Maybe Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really is getting better. Certainly there’s been a lot more fan theory on who the Clairvoyant, the mysterious head of the Centipede operation, is, at least among the remaining fans who didn’t give up on this series. However, I believe after Captain America 2 comes out next week, the series will get new scrutiny, and it really is a binge watch kind of show.
WARNING: THERE WILL BE CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 SPOILERS BELOW
Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…of the many theories on who is the Clairvoyant, there are some that people are taking as “front runners”. One in particular comes mostly from spoilers for Captain America 2, but it also makes the least sense. So I’m going to go over some of the top theories and either shoot them down or call them plausible.
The Theory: Last seen in Captain America 1, he reappears in Cap 2 as an artificial intelligence that’s been running S.H.I.E.L.D. all these years, leading to the reveal that S.H.I.E.L.D. is just HYDRA in disguise. People have latched on to the fact that the Zola AI uses predictive modeling to know what’s going to happen before it happens. Clearly, then, it must be the Clairvoyant!
Why it’s bullshit: One of the big points throughout AoS has been that the Clairvoyant cannot see what happened to Coulson after he died. However, Nick Fury had a file, a file that existed in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s system (Coulson tried to access it and couldn’t), an official file in the system, that described what happened with Coulson. It had the drugs, the procedures, the doctors, everything. If Zola was the Clairvoyant, it would have had access to that file all along. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been able to figure out where or what the Guest House was, but the problem with that is a) the Guest House reeked of HYDRA, so Zola should have known about it and b) Fitz and Simmons were able to follow the paper trail to the place – if they could do it, Zola could as well. Additionally, if Zola was behind all of it and wanted to know more about Coulson’s recovery, it could have just have set him up in any of a hundred ways to put him in the hands of Raina and the magic memory machine, there was no need for the big production number. It also wouldn’t have sent S.H.I.E.L.D. all over the globe breaking down its own Centipede labs.
The Theory: Centipede is just a front for AIM, first appearing in Iron Man 3, and while Aldrich Killian was killed, AIM itself lives on. One of AIM’s most infamous creations is M.O.D.O.K., Machine Organism Designed Only for Killing, a giant floating head with little arms and legs. Basically a demented humpty dumpty, MODOK, like the Zola theory, is a being that can “see the future” through massive data analysis. Further, AIM had access to Extremis, one of the component parts of the Centipede device, and the magic memory machine would also be up their alley. Also, the Clairvoyant is described early on as not “lik[ing] to be touched” which would certainly fit MODOK.
Why it’s bullshit: This particular theory may be correct. The reason I think it’s not has less to do with the facts and more to do with metafacts, i.e., stuff about the show. First off, MODOK being the bad guy has been going around since before the show began, meaning it stands to reason he’s a giant sized red herring. Second, while they could change him a lot to fit into the cinematic universe, he’s still one of the weirder parts of Marvel and I’m not sure he fits on a small screen production. Also, in universe, AIM would not have needed to contract out to build Deathlok.
The Theory: It’s all Loki! He’s the bad guy in the Avengers, he hates Coulson, he’s currently (Thor the Dark World spoilers, but you were already warned) pretending to be Odin. Sure, making super soldiers isn’t his bag, but Loki does like having an army! And he would want revenge on Midgard.
Why it’s bullshit: First, Tom Hiddleston isn’t going to show up on AoS. Loki is way too bigtime of a villain for the show. Second, he’s been done to death now. Marvel wants to move on to Phase 2, and Loki isn’t the big bad there. Third, and in universe now, Loki never gave a damn about Midgard, the whole invasion was a ploy to get back to Asgard to take the throne from Odin. He used the Avengers, he used Thanos, and he won, just as I predicted.
The Theory: We know Ultron is the big bad in Avengers 2, we know like Zola and MODOK, he can calculate the probabilities to see precognitive, and hey, isn’t the show supposed to be supporting the main universe?
Why it’s bullshit: Oh so many reasons. Let’s start out by saying that Marvel would never start the Avengers big bad in a TV show like that. That’s the quick and dirty meta reason – they aren’t going to let AoS steal Avengers 2’s thunder. But in universe there are problems – first, Ultron likely isn’t even built yet. That’s very likely to be covered in Avengers 2, so it’s extremely unlikely he’s even in existence yet. Second, Ultron does not use inferior humans to do his work – he would not be making super soldiers, he does not create large organizations like Centipede, and he generally isn’t the type to let folks like Coulson’s team just dangle – he would have crashed the Bus or blown them out of the sky long ago. Ultron does nothing piecemeal.
The Theory: This is actually my favorite one, and the one I hope is right. The Leader, Samuel Sterns, showed up in Incredible Hulk. That movie is still canon, even if we’ve changed actors for Bruce Banner/The Hulk. By the same token, we could see the Leader recast (and Brad Dourif would fit…). The Leader is another “data crunching” precog, like Zola and MODOK and Ultron. He doesn’t like to be touched either, and he’s a nice dangling loose end from a film.
Why it’s bullshit: I hope it’s not. I think the Leader is the most plausible explanation right now. The only concern I’d have is that as a Hulk villain, they might be saving him for a potential new Hulk film.
Here’s some other ideas, none of which I believe will be the correct answer, but best to list them just in case: The Controller (this could actually be true…he’s an Iron Man villain and does like controlling folks…), The Kree Supreme Intelligence, Captain Mar-Vell, any of the main cast, Adam Warlock (who I think actually was sort of referred to in May’s history as the gifted who was worshiped), Nick Fury himself (which makes zero sense), Baron Zemo (I don’t think they’d introduce a major Cap villain this way, but eh, sure)…
Theories that it CAN’T be:
Some folks love bringing in ideas from stuff the Marvel studios can’t use. Here’s a short list: Atlanteans, any mutant including Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister, or Destiny, Doctor Doom, Galactus, any Spider-Man villain including Mysterio, the Mad Thinker, or Norman Osborn.
Conclusion: We still don’t know who the Clairvoyant is, but man is this show finally getting interesting.