Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been renewed by ABC for an (admittedly abbreviated) sixth season, and that can only mean one thing; the series is about to explore the repercussions of Avengers: Infinity War. The last few episodes of Season 5 have been concurrent with the latest Marvel movie, and everything's building up to the dramatic moment when Thanos snaps his fingers and erases half the life in the universe.
Where Infinity War settled for only giving viewers a brief glimpse of the horror - focusing mainly on beloved heroes crumbling to dust - S.H.I.E.L.D. will no doubt show how this atrocity affected the entire world. The global chaos will no doubt force Coulson's team out of the shadows and into the light.
But Thanos's finger-snap will no doubt affect the S.H.I.E.L.D. team too. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has always focused on the theme of family, meaning a number of sudden losses would leave the whole group reeling. That new dynamic would make for tremendous drama, as the remaining agents attempt to make sense of a world that's gone insane. But who should be killed by Thanos, and who should survive? It's hard to say how the show will deal with the fallout given the importance of actor contracts, which are more hurt my a vanishing than their movie counterparts, but from a story standpoint, there are some clear ideal outcomes. After all, what has Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. proven itself as if not adaptable?
Phil Coulson Should Die
It may seem like heresy, but Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson should crumble to dust. He's the heart of the S.H.I.E.L.D. family, and his loss would affect every single member of the team. Right now, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team are attempting to save Coulson's life; imagine the drama if they succeeded, only to watch him fade away before their horrified eyes. Meanwhile, the symbolism of it all would be powerful; the Avengers have failed to save the world, and even the man who persuaded them to first assemble is lost.
Quake Should Survive
Coulson was initially the star of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but it's now really Chloe Bennet's Quake who gets top billing. The last two seasons have seen Daisy Johnson gradually step up as a leader, although she's struggling to deal with the team's disparate personalities. Coulson's death would be the perfect opportunity for Marvel to continue that arc, truly making Daisy the greatest superhero of Marvel Television.
Fitz Should Die, and Simmons Should Survive
Fitz has always believed that his romance with Simmons is cursed, and that's a plot thread that simply can't be ignored. As popular as Fitz and Simmons are, one of them has to die. Given there have been subtle hints that Simmons is pregnant, it would be heartbreaking to lose Fitz and see Jemma deal with the pregnancy on her own.
Melinda May Should Survive
Season 5 has had Ming-Na Wen's Agent May glimpsing a timeline in which she served as an adoptive mother to the Inhuman Seer, Robin. There's a beautiful symmetry to that plot thread, given May was initially scarred after she was forced to kill an Inhuman child whose powers were out of control. It would be great to see Season 6 expand on this plot, with May taking Robin under her wing and learning how to be a mother. The sheer weight of this plot makes killing May a mistake.
Mack Should Die, and Yo-Yo Should Survive
Romance is doomed when Thanos snaps his fingers, and this relationship too should be torn apart by the Mad Titan. Mack is Yo-Yo's moral compass, and his loss would leave her emotionally untethered. Season 5 has already toyed with the idea of a Yo-Yo bereft of Mack's influence, with the impulsive Inhuman launching herself into some dangerous situations. She's also not a natural follower, and would no doubt clash with Daisy's leadership.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 concludes Friday, May 18 with "The End" at 9pm on ABC.