This article contains Agents of SHIELD season 3 spoilers.
Agents of SHIELD season 3 returns to add even more flavor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Once a boring show with shallow characters, it grew over the course of the first season, finally becoming great the moment Captain America: The Winter Soldier hit theaters and they were able to pull the trigger on their big Hydra plot. The remainder of the first season led into a mostly-delightful second season that focused on introducing the Inhumans concept into this superhero world, laying seeds for a movie we won’t see for several years.
Now the creation of Inhumans has been sped up thanks to Terrigen crystals being mixed into the Earth’s ecosystem. Daisy, Coulson, and the rest are searching for new blood while the world responds to this new totally-not-mutants-we-swear race with fear and panic.
With each episode, we’ll be pointing out the various references and Easter eggs. We’re only human, so if we’ve missed something good or got some information wrong, by all means tell us in the comments or via Twitter. We’ll update it regularly with additions and corrections. Just don’t be an ass about it, okay?
We’re heading into full spoiler territory, so be warned. Also, if you want a refresher, click the episode titles for our reviews.
To the plane!
– We’re introduced to Joey Gutierrez, an Inhuman whose powers just kicked in thanks to ingesting fish oil laced with Terrigen. He goes on a frightened rampage, melting all metal around him and causing massive damage. Gutierrez isn’t a direct comic character, but he does share similarities to the Marvel character the Melter.
More specifically, Gutierrez is more like the second Melter, Christopher Colchiss, an obscure character from Dark Reign: Young Avengers. Colchiss’ powers are genetic (as opposed to the original Melter, who used manmade devices) and he wants to be a hero, but due to his lack of control, he’s been responsible for several deaths that only he’s aware of. He once accidentally melted an old woman in the middle of the street! Luckily, Gutierrez can only do that to metal.
– By this point, Skye goes by her real name, Daisy. The mystery of who she represents from the comics has long been solved and Season Two ended with Skye making amends with her crazy father, Calvin Zabo. Now she embraces it. Fittingly, only Coulson has trouble making the transition.
– Last season, Mack chopped off Coulson’s hand with an axe to save him from being turned into a statue and dying. Coulson has a couple replacement hands, which is to be expected. What’s interesting is that Coulson has that very axe hanging in his office.
– With so many Inhumans popping up, someone is killing them just as quickly. We discover that this isn’t the work of some shady organization, but of an enigmatic creature putting his fist through their chests. Daisy and Lincoln fight him for a couple minutes until he escapes.
This would be Lash, a very recent villain introduced in the comics. He first appeared in the pages of Inhuman #1 by Charles Soule and Joe Madureira just over a year ago. Lash is more or less the Apocalypse of Inhumans. The “us vs. them” mentality doesn’t go far enough for him. He actively goes around killing Inhumans that he feels are unworthy to exist. In the comics, he’s able to absorb and redirect energy, which would explain how he’s able to shrug off Daisy and Lincoln’s ray attacks.
Madureira blatantly made him look like Akuma from Street Fighter. Glad to see that’s still a thing in live-action.
– William Sadler reprises his role as President Ellis from Iron Man 3. He’s named after author Warren Ellis, who created Iron Man’s Extremis abilities. The rise of Inhumans and their rampages (inadvertent as they may be) help transition between Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. Age of Ultron gave us the Iron Man vs. Hulk fight that presumably changed public opinion on superheroes for many, leading to Civil War, where superhero registration is going to be a big thing. The events of this season of Agents of SHIELD will merely stoke the flames.
Speaking of Age of Ultron, there is a mention of cities falling from the sky, an obvious reference to the climax of that film.
– As Fitz is desperate to figure out what happened to Simmons, Coulson brings up one of his failed theories that Simmons shrunk to a sub-atomic level. This is a reference to Ant-Man, as that was Janet Van Dyne’s unfortunate fate with Hank Pym being equally broken over his inability to bring her back.
– Peter MacNicol reprises his role as Elliot Randolph, who hasn’t been seen since Season One’s eighth episode, “The Well.” Randolph is an Asgardian warrior who came to Earth many, many years ago and has attempted to fit in and live a simpler life among the mortals. Here, he admits to wanting to keep things more low-key (no pun intended) because of the heat brought on by the government’s hate-on for irregulars, once again foreshadowing the events of Civil War.
– When threatened, Randolph refers to Bobbi as “Amazon Woman.” Adrianne Palicki, who plays Bobbi Morse, starred as Wonder Woman in an excessively terrible failed pilot from 2011.
– Dr. Garner talks to Daisy about her intent to recruit an army of superpowered beings and specifically refers to them as “Secret Warriors.” Daisy starred in the comic series of the same name where she and Nick Fury led a team of powered offsprings that few people were aware of. The same comic introduced the idea that SHIELD was actually a part of Hydra all along.
– In his attempt to rebuild Hydra, Grant Ward partners up with a young man revealed to be Werner von Strucker. Sadly, this is not Swordsman. That’s Andreas von Strucker. Werner is far less exciting, at least in the comics.
Werner von Strucker was introduced in Nick Fury, Agents of SHIELD #1 in 1989 by the team of Bob Harris and Bob Hall. With his father Wolfgang von Strucker believed dead, Werner took it upon himself to rebuild Hydra. While no saint in any way, Werner lacked his father’s tendency to be pure evil and showed regret for his actions at times.
He made a handful of appearances through the next three years until Daredevil #309. There, his father – having been resurrected – confronted him and decided he was too much of a threat to keep around. Wolfgang killed his son and shortly after, the freakish antihero the Terror came by to steal one of Werner’s eyes.
Wolfgang von Strucker only appeared briefly in the movies, showing up in the credits of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and in the beginning of Avengers: Age of Ultron. He was anticlimactically killed by Ultron and Ward is quick to point out how pointless his death really was.
Shockingly, this is the second time Werner von Strucker has been played by an actor. He and his siblings appeared as villains in the 1998 David Hasselhoff vehicle Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD.
There wasn’t really anything of note in this episode. No special references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the comics themselves.
Though it might be worth mentioning that Mack somehow has early access to Halo 5, as shown in the end of the episode. He offers Daisy the second controller, which is kind of funny since the game lacks local multiplayer.
– Alisha shows up early on. Alisha was introduced in the second season as one of the Inhumans working under Jiaying, although she didn’t exactly do much other than be used as a henchwoman. She shares the same power as Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, who is off-limits for the show due to being an X-Men character. After Lincoln, she’s the highest-profile member of that society to survive the second season, so it shouldn’t be surprising that she’d return in some way.
– Lash (who is named for the first time) is shown to be associated with a sad sack named Dwight Frye. Rather than straight-up come up with a 100% new character name for someone who will only get a few minutes of screentime before being murdered, the show’s writers scraped not only the bottom of the barrel of Marvel, but practically underneath it. Dwight Frye is the name of Bazooka, a character from Marvel’s New Universe continuity who only has a couple appearances to his name (tending to show up in the series DP7).
On the surface, comics Frye is as different as you can get from his TV counterpart. On the show, Frye is a small, timid, white guy who works in IT who acts as a beacon to other Inhumans. In the comics, Frye is a massive, black, military man with a very short temper and the ability to shoot blasts from his hands. Other than the fact that their powers appear to physically scar them, the main thing that links them is their origins. In the New Universe, there was this big cosmic happening called the White Event that caused random people all around the world to suddenly gain super powers all at once and the various comics were based on what happens next, especially in terms of the government’s military actions. Sounds kind of fitting for this season of Agents of SHIELD.
– Lash having a human form is a new development. There’s been no suggestion that he has the ability to transform in the comics, although he’s not quite as freaky-looking, so it’s not as necessary.
Agents of SHIELD Season 3 Episode 5: 4,722 Hours
– Will Daniels doesn’t appear to be anyone pre-existing from the comic book Marvel Universe. Then again, he may not have been 100% honest about his identity.
– After months of speculation of whether Simmons was on a Kree or even Skrull planet, it turned out to be something else completely. Other than some less-intelligent creatures, it’s almost completely empty. More importantly, it seems to be almost sentient. Like it’s some kind of…living planet, if you will.
This is Ego the Living Planet. Since appearing in Thor #132 (by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) back in the 60s, Ego has been a weird, little staple in Marvel continuity. He is an alien scientist who merged with his homeworld for survival and…honestly, just accept what he is. A bigass planet with a face who sometimes deals with Thor and/or Galactus. Kirby being Kirby.
The planet Simmons and Will spent the episode on may in fact be Ego in Marvel Cinematic Universe form. Not only was Will obsessed with the idea that it’s alive, but there’s evidence to show that the planet was shifting based on tormenting its two inhabitants. Canyons stretched and the sun was purposely blotted out. That’s totally something Ego is capable of.
– Simmons points out that the Monolith’s portal works on a specific schedule, only instead of being Earth-based, it’s based on the movements of the planet’s moons. This is a nice callback explanation to the foreshadowing in the second episode of this season when Elliot Randolph reasoned that the portal opened based on a natural schedule, but nothing that had anything to do with Earth.
– Will talks about the three ill-fated astronauts who came with him. Their names are Austin, Brubaker, and Taylor. All three of them are named after fictional astronauts who had some less-than-successful missions.
Austin appears to be a reference to Steve Austin, the main character from The Six Million Dollar Man. As an astronaut, Austin was horribly injured in an experimental flight. Luckily, they were able to make him faster, stronger, better. They had the technology.
Taylor is most definitely a reference to George Taylor, the hero of the original Planet of the Apes and supporting hero of its sequel Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Taylor’s ship led his crew to a planet where ape evolved from man. Long story short, there were maniacs involved and they blew something up. Now that I think about it, that describes both movies’ endings.
At first glance, Brubaker looks to be a reference to Ed Brubaker, the comic writer who helped make Captain America a big deal in the past decade and brought Bucky back to life as the Winter Soldier. In actuality, he’s more likely a reference to Charles Brubaker, James Brolin’s character in the film Capricorn One. It’s about a mission to Mars that goes wrong before it even begins due to bad funding, causing the government to force the astronauts involved to fake the entire mission.
We’ll update this with new references from each episode every week! If we missed any, let us know in the comments or on Twitter!