Agents of SHIELD has resumed for Part II of season two after a lengthy winter hiatus. Yes, Agent “Tripp” Tripplete is dead after all. No, it still doesn’t make any sense. And fans won’t be happy with the outcome. Tripp was killed off at the same time Skye transformed into some mysterious just before the midseason break, leaving fans to wonder if he was really dead and if there was a reason plot-wise for his demise. The answers came this week in the episode titled Aftershocks, but none of those answers added up to much.
Best as can be deciphered, the Agents of SHIELD writers concluded that a beloved character had to die in order to convey the danger that the rest of the protagonists were in whiLe invading the underground city – and Tripp was the odd man out. But the result was that fans were left to wonder whether he was really dead, or to conclude that he was and found themselves sad and angry at the writers, overshadowing whatever message the show was trying to convey about Skye’s transformation. With the show now resumed, aside from a few lines about his absence, his death has had little to no effect on the tenor or direction of the show. The characters were already desperate, confused, and potentially divided; Tripplette’s death wasn’t needed to convey any of the above. So why was he really killed off?
There are typically three reasons why a beloved character is killed off on a TV show that doesn’t typically part ways with protagonists. The first is that the actor wanted out. But BJ Britt has done exit interviews in which had made clear that he was shocked at Tripp’s death. The second reason is that the actor has become difficult to work with or too expensive, and the writers want an excuse to part ways. But there has been nothing to suggest any of this here. The third is that the writers simply outsmarted themselves and ended up costing themselves a key character for the remainder of the series becuase they got caught up in the belief that they couldn’t sell a particular scene without someone dying. Unfortunately for fans of Agents of SHIELD, Tripp’s death appears to be the latter. But the good news is that in the Marvel universe, no one is dead forever. After all, we all watched Phil Coulson die before this TV show even started.