Credit: Adam Rose/ABC
ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Season Three

Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and small spoilers about Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Days ahead of the release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. dropped several big clues on how the Marvel projects will tie in this time around.

Unlike how Captain America: The Winter Soldier changed the face of the ABC series, this time around, the connective tissue won’t be nearly as large, though that doesn’t mean S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t play a role in how everything shakes out.

During Tuesday’s episode, Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his original team members set out to take down a Hydra base housing Dr. List (Henry Goodman), who has been experimenting on gifted individuals—like Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who play a big role in Ultron. In this case, List was aiming to figure out how to replicate Deathlok (J. August Richards) and Lincoln’s (Luke Mitchell) differing powers, but S.H.I.E.L.D. arrived in time to save the day—though List escaped to meet up with Baron Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) in Sokovia, a setting that opens Age of Ultron.

However, Coulson had other goals in mind for infiltrating Hydra: obtaining the location of Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) scepter, which was revealed to be with Strucker in Sokovia—information that Coulson passed on to Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). The scepter played a big role in the original Avengers film as Loki used it to control others to do his bidding—and killed Coulson with it, in case you forgot. The scepter will arguably play an even larger role in Ultron.

During their brief chat, Hill also asked Coulson if Theta Protocol is ready, to which he replied in the affirmative before remarking that it’s time to call in the Avengers. On S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s been revealed that Coulson has been funneling money and resources into this mysterious protocol, but its purpose has yet to be revealed.

But that’s not all! Newly minted Inhuman Raina (Ruth Negga) recently discovered that her powers allow her to see glimpses of the future, including the scepter. Unfortunately, she sees great consequences for everyone as men made of metal will tear their cities apart and the world will be changed forever. Metal men like Ultron, perhaps?

The tie-ins won’t just stop there, or during Ultron for that matter. “Even after tonight’s episode, there’s still some really cool connectivity coming in the episodes that follow,” Gregg reveals to EW. You know what that means: Go see Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend and return for next week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to see how it all shakes out.

Check out our postmortem with Brett Dalton to find out why Ward didn’t pull the trigger.

Episode Recaps

ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Season Three
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) assembles a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle strange new cases.

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