and went to one of the more obvious target objectives: Loki's holding cell. When he arrived, he found Loki outside of the cell, and Thor trapped on the inside. He threatened Loki and held him at gunpoint, but the Asgardian had created an illusion to distract Coulson while he slipped behind the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Coulson was shocked by the appearance of a blade bursting from his chest, a mortal wound dealt from behind, but scored a shot of his own with the experimental gun before Loki fled the Helicarrier.
Agent Coulson was slipping away when Director Fury found him. He tried to assure Fury that his death would provide the reason for the Avengers to assemble, but his words failed before he could complete them. Phil Coulson died believing in an ideal, believing in the Avengers, and in his death those same people found the resolution they had sorely lacked.
Back in Action
- I've seen giants. They're not heroes because they have powers. It's what they do with them.
- --Phil Coulson
According to official reports, Coulson had stopped breathing for 8 seconds before being resuscitated by S.H.I.E.L.D. medics. Phil was relocated to Tahiti for recovery with help from a physical therapist, and at some point after returned to S.H.I.E.L.D. - though his survival wasn't revealed to agents below Clearance Level 7. In reality Coulson was dead for days before Director Fury tasked a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. doctors - including Dr. Streiten and Dr. Goodman - to revive him at the Guest House. The doctors revived him with a liquid from a blue humanoid corpse known as GH-325. During the process, the semi-alive Coulson would repeat "Please, let me die", so Dr. Streiten replaced these memories with those of a vacation in Tahiti. Several months later he was tasked with the creation of a new team of agents in order to deal with new abnormal situations. The teammembers chosen were operation specialists Agent Grant Ward and Agent Melinda May, weapons expert Agent Leo Fitz, and finally biochemist Agent Jemma Simmons.
The first threat they faced was the appearance of a superhero in Los Angeles, who was revealed to be empowered with a compound similar to the Extremis virus, in order to handle this situation, Coulson and his team were aided by their new asset Skye, a member of the Rising Tide, who Coulson later offered a spot in his team.
Following this, his team was alerted of an appearance of an 0-8-4, which means an object of unknown origin, in Peru.
As his new team carried out various missions- including unrelated side-missions such as cleaning up the aftermath of the battle between Thor and Malekith in London and aiding Sif in recapturing escaped Asgardian prisoner Lorelei- Coulson discovered rumours of a mysterious figure known as the Clairvoyant who was attempting to perfect a means of artificially granting superpowers to chosen soldiers. Although the Clairvoyant encouraged rumours that he was an actual psychic, Coulson's investigations determined that the Clairvoyant was actually fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent John Garrett, only to find himself facing new problems when Garrett was revealed to be part of Hydra's long-term plan to subvert S.H.I.E.L.D. from within and take control when the time was right, with Hydra agents including Grant Ward. Despite the odds against them, Coulson's team was eventually able to subvert Garrett's plans with the aid of the returned Nick Fury, who subsequently appointed Coulson the new head of the remaining agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. loyal to what should have been the organisation's true mission before departing to hunt down the remaining Hydra cells.
One of the first tasks Coulson took up as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. was to retrieve the information Roger Browning, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, was trying to sell. Coulson had a team of mercenaries in his employ led by another former agent Izzy Hartley try to buy the information from him, but they were ambushed by a superpowered assassin working for an unknown third party. Using the information his team was able to bring back from the mission, Coulson discovered the Level 10 asset Browning was selling information on was an 0-8-4, the first 0-8-4, recovered by the SSR back in World War II known as the Obelisk. Soon afterwards, May was able to match the assassin's DNA to Carl Creel, an individual they believed was crossed off the Gifted Persons Index, but soon realized the officer responsible for terminating Creel was John Garrett and was probably recruited into Hydra. Coulson had Skye and May abduct Major Talbot and bring him back to the Playground, where Coulson tried to get Talbot to work with him against their common enemy in Hydra. Talbot adamantly refused, and Coulson sedated him and dropped him off somewhere in the desert. Coulson then ordered Skye, May, Trip, and Hartley's mercenaries to infiltrate the army base where the Obelisk was stored to retrieve it. When the mission started to go bad, Coulson ordered his agents to continue with the mission as planned, even though this caused Hartley's mercenaries to quit the mission, taking the Obelisk with them. Skye, May, and Trip made a mad dash to a quinjet with cloaking technology while under heavy fire and were able to get away. Unknown to them, the quinjet was a secondary goal of the mission, as Coulson believed they could use it's cloaking technology to gain an advantage over their enemies.
May meanwhile was still on Creel's trail. She almost caught up to him, but Coulson ordered her to stay back and to not engage him as they were heading into a civilian area. After she lost him, Coulson received a call from Raina, who gave him the location where Creel would hand the Obelisk off to his Hydra superiors. Coulson personally took out Creel with a device Fitz and Mack came up with to cause him to lose control of his abilities and turn into stone. Back at the Playground, May chewed out Coulson for participating in a mission, stating it was too risky for the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. to act like a field agent. However, she also reminded him that he was due for an "episode," although Coulson thought he was overdue. Not long after, Coulson started creating the runes again, but this time May captured the whole ordeal on camera. The next day, Coulson let Talbot believe he was turning himself in, but really wanted to turn over Creel and show off his new arsenal of cloaking-capable airplanes to the man hunting him down.
When a 500-year-old painting is found to have the runes Coulson had been drawing on its back, Coulson and May infiltrate a fundraiser held by a Miami financier to take the painting for themselves. However, the painting had already been bought by the federal government, and Talbot was there to retrieve it. Leaving the party empty-handed, Coulson and May were confronted by Talbot on their way out. He offered to let Coulson have access to the painting if he would study at a government facility under his supervision. Coulson agreed, but needed an hour to give orders to his teammates. May went to the hotel room they were to meet him at instead. In reality, Talbot was actually the Hydra agent Sunil Bakshi in disguise, and May was attacked and replaced by an impostor. The false Agent May went back to the Playground, and reported that Talbot's offer was legitimate. Coulson and the impostor went back to the hotel room, but Coulson started noticing strange behavior out of her. Once she agreed to get a cup of coffee with him, a request May would routinely refuse, Coulson realized she was an impostor and attacked her. During their fight, Agent May escaped from her confinement in Bakshi's hotel room and barged in on their fight and took over for him. Coulson then took off after Bakshi and the painting. As Bakshi called for an extraction team, Coulson took him out with his I.C.E.R. Both of them escaped with the painting and took it back to the Playground, where an analysis revealed the runes were relatively recent. Knowing that there was another person out there making these carvings, Coulson reminded May that she would need to put him down if he ever went mad like Garrett. May refused, and showed him the plans she made to move him to the Australian Outback in a worst case scenario, but Coulson ordered her to kill him when the time came.
Skye later caught on to Coulson's condition when she spotted him etching the runes on his desk and confronted him about it. Coulson speculated that he and Garrett may have had a negative reaction to GH.325 but Skye seemed unaffected because he theorized that she may be an alien. The revelation barely had time to rattle Skye before they received a call from Raina, who wanted to meet. Upon meeting, Raina revealed that she had discovered Simmons working undercover at Hydra and threatened to blow her cover if he doesn't allow her to take Skye to meet her father. Coulson refused her bargain, having already had another undercover agent, Bobbi Morse, rescue Simmons. With her leverage gone, Raina was forced to admit that Hydra's leader, Daniel Whitehall, had threatened her life if she did not bring him the Obelisk, which was in Skye's father's possession. After getting the Skye's father's location from Raina, Coulson sent her away with a tracker in her leg. Soon after, he realized that Skye had gone ahead to confront her father. Catching up, they found a pair of bodies, prompting Skye to call her father a monster. Back at the Playground, she agreed with Coulson that her father had to be stopped, but told him that he couldn't keep any more secrets from her. Coulson then showed her the whole diagram of alien symbols he had carved the day before, which Skye identified as a map.
When Hydra framed S.H.I.E.L.D. for an attack on the U.N., Senator Christian Ward was compelled to propose a multi-national police force to hunt down S.H.I.E.L.D. Knowing his operatives' lives were at stake, Coulson decided to personally meet Christian after learning how scared Grant was of him, and offered to trade his brother to him if he would recant his proposal. He then shared one last meeting with Grant, reminding him that he had three and a half weeks to earn back his goodwill when all he gave was silence. Grant tried to convince him that he could still help S.H.I.E.L.D. and that he was still part of his team. Coulson angrily listed the many atrocious actions Ward had committed (dropping Fitz and Simmons out a plane, killing Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig) and told him that the only reason he was alive because he was of use, and the only reason he was being transferred was because Christian was of more use. Coulson was soon called away by Triplett, having learned that Belgium foreign minister, Julien Beckers, was a Hydra agent who only opposed Christian's proposal to trick S.H.I.E.L.D. into thinking that their operatives would be safe in his borders. Though May, Morse and Hunter managed to apprehend the Hydra agents responsible, the Netherlands S.H.I.E.L.D. team were all killed. Coulson later gave Grant over to the FBI, though his former teammate escaped soon after.
Search for Answers
While May led the manhunt for Ward, Coulson's hypergraphia had worsened to the point where he was forced to carve daily. Later, one of Skye's contacts informed her of the murder of Janice Robbins, who had the alien symbols carved onto her body. Coulson identified her as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, despite her official biography, and investigated the victim's house, finding multiple artworks of the alien symbols. Skye checked S.H.I.E.L.D. records and confirmed that "Robbins" was Agent Rebecca Stevens, who had been reported to have died of cancer. Coulson then had Mack and Fitz retrieve Robbins' body, which Simmons discovered had received GH.325 injections. Realizing the killer was targeting T.A.H.I.T.I. patients, Coulson decided to use Raina's memory machine to uncover their identity. Recalling his buried memories, he remembered that the T.A.H.I.T.I. patients all began carving the symbols in any way they could, forcing the project to rewrite their memories and give them new identities. He identified the perpetrator to be Sebastian Derik, an ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. assassin and he was going after the final patient, Hank Thompson/Cameron Klein. Though May ordered Skye to lock up Coulson until her return, Coulson instead threw her into Ward's cell so he could confront Thompson, thinking he knew what the alien writing meant, only for them both to be captured by Derik. Derik had recovered his memories when he began carving onto his own body. Thompson was able to free himself and Coulson, who then began fighting with Derik. Coulson spotted Thompson's train set was a 3D model of the symbols, which depicted the shape of a city. Once he and Derik came to this revelation, their insanity began to fade. After turning Derik over to the proper authorities, Coulson made it S.H.I.E.L.D.'s mission to find the alien city before Hydra could.
To find the city, Coulson took Skye, Triplett and Fitz on a mission to infiltrate a U.S. military satellite network to scan the planet for the alien city. Unfortunately, they ran into a Hydra squad that had the same idea and during the fighting, Triplett was critically wounded. Skye's father, Cal, helped patch Triplett up but accidentally gave himself away when he addressed Coulson by his first name, forcing him to sever one of Triplett's veins so Coulson wouldn't take any action. Cal revealed to Coulson that the alien city held a great power that he planned on bringing Skye and the Obelisk to; when Coulson asked if that power was equal to the Tesseract, Cal had no clue of the comparison. Cal then escaped, leaving Coulson and Fitz to save Triplett.
Once they determined that the alien city was in San Juan, Coulson, took Morse, Mack, Fitz and Simmons to scout the city, while sending Skye with the rest of the team, to keep her away from the alien city, to rescue Raina, whom Whitehall was seeking to capture. Upon finding an entrance to the city at the local garrison and discovering that the city interferes with electronic devices, they send Mack down, only for him to get possessed by the city, forcing Coulson's team to seal him down the hole.
That was the least of their problems, as Ward had rejoined Hydra and abducted Skye and Raina. Knowing that Hydra would likely be coming for the city, Coulson took May, Hunter and Morse to stop them. During the fighting, Coulson shot Whitehall from behind before he could shoot Cal, enraging Skye's father, who desired revenge on Whitehall. Cal took out his rage on Coulson, nearly beating him to a pulp before Skye intervened and forced Cal to leave. Despite Coulson's pleas, Skye went down into the alien city to stop Raina from using the Obelisk. Coulson went down after her, but was forced to contend with a still-possessed Mack. He was too late to stop Skye, Raina and Triplett from getting trapped in the central chamber. As the Obelisk was activated, the city released Mack from its thrall and the two men took cover as the city collapsed.
In the aftermath, Raina had disappeared, having been hideously transformed by a mist released from the Obelisk while Skye seemed unaffected, and Triplett had been killed. As Skye was put in quarantine, Coulson vowed to make Triplett's sacrifice worthwhile by taking down Hydra while they were reeling from Whitehall's death. His plan involved Sunil Bakshi, Whitehall's right-hand man, whom Ward captured for S.H.I.E.L.D. before he rejoined Hydra, in an elaborate sting operation to lead them to Hydra's leadership and trick them into killing each other, after which Morse and Hunter recaptured Bakshi to hand over to Talbot. Afterwards, Coulson paid a visit to Triplett's mother to inform her of her son's death.
Later, Coulson secretly sent Mike Peterson to search for Dr. List, one of the few remaining heads of HYDRA.
Coulson was having a conversation with Alphonso Mackenzie about him becoming a field agent when Melinda May informed them about a situation in Portugal. Once the team arrived to Faro, they found the amnesiac Lady Sif who did not recognize them and could not tell them why was she on Earth. As they investigated, Skye found an online video of Sif fighting an unknown man. Back on the Bus, they discovered the stranger was wounded by Sif and that his "blood" was blue. On the site of the battle, Sif still could not remember anything but Coulson deduced that she was working undercover because she was not wearing her Asgardian armor but clothes from Earth.
As Coulson spoke with one witness, Mr. Cardozo, they discovered the stranger took the helium from the balloons. Bobbi Morse then called and informed Coulson about the possible lead in the local hospital. Morse and Skye were attacked by the stranger who managed to knock down Morse and escape. Back on the Bus, when Skye mentioned that the stranger might be Kree, Sif realized that "Kava", which she was seeking, was not a person, but the Kree word for keys. They realized Kava was actually Chaves, the city in Portugal where the HYDRA leader Daniel Whitehall discovered the Obelisk in 1945. The agents then ambushed the Kree and captured him.
When Coulson and Sif interrogated the Kree, he introduced himself Vin-Tak and said he would earn their trust. Back in the Playground, Vin-Tak took his Truncheon from Coulson and touched Sif with it, restoring her memories. Vin-Tak then told them about the Diviners and the Inhumans. When they asked Skye about what she saw in the Kree City beneath Puerto Rico, the building started shaking. Coulson asked Skye what was causing that, and she said it was her.
Sif then wanted to take Skye to Asgard, but Coulson would not let her. As May told Skye to run, Coulson tried to stop Sif and Vin-Tak, but Vin-Tak attacked him and threw him across the room.
May then took Skye to Vault D where Sif soon found them. Coulson arrived just in time to see Skye shooting herself with an I.C.E.R., which finally convinced Sif she would sooner hurt herself than anyone else. Sif then took Vin-Tak, who had lost his memory after a fight with Bobbi Morse, back to his home planet. Before she departed, she warned Coulson that the incoming threats could be more than he could handle.
Coulson visited Skye in the interrogation cell on the Bus, where she moved after the violent display of her powers. Coulson told her that they put her name on the Index, with which she was okay, because she managed to have some control over her powers. Later, Coulson had a conversation with Agent May and they decided to call May's ex-husband, Dr. Andrew Garner, a psychologist who specialized in working with gifted individuals from the Index.
Later, after welcoming Garner into the Playground, Coulson was called by Agent Royce who informed him about the break into the Brynmore Psychiatric Facility. Coulson talked with Agent Morse about the break into the facility and asked her about Agent Hunter's apparent disappearance. Morse replied that a permanent job in S.H.I.E.L.D. was not something Hunter would take. Once they arrived in the facility, Coulson and Morse discovered the attackers were led by Skye's Father. In the facility's secret sub-basement Coulson and Morse were attacked by John Bruno, a former government assassin, but Morse easily overpowered him. The other individual they sought, David Angar, was missing. Back on their plane, Coulson used traffic cameras to search for the license plate on Skye's father's RV.
Once he realized what Cal was planning, Coulson and Morse went to Manitowoc, Coulson's home town. At the Manitowec High School, Coulson and Morse discovered that Angar had rendered an entire field of students unconscious for Cal to hold hostage. Coulson surrendered to Zabo, who declared that he was planning on exposing S.H.I.E.L.D. for their "barbaric" inhibitions of gifted individuals before it could do the same thing to his daughter; Coulson replied that it was to stop criminals, not cheerleaders.
Suddenly, Agent May turned up with a gun to Skye's head, threatening to kill her if Cal did not surrender. Zabo called her bluff and admitted that no one in town was even listening to him; he passed the microphone to Angar so his voice would affect all of Manitowoc. Suddenly, a mysterious man appeared on the field and teleported Cal away. Coulson, May, and Morse then quickly defeated the remaining members of the Slicing Talons, but Skye suddenly unintentionally generated an earthquake and fell unconscious. Later, in the Playground, Jemma Simmons told Coulson that whatever powers Skye and Raina have were already inside them, and not artificially created like the powers of Angar or Michael Peterson.
In his office, Coulson talked with Melinda May about what to do with Skye. Though May agreed with Andrew Garner's suggestion that Skye should be removed from active S.H.I.E.L.D. duty, Coulson hesitated to do anything. However, he eventually decided to move her into an isolated cabin which Nick Fury once used to house superpowered individuals. Jemma Simmons then brought him special gloves for Skye to wear, telling him the gloves would minimize the effect of Skye's powers.
Coulson then took Skye to Nick Fury's cabin, actually a safe house for people with powers. He told her that he had to pull her from active duty. Before he departed, Coulson gave Skye the gloves Simmons made, and advised her to try to learn how to control her powers. Back in the Playground, Leo Fitz asked Coulson where Skye was and he replied that that information was confidential, but that she was safe. In his office, Coulson and May had a video conversation with General Glenn Talbot who informed them about Agent 33 and Grant Ward breaking into his base to liberate Sunil Bakshi. After the conversation with Talbot, Coulson and May agreed that Alphonso Mackenzie was hiding something, and that they should find out what.
S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.
While Alphonso Mackenzie was looking under Lola's hood, Coulson confronted him about the extra component he put in the model of Lola in his office, revealing that he knew about Mack hiding something. When he asked him about his loyalty, Mack replied that he was only loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson then ordered three agents to point their guns at Mackenzie. Suddenly, an EMP burst through the base, shutting down all the electronic equipment and Mackenzie used the opportunity to escape. Coulson and his agents then encountered Leo Fitz, who was immediately sent to turn the power back on. Coulson and Melinda May continued the search for Mackenzie. Just after Jemma Simmons called Coulson, an unidentified gas began pumping through the Playground's vents, knocking out Coulson and all of his agents.
When Coulson awakened, the base was controlled by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents led by Robert Gonzales, a high ranking agent about whom Coulson had not heard anything since the revelation of HYDRA's existence. Coulson and Gonzales then talked in Coulson's office about Coulson's and Nick Fury's abilities as director, and Gonzales tried to convince him about his way of leading S.H.I.E.L.D. as the right one. Coulson refused to open the Toolbox for Gonzales, who gave it to one of his agents to give to Anne Weaver. Suddenly, Melinda May entered the office, knocking out Gonzales and two of his agents with an I.C.E.R. Coulson then escaped from the base via the secret elevator while May stayed behind and surrendered to Gonzales' agents.
Later, Coulson came in contact with Lance Hunter, who managed to escape from Gonzales' headquarters, the aircraft carrier Iliad. Hunter accepted Coulson's offer to be a full-time S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and Coulson told him that he plans to retake S.H.I.E.L.D. from Gonzales.
Stealing a car from Honest Eddie's dealership, Coulson and Lance Hunter went to the Retreat, where they found video footage of Skye using her powers to cause a massive shockwave, throwing back two of Gonzales' agents. During that time, Hunter offered Coulson a drink, taking out two glasses, one for himself and the other for "the person keeping me warm". He jokingly stated that he would make an exception in Coulson's case. Coulson told him that he needed to keep his head clear.
While Hunter slept, Coulson made a decision to contact Mike Peterson before alerting Robert Gonzales about their location. The next morning Gonzales' S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrived to arrest them both, over Hunter's protestations, Coulson told him that his plan was to steal one of their Quinjets. Coulson used his 21st Century Howling Commando Gear to create a hologram illusion, tricking the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, before stealing their uniforms. Before they could escape, however, they were caught by another team of Gonzales' agents and arrested. They were rescued by Mike Peterson, who attacked the guards and took out the agents.
With the Quinjet now under their control, Hunter asked Coulson why he had not informed him that backup was a super-powered cyborg. Coulson simply told him that he wanted to see the look on Hunter's face. Coulson told Hunter that he had been using Peterson to track down, HYDRA scientist, Dr. List. Coulson explained that his next step would be to find a recruit, the only man who had a connection between S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA: Grant Ward.
Leo Fitz opened the Toolbox and contacted Coulson; Coulson and Lance Hunter decided to retrieve him.
Coulson, Hunter, and Deathlok took the Quinjet and retrieved Leo Fitz, then flew to find Grant Ward. Coulson confronted Agent 33 in a Mexico diner, and used her phone to call Ward. Coulson told Ward to meet him in the diner. When Ward arrived, Deathlok sent him to a booth where Coulson waited. Coulson offered Ward a deal; if he helped them, he would go through the T.A.H.I.T.I. protocol, getting his bad memories wiped. Ward eventually accepted the deal and left to get his things with Agent 33 and Deathlok.
Ward explained he would use the recently brainwashed Sunil Bakshi to infiltrate HYDRA, gaining a meeting with Dr. List who could bring them into contact with Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. While in flight, Coulson and Hunter were forced to restrain Fitz when Ward unintentionally provoked him. Fitz voiced his discontent with allying with Ward, believing he and Bakshi, who had been brainwashed to serve Ward, would betray them. Coulson assured him that he was sending in Deathlok as Bakshi's bodyguard so they could watch through his implant. Though Ward reminded that List wanted only Bakshi, Coulson was confident that Bakshi could talk his way out of trouble.
As the meeting went underway, Bakshi went off-script and offered Deathlok to List for experimentation. Ward admitted that it was the only way to get close to Wolfgang von Strucker, resulting in a standoff on the Quinjet. When Fitz noticed that Deathlok was preparing to kill all HYDRA agents present, both parties lowered their weapons so Fitz could tell Deathlok to play along. Coulson's party then followed List's jet on its way to Strucker, only for the HYDRA scientist to stop over in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Through Deathlok's Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant, they learned that List was tracking down occurrences of quantum entanglements across the planet, which Fitz realized was referring to the teleporter who took Skye. However, Coulson claimed ignorance over what HYDRA wanted with Skye to Ward and Agent 33.
Coulson's Quinjet then landed on the roof of a building where Bakshi was searching for the Enhanced. Through Deathlok's implant, they were able to confirm that Skye was in the building, though Coulson warned Ward against making contact with her. Coulson then took everyone but Fitz to take on HYDRA. As he and Ward went on ahead, they ran into Deathlok, who had a tussle with an unidentified Enhanced who possessed electrical powers. Deathlok suspected that the young man was protecting Skye and pointed Coulson in her direction.
But before he could reunite with Skye, without warning, the teleporter appeared to take her, accidentally taking Calvin Zabo along with them. Agent 33 and the wounded Hunter regrouped with them, and Ward asked Coulson what they should do next as both S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA were incoming, Ward ordered the others to escape while he stayed behind. Alphonso Mackenzie soon arrived at the scene some time later, and Coulson surrendered himself to him.
Coulson was brought to the Bus, where he eventually conferred with Robert Gonzales. When Gonzales asked why he had surrendered, Coulson revealed the situation where he needed Gonzales' help to rescue Mike Peterson and the other enhanced individuals being held hostage by HYDRA. Gonzales asked why he should trust him and Coulson said it was because they both had secrets, saying he knew that Gonzales had a secret hidden in his cargo hold, which he had learned of from the Toolbox. The two came to a deal where Coulson and his original team would infiltrate the Arctic HYDRA Research Facility to free Deathlok and Lincoln Campbell. In return, Coulson promised he would open the Toolbox for Gonzales.
With the deal made, Coulson called for Grant Ward to fly the Quinjet onto the Playground, once he arrived it was agreed that Ward would have armed guards with him at all times. Coulson, Gonzales and the others watched the feed from Deathlok's eyepiece which showed the HYDRA scientists removing his eye. They began discussing how to attack the base; Gonzales suggested that they simply bomb the base, but Coulson insisted he would not risk the lives of the enhanced prisoners. Coulson developed a plan in which he would take a small team to attack the base with Sunil Bakshi's help. Gonzales put the matter to a vote, with both Anne Weaver and Oliver voting against the idea, but Gonzales voted to move forward. To Coulson's surprise, everyone turned to Melinda May for her vote. However, she asked to speak with Coulson in private before makes her decision.
As soon as they were alone in Coulson's office, Coulson confronted May for joining Gonzales. May defended her actions, stating that she had to watch over the Playground in his absence and she did it to protect him. Coulson insisted that he was fine on his own, to which May retorted that solo is how he operated best. She then confronted him for the truth behind his overseas trips, as Gonzales' people suspected that he wasn't trying to recruit new agents and demanded to know what Theta Protocol was. Coulson refused to answer, not because he didn't trust her, but because she was not Director. May retorted that Coulson was no longer Director as far as anyone was concerned, and admitted that she had personal reasons for her actions. Coulson deduced that she had learned about his secret meetings with Andrew Garner and explained that he only went to him for counseling on his alien writing compulsions. May insisted that he should've told her. Coulson promised to apologize later at length and asked that they focus on the mission at hand.
As Coulson prepared for the mission he was approached by Jemma Simmons who insisted on joining them on the mission; Coulson was unsure but Simmons explained that they would need someone to treat Mike Peterson's injuries who was also aware of his medical history and cybernetic enhancements. The team arrived on the Bus and immediately heard a loud thud. The team immediately turned their guns on Ward, believing him to have sabotaged the Bus, but it was soon revealed that Skye had been teleported aboard to assist them in the mission.
With the team on route to the HYDRA base, Coulson asked Ward to brief the team on the upcoming mission, Ward began to explain Sunil Bakshi's role in the plan but quickly decided to use the time to try and explain and apologize for his previous actions since being revealed to be an undercover HYDRA agent. He claimed that his greatest regret was the fact that his actions had destroyed the team, Skye however made it clear that she was still happy she shot him. As the team neared the HYDRA base, the Bus was targeted by HYDRA's defense systems, Coulson and the team escaped to the Quinjet just as the Bus was destroyed. Landing the Quinjet they made their way to the base.
Once they arrived inside the base, they regrouped with Sunil Bakshi and prepared for the mission, as Skye, Grant Ward, Jemma Simmons and Bakshi were sent to rescue Mike Peterson and the other enhanced individuals, Coulson, Melinda May and Leo Fitz went to take down the base's defence systems ready for Robert Gonzales' men to destroy it. While May defended Fitz as he began the hack, Coulson sneaked away to download HYDRA files containing information about the location of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker and the Cosmic Cube. The team regrouped with Skye and Simmons, who had rescued Peterson and Lincoln Campbell; although Ward and List escaped and Bakshi lost his life during the mission, they evacuated just Gonzales' men destroyed the base.
Back at the Playground, Peterson and Campbell were treated for their injuries. Shortly after arriving, Coulson received a phone call from Grant Ward, informing him that he preferred the idea of escaping rather than being arrested or having his mind wiped. Ward explained that he knew the team would never forgive him but Agent 33 did deserve forgiveness as she was a victim of Daniel Whitehall's experiments, and so he was leaving her at S.H.I.E.L.D. to rebuild her life as an agent. Coulson promised Ward that he would take care of her and treat her well. Coulson then spoke to Robert Gonzales and Bobbi Morse who were discussing the idea of having enhanced individuals in the base. Coulson honoured their agreement and opened the Toolbox before casually mentioning the fact that Nick Fury was still alive.
Coulson received a phonecall from Maria Hill wanting an update on the recent events. Coulson explained that he was keeping Gonzales in the dark about certain details as he felt his method of votes was ineffective. Coulson revealed the location of the Scepter to Hill, who then asked if Theta Protocol was ready. He confirmed that it was ready and ordered her to send in the Avengers to bring down the HYDRA base and capture it and Wolfgang von Strucker.
Reunification of S.H.I.E.L.D.
As the Avengers successfully defeated both Wolfgang von Strucker and later Ultron, Theta Protocol was activated and Nick Fury and Maria Hill assisted in the Battle of Sokovia, using the Helicarrier No. 64 to save thousands of innocent lives. After the battle, Coulson was on the Iliad, where he had a meeting with Robert Gonzales and his council to discuss the recent events, revealing the true history of Theta Protocol. Coulson then proposed that he and Gonzales join forces to build one S.H.I.E.L.D., with Coulson as director and Gonzales and his council as his advisors.
Shortly after this discussion, the alarms on the ship were triggered when the teleporter and Raina were found to have broken onboard, seemingly searching for what was in the cargo hold. Coulson and Gonzales sent their agents to find them but the pair escaped before managing to steal to destroy the Kree Stone they were looking for. At a debrief, Gonzales revealed that the stone was indeed alien and had been found on Earth over one hundred years ago, Coulson explained that the only information on the Toolbox about it was that HYDRA was looking for it.
The Inhuman Threat
At the Playground, after Gonzales' people successfully found the Inhuman's home, Gonzales called for them to prepare for an attack. Coulson convinced him that instead they should have a meeting with the Inhuman leader Jiaying and try and resolve the matter peacefully.
Coulson met with Skye to see if she had known anything about the stone, but she assured him that neither she nor Lincoln Campbell knew anything about it. Coulson asked Skye about her connections with the Inhumans and her changing loyalties. Skye suggested that if the Kree Stone was a weapon then maybe the Inhumans were just afraid of what Gonzales might do with it. Skye revealed to Melinda May that she had heard the story of what had happened to her in Bahrain and revealed that the two people killed were in fact Inhumans.
Coulson later spoke to Skye again, who insisted they do not go searching for the Inhuman's home, Coulson insisted; however, that they needed to assess how many people they were dealing with so they could be put on the Index. Skye insisted that he let her and Campbell go first, before revealing that Jiaying was her mother.
Coulson later found May in the aircraft hanger and they commented on how much they missed the Bus. Coulson informed May that Jiaying was Skye's mother, but May did not seem to react. Coulson tried to apologise to May for lying to her about Theta Protocol, but May did not seem to want to listen. May then revealed that the little girl who died in Bahrain was not killed in the crossfire, but was instead shot by May before she could kill everyone. They discussed their history and how Coulson had lost control when he began carving the City Blueprints on the walls. May told him that Skye was living proof that he had lost control.
When Skye and Lincoln Campbell prepared to leave the Playground, Coulson spoke to the pair. When they spoke about the Index, Campbell compared S.H.I.E.L.D. to HYDRA, but Coulson insisted that he could trust them.
As Coulson briefed the team on the plan for visiting the Inhumans' home, Gonzales informed him that he should not be the one going in as he had too many personal connections to the people involved. When Coulson tried to argue his case, Gonzales used Hank Pym creating Ultron as an example of what happens when one man was allowed to go unquestioned. The matter was put to a vote and it was decided that Gonzales should be the one to go. Coulson agreed, as he did not wish to ignore the views of his council.
As the team left the base on the Quinjets, Coulson was visited in his office by Alphonso Mackenzie. Mackenzie informed him that he intended to leave as he did not wish to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. under Coulson's leadership; although Coulson tried to convince him to stay, he soon accepted Mackenzie's choice and let him go. As the mission went ahead, Coulson watched the mission unfold from his office alongside Lance Hunter and Leo Fitz. Although Hunter and Fitz remained skeptical of the idea of Gonzales taking over the mission, Coulson insisted that he had to put his faith in the council, otherwise S.H.I.E.L.D. would fall apart again. As Hunter and Fitz made some casual comments about the dangers of enhanced people, Coulson made the comment that they had maybe been spending too much time together. He was later contacted by Melinda May, who informed him that Jiaying had handed over Calvin Zabo.
Melinda May informed Coulson that they had lost communication with Bobbi Morse, sensing something was wrong, Coulson sent Lance Hunter to investigate. They were interrupted by Jemma Simmons, who informed them that Jiaying had been shot, allegedly by Robert Gonzales. Not believing that that would be Gonzales' move, Coulson sent the team to learn more to ensure a war was not started.
Melinda May was returned to the Quinjet unconscious after a fight with Skye, they continued their discussions about the events and debated if Robert Gonzales was really responsible. Anne Weaver defended her former Director and revealed that he had gone to great lengths to secure a peace offering for Jiaying, Coulson agreed but still refused to begin a war with the Inhumans. He sent Weaver back to the Iliad to take command before speaking to Melinda May and Jemma Simmons about Skye's seeming betrayal and suggested that Calvin Zabo may know the answers. When Zabo arrived on the base, Coulson demanded to know why he was there, but Zabo insisted he was a gift from his family. Coulson sent Zabo into a cell before Jemma Simmons revealed that Zabo had seemingly taken some kind of drug before arriving.
Coulson later learned through video footage that Jiaying had sent Gordon to take control of their Quinjet to fire upon their city, and had likely been responsible for Robert Gonzales' murder, resulting in every Inhuman believing S.H.I.E.L.D. attacked their home. Lance Hunter and Leo Fitz then stormed in, having learned that Bobbi Morse had been kidnapped by Agent 33. Hunter and Melinda May were sent to locate and rescue Morse and kill 33 and Grant Ward.
During a video conference with Anne Weaver and Oliver, Coulson once again expressed his desire not to attack the Inhumans, as he did not wish to start a war and risk the life of Agent Skye, Oliver however argued that leaving Skye with the Inhumans could risk her exposing all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s weaknesses. Coulson then spoke to Alphonso Mackenzie, who had joined the discussion, Mackenzie explained that although he wished to leave S.H.I.E.L.D., with Robert Gonzales dead he needed to see the matter resolved. Coulson then requested time to speak to Calvin Zabo and gain valuable information, Weaver agreed and gave him three hours.
Dealing with Calvin Zabo
Coulson visited Calvin Zabo in his cell, where Zabo was complaining about suffering from the intense cold. When Coulson asked Zabo why he had surrendered, Zabo responded by telling Coulson that because he did not have children, he would never understand what a father would do for his child. When Coulson began asking how Zabo had slaughtered an entire village, Zabo simply told him he had done it with style.
Taking a break from the questioning, Coulson went to speak to Jemma Simmons about what drugs had been detected in Calvin Zabo's Formula, she revealed she had found traces of anabolic steroids, methamphetamine, and liver inhibitors, as well as less conventional ingredients such as gorilla testosterone and peppermint, which was likely Zabo's ill-conceived attempted at enhanced strengh. When Coulson asked if the mixture would kill him, she informed him that a single vial should kill a normal man, and Zabo had taken three.
Coulson went back to question Calvin Zabo who was now suffering from intense heat and kept requesting more water. Coulson revealed that Jiaying had assassinated Robert Gonzales with the intension of starting a war between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans, but Zabo refused to believe him. Coulson asked if Jiaying had forced Zabo to inject himself with his Formula as part of the distraction. Zabo divulged to Coulson that it was a formula of his own invention, designed to enhance his strength in order to protect his family, and he had taken it under his own free will with the intention of killing as many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as he could.
When Coulson casually referred to Skye as Daisy, Zabo's rage intensified, as he claimed only Skye's family should use her real name. Coulson attempted to reason with Zabo, pointing out that everything he had done, including wiping out the village and taking the vials of his formula, was all on Jiaying's behalf, but Zabo refused to believe he was being manipulated by his wife, claiming that she was not a monster like him. As he grew more and more angry at Coulson accusations, his heart gave out and Zabo went into cardiac arrest and collapsed.
Coulson had Zabo rushed to the emergency room and ordered Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz to try and save him as he was Skye's father. Simmons was forced to inject Zabo with a shot of adrenaline which caused him to have a seizure and fall off the table. When he reemerged he had undergone a repulsive physical change and become a seeming monster with incredible strength. Coulson attempted to lock Zabo in the medical pod, but he broke out with little effort before being shot by I.C.E.R.s with still no effect. Coulson ordered Fitz and Simmons to flee while he tried and failed to reason with Zabo.
With Calvin Zabo running through the Playground destroy everything he came across, Coulson set up a plan to trick Zabo and pin him against a wall with a van. The plan was a success and Zabo was trapped as Coulson attempted to reason with the mad man. Coulson tried to convince Zabo that they both wanted the same thing, which was to protect Skye and he believed he was a good man who was being manipulated by Jiaying. Zabo told Coulson that he had reassembled his wife when Daniel Whitehall had murdered her and had spent years attempting to bring his family back together, and had watched Jiaying loss her humanity. Zabo managed to free himself and swore to help Coulson defeat Jiaying and save his daughter.
Zabo was put under armed guard while Jemma Simmons helped counteract the effects of his Formula, resulting in the reverse of his physical changes. Leo Fitz then informed Coulson that while they had been fighting Zabo, Jiaying and an army of Inhumans had taken over the Iliad. Coulson ordered Fitz to contact Lance Hunter and Melinda May, but Fitz told him they had already gone on their mission to rescue Bobbi Morse from Grant Ward and Agent 33.
Fitz later told him that he had invented a device to trap Gordon in a single room. As Coulson discussed with Fitz and Simmons whether or not Calvin Zabo was prepared to join them on the mission, they were interrupted by the arrival of Lance Hunter and Melinda May bringing in the wounded Bobbi Morse.
Retaking the Iliad
Once Morse was safe Coulson, May and Zabo flew to the Iliad with the intention of fighting back against the Inhumans. May expressed her disapproval of Zabo's presence but Coulson insisted his knowledge of the Inhumans would be beneficial and if needs be, he could be a powerful weapon for S.H.I.E.L.D. to use. Fitz recognised a code being included in the distress beacon, which Coulson knew was a message from Skye warning them they were going into a trap. Coulson ordered the other Quinjets to fall back while his own led the attack.
Coulson and Leo Fitz found Alphonso Mackenzie protecting the Terrigen Crystals from Gordon, and joined him in the fight, using Fitz's inventions to trap Gordon in the room. The team continued to fight Gordon, until the teleporter made a fatal mistake and teleported behind Fitz, causing the iron pole Fitz was holding to be embedded in his chest. As Gordon fell dying, he dropped the Terrigen Crystal he was holding, knowing that if the Crystal broke it would kill everyone onboard the ship, Coulson dived to catch it.
With the Inhuman threat eliminated, Coulson returned to work and began planning out new ways of dealing with threats against the earth, employing his S.H.I.E.L.D. agents into new positions which best supported their views. He brought Andrew Garner back to asses his team and judge their readiness to continue working in the field. They discussed having Alphonso Mackenzie back on the team in charge of all alien dealings before Coulson teased Garner about getting back together with Melinda May. Garner then handed Coulson a file of his recommendation for Coulson's new programme.
Coulson joined Skye as she went to visit him at his office before asking Skye and her thoughts on leading a new team for people with powers, where they could use their abilities to help save the world. Skye insisted that if they do this, the team should be kept a secret so the people involved could still live their own private lives. Coulson agreed.
A New Organization
As new Inhumans began to emerge, Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. began the task of trying to find them. However, the first four who emerged disappeared, just as a new organization called the Advanced Threat Containment Unit appeared.
When a fifth Inhuman named Joey Gutierrez gained his abilities in Seattle, Washington, Coulson sent Daisy Johnson, Lance Hunter, and Alphonso Mackenzie to get to him before the ATCU could. While the others collected Gutierrez and transported him to the Zephyr One, Coulson stood with the crowd of onlookers. When Rosalind Price arrived and spoke to her subordinate, Coulson took her picture.
Later, Coulson talked to Johnson about how Gutierrez was adjusting to having powers and knowing that he was an Inhuman. During their conversation, Johnson noted how much Coulson loved the new vehicle. The two were concerned about how the ATCU were finding the newly-powered before them and causing them to disappear.
Coulson met with Mackenzie and Hunter in his office at the Playground; they discussed Price and how she had past relationships with MI6 and the CIA.
Coulson went to the lab and saw Anne Weaver. Once there, he asked her about the whereabouts of Leo Fitz; Weaver covered for him, but both knew that he was chasing leads on how to free Jemma Simmons from the Monolith. Coulson and Weaver devised a plan to talk to Price without her entourage since Weaver noted her routine throughout Washington, D.C.
In the Washington, D.C. subway, Coulson and Hunter confronted Price, thinking they had tracked her; ATCU soldiers soon surrounded the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents since it was Price who had set the trap. Both leaders exchanged quips, acknowledging the past of the other. After a few minutes of talking, each leader realized that neither organization was killing newly-transformed Inhumans. When Price's phone rang, Coulson's did as well; both then knew that a new Inhuman had emerged. As Price went to take the call, Coulson and Hunter escaped the subway.
Returning to the Playground, Coulson confronted Fitz on his obsession to save Simmons. Coulson compared Fitz's loss to his own loss of Melinda May, who never returned from vacation months ago.
Coulson left to watch President Barack Obama have a press conference officially announcing the creation of the ATCU; Coulson noted that the President said the same Catch phrase that Price said to him about the "laws of nature" changing.
- I don't have to remind you that I saved your life, though I did just mention it in case you forgot. But I'd still have no problems contacting those task forces you mentioned. I bet they'd go bonkers to have a real-life Asgardian to dissect in their labs. I don't know how comfy you'd be there."
"Why, Agent Coulson, are you threatening me?"
"I wouldn't call it a... Well, yeah, I guess I am. That's absolutely a threat.
- --Phil Coulson and Elliot Randolph
Coulson called Andrew Garner and asked him to assess Joey Gutierrez to see if he was fit for the Caterpillars program.
Coulson then had to run into the previously sealed room that contained the Monolith; Leo Fitz had broken the seal and the other senior agents were inside also pulling him out. Coulson berated Fitz for his emotional breakdown, citing that he could not afford tolose him to the Kree stone as he had already lost Jemma Simmons. Suddenly, Fitz ran from the room.
In Coulson's office, the senior agents had a meeting where Fitz showed them that the sample of sand found on him predated the Earth by a billion years, proving that the Monolith was a portal and Simmons was somewhere consistent with that sand. Coulson watched as they all decided that Simmons had to be returned from there; though Coulson stated that, with so many months having passed since Simmons' disappearance, she could be dead, Fitz was not to be dissuaded. Coulson told Daisy Johnson and Alphonso Mackenzie to stay at the Playground to meet Garner when he arrived. Coulson ordered Lance Hunter to continue on their pre-discussed mission for him (find Bobbi Morse and kill Grant Ward, who they thought had something to do with her disappearance). Coulson then got his file on Elliot Randolph.
Fitz and Coulson took a Quinjet to Norway where they found Randolph in prison; he was charged with being drunk and disorderly. Randolph originally refused to go with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents because he felt that being an alien was dangerous at the time as well as the jail having a good reading selection and good meals. Coulson threatened Randolph, telling him that the Advanced Threat Containment Unit would love to dissect a member of the Asgardians. Randolph noted that Coulson had changed; Coulson said that he adapted to the changing times. When Randolph used his strength to escape his cell, he told the guards that Coulson did it.
Randolph looked at the Monolith, telling them that he would escape them to stay away from the portal. He received the scroll and read the scroll Fitz had gotten; he, with permission from Coulson, told them to board the plane and take him to England.
In an English castle, Coulson found a secret doorway that lead to a room specially made for the Monolith. He then called Mackenzie and told him to pilot the Zephyr One to bring them the stone.
Johnson came with Mackenzie when he brought the portal and told the others how Garner had evaluated them in their present mental and physical conditions. Activating the Monolith, they saw a portal open, but there was not enough light for Fitz to see to the other side, so Coulson gave Fitz a flare gun which he fired into the void. When the machine sustaining the portal fell apart, Coulson saw Johnson faint. Trying to awaken her, Coulson called Johnson "Skye". Her first act upon gaining consciousness was to correct Coulson of her name change. Fitz realized that the room was a sound amplifier and sound opened the portal; Johnson understood what Fitz was saying and decided that she could open the portal with her powers.
As a probe was being prepared to be send into the void, Johnson used her power to activate it; Fitz, tied to a life line, entered instead. Watching Johnson straining and the life line falling apart, Coulson ordered the others to bring Fitz back and stop the voyage. Ultimately, Fitz returned, with Simmons.
Taking Simmons to a Medical Pod, Coulson determined through tests that she was not contagious and that she was normal after her experience. When Randolph asked Coulson what was Johnson, he told him that she was an Inhuman, something that Randolph had not heard for some time.
Coulson had Alphonso Mackenzie put a Tracker on Lincoln Campbell. When Daisy Johnson came to him frantic about Campbell being chased by the Advanced Threat Containment Unit, he was not worried; he revealed that he had been tracking Campbell since he had left the hospital. He watched as Johnson called Campbell asking him to accept help from S.H.I.E.L.D.; Campbell did not, found his Tracker, and destroyed it.
Coulson grew tired of "good guys" fighting one another instead of their common foes, so he ordered Mackenzie to get the phone number of Rosalind Price so they could talk. Coulson accessed the line that Price used to talk to the President of the United States and requested a meeting.
At the meeting place, Coulson admired Price's car. Coulson told Price that he knows that she is under pressure from the President to have results but declaring Campbell an alien fugitive on national news reports was not a good idea. Coulson also knew that Price had something hidden or she would not have met him with such confidence. Price revealed that she knew that Johnson had powers, and, when the time was right, she would have her arrested. Coulson decided to strike a deal with Price; he will work with the ATCU as a consultant if Johnson is left alone.
Coulson returned to the Playground and told Mackenzie and Johnson about his compromise to protect Johnson. The phone rang; Price was calling to verify Coulson's number.
Working with the ATCU
Coulson was in a Quinjet with the original Alisha as her clone, Alphonso Mackenzie, and Daisy Johnson sought to recruit Shane and Lori Henson to the Caterpillars program. Coulson was getting real time information from Alisha about how the recruitment was going when suddenly the monstrous man appeared, attacked and killed the Hensons. Coulson ordered Johnson and Mackenzie to assist the clone as she fought the monster; Alisha lost control of her powers as her clone was killed.
Coulson called Rosalind Price and the Advanced Threat Containment Unit to support his S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as they pursued Lash; when the two groups ran into each other from opposite directions, Coulson was with the ATCU. Johnson asked Coulson why he was with them and he reminded her that they agreed to work together and share information. Johnson was angry, but Coulson had other concerns.
He had called Leo Fitz and Anne Weaver to do forensics on the scene of the assassination and the samples were brought to the Playground. There Andrew Garner was evaluating Jemma Simmons and Alisha; after the interviews, Garner accused Coulson of hiding Inhumans from him to fast-track the "Secret Warriors" project. As they talked, Melinda May entered the facility.
May and Coulson met and discussed that Lance Hunter had recruited her to assist him in his desire to get revenge on Grant Ward. Coulson wanted to know if his friend had left S.H.I.E.L.D. because he was working with Garner; May was more concerned that Hunter was involved in an uncontrollable situation. Coulson assured May that when he was needed, he would have a support team ready to assist her and Hunter. Coulson sent an agent to tail Garner as added protection against Ward.
Johnson had found that an e-mail virus sent to the Hensons from Dwight Frye, a resident of Baltimore, Maryland, so Coulson called Price and the ATCU to meet him, Johnson, and Mackenzie at Frye's residence.
He then abruptly left and returned to the Playground, but he permitted Johnson and Mackenzie to accompany Frye to the ATCU Facility to discover what will happen there to Frye. At the Playground, Coulson had Fitz prepare the Zephyr One to carry him and a support team to the location of Hunter and May to assist in their Attack on Grant Ward. When May asked for an estimated time of arrival, Coulson told her that he was twenty minutes away and suggested that they retreat. En route, a local convenience store exploded and Coulson had the plane diverted that location.
Visiting the Facility
- I need her to trust me today.
- --Phil Coulson
Coulson retrieved Andrew Garner from an assassination attempt at a local convenience store and brought him to the Playground, where Garner was examined by a medic. Melinda May returned to the facility simultaneously after her Attack on Grant Ward; she could not believe that Garner was alive and wanted full disclosure on how he survived. Garner thanked Coulson for saving his life and told them a tale of how he escaped.
Deciding to allow medics to examine Garner, Coulson left the room to see May and Lance Hunter arguing. Coulson told Hunter that he was relieved of duty from the hunt for Grant Ward and made May the new officer-in-charge of that mission, as May declared that she was now back with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Coulson went to his office and listened to Daisy Johnson's disappointment in not seeing the ATCU Facility and her theory that Lash was a member of the ATCU. Coulson advised her to keep her research into Lash off the radar of Rosalind Price because he wanted her trust so he could see the facility. Johnson asked him if he and Price were getting close, but Coulson dismissed the idea.
To keep the Playground secret, Coulson had Price pick him up from a street corner. Suddenly, Price received a phone call stating that there was a break-in at her residence; she asked Coulson to allow her to attend to it without him, but he refused to leave her car, telling her that she was lying and trying to delay his visit to the facility. Price allowed him to accompany her.
At her residence, Price introduced her to Officer Stuart, who asked if he could search her place to see if anything was missing. Price told Coulson that he could not, but he looked around anyway, noting that she owned many biographies of Margaret Thatcher. He found that Price had expensive paintings and a baseball bat with many iconic autographs, but no evidence of theft. Price then brought in food from one of Coulson's favorite fast food restaurants. Coulson accused her of staging a break-in to garner sympathy from him and delay him from seeing the facility. Angered by his accusations, Price tossed the food into a waste basket and told Coulson to ride with her.
Price took Coulson to Endotex Labs where they watched as an Inhuman was brought in to be locked away while in an induced coma. Coulson realized that Price had lost a person. She said that it was her husband who died from a cancer and explained that she wanted to help save these people pain like she wished she could have done for her husband. She then confessed to wanting Coulson to like her as he had predicted.
- We're old friends. That's why I'd prefer to see everyone walk out of here unharmed. But in case you got something else in mind, I'm not alone.
- --Phil Coulson to Andrew Garner
As Coulson and Daisy Johnson were arguing Rosalind Price and the Advanced Threat Containment Unit intention to cure the Inhumans, he explained that he would meet with president Matthew Ellis about the Inhuman threat. He asked Johnson to talk with Price while they would head to the meeting on the Zephyr One. Andrew Garner went to do Joey Gutierrez's evaluation in the Cocoon. On Zephyr One, Price came on board and he told her that Johnson will show her around.
Coulson received a call, which informed him that Melinda May and Garner were missing. Price then helped him tie his tie, while he told her why he had a robotic hand. Suddenly, Johnson entered the room and informed him that Lincoln Campbell and Alphonso Mackenzie had docked on board. Campbell explained why he thinks Garner might be Lash, as he was the only person possessed Jiaying's book in which all the names Lash had killed. Coulson ordered to change direction to find him and May. Campbell also told them that Garner was in a change process becoming Lash forever.
They located them in an abounded building in Culver University. With the help of the ATCU, they entered the building and readied the Containment Module. Coulson found the two and saw May tied up. He said to Garner that he didn't want to fight against him, but Garner defended his action and everything he had done against the Inhumans he had killed. Campbell then attacked him and Garner transformed into Lash and attacked him back. He gave May a key to release herself and went after them. He save Mackenzie from Lash and the ATCU soldiers shot him. Lash threw Price from a great high, and as Coulson screamed, Johnson used her powers to save her. May calmed Lash down and as he transformed back to Garner, May shot him to kill him, but he just felt into the Containment Module and passed out.
After the fight, Coulson offered Campbell a position in S.H.I.E.L.D.. Garner was taken by the ATCU to find for him a cure and Price spoke to Coulson and offered to buy him a drink, which Coulson happily accepted. The next day, Coulson was in Price's home and she suggested that they go out and eat. Coulson agreed and the two kissed.
- Today, we're launching Operation Spotlight. The objective... to peer into every shadowy corner of the ATCU.
- --Phil Coulson
Coulson's team and Rosalind Price overlooked Lash's Containment Module being loaded onto a van ready to be transported to Endotex Labs. Coulson questioned if they were truly doing the right thing but Price insisted that they were as it meant Garner had a chance of being cured and remaining human, promising they would continue working on a cure. Coulson suggested that she visit the Playground to continue discussing the work. Later, Coulson was asked by Alphonso Mackenzie if he and Price were sleeping together, but Coulson refused to answer and told him that he wanted to trust her while the rest of them had to go behind her back.
Coulson then summoned his agents and explained them Operation Spotlight, an infiltration mission to the base of the Advanced Threat Containment Unit and to uncover its secrets. Then he gave each team member his task in this mission. After the briefing, he asked Mackenzie if he had answered his concerns, but he replied that it had only raised new ones. After that, Coulson welcomed Price to the base and requested that they be able to scan her phone for any virus. Coulson realized that Price had brought her normal phone only and they continued to flirt and tease one another. The information in the phone was delivered to the team in Zephyr One.
While being shown through the base's science lab, Coulson told Price about their team's breakthroughs in alien biology as well as robotics and prosthetics. As Price received a call, informing her that the Containment Module caused a security breach in the ATCU base, Coulson was asked by her if this was true, which Coulson revealed that it would indeed scan all networks it was near. She informed him that they would shut it down and Coulson said her that the two had to find other ways the flirt.
Coulson continued his tour in his office and he showed her his collectible items he had acquired over the years. However, he was informed that the ATCU did not try to find a cure for the Inhumans, but they tried to make many Inhumans as they could. Coulson led Price to the containment room and as they entered the room, he locked them up inside it. At first believing it to be a flirtatious move, Price teased him, but Coulson remained serious and explained she would now have to convince him that she was not HYDRA, revealing that his team had infiltrated her base. Coulson tried over and over to get from her the truth, as she continued to reject his questions and accuse him for wanting to have with her meaningless sex only to get closer to her.
Price confirmed that Andrew Garner was not being kept at Endotex Labs and Coulson revealed that he believed she was lying as only a HYDRA agent could know about T.A.H.I.T.I. and demanded she reveal her source. Price confessed she had fallen for him but claimed he was no longer human after being stabbed through the heart. When Coulson informed her his agents had learned the ATCU was not working on a cure, she questioned it, but Coulson did not listen to her, until she suddenly mentioned that Gideon Malick gave her all the updates from the science division, including the T.A.H.I.T.I. information, reviling that he was HYDRA. After Coulson understand his agents were in dangerous, he let Price ordered Luther Banks to evacuate Coulson's agents.
Once the agents had been returned to the Playground, they gathered together and Price revealed how she had met Malick in 2001 and he had advised her in many key factors, starting when she was working for NASA. Having done further research into the subject, Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz revealed that they had discovered that a division of NASA was connected to an ancient HYDRA order obsessed with studying the Monolith for unknown reasons, showing them the HYDRA logo in ancient symbols.
- Want to take me out? Come and get me. We'll settle this right now."
"I have people who take care of that sort of thing for me now. No, I just wanted to hear the panic in your voice before you died. This isn't over.
- --Phil Coulson and Grant Ward
Coulson and Rosalind Price had dinner together at her apartment. Coulson lighted candles while Price brought in their meal: takeout burgers. The two sat down and began to eat, with Price telling Coulson about her plans for the next day, including returning to her job in the Advanced Threat Containment Unit. Coulson asked if that was the best idea, and Price reassured him that she would be fine as she felt confident in the ATCU and would not be suspected.
Coulson heard a sharp sound and looked over to Price's window, which had been broken by a bullet. Looking back at Price, Coulson saw with shock that blood was seeping from a wound in her neck. Coulson dragged Price from her chair and laid her on the ground, begging her to stay with him; however, Price lost too much blood and died, leaving Coulson shocked and broken.
As he struggled to grasp what had happened, a phone rang. Coulson picked up to hear Grant Ward mocking him for experiencing what Ward himself had felt when Kara Palamas was shot. Ward warned Coulson that he had sent men to kill him and hung up. Coulson had just enough time to call for extraction and hide behind a wall when two men entered the apartment. Coulson shot the two and quickly rigged an explosive to serve as a distraction. The distraction worked and Coulson brought down three more agents, leaving the apartment and jumping out a window. Evading more men outside, Coulson found shelter and exchanged gunfire with the agents until Alphonso Mackenzie arrived and extracted him. On the return to the Playground, Mackenzie asked Coulson about Price, but Coulson told Mackenzie to just drive.
At the Playground, Coulson told Alphonso Mackenzie to ready the interrogation room and went to his office without saying anything more. Standing in the room, he looked down at his bloodstained shirt before tearing it off and throwing items around his office. Eventually, he calmed down and returned to his team, proceeding to interrogate each member of his original team in an attempt to find anything about Grant Ward he could use against him. Talking to each of the remaining agents, Coulson pieced together that Ward loved his younger brother, Thomas, and that it could be a weak spot to exploit.
Coulson returned to his office and began collecting files. Mackenzie asked him what he was going to do, and Coulson replied that he was about to cross lines the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. should not cross. Coulson made Mackenzie the Acting Director until he returned from his mission.
Finding Lance Hunter with Nekhene, Coulson ignored Hunter's condolences, grabbing him by the throat and pushing him against the wall. While Garrard asked him to calm down, Coulson blasted Hunter for not killing Ward when he had the chance. When Hunter apologized and swore he would do anything to try again, Coulson released him and informed him that he and Nekhene would be joining his mission.
On the Quinjet, Coulson told Hunter and Nekhene that their target was Ward's younger brother Thomas. Hunter came up with a plan to rob the jewelry store where Thomas worked and kidnap him. As they flew, Coulson received a call from Mackenzie informing him that HYDRA had kidnapped Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons. Coulson threw the phone into the wall and continued his mission. Entering the jewelry store, Coulson and Hunter successfully retrieved Thomas, and returned to the Quinjet. Coulson called Ward and informed him that he had Thomas, showing him a video feed of Hunter holding a gun to Thomas' head. Once Ward had seen his brother, Coulson terminated the call, trying to make Ward dependent on him. Coulson realized that he needed time to track Ward's location, and Thomas offered to talk to his brother long enough to trace the location. Within minutes, Ward called back and Coulson let him talk to Thomas until Garrard retrieved his location. Coulson warned Ward that they were coming and hung up. Dropping off Thomas, the Quinjet continued on to the HYDRA base.
Once over the castle, Coulson watched the thermal scans of everyone in the base, noting that HYDRA had opened the portal and that Ward was one of the people entering it. Coulson began putting on a parachute; though Nekhene tried to talk him out of jumping, Coulson ignored her and leapt from the Quinjet, falling straight through the opened portal and through to the alien planet.
Battle on Maveth
- How many people? The lives you've taken! It's over Ward.
- --Phil Coulson to Grant Ward
Upon impact with the planet, Coulson was knocked unconscious. While he lay there, he dreamed of Rosalind Price, who told him to wake up as his team still needed him. Coulson awoke and began his trek in search of Grant Ward and Leo Fitz. Eventually Coulson spotted tracks and followed them until he found Ward and two guards. Killing the two guards, Coulson wounded Ward and handcuffed him, with Ward warning that he was the only one who knew where to return home, and that Fitz was also on the planet. Coulson continued to the exit portal with the prisoner Ward as guide.
As they walked, Ward confided that being on the planet had helped him find his true purpose, allowing him to accept that he was a part of a grand plan where as he had previously looked for father figures in HYDRA and John Garrett. Coulson listened with distaste as Ward told him that he had realized his obsessions over revenge were insignificant, and that he was a part of something bigger. In response, Coulson wounded Ward again, telling him that he had no idea what he meant and the pair of them continued on through the desert.
The two reached the exit point, where Coulson saw Fitz being attacked by Hive. Coulson shot at the man, saving Fitz, but in doing so gave Ward the opportunity to free himself and attack Coulson. However, since Ward was wounded and weak, Coulson overpowered him and beat him, reminding Ward of all the lives he had taken. As Coulson fought, Fitz warned him that the portal home was closing; Coulson made the decision to kill Ward and slowly crushed his ribcage until Ward stopped breathing. Leaving the body, Coulson returned home through the portal.
Coulson and Fitz barely made it through the portal before it collapsed, successfully reaching the Containment Module before the HYDRA Castle was destroyed. They returned to Zephyr One with Alphonso Mackenzie and Daisy Johnson and were greeted with joy. While the group were reunited with each other and celebrated their victory over HYDRA, Coulson embraced Melinda May while sharing a look with Fitz, knowing Fitz had watched him murder Ward in cold blood and left his body to rot on the planet.
Meeting the President
- So we're your black-ops response."
"Isn't black ops where you feel most comfortable?"
"I certainly prefer it to bureaucracy.
- --Phil Coulson and President Obama
President Barack Obama wanted to meet Coulson. Coulson, not willing to revel the location of the Playground, set the meeting in Rosalind Price's home. Coulson was accompanied by Melinda May in the meeting. Obama then entered the apartment and the two started to talk on the Inhumans issue. Obama thanked Coulson for his actions to solve that problem. Coulson asked if he legalized S.H.I.E.L.D., and Obama responded that they would continue their work while the Advanced Threat Containment Unit would serve as their public face. Obama promised to appoint a new head for the ATCU, that would answer to Coulson. Before Obama exited, Coulson asked him about Gideon Malick, but Obama said he could not help him to catch, because Malick was too powerful. May then said to him that she was sorry that Obama had given him nothing, but Coulson said that he might had.
Sometimes later, Coulson asked Leo Fitz about his opinion on Lincoln Campbell, to which Fitz responded that he was helpful to them understanding the Inhumans' biology. Coulson then ordered him to turn on the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine. At first, Fitz refused, but Coulson said that he would not use it, but Werner von Strucker, who was still in a coma. Von Strucker was put in the machine and Coulson asked him about Malick, but he only said "just kill me". He asked Campbell to use his powers and draw him out from his memories. After he did that, Coulson asked him again about Malick, and von Strucker gave him the information how to communicate with him.
Coulson went to a remote location, when he managed to get in a make a call to Malick. He had May to trace everywhere the line connected. Malick answered and Coulson mocked him, noting that since the Attack on the HYDRA Castle Malick had lost his Inhumans and had been forced into hiding. Malick remained confident however and assured him that his influence was stronger than Coulson understood. May comforted him about what had happened in Maveth. Coulson then said that Malick still collected Inhumans for unknown reason. Later, Obama called Coulson, informing him that he appointed Glenn Talbot to the new head of the ATCU. Coulson was not thrilled about the idea.
Working With Glenn Talbot
- You know I'm technically your boss now, right? But I'd prefer to be partners.
- --Phil Coulson to Glenn Talbot
Coulson tried to call Glenn Talbot, but he didn't return his calls. So he met Talbot in the airport after his wife had left. Coulson said that he preferred they would work as partners, but Talbot rejected the idea. Coulson told him that they should prepare for the Symposium on Alien Contagion about the Inhumans. On their way to Talbot's car, Coulson revealed that he would try to find out which country possessed Inhumans during the symposium. He also wanted to know which one of the delegates was working for Gideon Malick. In the parking, Melinda May and Lincoln Campbell warned him that someone was was coming to their direction. Coulson saw that it was Carl Creel. May and Campbell defeated him and but the he almost killed him. Coulson ordered him to stop using his powers. Talbot then got out of his car and said that Creel was his bodyguard.
At Coulson office, Talbot demanded Creel would be joined to the mission. Coulson's agents refused, claiming he couldn't be trusted. Coulson knew the head of the ATCU must be present at the symposium, so he agreed to Talbot's demand. He then explained that Inhumans weren't welcomed to the symposium, and they couldn't bring weapons. On the Zephyr One, Coulson explained to May and Lance Hunter that their mission was to enter the delegates' rooms, find clues of foreign Inhumans and uncover Malick's inside man.
During the symposium reception, Coulson introduced himself as an expert on Inhumans. He shook the delegates's hands to copy their fingerprints for May and Hunter. Talbot suspected everyone for working with Malick. Coulson, Talbot and the delegates gathered in the meeting room and Talbot gave a brief opening statement. The conversation quickly turned to Inhumans, with Coulson attempting to convince the group that they were only seeking peace. While Haruto Yakimura remained skeptical, Anton Petrov suggested that Russia was willing to make themselves a sanctuary state for the Inhumans. Nathi Zuma agreed with Petrov and called for a vote. Talbot and Coulson briefly discussed what their options were.
Moments before Chen called for the vote, Talbot interrupted her and called the guards in, announcing that there was a traitor in the room, accusing Coulson and showing the room how Coulson had been spying on them all and was not Sean Lundwall as he claimed to be. Malick then entered the room and accused Coulson of being the Director of HYDRA. Coulson then realized that Talbot was the traitor. Malick used images of Lash's victims to accuse Coulson of wanting to exterminate Inhumans. The guards took Coulson while he asked Talbot what Malick had done to him.
Coulson was brought to the basement. Malick and Talbot entered and the latest begged that his son would return to him. Coulson cursed Malick for his extortion so the guards punched him in the stomach. However Malick refused to complete the deal on his end and instead locked Talbot in a cage beside Coulson, handcuffing them to each other. When Coulson questioned his motives for what he was doing, Malick explained that he was building an army. Coulson said that another army would face against him and Malick left the room, ordering his men to execute the pair of them.
While waiting for their deaths, Talbot joked that he prefer Coulson die first so he could be left in peace at last, but when Coulson questioned why he remained confident, Talbot explained that he had a man on the inside. At that moment Creel burst into the room and defeated the guards, explaining that he and Hunter had found Talbot's son. When another guard burst in, Talbot and Coulson were forced to run while still handcuffed. Creel then released them and Coulson ordered Hunter to go find Mockingbird. May then told him that she found Talbot's son. Coulson, Talbot and Creel entered the truck which Talbot's son was inside.
Back on Zephyr One, Talbot sat beside his sleeping son as he slowly recovered from his ordeal. Coulson stood by and commented on how happy his wife would be now that he had fixed the situation. They briefly discussed their partnership and when Coulson casually called him General, Talbot told him to call him Glenn, although he noted this would only be occasionally. Coulson then expressed his concerns to May, that perhaps Malick was reporting to someone or something else.
Testing Lincoln Campbell
- You did it right. Offered a dissenting opinion, but when the time came, you did what I asked. Well, a slightly less lethal version. Well-done.
- --Phil Coulson to Lincoln Campbell
Following the Attack on the ATCU Headquarters by the Watchdogs, Coulson called Alphonso Mackenzie and ordered him to check the scene. As he accompanied Daisy Johnson and Leo Fitz to Zephyr One, Lincoln Campbell returned fro, his evaluation at the Cocoon. Coulson told them that he had received Campbell's evaluation and had decided not to take him on Johnson's mission but did not explain why. Johnson then called Coulson and informed him that the Watchdogs used Nitramene to collapse the building. Coulson remembered that the former agent Felix Blake had always wanted to improve its formula.
Campbell later found Coulson walking around the Playground looking for him; Coulson told Campbell that he was going on a mission to find Blake, Coulson explained that he knew where Blake's safe-houses were and he wanted Campbell to join him on the mission to find him. At first Campbell was pleased that Coulson was inviting him on missions but Coulson explained that he was not happy with Campbell's evaluation but wanted to watch him first hand.
As they rode in the Quinjet to Blake's possible location, Campbell asked Coulson about his evaluation and was told how it read that Campbell was there for Johnson not the cause and how he had trouble with control and taking orders, which had been proved in his battles with Lash and Carl Creel and therefore was not a part of their team. Campbell argued that it was not easy as he felt he was being constantly tested but Coulson insisted that he was the only team member who still needed to be fully checked over.
They eventually arrived at Blake's safe-house which they found to be in darkness, so they began exploring with their weapons drawn ready for a fight. Coulson received from Johnson Blake's location, so he ordered her not to attack. Surprisingly, they soon found Blake in the basement, who drew a gun on the pair as Coulson noted how well he had recovered since his encounter with Deathlok. As Coulson told Blake how he was working for the ATCU now, Blake began ranting about how there had never been a S.H.I.E.L.D., just HYDRA and how S.H.I.E.L.D. was now working with Inhumans, whom he called freaks.
Coulson suspected that Blake was not actually there. Blake commented on how S.H.I.E.L.D. caused the Battle of New York while the Avengers created Ultron. Coulson ordered Campbell to kill Blake, although he tried to argue against the idea, but Coulson insisted it was an order. Campbell fired a blast of electricity at Blake only to learn it was merely a hologram, just as Coulson suspected. Coulson said he was impressed by how Campbell had handled the situation so effectively and they later learned that the Watchdogs were coming after Johnson and Mackenzie.
Later, Johnson informed Coulson that Gideon Malick supported the Watchdogs with weaponry.
Preparing for the Future
While riding in Zephyr One a call came through in which Edwin Abbott desperately called for Daisy Johnson's help. Coulson and his team went to investigate as Abbott desperately tried to explain that he had seen these events already happening in a vision of his own death given to him by Charles Hinton. They were suddenly attacked by HYDRA who killed Abbott and used the Extraction Claw to kidnap Hinton just as he gave Johnson her own vision.
The team returned to the Playground where Johnson explained her vision, telling that she had seen Coulson shooting her. They began discussing how they could try and get ahead of the vision and change the future, but Leo Fitz insisted that it was a fixed point in time which could not be altered no matter what they did. Coulson suggested that they ensure that Johnson would not leave the Playground in order to change the course of the future. Instead, Coulson suggested Melinda May would go to save Hinton.
Coulson discussed the matter with Lincoln Campbell inside his office where Coulson used the example of The Terminator as a confusing depiction of time-travel, when Campbell admitted never having seen the original film Coulson joked that he was fired. Campbell suggested that Hinton's visions were a part of his design as all Inhumans' powers where created to fill a need, using the example of how Raina's vision allowed Johnson to stop Jiaying. They soon found Hinton's family and Campbell threatened that he would kill Coulson if he harmed Johnson.
Coulson then joined the team as they were training May to ensure Melinda May would undergo her mission as fast as possible in order to change the vision's outcome. After the first round, Coulson said he wished they could practice for every battle like that. May eventually managed to beat the time limit. Agent Anderson entered the room and said to Coulson they had found the building where Hinton was held. Coulson gave May his orders for the mission when suddenly the alarms in the base went off, telling them that there was an intruder. Andrew Garner was brought into the base and explained that Lash was taking over and he wanted to say goodbye to May.
Coulson urged May to stay with Garner since she would not see him again. May disagreed, claiming Garner was a killer, so Johnson said she would go. At first Coulson disagreed, but Johnson explained she was their best agent who could save Hilton, and Coulson could stay in the base to change the outcome. Coulson agreed and accompanied her to a Quinjet. He asked her to go back safe and accidentally called her "Skye".
Battle at the Transia Corporation Building
- Wait. What are you gonna do?"
"Find Grant Ward. Yeah. Day got weirder.
- --Quake and Phil Coulson
In Coulson's office, he, Leo Fitz, Jemma Simmons and Lincoln Campbell watched as they managed to hack into the Transia Corporation's CCTV feed. As they spotted Giyera on the feed Coulson and Campbell discussed his higher purpose theories, but stopped suddenly when the video seemed to show Grant Ward in the building, while Fitz claimed it was likely to be Hive.
They hurried to the building to help Daisy Johnson and find Ward. Coulson saved Johnson by shooting a one-way mirror at an HYDRA guard. He ordered her to go to the roof tho rescue Charles Hinton from there. As she asked him what he was going to do, Coulson replied that he would find Ward, to Johnson's surprise. Campbell found Coulson and he ordered him to find Ward while he went to Gideon Malick. Coulson entered an office and Campbell said he saw Ward. Coulson, watching in horror at charred skeletons, ordered Campbell not attacking him.
- It was payback. That's not what we do here."
"What was the alternative? Letting him live, letting him win?"
"Don't you see? When I killed him, he did. I knew it would come back to haunt me, I just didn't think it would actually come back to haunt me.
- --Phil Coulson and Leo Fitz
Coulson was in his office, staring furiously at a screenshot of Hive. Melinda May entered and asked him what was Hive, so Coulson replied that the lab was working to find an answer. He gave his condolences on Andrew Garner, but May said she did not want to talk about it. She then remained him he did not have a lot of kills like in Ward's case, especially those he enjoyed. Coulson said he had a feeling they fixed problems they had created. The team then had a meeting in Coulson's office. They discussed how the being they had encountered was not Grant Ward, and set up a plan to defeat their enemy. They planed to go to GT Agrochemical facility which had been raided by HYDRA. Coulson asked what was their advantage against them, so Alphonso Mackenzie answered that they were not afraid.
On Zephyr One, Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz explained to Coulson that Hive had created small organisms which had consumed the victims' flesh. Simmons theorized that the organisms also been used to reanimate dead flesh. Coulson looked at her shocked so Simmons explained she could not believe Hive was on Earth. Mackenzie approached Coulson and showed him a screenshot of Giyera in the facility. Coulson explained to the team that they needed to take Giyera with them, even though Giyera was also dangerous without his powers.
Coulson, May and Mackenzie entered the facility and went to the research room. They noticed that the equipment had been taken and the rest had been destroyed. Coulson examined a dead bug and Mackenzie told him that the data of the facility had been moved. An agent informed Coulson that Giyera was in the move. Coulson shot two HYDRA agents before Giyera noticed him. Coulson ran to an empty room and got out, with Giyera trapped inside it with May. May managed to knock him out and they put him in the Containment Module in Zephyr One.
Fitz told him that the facility's data had been moved to an oil field in Schoonebeek. Coulson noticed that some object were flying, so he hurried the agents to get out from the Module before he closed it. Coulson asked Simmons for the reason Hive had destroyed the researches in the facility, so Simmons said either he wanted to use them, or he was afraid of them. Coulson then asked what was Hive, so Simmons said she was thinking the little organisms were Hive itself. Coulson realized Hive was a parasite which possessed the memories of its host. Coulson was upset and remembered how he had killed Ward. Fitz asked him if he was fine, so Coulson realized he bent a pipeline with his robotic hand. Coulson explained that in contrast to the justified act against Hive Fitz had done on Maveth, he should not had kill Ward. Fitz tried to conform him by saying Ward had to die, but Coulson said that now he Ward was basically after him.
Giyera then escaped the Module, so Coulson tired to stop him. Giyera however used his power to block Coulson's robotic hand and knocked him out. Giyera landed Zephyr One in the oil field.
Agent Coulson has many different aspects to his personality. He will often be serious and even threatening when a situation calls for it, shown prominently in the fight against HYDRA. He was harsh to Thomas Nash while he was still believed to be the Clairvoyant, even telling the man to go to Hell. He is also practical, calmly facing the difficult truth that he was going insane from the T.A.H.I.T.I. Project. He will put others' needs before his own, illustrated when he was determined to keep Audrey Nathan from knowing of his existence, as he wanted to allow her to heal from her grief. For the greater good, Coulson will put himself through much suffering, as he put himself back into the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine to dig up necessary information.
Coulson also has a humorous side, often displayed in the form of witty or sarcastic comments, especially when hanging around the few people he fully trusts, such as when he and Melinda May went undercover as a married couple. He can be carefree when off-duty, such as when bonding with the members of his team following a successful mission and Leo Fitz fell for a prank. He is also caring, treating his team as family, and protecting them at all costs. While sometimes he presents bad news gently, he knows when it is necessary to present it bluntly. An example of this is when he told Melinda May that she would need to put him down if he went insane. On the other side, Coulson can be quite giddy on occasion, as when he finally met Captain America after being a fan his whole life. He became nervous, and was quite awkward during the meeting.
Coulson has also displayed great interpersonal skills, being able to handle Tony Stark and make him join the Avengers Initiative when S.H.I.E.L.D. needed him most, to recruit Skye from being an anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. "hacktivist" and transform her into a loyal field agent, and calm down emotionally unstable Michael Peterson due to the effects of the Extremis in his body.
Powers and Abilities
- GH.325: Coulson was the administered with the GH.325 serum, which had the effect of completely regenerating his eviscerated heart tissue. However, the use of this serum, along with all other details of his resurrection, were kept secret from Coulson.
- Expert Martial Artist: Coulson is highly trained in multiple martial arts and hand-to-hand combat styles, even claiming that he could take on a highly-trained specialist as Grant Ward, easily holding his own against a brainwashed Agent 33 and even fighting Calvin Zabo, a man with enhanced strength, on equal terms. He easily subdued Sebastian Derik, a highly trained assassin, even after having being tortured by him, and Alphonso Mackenzie, who had gained strength from being under the control of the Kree City.
- Expert Marksman: Coulson is skilled in use of military assault weapons as well as edged weapons. He has wielded a variety of weapons in his missions, including experimental weapons.
- Expert Spy: Coulson is an expert at intelligence and espionage. He could tell what the man controlling Akela Amador looked like just by her description of how he typed. He has maintained very good covers on multiple occasions including when pursuing Ian Quinn on a train, at Cybertek's offices, and at Gabriel Soto's party in Miami, where he, along with Melinda May, were able to locate all the security cameras.
- Multilingualism: Coulson is fluent in English and Spanish, though claiming he is only able to speak "vacation Spanish". Coulson used this skill in multiple missions, especially in Peru, where he had been stationed in 2002.
- Master Tactician: An accomplished logistics specialist, Coulson assesses tactical situations and implements equipment and personnel as needed. He is also very proficient at designing ops. He is also a recognized expert on analysis, being able to run possible scenarios for any given information, and quickly recognize the probable one, such when deducing the Clairvoyant was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, or the reason why Skye accompanied Grant Ward out of Providence despite knowing he was a HYDRA operative. He also excels at tracking fugitives, being able to locate Grant Ward in Tijuana while he was running from justice.
The nature of Coulson's death and apparent resurrection has imposed on him a form of post-traumatic stress disorder that while submerged most of the time has been noted to compromise his full efficacy on rare occasions. Discussions mentioning his former love life are deeply troubling for him, and the memories (both imparted and real) of the period in which he underwent the life-saving medical procedures, have been distracting and sometimes torturous.
- Bulletproof Vest: Although Coulson's role as a field agent is not focused into combat operations, whenever he feels hostilities may arise during a mission, he wears a bulletproof vest under his jacket, able to withstand ballistic impact from many calibers.
- Pick-Lock Device: One of Coulson's favorite gadgets, a little explosive used whenever he has to infiltrate a compound and finds closed doors too difficult to hack immediately.
- Flash Bomb: Coulson used a Flash Bomb during the shootout at the Guest House, using to blind one of the security guards shooting at them and let Grant Ward have a clear shot of him.
- QNB-T16 Truth Serum: A seemingly powerful truth drug that Coulson used on Grant Ward to earn Skye's trust. However, Ward later told Skye that it was uneffective, and he told her a few minor secrets in order to make her cooperate.
- Cigarette Laser: Coulson took the Cigarette Laser from Antoine Triplett's Howling Commando Gear, during his mission to infiltrate Cybertek Corporate Headquarters. He used it to open a secure door inside the building and access the files about Project Deathlok housed in the room.
- Overkill Device: Coulson himself, despite his new position as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., went to confront Absorbing Man in person using an Overkill Device that, according to Leo Fitz, would disrupt Creel's powers and allow to defeat him. Coulson ambushed Creel while he was busy attacking Lance Hunter, and stabbed Creel with the device, disrupting his body so much that he was petrified in the same way that the victims who touched the Obelisk.
- Toolbox: A gift from Nick Fury, containing all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s files, including many that were only previously known by Director Fury himself. Coulson found the coordinates of the Playground in order to serve as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new headquarters, and he continued to analyze it whenever he needed information that did not appear anywhere else.
- "Lola" (modified 1962 Chevrolet Corvette)
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Globemaster
- Formerly the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier
- Smith & Wesson M&P: The Smith & Wesson M&P pistol is the standard sidearm carried by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and as such, Coulson uses it to threat or shoot most of his enemies.
- Smith & Wesson M&P Compact: Coulson has used the compact version of the Smith & Wesson M&P pistol in some missions that required high mobility, such as the infiltration into the Guest House to quickly obtain medical assistance for Skye, being involved in a shootout with the security guards of the base.
- Glock 17: The Glock 17 was the standard sidearm used by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, before being replaced by the Smith & Wesson M&P. As such, Coulson and a team of agents carried those weapons when they tried to capture Obadiah Stane, raiding Stark Industries sector 16, and when Coulson prevented a theft in a gas station in New Mexico.
- M4A1 Carbine: The standard weapon used by S.H.I.E.L.D. Strike Team members, that Coulson also used while tracking Deathlok and the Clairvoyant in Florida, and during his attempt to defend Providence base from intruders.
- Thunderstick: Coulson was forced to use this device to defeat John Garrett, who had just revealed his true allegiance to HYDRA and his identity as the Clairvoyant. Coulson fought Garrett at the Hub, and finally defeated him stunning him with the Thunderstick.
- Night-Night Pistol: Sometimes, agent Coulson needs to apply non-lethal force to subdue a target without permanent harm, favoring the use of the Night-Night Pistol designed by agents Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons. This weapon allows to render the target unconscious to be safely captured, such as when he captured Akela Amador while she was fighting against agent Melinda May.
- I.C.E.R. (Pistol Version): After agent Leo Fitz improved the technology of the Night-Night Gun, Coulson changed the now obsolete weapon and favored the use of the pistol version of the I.C.E.R.s. He used one of these in a gunfight against some men enthralled by the Asgardian Lorelei, to take them out without having to kill them.
- Destroyer Armor Prototype Gun: When Loki escaped confinement aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Coulson retrieved the Destroyer Gun from secure storage. He confronted Loki, pointing the gun at him, and although he was stabbed from behind, Coulson managed to fire off one powerful shot that severely hurt Loki, but did not prevent him from escaping the Helicarrier. He used the weapon again during the Battle at Cybertek, where he managed to use it to easily defeat a whole squad of enhanced Centipede Soldiers.
- Agent/Director Coulson's sprite was made by M:AA Fanon User:Loupi
- Coulson was a Level 8 agent, prior to being tasked with rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. and being promoted to Director of S.H.I.E.L.D by Nick Fury.
- Coulson's encounter with Loki left him with a deep scar on his chest, which he showed Melinda May, indicating that he really did face Loki, not a LMD.
- His date of birth is 07/08/1964, making him 49 years old.
- Coulson's authorization code is "X-Ray 2896," and his "death and recovery report" is "restricted file Bravo-Charlie-Yankee 307604."
- Being a huge Captain America, his office in the playground has a copy of "Captian America Comics No. 1" and a Cap mug that says "Trust Cap".
- Appearances of Phillip Coulson (Earth-1010)
- Character Gallery: Phillip Coulson (Earth-1010)
- Quotations by Phillip Coulson (Earth-1010)
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