I'm thinking post-TAHITI. From what I can tell, his actions have only been in SHIELD's best interest.

I think he is SHIELD.

But the members of "the real" SHIELD seem to think he is not.

  • 1
    Is this just a hypothetically-HYDRA loyalty test, or do you have some reason to think he isn't loyal to SHIELD?
    – Nerrolken
    Apr 13, 2015 at 21:38
  • I think he is SHIELD. But the members of "the real" SHIELD seem to think he is not.
    – anon
    Apr 13, 2015 at 21:40
  • 2
    Ah yes. I'd probably edit your question to include that as a frame of reference (probably within a spoiler tag, since its an ongoing storyline), so responders know the context of your question.
    – Nerrolken
    Apr 13, 2015 at 21:41
  • are you up to date with the show? their concerns are pretty well laid out in the show - especially in the most recent episode.
    – phantom42
    Apr 13, 2015 at 22:20
  • I can't figure out the spoiler tag edit. Maybe I don't have enough reputation?
    – anon
    Apr 13, 2015 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


Coulson's loyalty has always been to SHIELD, unwaveringly as far as we've ever seen (with the sole exception of his crisis of faith after learning about TAHITI).

That being said, there is one group who claims otherwise...

The "real" SHIELD

However, so far they haven't outright accused him of doing anything specifically disloyal, more that they simply don't trust him due to the effects of TAHITI and his subsequent actions.

A few examples:

  • Coulson exhibited worrisome compulsions after his TAHITI treatments, manifesting most notably in an uncontrollable urge to draw symbols on any nearby surface. Notably, every other sufferer of this condition went homicidally insane.
  • Coulson uncovered and opened a potentially devastating alien city, with (seemingly) little regard for the consequences beyond his need to know what was down there.
  • Coulson has aided non-SHIELD elements (most notably Colonel Talbot) who have branded SHIELD a terrorist organization, as well as rogue elements (such as Raina) who pose clear threats to the world at large, and SHIELD specifically.
  • Coulson has shown extreme loyalty to Skye, the only other person known to be connected to the TAHITI process, despite the clear danger she could pose to her team and the world at large.

...and most importantly...

  • Coulson has become more and more calculating, dictatorial, and seemingly cold-hearted since his TAHITI treatments, and even more so since the fall of SHIELD. This has led him to maintain the policy of secret-keeping that Nick Fury established, and which that organization is ideologically opposed to.

The organization in question points to these facts as evidence that Coulson may have been altered, impaired, or otherwise changed from his TAHITI experiences, and as such may not be capable to lead SHIELD. The final point explains why they didn't simply contact him about it, and felt the need to work against him (or at least keep him under surveillance) without his knowledge.

Put simply, they're not doubting his personal intentions, so much as they're doubting whether it's a good idea to put a PTSD-suffering, obsessive-compulsive alien-blood-experimentee with trust issues and questionable allies in charge of a global intelligence and military organization.

  • This is a good answer, but it leaves out one of their most-often stated reasons for mistrusting the Son of Coul: secrets. Secrets have been the show's enduring theme from the first episode, and a major reason they think Coulson is inappropriate for SHIELD is that he's carrying on Fury's legacy of secret-keeping.
    – BESW
    Apr 14, 2015 at 7:55
  • @BESW That's a good point, although that's more of a reason to distrust the "old guard" of SHIELD in general. That logic is probably why they haven't reached out to Romanov or Hill, either, while this question seems more focused on their distrust of Coulson personally. Either way, I'll add it.
    – Nerrolken
    Apr 14, 2015 at 16:14
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    @BESW Which makes their behavior a bit strange. "We don't like Coulson's secret-keeping, so we will spy on him, plant moles in his organization, and hide the fact that we even exist from him. Also, we think that SHIELD should be run democratically, so we're going to take control by force."
    – KSmarts
    Apr 14, 2015 at 17:44
  • @KSmarts Methinks that hypocrisy will be their downfall, narratively speaking.
    – Nerrolken
    Apr 14, 2015 at 17:49
  • 1
    @KSmarts Yeah, their actual complaint strikes me as less "He's keeping secrets" and more "... and we're not in on it". I'd also like to think that if they did take over publicly, a lot of field agents are going to pointedly ask them where the hell the "Real SHIELD" was when HYDRA was hunting them down and Coulson was running himself ragged trying to protect everyone he could. May 9, 2019 at 5:42

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