Analyzing SHIELD’s Bizarre Habit Of Hiring Their Enemies, And Why They Really Need To Stop Doing That

Analyzing SHIELD’s Bizarre Habit Of Hiring Their Enemies, And Why They Really Need To Stop Doing That

If you have been paying attention to Marvel’s cinematic universe, you might have noticed that SHIELD is a little too trusting. In fact, that is an understatement, as they are recruiting violent criminals, and individuals who are plotting their destruction, on a regular basis. Is there a solution to this horrible problem? Hit the jump for my take!


It all started with Item 47. If you have not seen it yet, you are not missing anything, because it is pretty lousy. Basically, a couple named Benny and Claire run around the country robbing banks using Chitauri technology. The thing is, none of the Chitauri technology that SHIELD recovered worked. Benny was somehow able to repair the Chitauri gun, and because Claire convinces him to do so, he uses it to commit several crimes. Agent Sitwell tracks down the couple and takes the gun. Since bank robbers belong in jail, he surrenders the couple to the police.  



Except, wait, no, he does not do that. He actually hires them! Benny starts to work for the SHIELD R & D think tank, and Claire becomes the assistant for Agent Blake. You may be wondering why SHIELD trusts these people. I have no idea. Benny might be a valuable asset, since he can help SHIELD reverse engineer Chitauri technology, but what can Claire possibly contribute to the organization? The only thing she does in Item 47 is act as a bad influence on Benny. Throughout the short film, it appears that the couple only cares about money. How exactly does Sitwell know they will not rob SHIELD?


You might say that this was just an isolated incident. Sitwell was just acting foolish, surely this is not something SHIELD does on a regular basis! I would like you to recall the pilot for Agents of SHIELD. There was a certain girl names Skye, and she worked for the Rising Tide. She found a way to hack into SHIELD’s databases. Seeing as they are a multi-billion dollar company, SHIELD updates their security software, in order to stop hackers. No, wait, that is far too rational. Instead, Agent Coulson and Agent Ward find Skye, and recruit her.



What exactly makes Skye so special? I really do not know. Sure, she is certainly a gifted hacker, perhaps one of the best in the world, but surely there are hackers that SHIELD could recruit that are not plotting their destruction? In episode 12 of Agents of SHIELD, we learned that Skye was a very important baby, and many people died protecting her. However, Agent Coulson and Agent May did not know that until recently (despite previous episodes implying that they did). Why do they trust Skye? They learn she is a saboteur in episode 5, but for some reason, they keep her around, despite having absolutely no reason to trust her. The only punishment they give Skye is a bracelet that restricts her online activity, and shockingly, she manages to hack into secured SHIELD files once again two episodes later.


In the pilot of Agents of SHIELD, we are introduced to another new character, Mike Peterson. He was a test subject for Centipede, meaning that he has both Extremis powers and the super soldier serum. Unfortunately, this combination drives him insane, and he tries to kill his former boss, before nearly blowing up in the middle of a crowded train station. Coulson and his team manage to subdue him, and even manage to suppress his powers. So now, they send him to jail, which is where violent criminals belong, right?



Nope! Once again, SHIELD recruits a former enemy. Of course, Mike is a super soldier, and it appears that SHIELD has found a way to suppress his ability to spontaneously combust, so it kind of makes sense that they chose to add him to their roster. You might even say it was not his fault that he went insane, since the Extremis was messing with his brain. On the other hand, how do the people at SHIELD know that Mike will not have another psychotic episode? After all, they found a way to suppress his powers, but that does not mean they found a way to mentally stabilize him. Later in the series, Mike becomes Deathlok. This is not his fault, as he is being controlled by outside forces, but it seems like quite a coincidence that a former criminal working for SHIELD has returned to being a criminal.


Even when SHIELD are not actively hiring their enemies, they are giving people within their own ranks a slap on the hand for heinous crimes. In episode 12 of Agents of SHIELD, Donnie Gill creates a storm machine, and then uses to make a massive storm. He is a student at one of SHIELD’s universities, and he makes the storm on campus, endangering hundreds of students. His reason for starting this storm? To attract the attention of Ian Quinn, a known enemy of SHIELD. As punishment for this offense, he is relocated, so that SHIELD personnel can keep an eye on him.



I am sorry, but I am pretty sure he should be be expelled or fired, and probably put in prison. Why would they want this guy to continue to work for their organization?


You could try to claim that SHIELD only became stupid after The Avengers. Way back in phase 1, the super-spy organization knew what they were doing. If you really think that, then you probably do not recall a certain god of thunder.


Do you remember how Thor first met Agent Coulson? Coulson was interrogating Thor after the Asgardian had just beaten up at least a dozen SHIELD agents. Does Coulson attempt to press charges against Thor for assaulting his troops? No, he lets him go, because he somehow believes that Thor is a fitness nut on steroids. At least, that is what Selvig tells him.


This happens again in The Avengers. The first thing Thor does upon his arrival to earth is kidnap the being whom SHIELD considers to be the most dangerous man in the world. Then he gets into a petty squabble with Iron Man (to be fair, Tony actually started that fight), and tries to kill Captain America. Remember, Thor has no idea who Cap is. He does not know Cap is a super soldier, or that he has an indestructible shield.



Let me see, if an alien with homicidal rage issues comes to this planet, and tries to rescue the most dangerous man in the world, I do not think I would be particularly trusting toward this fellow, especially if he claims to be the most dangerous man’s brother. Of course, SHIELD and the Avengers immediately trust him, because they love nothing more than a person who likes to beat up members of both of their respective organizations.


Am I being too hard on these people? Is it possible Benny, Claire, Skye, Mike Peterson, and Thor are all good people, just misunderstood? Should I stop being so judgemental, and become more like SHIELD? Should I go to maximum security prisons in an attempt to find a new best friend?


The truth is, I do not think it matters if these people are trustworthy or not. The point is that SHIELD is far too trusting with their former enemies, and eventually that is going to hurt them. Do you want some evidence? Consider Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I have not seen it yet, so I will not give away any spoilers (and please do not give any away in the comment section). I can only judge based on what is in the trailers, and it appears that Captain America and Falcon will be fighting helicarriers. It also appears that both Cap and Black Widow are fighting regular SHIELD agents. Heck, we know that Crossbones will be working for SHIELD, at least in the beginning of the movie.



What does this point to? Well, I am guessing that Cap, Widow and Falcon have not suddenly lost their minds and decided to kill their co-workers. Far more likely, there is corruption among SHIELD’s ranks. It is not hard to believe that an organization that regularly employs former criminals is filled to the brim with corruption.


What can SHIELD do to reverse this epidemic? They can become far less trusting. Seeing as they are a spy agency, they need to be using bugs, not hugs. Do you remember, in The Avengers, when Black Widow mentions that SHIELD monitors all potential threats? SHIELD needs to broaden their definition of a “potential threat”. SHIELD needs to stop being so accepting of people, and get back to spying on people. After all, they are a world-wide peace keeping force, not a friendship club.

Do you agree? Disagree? Do you think SHIELD should be a friendship club? Let me know in the comments!

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Filed Under "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." 3/23/2014
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Bearjew - 3/23/2014, 9:39 PM
Not to mention Black Widow and possibly Hawkeye (since he was a bank robber originally in the comics) I was just thinking about this today.
BobbyDrakeApproaches - 3/23/2014, 9:43 PM
I don't count Hawkeye, since we don't know if he was a criminal in the movies, but that's an excellent point about Black Widow.
dethpillow - 3/23/2014, 9:50 PM
i can't defend their practices, it would take a lot of convolution and probably a bottle of whiskey to do that. and lots of looking shit up on the internet and making myself have a headache.

but what i can point out is that it's not just the MCU. recently in Marvel Comics, they're harboring MODOK now. MODOK is asking for certain kinds of tea, and personal assistants, and they're not always accommodating, but he's kinda getting all cushy in there. that's not gonna end well, we all know. and what are they gonna gain from this relationship?

and like u guys are saying, Black Widow, Spider-Woman.. other agents have been obviously at high risk as far as integrity goes. long run, does it pay off, i don't know, but it's a good point.

and look, recently... they were willing to work with Magneto even. just to catch Scott. and now he's running around the country murdering people, apparently. so it's not just MCU, but i think we gotta look straight to the source and start picking apart Marvel Comic's SHIELD hiring practices, cuz that's where i think MCU SHIELD is modeling theirs on.

they gave Mystique posing as Dazzler tons of access, and she wasn't even Dazzler. and it wasn't just one day or 3 hours, she'd been doing it for a while it seems like. at least weeks, i think. so it could be deeper rooted than you're even thinking right now.
dethpillow - 3/23/2014, 9:55 PM
like have these huge academies but then they find some girl living in a van, and they're like "hey, why don't u come work for our off the radar, special units division to investigate the weirdest shit? c'mon, never mind all those people working thru academy that we've known for 5 or 6 years of their lives, and have the ability to background check and verify that they actually exist. girl in the van, come with us. we don't know anything about u and can't find out anything, and that's good enough for us."

so yeah, u got a valid point there.
BobbyDrakeApproaches - 3/23/2014, 9:58 PM
#dethpillow, thanks! It's always a pleasure to have you comment on one of my articles. Are you serious about MODOK? Is he really working for SHIELD?
dethpillow - 3/23/2014, 9:58 PM
unless maybe Coulson's outfit is a total joke. like they're pretending to let him do stuff, but May or maybe even Fitz/Simmons is actually in charge and pretending to let everything happen the way it is. it's like a weird detention exercise for Weapon Coulson to just take the edge off for him, and keep him thinking he's involved in something. that'd be weird if May, Fitz and Simmons were all in on it, and they'd put Coulson, Skye and Ward there simply for easy surveillance on them.
dethpillow - 3/23/2014, 10:01 PM
well he's like turned himself in and claims to have good information on AIM for them, cuz he knows he's in a bad place there. but yeah, they're harboring MODOK, that's all the story line of Secret Avengers right now. i've only read one issue, but it could turn good once they start getting into it.

Maria Hill knows he's shady, of course, but Secret Avengers last year was all about double crossing on the highest levels, so it could be interesting if it keeps the same tone as last years issues.
dethpillow - 3/23/2014, 10:04 PM
Taskmaster is the new Shocker, i guess. haha.
MCott - 3/23/2014, 10:49 PM be honest...SHIELD did the same thing in the Civil War story arc
comiccow6 - 3/24/2014, 4:45 AM
Lets not forget, Sitwell is working for HYDRA. It was leaked. So first one might just be a clue to that
GliderMan - 3/24/2014, 5:31 AM
It was in the script
fortycals - 3/24/2014, 6:00 AM
Good read. This trend isn't exclusive to the live action category. There is a long history in the comics of this sort of thing. I do believe that most major villains in the mu, have at one time or another switched sides, and were welcomed with open arms. Hell I'd go one step farther and even say, a lot of heroes switch sides, and the villains are far to willing to let go of the past.

Take magneto for example. He had been at times truly evil. The x men welcome him to the team on the strength of his word of being a changed man, and one good deed. This is a guy that should be executed on site, for his past deeds, but not only do the x men welcome him, they defend him. This is why avx didn't make a whole lot of sense. They locked cyke up, while they have hulk and sw on the team.

There is a long list of these switcheroo characters, that heroes and villains seem to have a short memory about. Namor, ironlad (kang), white queen, juggernaut, sw, qs, mystique, rouge, and gambit. Hell red hulk stormed the Whitehouse, and was an avenger by the next arc.
BaronZemo - 3/24/2014, 6:01 AM

Hey, what the [frick] man? Some people don't want to hear those things! God. Are you stupid?
BaronZemo - 3/24/2014, 6:02 AM
BaronZemo - 3/24/2014, 6:03 AM
I am going to stop coming to this web page because everybody spoils everything.
Pasto - 3/24/2014, 7:15 AM
Simple, just cancel the show.
GinjaNinja - 3/24/2014, 7:36 AM
shield is a bunch of wack jobs, both in the comics and in the movies. They are an amazing organization, but they take risks on everyone to try and use the most powerful possible people in their organization. always have always will. I think thats the theme in cap 2, it finally nips them in the bud. That's why they grabed mike peterson, they figured they can stabilize him and use him. now its turned against them.
GinjaNinja - 3/24/2014, 7:38 AM
your article is actually well done and smartly thought, but thats just the way shield is.
Pheezmatic - 3/24/2014, 8:03 AM
Woah! have you EVER heard of the term REHABILITATION????


dethpillow - 3/24/2014, 8:40 AM
everyone should read last years run of Secret Avengers by Nick Spencer. that was some great stuff. they even had Hawkeye and Black Widow in Budapest, but the whole thing turned out kinda puzzling, and i don't think it would make anyone happy who cared about that kind of stuff. but it was really a great run. got into all kinds of weird stuff with Taskmaster and AIM, Mockingbird and some Black Widow robot faced woman. cool stuff.
Lhornbk - 3/24/2014, 9:22 AM
Yeah, this is stupid. Shield is a spy/security agency, not a billion dollar corporation. So naturally, if they find someone who they think can help them with their mission and can be rehabilitated, they're gonna use them.
GizmoEl - 3/24/2014, 9:51 AM
I think it's more that they'd rather control them than let them run free. Take Skye for example. She's a girl who isn't evil, but isn't working for SHIELD. They see that she is really good at what she does, and they recruit her so that she doesn't use her talents to bring them down in the future. They know it's a risk, however it is less risky monitoring what she's doing than letting her do whatever she wants wherever she wants for whoever she wants. The only other alternative is lock her up, but that would just ensure the fact that she would want to work against SHIELD if/when she is freed. It's better to make an uneasy friend early on than ask your enemy for help.
WorstUserNameEver - 3/24/2014, 10:11 AM
Just a character development tool... it is soooo much easier to have an effective character arc if the character negotiates a mass upheval (ie starting bad, becoming good or vice-versa).
xMichaelxScottx - 3/24/2014, 12:11 PM
themidnightking - 3/24/2014, 2:24 PM
Osborn - 3/25/2014, 2:01 AM
Maybe they spyed enough the people they decide to trust :p
HaroldOfGalactus - 3/25/2014, 3:27 AM
Its a simple matter of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer

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