ON THE SEASON FINALE OF AGENTS OF SHIELD:
Deciphering the Writing on the Wall
The first season of Marvel’s The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D ends with Agent Coulson writing on a wall. This scene not only invites our attention to what Coulson is writing. It also points to the new purpose to which S.H.I.E.L.D. will be re-structured.
The phrase “writing on the wall” is culturally rich. It is steeped not only in the Judeo-Christian tradition (See the Chapter V of Book of Daniel) of stories about the fall of kingdoms, but also much theological debate on the correct interpretation of the text. Despite the theological debate on the significance of the phrase, the modern english idiom we are left with is about a mysterious hand appearing during King Belshazzar’s great banquet and writing on the palace wall a message only Daniel could decipher. The writing on the wall predicted the fall of Babylon, but was ignored.
The title of the finale is “The Beginning of the End”, which makes one ask: the end of what?
In the Judeo-Christian story, a great kingdom fell. Could the next season possibly tie into Thor’s efforts to re-build Asgard on earth, after it fell into Loki’s control? (An episode or two of the first season already saw how that battle spilled over to earth, with Lady Sif coming after Lorelai.) In a story line from the comic books, Thor is forced to abdicate the throne after a successful scheme by Loki which ends in Thor killing their deranged grandfather from the past. Without Thor, Asgard (on earth) is destroyed in the Secret Invasion by the Dark Avengers led by Norman Osborne after seizing control of S.H.I.E.L.D. By itself, that is already a curve-ball the producers could opt to run-home with. But down the line, it is Tony Stark who rebuilds asgard as asgardia. Will the next season’s nuggets go that far?
What is this new world order that Garret and Coulson saw? How would this determine Coulson’s strategy in rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D?