Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new S.H.I.E.L.D. director, Mack, is finally rebuilding the spy organization after it crumbled following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. launched back in 2013, Coulson and his team were part of a global organization with phenomenal resources. But it turned out Nick Fury's S.H.I.E.L.D. had been compromised by Hydra, and it all fell apart with shocking speed.
Phil Coulson's time as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. was largely spent attempting to pick up the pieces. Although Coulson was keen to reform S.H.I.E.L.D. with the same kind of global remit, he found himself constantly reacting to the latest threat. Worse still, the resurgent S.H.I.E.L.D. was initially hunted down by the authorities, and then framed for a number of incidents, first by Hydra and then by the Inhuman-powered Aida. Coulson never really had the opportunity to establish a well-structured, secure organisation, and then was forced to pass the directorship on to Mack. And he clearly made a wise choice.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s season 6 premiere jumps forward a year and reveals that Mack has made great strides in rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Mack's S.H.I.E.L.D. use the Lighthouse as their main headquarters, a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker that was constructed in 1972 and was sturdy enough to survive the destruction of the entire planet in an averted timeline. Mack has initially focused his efforts on improving S.H.I.E.L.D.'s tactics in the field, with Agent May recruiting additional muscle, and he's divided his agents into strike teams. He seems to have successfully negotiated an agreement with the world's governments that has allowed S.H.I.E.L.D. to step out of the shadows once again; notice that his teams are back to driving vehicles openly branded with the S.H.I.E.L.D. insignia. Now, he's moving on to the next stage of his plans; and that involves recruiting a new asset.
Mack's goal is to reestablish the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy. He seems intent on naming the new Academy after Phil Coulson, and recruits Doctor Marcus Benson to head up the project. A colleague of May's ex-husband Andrew Garner, Benson is a lecturer at Culver University who she believes has the breadth of knowledge and the intellectual curiosity to head up S.H.I.E.L.D.'s scientific efforts. No doubt S.H.I.E.L.D.'s training will involve a curriculum that's very different to the one Benson is used to; the scientist reacts excitedly to the idea of S.H.I.E.L.D. having a team in "deep space," and when he reviews S.H.I.E.L.D.'s files he'll find records of everything from wormholes to time travel, from genetic mutation to demonic beings. Benson is clearly going to have a steep learning curve himself, especially with Fitz and Simmons offworld.
Although the S.H.I.E.L.D. team is still grieving their fallen leader, the reality is that Mack's skills seem to be far better suited to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s needs. He's grown into the role of director, and he seems to be much more of a skilled administrator, allowing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to rebuild at last.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 airs Fridays @ 8pm on ABC.