Theta Protocol Theories Show 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Could Take This Mystery In Many Different Directions

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans made it through Avengers: Age of Ultron and unlike last year's huge developments from Captain America: Winter Soldier, the plot of the ABC series is largely untouched. Unless (spoiler alert) Nick Fury and Maria Hill show up to whip everybody into shape and take a squad to Sokovia in the middle of Tuesday's episode, the questions that Coulson has left to answer are entirely his own. For example, what the frack is Theta Protocol on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ?

Answers are promised soon, but I was really hoping for a shoutout in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Alas, we'll just have to wait. According to the official ABC press release for Tuesday's S.H.I.E.L.D.episode "Scars," Skye will be torn between her two worlds and "Coulson reveals a secret he’s been hiding from even those closest to him." What is this secret going to be? It has to be the meaning of theta protocol.

Both Gonzales and Coulson have major secrets, but Theta Protocol is definitely the biggest mystery. Could it launch the S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff? What if it's a jail? What do the brothers Koenig have to do with it? At the end of "The Dirty Half-Dozen" Deathlok was taken away to yet another research and training facility. Was he headed for Theta Protocol? There are many theories. Let's recap before we get Tuesday night's big reveal.

The New Avengers Facility

If the answer was in Age of Ultron, this is it. Without spoiling too much of the movie, let's just say that a new training facility for Avengers (or a training facility for New Avengers depending on how you wield your grammar) appears in the film. We know that Theta Protocol involved the Avengers, so is this what Coulson was building? Reddit user yer1 speculated on a theory thread that this is Marvel's Fifty State Initiative, which in the comics sought to instate an Avengers-like team all over America and the world. Perhaps this is the start of that.

Or maybe Coulson, Fury, and Hill have been working in the shadows to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. with an Avengers focus. More importantly, did Phil Coulson build a facility specifically for his hero, Captain America? That's adorable.

A School For Enhanced People

Wouldn't it just be adorable if Coulson and Jiaying became the Professors X and McGonagall of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Coulson has been consulting with May's ex-husband, who is a specialist in the psychology of powered people. Sure, he claimed it was for counseling while he was making alien doodles, but there could have been more to it than that. Doctor Garner is definitely a good contact to have if you're looking to start housing enhanceds who may have trouble adjusting to their new powers and roles.

Something Else Entirely

If you look at S.H.I.E.L.D.'s past, the word "theta" has been used once before. A "theta brain-wave frequency machine" is what Raina used to draw memories out of Coulson about T.A.H.I.T.I. — could this be connected to the protocol? Coulson did promise Ward a clean slate using the T.A.H.I.T.I. procedure in a recent episode. Is he planning some kind of mass brainwashing initiative? That sounds... slightly evil. I'm too scarred by some of the character actions in Avengers: Age of Ultron to bare seeing Coulson go bad as well, so let's hope Theta Protocol is something much more heroic.

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