Lucy Lawless Returns To 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.,' So Could Isabelle Hartley Be An Ihuman?

There was a ton of excitement over the casting of Lucy Lawless as Isabelle Hartley on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D . earlier this season. She was kicking ass and taking names all over the Season 2 premiere… until she was abruptly killed by the Diviner during a car chase. It was certainly abrupt, and as soon as casting news suggested that Agent Hartley would be back, fan theorist wheels started turning. Could Hartley have been alive the whole time? Is she an Inhuman? Or, could she even come back as a Life Model Decoy, a la the endless supply of Koenig brothers?

Most fans are predicting that Hartley will only come back in flashback mode, which makes sense, but when you're talking about The Artist Formerly Known as Xena the Warrior Princess, anything is possible. Besides, there's a lot more she needs to get done on S.H.I.E.L.D. — there's the fact that the hard-to-pin-down Lance Hunter has some major loyalty to her, and that her name keeps getting brought up in the "real S.H.I.E.L.D." meetings. I'm hoping Hartley is here to stay, and here's how that could work.

As Herself

Things don't look great for Hartley. We saw her lifeless body in the overturned car, and we saw her funeral. That said, YOU NEVER KNOW. After all, Coulson and Skye were both resurrected using GH-325, and there's also a small chance that her death was staged.

As An Inhuman

Yes, she touched The Obelisk/Diviner, and yes, it deemed her unworthy. But rather than let the thing turn her to dust, Hartley had the gumption to saw off her own arm to prevent the dustiness from spreading — though she still died shortly after in a car wreck.

The fact that The Diviner didn't do the whole glow-y thing when it touched were would indicate that Hartley is not an Inhuman — but she does have the unique distinction of being the only person who didn't die after touching it, which could definitely mean big things for her. Besides, it's only right for Xena to be granted her rightful super-strength powers — heck, I'll take anything, barring Raina's whole tortured porcupine transformation.

As A Life Model Decoy

It's been a while since we've seen the Koenigs, and we've never had actual confirmation that the unsettling band of brothers are LMDs, but fan theorists see it as clear as day. Now, it's unclear just what the criteria is to make someone into an LMD, but it would make sense that Hartley would fit it. After all, she was a superb agent — why not make her a robot facsimile?

No matter in what way, shape, or form, I'm just glad Hartley is coming back to SH.I.E.L.D., because Lawless is a total badass.

Images: Kelsey McNeal/ABC; Giphy (3)