[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ahead.]
In the most recent episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ,'Hot Potato Soup', the show's Life Model Decoy storyline continued apace as Coulson and the gang finally realized that Agent May had been replaced by an android; the mystery behind the Koenig family was revealed; and Radcliffe managed to get his grubby mitts on the ominous Darkhold. The romantic sub-plot between Coulson and May also stepped up a gear as the duo shared a passionate kiss, only for the former S.H.I.E.L.D. director to discover that this was not the version of May that he's long known.
With the world in grave danger and one of their own held captive, the S.H.I.E.L.D. gang were never going to sit quietly by; and anyone familiar with the series will know that Radcliffe and his Russian allies are in for one heck of a counterattack. This theory is seemingly confirmed in a promo clip for the show's next episode, titled 'BOOM', which sees the whole team mobilizing against the bad guys in typical Marvel fashion.
Notably, the clip displays a return to action for S.H.I.E.L.D. director Jeffrey Mace - otherwise known as The Patriot - whose position had previously come under question after it was revealed he wasn't the Inhuman he claimed and was using science to give him enhanced abilities. The teaser also shows Coulson pleading for the return of Melinda May, with the former claiming the woman means "everything to me."
Although the promo doesn't give many hints as to the episode's plot, it certainly appears that the rescue mission will be far from a walk in the park; and Mace's proclamation that the team has fallen into a trap heavily suggests that Radcliffe and co. will continue to have the upper hand - at least for the time being. It'll also be interesting to see whether Coulson's strong feelings towards May are reciprocated, given that most of the pair's romantic development happened with an android instead of the real Agent May.
Whilst Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is certainly heating up, it's hard to shake the feeling that the arc's true main villain is yet to be revealed. Recent episodes have hinted at a possible L.M.D. uprising and it's possible that AIDA and her kind will take over as primary antagonists before too long. It's also feasible that although the show led viewers to believe the identity of The Superior was Anton Ivanov - the guy with the submarine - he may simply be another puppet for a larger enemy lurking in the background.
Alternatively, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a history of generating super-powered villains by taking human characters and giving them extraordinary abilities. With Radcliffe now in possession of the Darkhold and aware that Coulson is on his tail, the scientist surely will want to take advantage of the book's teachings as soon as possible and this could possibly lead to a complete change in character for the Scot; similar to the transformation of Eli Morrow, earlier in the season.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues Tuesday, February 7th with 'BOOM' on ABC.