The 100th episode of ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is “The Real Deal” – in both its title and according to the cast and creatives who were on hand for the recent party celebrating the milestone.
The official synopsis for the episode (airing this Friday at 9/8c) tells us, “Coulson finally reveals the mysterious deal he made with Ghost Rider, which will impact everyone on the S.H.I.E.L.D. team.” And as TVLine spoke to those on the red carpet, “Coulson,” “Ghost Rider” and “impact everyone” were recurring themes.
In crafting the 100th hour, co-showrunner Jed Whedon said, “Our goal was to create something that would not only be a reward for the fans who have been with us the whole time, but also something that would change the game moving forward — and we think we achieved that. We’re pretty proud of the episode.” Added co-showrunner Maurisa Tancharoen, “It’s a little bit of a game changer…. Definitely an emotional game changer.”
Marvel TV chief Jeph Loeb meanwhile put it this way: “It in many ways resets the table, but in many ways it also finishes up some stories that perhaps [viewers] didn’t even know we haven’t revealed. It’s sort of one turnover after another, a great game of cards.”
S.H.I.E.L.D. frontman Clark Gregg echoed the sentiment that there is resolution that fans perhaps don’t even know to expect, saying, “It’s an episode where a lot of things that have been being built toward — some of them in ways you didn’t even really realize — really come to a head and pay off in ways that change things going forward. Some of those things have building for seasons, and some have been building since the pilot.”
But enough with the admittedly titillating vagaries. What about tangible plot details? “We’re going to find out a lot more about what’s going on with Coulson and what his secret is,” Gregg said, alluding to the almost alien-looking rash spreading across Coulson’s chest — which is perhaps the cause of his death that future Yo-Yo warned her other self about. As Coulson’s situation comes to light, “He’s not prepared for how upset people are with him for holding on to this secret,” Gregg said.
“Some things will not be the same going forward,” the actor reiterated, stoking the “game changer” fire. “But to me, it felt like a very moving and satisfying episode for the longtime fans.”
Elizabeth Henstridge, who plays Simmons, also zeroed in on loyal viewers getting a special pleasure from the episode. “There are so many, just gorgeous Easter eggs,” she effused. “If you’re not as familiar with the show, you’re still going to enjoy it, but really this is a ‘thank you’ to the people that have stuck with us all the way to 100. There are some very special moments that we hope the fans are going to really enjoy.”
Among very special potential guest stars, it’s been reported that both Hive and Lash — though long dead — will be seen in Episode 100. Speaking with TVLine at the party, Brett Dalton was Marvel-ously mum on reprising his role as the former, instead only saying, “I’m very happy to know that Hive still has a presence in the show, even if you don’t see him week to week.”
As for what the future holds for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. beyond this milestone hour, Natalia Cordova-Buckley (who plays Yo-Yo) made one thing crystal clear: the second storyline pod of Season 5 “is going to be be very, very different.” (With reporting by Scott Huver)