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Coulson Lives?

By Rosie Narasaki, Hollywood Staff

So ... we're pretty sure he's not a robot?

This week's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. promised us answers, and I was silly enough to believe them. To be fair, we did get some answers, just not all.

Turns out Centipede's as curious about Coulson's resurrection as we are - and they act accordingly. Raina gets him attached to a device that looks something like an MRI machine, and Coulson finally starts to remember things the way they really were. The beautiful masseuse from his memory? A surgeon. The handsome attendant? Dr. Streiten (AKA Ron Glass. AKA Shepherd Book). And if that weren't jarring enough, we get a wide shot that shows a robot-like device (this one more akin to a sewing machine than an MRI machine) jabbing in and out of his brain. Was it rewriting his memories? Copying them? Rewiring synapses? We just don't know. But what we do know is this: Coulson is in agony, presumably mentally and physically; he says, Please let me die over and over and over (and the effect is quite chilling). But before we're able to find out more, Skye saves him and disengages him from the machine.

We get our second taste of answers when Coulson ambushes Dr. Streiten in his car. Streiten feels obligated to explain to the best of his abilities: apparently, Coulson was dead for days (not minutes or seconds), and it took seven morally questionable operations to get him back. Fury apparently shook heaven and earth and what Coulson went through was ungodly - should we be reading into this, or is Streiten just a religious man? After all was said and done, Coulson was left without a will to live (or as Streiten ominously refers to him, that ... thing you'd become), and it was up to S.H.I.E.L.D. to rewrite his memories.

This episode may have us asking even more questions than before: why was Nick Fury so desperate to keep Coulson alive? Seven operations on someone already dead for days goes further than your average friendship, doesn't it? And just what was that ... thing that Coulson became? Someone who wished he signed a DNR or something more?

We might have to wait all season to find out.

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