- "Thousands of years ago, an Inhuman was born on this planet that was destined to rule it, so powerful, so fearsome that others were consumed with dread, and so they banished It from the Earth, sent It through the portal to a distant planet. HYDRA was founded with the sole purpose of engineering Its return."
- ―Gideon Malick[src]
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for an action-packed third season, with Director Phil Coulson and Agent Daisy Johnson leading the charge as S.H.I.E.L.D. searches the world for more powered people in the aftermath of their epic battle with Jiaying and her army of Inhumans. However, Coulson and the team soon find out that they are not the only group looking for these new Inhumans.
Many months after their war with a rogue group of Inhumans, the team is still reeling. Coulson is again trying to put the pieces of his once revered organization back together while also dealing with the loss of his hand. His confidante and second in command, Agent Melinda May, has yet to return from an impromptu vacation with ex-husband Andrew; deadly superspy Agent Bobbi Morse is recovering from her traumatic torture at the hands of Grant Ward; Fitz is obsessed with discovering the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of Simmons; and all are on high-alert for the next move from Ward and HYDRA.
Ever since the existence of Super Heroes and aliens became public knowledge after the Battle of New York, the world has been trying to come to grips with this new reality. Coulson assembled a small, highly select group of Agents from the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division). S.H.I.E.L.D.’s mission: to protect those who cannot protect themselves from threats they cannot conceive.
But bigger threats loom ahead, setting the stakes even higher for the Agents, including the spread of Terrigen, an alien substance that unlocks superhuman abilities in select individuals; the emergence of new Inhumans who cannot yet control nor understand their powers; the rise of a new government organization that will go toe-to-toe with S.H.I.E.L.D.; the unknown properties of the massive alien Kree Monolith, which has taken one of their own; and the constant threat of a rebuilt HYDRA terrorist organization under S.H.I.E.L.D. traitor Grant Ward, who is making it his personal mission to take down Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D.
New faces, both friend and foe, will join the series, including the no-nonsense, highly-skilled and somewhat mysterious leader of the ATCU (Advanced Threat Containment Unit), her intimidating partner, Luther Banks, Lash, a monstrous Inhuman whose loyalties remain ambiguous, and new Inhuman Joey, who is struggling to harness his newfound abilities, among other surprising characters.
Coulson, with the help of Daisy and Mack, will work to slowly assemble a team that is stronger than ever before, combining the highly skilled Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with powered individuals in the hopes of protecting the innocent in a world where the balance of power is ever-shifting, and new dangers are constantly emerging.
Six months have passed since Jemma Simmons disappeared. Leo Fitz has done research in different things to discover a way to find her including Pym Particles. Learning of a scroll with the secret of the Monolith in Morocco, Fitz goes there and, though he barely escapes the terrorist Yusef Hadad, returns to the Playground to read the single word written on the scroll, "Death". Hurt and tired, Fitz enters the cell holding the stone, begging it to open; his teammates remove him from the container before the stone can consume him. Bobbi Morse removes sand from Fitz's cheek, proof that Simmons is on another world and that the Monolith is a portal. Following the advice of Elliot Randolph, it is learned that the vibrational power of Daisy Johnson can hold the portal open. Fitz enters the other world and brings Simmons to Earth.
Soon after, Fitz discovers that Simmons is attempting to recreate the portal and return to the planet; she reveals that during her experience on the alien world, which is called Maveth, she came into contact with a human astronaut named Will Daniels, who had been stranded on the planet himself after NASA sent him there as part of a space exploration operation. The two helped each other survive the harsh world, which was inhabited by a malevolent parasitic entity that had been killing and infesting hundreds of humans also brought to Maveth by the Monolith over countless decades to be used as hosts to keep itself alive. Having fallen in love with Daniels, Simmons desires to return to Maveth so she can rescue him. While saddened by the relationship formed between Simmons and Daniels, Fitz agrees to help.
Also, over the past six months, an Inhuman Outbreak has begun as a result of Jiaying's maniacal actions in the war between the Inhumans and S.H.I.E.L.D.; though S.H.I.E.L.D. was able to recall Nature Max Supplements Fish Oil pills off store shelves, the organization could not recall what was already ingested by those with Inhuman ancestry. New Inhumans emerge with uncontrolled powers, causing S.H.I.E.L.D. to seek them out and place them in the Caterpillars program, a secret project created by Director Phil Coulson to create a special ops team composed of Inhumans. However, the newly-transformed are being murdered before they can be collected.
A new organization named the Advanced Threat Containment Unit (ATCU), led by Rosalind Price, is charged by President Matthew Ellis with detaining these new Inhumans as well as find the killer; investigations by both the ATCU and S.H.I.E.L.D. reveal that the perpetrator behind the deaths is a powerful, monstrous Inhuman known as Lash. Lash has a brief bout with Johnson and Agent Alphonso Mackenzie while pursuing Lincoln Campbell, a former member of Jiaying's Inhuman settlement of Afterlife, who is forced on the run after he uses his powers in public.
Deciding to join forces to take down Lash, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the ATCU discover that the murderer is locating Inhumans using the reactive powers of another Inhuman named Dwight Frye. Before they have a chance to question him on Lash's motivations, the two groups are ambushed by Lash himself, who murders Frye and then escapes. As he flees, Johnson catches a quick glimpse of him transforming into a regular human, explaining how he has managed to evade both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the ATCU so easily.
Meanwhile, Lance Hunter wants revenge on Grant Ward for the Kidnapping of Bobbi Morse and recruits Melinda May. Simultaneously, Ward has started his own campaign to rebuild HYDRA and avenge the death of Agent 33; he recruits Werner von Strucker to assist him. The angry men finally meet and shoot it out, but Ward has a backup plan; he sends von Strucker to kill Andrew Garner. Garner manages to survive the encounter, but is injured while von Strucker escapes.
Having grown weary of Ward, von Strucker abandons him and attempts to find protection in the form of more experienced HYDRA figurehead, Gideon Malick, who once worked with the World Security Council. However, Malick instead turns von Strucker over to Ward. May and Agent Bobbi Morse, the latter taking Hunter's place in the pursuit, track von Strucker down to one of Malick's safehouses and executed the young man's tormentors. May then interrogates von Strucker and is horrified to learn that Garner survived the attack, because Garner himself is in fact Lash, having transformed during his attack by HYDRA and faking his own injures so not to arouse suspicion.
May confronts Garner and he kidnaps her, taking her to Culver University to try to convince her that he was doing the greater good. The combined forces of the ATCU and S.H.I.E.L.D. surround Garner to capture him, but Lincoln Campbell, who returned to the organization when he realized that Lash was a member of S.H.I.E.L.D., attacked prematurely, from anger that Lash killed so many of his friends. This causes a battle where the ATCU soldiers are killed and Rosalind Price is tossed from a balcony, to be saved by Johnson's vibrational powers. Eventually, May calms Garner and he is captured; May allows Price to place him in Suspension Gel until a cure can be found for his transformations.
Using the capture of Lash as justification, Phil Coulson decides to enact Operation Spotlight to uncover the secrets of the ATCU. While giving Price a false tour of the Playground, a team composed of Daisy Johnson, Alphonso Mackenzie, Melinda May, Bobbi Morse, Lance Hunter, and a newly recruited Lincoln Campbell infiltrates the ATCU headquarters. Through their investigation, the team discovers a shocking truth: the ATCU is actually a puppet organization for Gideon Malick's HYDRA cell, and rather than working to find a cure for Terrigenesis, they are actually subjecting their own people to the Terrigen Mist with hopes of creating an Inhuman army.
After interrogating Price over this discovery, Coulson discovers that she is just as clueless to this as they are. Simultaneously, Ward clashes with Malick over the issue with von Strucker, and eventually, Malick reveals the truth behind his motives. Instead of being founded by Johann Schmidt in World War II like the majority of HYDRA and S.H.I.E.L.D. believes, HYDRA was actually conceived centuries before as a cult dedicated to the worship of a powerful Inhuman with near-godlike capabilities.
Fearing his power, other Inhumans of that era used the Monolith to transport the dark Inhuman to Maveth; the hostile entity that Simmons encountered on the planet is actually this Inhuman, who has survived for thousands of years, murdering hundreds of people sent through the Monolith by HYDRA so that it may possess their bodies, thus enabling its consciousness to survive so many generations. HYDRA's true goal is to find a way to bring the Inhuman back to Earth so that it may conquer it, and that the attacks and operations HYDRA has been performing since World War II were actually meant to weaken the world powers in preparation for their leader's return. The people sent through the Monolith over the countless generations, including Will Daniels and his NASA team, were actually just attempts by HYDRA to find a way to extract the Inhuman from Maveth.
To stop Price from sharing too much information of the ATCU with S.H.I.E.L.D., Malick sends Ward to assassinate her, shooting her through the throat while she and Coulson are on a date. Overcome with rage, Coulson orders a manhunt for Ward and Malick to bring down HYDRA once and for all. Using information gathered from their research on HYDRA's work with the Monolith, S.H.I.E.L.D. discovers the location of a facility once belonging to Project Distant Star Return, the NASA party that Will Daniels had been a part of when HYDRA orchestrated his travel to Maveth.
A small team composed of Fitz, Simmons, and Price's second, Luther Banks, when they are ambushed by R. Giyera, a telekinetic Inhuman HYDRA operative, who executes Banks and takes Fitz and Simmons to Malick's hideout, an ancient castle in England. There, Ward tortures Simmons in order to get her and Fitz to reveal how they managed to bring Simmons back from Maveth. Meanwhile, having learned of their companions' capture, the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. seek out and abduct Ward's younger brother, Thomas, who is one of the few people Ward genuinely loves.
They threaten to kill him unless Ward releases Fitz and Simmons, but Ward refuses, especially after Thomas himself expresses his disgust over what his brother has become. Thankfully, they are able to track Ward's call to the castle, where HYDRA successfully manages to reopen the portal to Maveth using fragments of the Monolith. Malick sends a small team composed of Ward, Fitz, and a number of HYDRA operatives through the portal, but moments before it closes, Coulson leaps in after them.
In order to successfully extract their people from the castle, the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D., under temporary directorship of Alphonso Mackenzie, organizes a response team comprised of Inhumans Daisy, Lincoln Campbell, and Joey Gutierrez to go in and secure the castle. In the ensuing chaos, Malick retreats and Simmons manages to escape her bindings and finds Andrew Garner. Although extremely hesitant, Simmons releases Garner, who transforms into Lash and slaughters the HYDRA forces pursuing her before escaping, enabling her to reunite with S.H.I.E.L.D. However, Garner also murders the other captured Inhumans in the base and flees before S.H.I.E.L.D. can detain him again.
Once the HYDRA forces are dealt with, the team secures the portal. Simultaneously, on Maveth, Fitz, Ward, and the HYDRA team find Will Daniels and use him as a guide to locate the dark Inhuman. A sandstorm allows Fitz and Daniels to evade the HYDRA team, who are soon found and killed by Coulson, sans Ward, whom Coulson holds hostage to find Fitz. Nearing the portal back to Earth, Fitz soon discovers that the Daniels he is with is actually the evil entity, which has killed Daniels and possessed his body. After a violent struggle, Coulson finally kills Ward while Fitz seems to kill the Inhuman by incinerating Daniels' body with a flare gun, and the two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents safely make it back to Earth just as the castle is bombarded by S.H.I.E.L.D., closing the portal.
Meanwhile, Malick, having fled from the battle, runs into what at first appears to be Grant Ward. However, upon seeing Ward's mutilated appearance, he gleefully realizes that it is actually the dark Inhuman, having infested Ward's body and secretly followed Coulson and Fitz back to Earth.
The Dark One
Time passes, but Leo Fitz feels guilty for shooting the body of Will Daniels; Phil Coulson tells Fitz that he did what was necessary, in Fitz's eyes, justifying the revenge murder of Grant Ward. The broken body of Ward is now occupied by Hive, who sits and watches television all day; this is very discouraging to Gideon Malick who imagined more from the being he was taught to worship. Nonetheless, he tells Giyera to continue with gathering an army for the Dark Inhuman, since others were killed. They find a prospective Inhuman among the National Police of Colombia.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is also in Colombia, researching the reports of mysterious occurrences of guns disappearing. There they discover an Inhuman with super speed named Elena Rodriguez, who like a Yo-yo, snaps back to her original location after a heartbeat of rapidness. After learning that she was stealing the guns to keep the corrupt officers from using them against the citizens, the agents assist her in her efforts and capture Lucio, another Inhuman with petrification powers. Unexpectedly, a HYDRA QuadCopter arrives and takes Lucio.
Meanwhile, Coulson uses the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine on Werner von Strucker in hopes to find Malick; though he does not, Coulson causes the collapse of Gothite Industries. President Matthew Ellis makes the ATCU the public face of S.H.I.E.L.D., who is now used for secret black-operations, with Glenn Talbot as its leader.
Coulson and Talbot go to a symposium on the Inhuman crisis after the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, much to their distrust, learn that Carl Creel is Talbot's personal bodyguard. The agents know that Malick has a mole within the symposium and, Lance Hunter, putting his suspicions on Creel, follows the Absorbing Man until he learns that Creel is trying to free Talbot's son from his captivity in Suspension Gel. Talbot himself is the mole since his son's life was at risk. The agents and Creel help Talbot, but, in the ruckus, Hunter and Bobbi Morse follow the corrupt Russian representative back to his country.
In Russia, representative Anton Petrov truly does want to establish a homeland for the Inhumans; it is a plan created by him and Malick to give Hive an army and allow Petrov control of the country after the Prime Minister Dimitri Olshenko is killed. Morse and Hunter foil the planned coup but at a heavy cost, because, by saving Olshenko, they were forced to kill Petrov and the Inhuman General Androvich, causing S.H.I.E.L.D. to disavow them to keep the United States of America and Russia from beginning a new Cold War for super powered beings.
Hive heals his broken body and puts Giyera, who procured a warhead from Felix Blake and his new terrorist organization, the Watchdogs, and Lucio under his control. With a better, stronger appearance, Hive confronts Malick and desires to show him what true power feels like. The leaders of HYDRA take over the Transia Corporation and procure its exoskeleton for Malick to wear.
Simultaneously, they capture the precognitive Charles Hinton, whose power shows those he touches how they will die. S.H.I.E.L.D. leads a rescue attempt for him, but Hinton dies, saving Johnson from the merciless beating of Malick in the exoskeleton. Hinton touches Malick and shows him death, causing Malick to reevaluate his relationship with Hive.
To everyone's surprise, Andrew Garner surrenders himself to guards of the Playground; he tells Melinda May that he has come to see her before he becomes Lash permanently. Like Lincoln Campbell, Garner believes that there is a "higher purpose" for Lash which has not yet been discovered, but he wants the bestial Inhuman at the disposal of S.H.I.E.L.D. May cries as Garner makes his final change.
This section requires expansion
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Brett Dalton as Grant Ward / Hive
- Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson
- Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Nick Blood as Lance Hunter
- Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse
- Henry Simmons as Alphonso Mackenzie
- Luke Mitchell as Lincoln Campbell
- Constance Zimmer as Rosalind Price
- Andrew Howard as Agent Luther Banks
- Juan Pablo Raba as Joey Gutierrez
- Blair Underwood as Doctor Andrew Garner
- Spencer Treat Clark as Werner von Strucker
- Daz Crawford as Kebo
- Alicia Vela-Bailey as Alisha Whitley
- Powers Boothe as Gideon Malick
- Mark Dacascos as Giyera
- Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Yo-Yo Rodriguez
- Gabriel Salvador as Lucio
- Adrian Pasdar as Brigadier General Glenn Talbot
- Alexander Wraith as Agent Anderson
- Axle Whitehead as JT James/Hellfire
- John Hannah as Doctor Holden Radcliffe
Marvel Cinematic Universe Guest Stars
|Laws of Nature||3.01||September 29, 2015||Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon||Vincent Misiano|
|When a new Inhuman is discovered, Coulson and the team have an encounter with another organization seeking powered people; Fitz goes to extreme measures to determine how to get Simmons back.|
|Purpose in the Machine||3.02||October 6, 2015||DJ Doyle||Kevin Tancharoen|
|Fitz and the team enlist the aid of an Asgardian to unlock the secrets of the ancient Monolith that swallowed Simmons, and Agent May is at a crossroads in her personal and professional life.|
|A Wanted (Inhu)man||3.03||October 13, 2015||Monica Owusu-Breen||Garry A. Brown|
|Daisy, Mack and Coulson race to protect Lincoln as Rosalind’s team hunts down the Inhuman in their quest for powered people. Meanwhile, Hunter proves that there is no line that he will not cross to exact his revenge against Ward and HYDRA.|
|Devils You Know||3.04||October 20, 2015||Paul Zbyszewski||Ron Underwood|
|Coulson and the team search for the Inhuman who is killing other Inhumans. Meanwhile, May feels that Hunter's mission to take down Ward is getting too personal.|
|4,722 Hours||3.05||October 27, 2015||Craig Titley||Jesse Bochco|
|After her dramatic rescue from another planet, Simmons is still reeling from her ordeal and reveals how she had to fight for her life in a harsh new world.|
|Among Us Hide...||3.06||November 3, 2015||Drew Z. Greenberg||Dwight Little|
|The stakes get even higher as Hunter and May continue to go after Ward and HYDRA, and Daisy and Coulson begin to suspect that the ATCU may be keeping a big secret from S.H.I.E.L.D.|
|Chaos Theory||3.07||November 10, 2015||Lauren LeFranc||David Solomon|
|As Daisy and the team fight to protect Inhumans, S.H.I.E.L.D. discovers the shocking truth about one of their foes; Fitz helps Simmons recover information that could lead them back through the portal.|
|Many Heads, One Tale||3.08||November 17, 2015||Jed Whedon & DJ Doyle||Garry A. Brown|
|The S.H.I.E.L.D. team discovers dangerous truths about the ATCU, and Ward's plans to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. take a surprising twist.|
|Closure||3.09||December 1, 2015||Brent Fletcher||Kate Woods|
|Ward's campaign for revenge brings the S.H.I.E.L.D. team to their knees, and Coulson proves he will do anything to settle the score.|
|Maveth||3.10||December 8, 2015||Jeffrey Bell||Vincent Misiano|
|A battle between HYDRA and S.H.I.E.L.D. will change Coulson's world; Fitz and Coulson take a huge risk.|
|Bouncing Back||3.11||March 8, 2016||Monica Owusu-Breen||Ron Underwood|
|In the aftermath of his trip to Maveth, Coulson is more determined than ever to get to Gideon Malick and put an end to HYDRA once and for all. Daisy and the team encounter more Inhumans who have powers like they've never seen before, but will they be friends or enemies of S.H.I.E.L.D.?|
|The Inside Man||3.12||March 15, 2016||Craig Titley||John Terlesky|
|Coulson and General Talbot are forced to team up and attend a worldwide symposium on Inhumans, where they suspect Malick has an inside man. As the S.H.I.E.L.D. team gets closer to the truth, an unexpected traitor is revealed.|
|Parting Shot||3.13||March 22, 2016||Paul Zbyszewski||Michael Zinberg|
|Bobbi and Hunter become ensnared in an assassination plot after tracking Malick to Russia. As S.H.I.E.L.D. races to save the lives on the line, the team is changed forever.|
|Watchdogs||3.14||March 29, 2016||Drew Z. Greenberg||Jesse Bochco|
|When a radical group called The Watchdogs emerges with plans to eliminate the Inhumans, Agent Mack and his brother become caught in the crossfire. Meanwhile, Simmons discovers a powerful chemical compound that could alter the future for Inhumans.|
|Spacetime||3.15||April 5, 2016||Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon||Kevin Tancharoen|
|When Daisy gets a horrifying glimpse of the future, S.H.I.E.L.D. races to prove that fate is not fixed.|
|Paradise Lost||3.16||April 12, 2016||George Kitson & Sharla Oliver||Wendey Stanzler|
|S.H.I.E.L.D. hunts for information on their dangerous new enemy, and a shameful secret from Malick's past is exposed, threatening to destroy his HYDRA legacy.|
|The Team||3.17||April 19, 2016||DJ Doyle||Elodie Keene|
|Agent Daisy Johnson must call upon the Secret Warriors for an inaugural mission that will leave no member unscathed, and S.H.I.E.L.D. learns more about Hive's powers, forcing them to question everyone they trust.|
|The Singularity||3.18||April 26, 2016||Lauren LeFranc||Garry A. Brown|
|The S.H.I.E.L.D. team is left reeling and decimated as Hive continues to sway Inhumans to his side. But there is a sliver of hope as Agents Fitz and Simmons follow a lead that may be able to stop the maniacal Inhuman once and for all.|
|Failed Experiments||3.19||May 3, 2016||Brent Fletcher||Wendey Stanzler|
|Coulson and his team race to combat Hive's control over the Inhumans, as their enemy's deadly plan for the human race is revealed.|
|Emancipation||3.20||May 10, 2016||Craig Titley||Vincent Misiano|
|With only two episodes left before S.H.I.E.L.D. loses one of their own, Daisy's prophecy ticks closer towards a major loss, as the aftermath of the events of Captain America: Civil War force S.H.I.E.L.D. to register the Inhumans.|
|Absolution||3.21||May 17, 2016||Chris Dingess & Drew Z. Greenberg||Billy Gierhart|
|It's a showdown a season in the making as S.H.I.E.L.D. takes on Hive, and when his master plan is finally revealed, the team must spring into action. Who will live and who will die?|
|Ascension||3.22||May 17, 2016||Jed Whedon||Kevin Tancharoen|
|It's a showdown a season in the making as S.H.I.E.L.D. takes on Hive, and when his master plan is finally revealed, the team must spring into action. Who will live and who will die?|
- This season had the most main character absences than any other season:
- This is the last season to feature Marvel Cinematic Universe Guest Stars.