“Skye requested a moment alone on campus. You told her, didn’t you?”
“I had to.”
“It must have destroyed her to hear all that.”
“That’s the thing about Skye. What I told her shattered her world. Her lifelong search led to stories of murder, and now it’s too difficult to continue. Her search is over. Her story ends here. But you know what she said?”
“She said, no. Her story started here. Her whole life, she thought she wasn’t wanted, that she didn’t belong, that every family that took her in didn’t want her to stay, didn’t care. But all that time, it was SHIELD protecting her. Looking after her. That’s what she took away from the story. Not the family she’ll never have, but the one she’s always had. Here I am, telling her something that could destroy her faith in humanity, and somehow she manages to repair a little piece of mine. The world is full of evil and lies and pain and death, and you can’t hide from it. You can only face it. The question is, when you do, how do you respond? Who do you become?”
-Melinda May and Phil Coulson
Agents of Shield
Season 1, Episode 12, “Seeds”
This concluding exchange of the episode comes on the heels of revealed truths. Agent Coulson has just learned a part of how he was brought back from the dead, after his demise in Avengers, involving a brutal, traumatizing procedure that had been written over in his memory, and hidden from him by the higher ups at SHIELD. Now knowing he has no right to keep what he knows about Skye’s past a secret from her, he tells her.
Her response is spectacular.
Her world has been altered. Shattered. Upended. She has more questions than answers, and all she knows about where she came from is that a number of good, brave, compassionate people gave their lives so she could live. She thought no one wanted her, but it was just a phantom program hidden in the system, keeping her moving, keeping her undetectable by anyone who might be looking for her, even long after her protectors were all murdered.
She mattered to them.
She did not like SHIELD to begin with. Natural, as she was looking to dig up secrets, and SHIELD specialized in keeping them. But now she’s one of them, and when she learns what was done for her, she celebrates the people who saved her. They, the agents of SHIELD, are the family she never knew she had.
So, faced with an ugly truth, a devastating past, no one could blame her for feeling bereft. Instead, she rises from the tragedy, standing tall.
I have said before, and will say again: people who can break things are a dime a dozen, but people who can withstand the shattering of their world are truly strong.
And just by her example, she renews Coulson’s flagging strength, exactly when he needed it the most.