Clark Gregg Previews Return Of 'Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Agents Phil Coulson and Leo Fitz went through a lot in the "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." fall finale, and when the drama returns to ABC on Tuesday night, what happened on Maveth comes back to haunt them.

"I remember vaguely having just about enough of this Grant Ward murdering this spectacular woman that I had just met, hurting, maiming friends and killing innocents and I remember impulsively using my new super-powered hand and squashing his chest, 'til he stopped breathing. And then, I remember Fitz looking at me like he didn't know me anymore and I remember that feeling really bad and realizing that I'd crossed a line -- that someone who has dedicated their life to upholding a certain kind of law should never cross," Clark Gregg, who plays Agent Phil Coulson, recapped when he spoke with Access Hollywood about the return of the show. "So Coulson enters this back half of the season in a very dark place, hating what he did, but not regretting it, which is even more complex, and that's going to play out in the dynamic between he and Fitz in a way that I'm very impressed by so far – very complex, not on the surface. It's just this unspoken thing and then neither one knows how the other feels about it and because I get to play with the spectacularly talented Iain De Caestecker, it just makes me happy all day long."

Don't expect the two men to talk it out immediately. 

Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson in 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson in 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' (ABC)

"It's going to brew. I don't think Coulson's comfortable talking about it," Clark said. 

"[It's] just not something [like], 'Let's all have a sit down.' There's times when he seems really haunted by it and there's times as he deals with the growing threat of Malick and whatever is coming around the corner, when sooner or later he discovers that whatever that Hydra origin story of a creature was on Maveth is now here, living in the handsome and muscular physique of Grant Ward. So, sometimes it seems like he's just in denial with it and going about business, but it's going to come back to haunt him, I guarantee you that," Clark added. 

Agent Coulson left his "super-powered" hand on Maveth after killing Ward, and he'll get a new one in the second half of the season. 

"He was so repulsed by what he had done that he left the murder weapon… on the scene, on the planet and it seems like he's going to need a new hand. I'd be surprised if it was a downgrade, knowing my man Leo Fitz," Clark said. 

"I guess that's how he'll find out if Fitz is really judging him about what he did, if the hand blows up and kills him," the actor joked. "It will be a new hand and I would be surprised if it didn't have something that makes it feel a little bit like an upgrade in some ways." 

He'll need an upgrade if he's to work on handling the increasing inhuman outbreak. The trailer for "S.H.I.E.L.D.'s" return showed the President coming to Coulson to control what he considers to be a problem. Asked about some of the new powers viewers will see from inhumans, Clark, who has been sworn to secrecy, said jest, "There might be a character that can eat as much pizza as they want, without gaining a pound."

As for the inhuman who drove a lot of drama in the first half of the season -- Lash/Andrew (Blair Underwood) -- he is still out there.

"He's still floating around out there. We haven't seen the last of him, and it's a big problem on our radar, but it's biggest by far for Melinda May, who feels both concerned about the person, Andrew that becomes Lash, and at the same time responsible for him and it weighs heavily on her," Clark said. "Everybody kind of comes into the back half of the season with very kind of paradoxical feelings about something or another."

"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." returns to ABC on Tuesday at 9/8c.

-- Jolie Lash

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