Agents of Shield

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Agents of Shield (S.H.I.E.L.D.) is a Marvel Sci-fi/Sci-fantasy TV series that first aired in 2013.

Transhumanist Elements

Season 1

Season 1's main transhumanist element is the re-animation of Agent Phil Caulson after he was killed in the first Avengers movie. This is achieved using some Science fiction and Science fantasy elements. The main Fantasy element being the use of Kree (an alien race) blood. Kree blood is also used later in the series to stop Skye (later Daisy) from dying.

A character named "Deathlok" (Mike Peterson) is introduced as a cybernetically enhanced human that goes rogue.

Future Tech

There are also various future tech elements developed by the 2 scientific geniuses Jemma Simmons (Biological/Chemical scientist) and Leopold Fitz (engineering and technology scientist) the pair collectively known as fitz-simmons. This is a common feature throughout the series.

Season 2

Season 2 continues the Phil Caulson re-animation storyline, this time taking science fantasy elements forward with the end goal being finding the location of a kree city where inhumans are created.

Season 2 is also where the inhumans story starts to come to the forefront, although during season 2 they are more of an emerging storyline with Hydra continuing to dominate the series as the main antagonists.

The cyborg Deathlok also features again during the season.

Season 3

Season 3 builds upon the emergence of the Inhumans as main characters.

Later in the season, we're introduced to a new character named Dr. Radcliffe who is explicitly stated as being a Transhumanist.

Season 4

Season 4 began to air on the 20th of September 2016. The season was split into 3 main storylines which Marvel called "pods", each one with its own main story elements. Pod 1 focused on Ghost Rider, a science fantasy character, Pod 2 featured the rise of AIDA (a type of Android), and the LMD (Life-Model Decoy) storyline, and Pod 3 focused on Hydra and the simulated reality created by Dr. Holden Radcliffe called "The Framework".

Pod 1 - Ghost Rider

Pod 1 focuses largely on the emergence of the character known as Ghost Rider, but some transhumanist elements are also present including:

  • The introduction of Aida, a life model decoy (LMD) who is a cybernetic robot with human appearance created by Dr. Radcliffe (A transhumanist as mentioned in season 3) with the help of Fitz. The Dr. also mentions the events that took place in Avengers: Age of Ultron and that AI is banned. He also says Aida is mimicry technology and not Artificial Intelligence. Aida potentially passing the Turing test is also mentioned.
  • We also learn that the new director of Shield is said to be an Inhuman.
  • Pod 1 leaves us with a cliffhanger that Aida has seemingly become self-aware after reading a book that is known as the "Darkhold".
Pod 2 - LMD

Pod 2's Transhumanist Elements are as follows:

  • The story arc of Aida becoming seemingly self-aware is picked up again in pod 2 where it is hinted that Aida has created an LMD version of agent May, killed a SHIELD agent, and begun a quest to regain the Darkhold book.
  • The Darkhold is said to be able to show man "how to live forever" and Dr Radcliffe says; "man could once and for all break the bonds of his mortal restraints". It is later revealed that Dr. Radcliffe tried to use Aida to retrieve the Darkhold for himself and that Aida was programmed to behave in that manner, and not self-aware as first assumed.
  • It is also the Dr. who made an LMD of agent May which he sends in to Shield as he keeps the real agent May hostage. The LMD of agent May seems to think she is in fact herself. The LMD of agent May is said to have had her memories implanted from the real May. This is done by what is shown as "memory upload" rather than consciousness transfer. Real agent May is also placed into a simulation (later referred to as the Framework).
  • Dr. Radcliffe also creates an LMD of himself, that is later discovered by Fitz and is subsequently destroyed.
  • The Framework (Dr. Radcliffe's simulated reality) gets up and running, and the woman whom AIDA was designed to look like (Agnes) is uploaded into it in order to save her consciousness when her biological body dies. It is not made entirely clear whether or not this is a transfer of consciousness, or merely a copy that lives on inside the framework at this point.
  • Dr. Radcliffe is also killed by Aida and uploaded into the framework.
Pod 3 - Agents of Hydra

Pod 3 is known as "Agents of Hydra", at this point in the season, all the main Agents of Shield (aside from Daisy, Jemma and YoYo) are now all captured by Aida and living inside the framework in an alternate reality where Hydra prevailed and everyone has had their lives changed.

The Transhumanist plot points from this "pod" are:

  • The Framework now takes center stage of the storyline. Dr. Radcliffe's simulated reality is being controlled by Aida and the people inside it are experiencing very different lives after each of them had "Their biggest regret changed".
  • Agnes is killed inside the framework by AIDA, seemingly bringing an end to her life both physically and digitally.
  • AIDA builds a machine capable of creating a human body for her. This enables a consciousness inside the framework to be transferred into a new physical human body in the real world.
  • There is also some teleportation that takes place towards the end of season 4 whereby Aida grabs Fitz and they disappear together.

Other Future Tech

Many future tech elements are also featured during season, some of them include:

  • AR - In the form of Glasses the Shield agents use.
  • VR - Before the framework is operational, Gemma uses a headset that creates a realistic Virtual or Simulated reality. But it isn't yet calibrated properly at that point.
  • Agent Coulson also gets a new prosthetic hand that has an x-ray vision like capability.

Points of interest

Many references (Easter-eggs) are made to science fiction movies during the seasons including The Lawnmower Man and Terminator.

External Links