Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Coulson’s reinforcements have arrived!
During Tuesday’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Hunter (Nick Blood) found themselves holed up in the near-indestructible house that Bruce Banner built after failing to locate Skye (Chloe Bennet)—who is off getting her powers under control at Inhuman headquarters.
Though Coulson planned to lure real S.H.I.E.L.D. in a bid to steal one of their quinjets, they were ambushed. Fortunately, Coulson’s backup arrived in the form of Deathlok (J. August Richards). What’s next? EW hit the set of the ABC super series, along with a few other outlets, to get the scoop from the source:
What can you tease about the covert missions Deathlok has been running for Coulson?
J. August Richards: Coulson has had Deathlok in his back pocket since we saw him last. So he pulls me out of hiding to help him out with this really huge mission that is vital to S.H.I.E.L.D. As you can see, I got a lot of upgrades while I’ve been gone. My costume is very different. There are things that are still the same. The character has been evolving since we’ve seen him last. This is like Deathlok 2.0.
What is Mike’s relationship like with Coulson at this point?
Fans will find out that Coulson and Mike have actually been secretly working together since we last saw Mike. I always think about this character’s humanity, so I feel like Coulson is someone that Mike doesn’t want to disappoint and someone that he really looks up to. I also feel from the very beginning he’s been looking for redemption and seeing Coulson as a key to that. Coulson can help him be the hero he’s always wanted to be for his child.
When we last saw him, he was a guy searching for what’s next. Has he found his purpose at this point?
When I’m playing him now, I like to think Mike is now owning Deathlok. Before I think he was really reluctant. Even back when I was playing the character, honestly I didn’t know how to move or act. I felt that was really Mike with this body that got forced on him, like with this artificial leg that we jokingly say cost $10 million, or the rockets on his arm. He didn’t know how to incorporate that into his life or his movement.
With Mike’s new upgrades, does that mean Deathlok has new abilities?
I have so many cool abilities. I have three USB ports, a Firewire connection, you can get wi-fi off of me. This thing on my arm makes cappuccinos, and I have all of these cool little powers here and there. [Laughs] Let’s see. I do have some new powers, though. I think you’ll see them unfold over time though. At the core, he still is who he is. He has a bunch of mechanical parts that do a bunch of interesting things. This arm piece shoots rockets and he’s still super strong from the Centipede that he got in the first episode. Even in the comics, I feel like he’s a character with a thousand powers that constantly unfold. It’s a character with a lot of possibilities.
What was your reaction to the new costume?
I was in fittings for the first costume even before I knew I was even going to be Deathlok. They keep me in the dark as much as you guys. But I saw a drawing of it and I really liked it. I mean, it really came out perfect. Just looking at the back, I think that’s so cool for some reason. I love all the little pieces that fit together nicely. It really puts me in the body of the character. Also, there are like a thousand people futzing with me all day long, making sure my lights are on, my gloves are on, and my makeup is right.
What can you tease for your future on the show?
Let’s just say there’s a huge mission involved that will decide the fate of S.H.I.E.L.D., and I am helping solidify that. This is an ongoing storyline.
Mike and Skye have had a relationship since the pilot of SHIELD. Now they both have powers. So will things be tense if and when they meet up again?
That’s one of those things I can’t answer! But I will say yes, our powers are significantly different. For Mike, he’s a regular guy who has to deal with the responsibility of having this much power. [It] is a little different than what she is going to go through.
Will he interact with the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team?
I know, as it was left in Season 1, there was a lot of unfinished business with the other team members. I think you’ll get to see that played out a bit.
Will we find out if Mike ever reunited with his son?
I think we’ll get into that. You know, as it was left, I felt like Mike really couldn’t face his son until he became a hero. I think about that all the time. Seriously. It’s so funny, because that’s what makes him such an interesting character to me. Even if he saved the entire world, I don’t know if even then he could face his son. I think something really big would need to happen for him to get over everything he feels guilty about. I mean, Mike suffers from an immense sense of guilt. Even when I came back the first time, I felt like Mike shouldn’t have felt as guilty because it was the Centipede making him crazy. But he takes so much personal responsibility from his sins that it would take a lot for him to feel better about himself.
From an emotional and psychological standpoint, how much of Deathlok is Mike, and how much of him is pure android?
When I said in one of the episodes that “Mike Petersen is dead,” I thought the only way that line could have meaning if it were not true. I always think of Mike Petersen being at the core of this character, and whatever happens as a result of that, is all Mike Petersen. I think he’s 100 percent there.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.