As Ghost Rider lights up Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the other newcomer of the season, a man known as Jeffrey is igniting the show’s real mystery. Played by Jason O’Mara, the character has a mysterious background, and many fans are speculating that he is Jeffrey Mace, aka the Patriot, the third man to become Captain America. But the revelation on Tuesday night that Jeffrey has Inhuman heritage complicates that suggestion and makes us think he might be someone very different.
After the fallout of Season 3 and S.H.I.E.L.D. going legit after the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War, a new director is assigned to head the organization; Phil Coulson is, as far as the public is aware of, dead. His replacement is Jeffrey, an implausibly nice company man with an even nicer jaw.
At the end of “Meet the New Boss,” Jeffrey reveals he’s an Inhuman while subduing a hysterical Melinda May in the midst of a “ghost” attack. Jeffrey demonstrates his superhuman strength and impenetrable skin, which would be great if he’s Captain America, but Jeffrey Mace never had those powers in the comics. The guy was just really good at fighting.
This Jeffrey might become Patriot, maybe even the new Captain America since Steve Rogers is MIA (highly doubt it, though). In an interview, O’Mara said his character’s roots date back to the ‘40s. Mace’s first appearance was in The Human Torch #4 in 1940.
The parallels don’t end there. Jeffrey’s purpose in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is to be a public, trusting face to the now-legit agency. The main plot of “Meet the New Boss” involved an all-access tour of the facility for Congressmen, an outing that became became a problem when certain incidents occurred and demanded discretion. Jeffrey Mace, a Daily Bugle reporter in comics, has an easy path into becoming a smiling PR-person (it pays better, too).
But it just can’t be that easy. While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is allowed to reinvent characters — Crusher Creel, Lash — Jeffrey being THE Jeffrey Mace still smells a bit fishy. He’s hiding something, as evidenced by the ending scene when he told Coulson he does, in fact, have classified information within S.H.I.E.L.D. For a guy whose company philosophy was all trust and transparency, what would he have to hide?
That Inhuman thing is really important.
Jeffrey Mace was a regular ol’ human, not a super-soldier. Heck, he wasn’t even a soldier. He was just a reporter inspired by Captain America. It’s possible Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is rewriting him to fit the series, which would explain his Inhuman DNA.
But so what? Jeffrey Mace is the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Why would he become Captain America too, or even Patriot? Being director gives him unparalleled access no superpower can grant, so why would he dress up and get caught in the action? Sure, Coulson did that, but that’s because he’s Coulson. Jeffrey, being the “new face” of S.H.I.E.L.D., can’t risk getting in the fight if/when something goes wrong. And this being the MCU, you know things will go wrong.
Speaking of superpowers…
Where’d that super-strength and invulnerability come from?
This could very well be an instance where the TV writers took liberties to suit their storytelling needs, but what if O’Mara’s Jeffrey isn’t Jeffrey Mace? Like Hank Henshaw actually being J’onn J’onzz in Supergirl or Jay Garrick actually being Hunter Zolomon in The Flash, what if “Jeffrey” is making up a fake identity whilst hiding his real Inhuman persona? There are a slew of Inhumans with super-strength and invincibility, such as:
Black Bolt, created in 1965 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Though he doesn’t have invincibility, he could still very well be the actual ruler of the Inhumans. Spearheading S.H.I.E.L.D. puts him at the forefront of the oppressive human organization seeking to police them. It might also explain why he’s not eager to get Daisy just yet: He’s got a plan for her.
Arcadius, a member of the Inhuman Genetic Council who went rogue and fought the Inhuman Royal Family. Though he doesn’t have super-strength, he does have the power to become a statue, which could be why Jeffrey’s skin is so unbreakable.
Neifi, a beastly Inhuman with both strength and invincibility. Neifi also has thick gray skin and an implausibly large frame, being more monster than man, but even Lash was able to hide himself behind a normal human’s body.
Alaris, though much younger in the comics, also sports super-strength, speed, stamina, and durability. More than that, Alaris was sent to Earth as part of a delegation by Inhumans to study people. Alaris grew to love it here, and he even went to college and just had a ton of fun. As a result, he’s charming and easygoing, which sounds a heck of a lot like Jeffrey in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.