Right off the bat, I’m reminded of last season’s finale poster. We have red, the SHIELD logo, and the team in a v-formation again. The biggest difference, though, is the LACK of Hydra and that is incredibly incredibly significant.
I discussed in this meta the parallels between SHIELD and Hydra, and the show itself has been pretty blatant about stressing how similar the two organizations are. So the fact that this latest promo image (presumably the last one we’ll get before the premiere) does away with Hydra completely and focuses on SHIELD is very telling.
Look at the dark colors and the team’s poses. If I had to describe this poster with only one word, that word would be DEFIANT. Look at Coulson - his crossed arms, and the way he’s looking directly at the viewer. That message is not meant to be reassuring. It’s a challenge. To Hydra. COME AT ME BRO. I DARE YOU. SHIELD may be living in the shadows next season, but it doesn’t mean they’re hiding. And speaking of shadows - look at the logo itself, specifically the stripes. It’s made of shadows. I love this little touch so much, you guys. It’s a great creative twist that serves as a subtle callback to Hydra while also showing us the evolution of SHIELD.
Now let’s focus on the team itself.
NO TRIP AGAIN AND I’M RAGING. WHERE IS THE NOISE?! WHERE IS THE FUNK?!
New guy, Lance Hunter on the far left, looking all cocky with his hands on his hips. He’s at the end because we don’t know yet if we can trust him. I have the say though, I’m so glad there are 7 people because the lack of symmetry on the previous group shots was really driving me crazy.
Fitz next, looking forward, his hands clasped together. The gesture makes it looks like he’s fidgeting. We don’t know yet what state he’ll be in next season, but from his pose alone, it’s pretty clear that he’s struggling and unsure of himself. From this new promo image of episode two, it looks like he’s having some trouble with his motor skills. Perhaps he now has to deal with shaky hands, which would certainly explain why his hands are clasped together - he’s trying to steady himself. It also looks like there are two white patches on his leg, perhaps a bandage?
Skye’s is mid-action, reading for a weapon on her thigh. She’s ready to fight, which is a huge departure from the woman we knew last season, the woman who, when faced with a gun in episode 3, jumped out the window into a pool. She’s all fight, no flight anymore, which is not just an indication of her strong nerves, but also of her attachment to her team. This woman who used to be a drifter, a free spirit, has now found her place among people she will fight for, people she will stay for. It’s also telling that she’s the closest to Coulson - he trusts her and she’s ready to have his back.
Coulson is always the center. He’s the rock of this team, he’s the foundation, but he’s also the heart. Unlike everyone else, he looks directly at the viewer, and as I said earlier, he’s strong and defiant. His expression promises us that SHIELD will not back down, that he’s not done fighting the good fight, that his team won’t let evil win.
May is in virtually the same pose as Skye, but a little more subdued, showing us again how much they will be bonding over the next season. She is also the closest to Coulson, and through all the group shots we’ve seen, she is the one person who has been by his side from the very beginning. Just like Skye, she also has his trust, and just like Skye, she has his back too. I really love that it’s two women that are closest to Coulson. The way they are positioned makes them look like bodyguards, and it’s great to see women being portrayed as trust advisers and protectors.
Simmons has her head down, perhaps in worry, or even shame. Again, she is separated from Fitz, but we are still reminded of their bond because she has the same pose as him - her hands are clasped in front of her. Their hands are interesting to me because that gesture conveys a vulnerability. Fitz obviously feels vulnerable because of whatever he’s had to endure, but Simmons feels it as well because she’s empathizing with his pain and dealing with her own vulnerability of, in a sense, losing her other half.
Ward is separated from the rest of the team by a very distinct, deliberate crack. His betrayal has had a deep, lasting impact on the team - they will not forget anytime soon what he’s done and are rightfully suspicious of him. He has his back turned, which has a couple different meanings. On the one hand, he turned his back on the team when he betrayed him and has now been ostracized by them. But on the other hand, I see the possibility of him looking back on his journey to figure out who he is and ultimately redeem himself. The man that Ward is now is a direct result of his upbringing, so I’m really hoping we see him get introspective next season and take a look back at his past to figure out who he wants to be in the future.
Despite the dark tones of this poster, I think it’s actually conveys an ultimately optimistic tone. There’s a sense of aggressiveness here that we haven’t seen in other promos, and to me, it’s a bit reminiscent of propaganda posters.
This is sending a message: SHIELD is unbroken. SHIELD still stands strong. SHIELD will prevail.
For the first six months that Dinah knew Hal and Barry she thought they were dating. It’s only when she overheard Hal bemoaning his lack of luck with Carol Ferris that she realized they were just friends.