Warning: "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" spoilers are ahead.
The titular agency is headed for a downfall, thanks to HYDRA's stranglehold and Cap's decision to blow the lid off of that conspiracy. As of tonight, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." will deal with that fallout, and it could start with the revelation of the Clairvoyant's identity — the show's main enigmatic enemy, and someone who seems to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
But who is the Clairvoyant? Before the series gets the chance to answer that question itself, here are our final predictions for who the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." antagonist really is.
At the end of last week's episode, Hand was revealed to be working against Coulson's team. It's not a surprise for anyone who knows Hand from the comics, as she was a famous ally of Norman Osborn's when he was the H.A.M.M.E.R. head honcho. It feels a little obvious to make Hand the Clairvoyant, but perhaps the mystery has a straightforward answer.
Sitwell's true allegiance to HYDRA was one of the bigger surprises in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Since he showed up in last week's episode, it's clear the series has greater designs on Sitwell and his role in the Clairvoyant conspiracy. Is he the Clairvoyant himself? Perhaps not, but it's likely they're in league, at the very least.
Bill Paxton has brought unparalleled energy and presence to every episode he's appeared in. He's made an immediate impact as a fan-favorite character. But what if that's part of the ruse? What if the writers want us to fall in love with the gung-ho gunslinger so his eventual betrayal is all the more brutal? I hope Garrett is on the level, but it's a possibility that fans should prepare for.
This is the most popular theory out there right now, based on the events of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." In the movie, we learn that Zola's body died in the 70s, but his consciousness lives on through digital means, helping HYDRA navigate its way through the modern world of heroics. Zola's far-reaching abilities seem to line up with what we know about the Clairvoyant, especially given the enemy's appearance in last week's episode, speaking through a computer. Consider Zola the likeliest suspect.
He's set to appear in the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." season finale — could it be because he's the Clairvoyant? Everything we know about Fury indicates that he's a hero, but what if there's a reason Fury needs to operate through the villainous Clairvoyant alias to further an unorthodox agenda? It's a stretch, but it wouldn't be the weirdest thing to happen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Someone on the Bus
It's the oldest trick in the book: Take a hero you love and turn him or her into a villain you loathe. Melinda May is already suspected of working with HYDRA; what if she's the Clairvoyant? What if it's FitzSimmons? What if it's Agent Ward, who was so quick on the draw against Clairvoyant suspect Thomas Nash? Could it be Coulson himself, and he just doesn't know it? It's entirely possible that the show's greatest evil comes from within — the scariest possibility of them all.
It's looking less and less likely that the Clairvoyant is anyone other than someone tied to S.H.I.E.L.D., but I'll hold onto my Loki theory until proven otherwise. If the mysterious "GH" is indeed a Frost Giant, that would present a real reason to bring Loki to the show. We've seen Asgardians on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." already, and we know Loki and Coulson have unfinished business — and we know how much Tom Hiddleston loves playing Loki. If Marvel wants to inject their TV series with some serious star-power, there are few better ways than revealing Loki as the Clairvoyant.
Who do you think the Clairvoyant really is?