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!