SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for "Rise and Shine," the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
General Hale wants S.H.I.E.L.D. to work with Hydra, and for good reason. In "Rise and Shine," the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hale revealed that her predecessors at Hydra made contact with the Confederacy, an alliance of several alien races. The Confederacy struck a deal with those predecessors: protection from an intergalactic war in exchange for gravitonium and Inhumans. However, Hale has no plans to uphold the bargain -- and she wants Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. to help her make a stand.
Hale first learned about the device that Hydra used to contact the Confederacy during the events of Season 3, when the remnants of Hyda were stamped out. "I need you to take this, locate the device that's hidden in my vault, find somewhere safe. You're now overseeing communications," her colleague General Fischer revealed just before his death. "After New York, we found transceivers in the wreckage of one of the Chitauri cruisers. We reached out. Someone answered... It's an alliance of several races. They call themselves the Confederacy."
Later on, after Hydra's fall, Hale showed the alien transceiver device to Brigadier General Glenn Talbot. "After New York, my predecessors made contact with life beyond this solar system. They gave us this, to travel to the stars and meet with them face-to-face," she explained to him. "I learned my predecessors hadn't just made contact; they had struck a deal for protection... From the war coming to Earth. It's only a matter of time before it reaches us."
However, Talbot stopped listening when Hale as soon as he realized she was Hydra. Frustrated, Hale implored him to see the bigger picture. "Don't you see these symbols are irrelevant? We are humans fighting for our survival. We need every weapon we can get in this fight, which is why I need you," she said. She ultimately failed to get him to see her point, and thus locked him up at the Hydra facility.
Coulson was similarly unamused by the device. "Bad idea," he said when he recognized that it was alien in nature.
"You need to elevate your vantage point," Hale insisted, and the two transported to meet the Confederacy's representative.
The alien that greeted them -- called Qovas in the credits -- was none too pleased to see them and demanded to know why she brought Coulson there uninvited. She told him that Coulson was the final piece she needed to uphold her end of Hydra's bargain with the Confederacy, describing the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent as one of "Earth's mightiest heroes."
"I'm hoping that you can show him the wisdom of helping the Confederacy," she said.
Qovas acquiesced. "Your world will soon become a battleground. We will ensure humanity's survival," he explained.
"For a price?" Coulson prompted, to which Qovas responded, "Much smaller than you will pay if this comes to Earth." Qovas then showed him a giant alien warship, which will allegedly head towards Earth should the Confederacy revoke their protection.
When they reappeared on Earth, Coulson looked very tired. "So the shadow guy will save humanity from the alien warships?" he asked.
"Provided we meet certain terms," Hale confirmed.
"Let me guess: gravitonium," he suggested, to which she answered, "Amongst other things. And Inhumans -- or engineered warriors, as they call them."
"So you want my help to arm alien warlords," he said, incredulous. "You ever consider they may not hold up their end of the bargain? That, maybe, something called the Confederacy will just enslave us all? Then why cooperate with them? We need to fight back!"
At that, Hale looked incredibly relieved. "Finally someone who gets it! Altering the deal has always been my goal. Now you see why we have to stop fighting each other," she revealed, as he concluded, "And work together."
"Right now, the Confederacy thinks we have no choice but to cooperate," she explained.
"You want to prove we're not so easily coerced?" he asked.
"Not only that, but that we're a galactic superpower not to be toyed with," she confirmed. "That's going to require a significant display of force."
"A whole 'we will not go quietly into the night' bit," he agreed.
It seems that, in the interest of saving humanity, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra may have to set aside their differences. Both Coulson and Hale appear willing to do so, despite a little hiccough at the end of the episode concerning Daisy's role and the particle infusion chamber. If the comics are any indication, the Kree and some other alien confederacies have a nasty habit of enslaving Inhumans, so the Confederacy's intentions may not be as noble as Qovas made them out to be.
Airing Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 stars Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Henry Simmons, Ian De Caestecker, Natalia Cordova-Buckley and Elizabeth Henstridge.