Marvel and ABC have issued an official press release for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Rise and Shine." In a surprising twist, it promises the unexpected return of Hydra.
It's currently unclear whether Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 will be the final season. The showrunners have carefully prepared for cancellation, weaving together a tale that they believe will honor the series' rich history. So far, that's included a 100th episode involving the "Dream Dimension," with a whole host of returning characters - such as Hive and Lash - and a pawn-shop window full of Easter eggs.
It seems season 5's story will continue to weave its way back into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s history. A press release for the 15th episode, "Rise and Shine," has teased the return of some key characters from the show's past. Here's the press release in full:
COULSON DISCOVERS GENERAL HALE’S DARK SECRET,
ON ABC’S ‘MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.’
“Rise and Shine” – Coulson uncovers General Hale’s true agenda, and it could be the end of the world if S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t help her, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” FRIDAY, MARCH 30 (9:01-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” stars Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May, Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma Simmons, Henry Simmons as Agent Alphonso “Mack” MacKenzie and Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez.
Guest starring are Adrian Pasdar as Brigadier General Glenn Talbot, Catherine Dent as General Hale, Dove Cameron as Ruby, Peter Mensah as Qovas, Reed Diamond as Daniel Whitehall, Raquel Gardner as Carla Talbot, Jack Fisher as George Talbot, Alyssa Jirrels as teenage Hale, Adam Faison as teenage Jasper Sitwell, Joey Defore as young Baron Von Strucker, Graham Sibley as Professor Steger, Rocky McMurray as General Fischer and Lyn Alicia Henderson as Dr. Ford.
”Rise and Shine” was written by Iden Baghdadchi and directed by Jesse Bochco.
Although General Hale and her daughter Ruby have been introduced as antagonists, this suggests S.H.I.E.L.D. will be forced into an alliance with them. "All the Comforts of Home" saw Ruby ask her mother whether or not they were the "good guys;" it's actually possible they are, although their methods are certainly questionable.
The most exciting detail, though, was spotted by MCUExchange. They noted the return of Reed Diamond as Daniel Whitehall, one of Hydra's most important leaders in season 2. Whitehall trained under the Red Skull himself, and experimented with the Inhuman Obelisk. Captured by the SSR, he remained a prisoner for decades, until Hydra arranged his release. Whitehall's experiments allowed him to mimic the power of the Inhuman Jiaying, returning him to a more youthful state, and he remained ageless and potentially immortal until shot by Coulson. He evidently appears in a flashback, with actors cast to play the roles of young Baron Von Strucker and Jasper Sitwell - other key Hydra members.
It's also worth noting that Rocky McMurray is apparently playing one "General Fischer." Although there's never been a Marvel character with that name, in the real world Hermann Fischer was a decorated Nazi general. He campaigned on the Eastern Front, surrendering to the Red Army in 1945, and was held as a prisoner until 1955. Given Hydra's strong ties to the Nazi regime, it's quite possible the MCU will reinterpret Fischer as a member of Hydra in the flashback.
Disturbingly, though, the flashbacks also include a "teenage Hale" (played by Alyssa Jirrels). That raises the ominous possibility that Hale is somehow tied to Hydra, and that S.H.I.E.L.D.'s greatest foes weren't wiped out in season 3 after all. Whatever the truth may be about General Hale, it's clear that season 5 is about to dive back into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s history. That's an appropriate direction for the series to take, given this could well be the last season.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues Friday March 16th with “Principia” at 9pm on ABC.