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The truth about Agent Coulson's powers on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 7

It's hard to keep track of the various forms Phil Coulson has taken in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Loki stabbed him in The Avengers, but his so-called "final form" may be the coolest yet. In season 7, Agent Coulson has super powers on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and can go toe-to-toe with his biggest heroes. Why? How? Let's break it down.

As you may recall, Coulson died — for real, this time — at the end of season 5 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and was brought back as a Life Model Decoy (LMD) with enhanced Chronicom technology in the final moments of season 6 (Actor Clark Gregg, meanwhile, has never really left the show. In season 6, he played a mysterious Coulson doppelgänger named "Sarge"). As an android of sorts, the new LMD Coulson has certain abilities he refers to as "perks," like heightened reflexes and super strength that allows him to throw aliens across rooms, pull pipes out of stoves, and dent metal, He's also technically immortal, and has an immunity to pain. When a bullet hits his arm, it doesn't seem to affect him at all. This new version of Coulson able to fight quickly and more efficiently than he was as a human with an artificial hand. 

As an LMD, he's also able to download years of information in seconds. The former S.H.I.E.L.D. director was already a "walking encyclopedia" (Simmons' words) of the organization's history, but now they have made him a digital, and literal, version of that. 

What else can LMDs do?

There are several examples of Life Model Decoys on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., including the Koenig brothers, who haven't really demonstrated any superhuman abilities. In season 4, FitzSimmons help to perfect LMDs, thinking that the project they're working on is to create decoys that can protect S.H.I.E.L.D. agents — but then, things go awry. 

Since many of the LMDs we've seen before on the ABC series are masquerading as humans, they don't often display superhuman abilities that fans could compare to what Coulson is able to do. In the episode "Self Control," however, Simmons says that their android doubles are "ultra powerful." LMDs in season 4 were also fitted with Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implants, which allow them to see through walls and in the dark, and communicate with a handler. As of the season 7 premiere, it's unclear if the new Coulson has that particular enhancement. 

In Marvel comics, LMDs come equipped with basic superpowers like speed, strength, and healing. They first appeared in a 1965 issue of Strange Tales that centered around Nick Fury and also introduced both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra. Over the years, LMDs have been created by heroes and villains to replace and impersonate various Marvel characters. Their origin was explained in an issue of Secret Warriors in 2011, and it's different to what we saw on screen. Holden Radcliffe, who is a Marvel comics character interested in artificial intelligence, had nothing to do with LMDs in the comics. Instead, their comic origin can be traced to the Zodiac mission that was led by a time-traveling Leonardo DaVinci. Yes, really. 

What it means to be part-Chronicom

In the season 7 premiere, Simmons was interrupted before she could explain what exactly it means that Coulson's new LMD was built using advanced enhanced Chronicom hardware. This could mean that Coulson also has similar powers to the synthetic alien race. A Chronicom like Enoch, for example, can change his outward appearance, alter his voice, squeeze into small spaces, and hack computers — but it's possible that those characteristics derive from Chronicom software, so to speak, not hardware. 

Remember, season 4 antagonist Aida enhanced her synthetic form with Inhuman DNA and dark matter, which gave her a laundry list of superpowers including teleportation, electrokinesis, and super healing. Therefore, it is possible to soup up an LMD. Since we don't know exactly of what Coulson is made, more powers could be revealed as the season progresses. 

Chronicom LMD Coulson knows that his original self would not be thrilled about having been revived as a robot, but the superpowers seem to have quelled his existential crisis a little bit. It doesn't hurt that Marvel's biggest in-universe historical fanboy got to shake Franklin Delano Roosevelt's hand and witness major moments in history up close.