A big week for "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." as, not only do Bill Paxton and the Asgardian Lorelai make their first appearance, but we also discover that Tahiti isn't a place: It's an acronym.
The big reveal comes as the team storms the secret base where Agent Coulson's (Clark Gregg) insane medical resurrection took place. They're looking for GH-325, a wonder drug they hope will fix Skye (Chloe Bennet), dying of a gunshot wound. Coulson discovers that Tahiti isn't a magical place and it isn't even a false memory: It's a horrifying series of pumps and tubes keeping the torso of a big, blue alien alive as fluids from his body are constantly drained to be used as a healing serum. If you've got a low tolerance for seeing guts hanging out of bodies or maybe you're still recovering from seeing Coulson's brain a few episodes back, you may want to fast-forward through that bit.
After Coulson discovers the source of the GH-325, he tries to stop the team from injecting Skye with it, but he's too late. The serum saves her life, but will there be side effects?
And just what is the alien in the tube? Blue skin can mean a couple of things in the existing Marvel Comics universe. One is Atlantean, which would open the door to Namor, the Sub-Mariner, a character that debuted during World War II alongside the original Captain America. He's Marvel's answer to Aquaman (only way more fun), and it's a bit surprising that they don't already have movie plans for him yet.
The other is Kree, an space-faring race with a connection to another superhero, Ms. Marvel – a character whose DNA was fused with that of a Kree, resulting in superpowers. It's possible they're laying the groundwork for Skye to become Ms. Marvel much like Mike Peterson became Deathlok. While producers probably won't fundamentally alter their mostly hero-free show by adding one to the main team (shooting superpowers on a weekly basis would get expensive), this sort of sly referencing of comic origin stories (fused DNA = blood transfusion?) is definitely textbook "S.H.I.EL.D."
@EricIGN The most interesting part of SHIELD you didn't mention was that Skye not reacting badly to GH235 implied she might be part Kree(?).— Nick Schaedel (@nshady) March 5, 2014
Kree/Human hybrid makes perfect sense since Skye's an 0-8-4 when shield found her.— Nelissa Aziera (@nellchoding) March 5, 2014
Another reason why the alien may be Kree (and not, in fact, a giant Smurf), according to comic writer Korey Hunt: "Maybe 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is going to expand on the Kree-Skrull war?" One of the main tentpoles of Marvel's cosmic stories is the rivalry between the Kree and the shape-shifting Skrulls. If you don't recognize the Skrull name, that's because their name has been changed to the Chitauri — the aliens who attacked New York in "The Avengers."
"The aliens in 'Avengers' are supposed to be Chitauri. Lee Pace's character in 'Guardians' [Ronan the Accuser] is Kree, and Marvel can't use the Skrulls because they only partially own the rights — probably because Fox owns ['Fantastic Four,' the Skrulls' main human foes]? Just guessing." Renaming Skrulls to Chitauri might lead in to a larger Kree-Chitauri war in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" release in August, and if GH-325 is Kree blood, that would silence many of "S.H.I.EL.D.'s" critics by tying it much closer to Marvel's movie franchises.
Gregg told TV Line that the slow start to the season is about to pay off. "Only in the back half of this season will all of the things that we've started to set up, and really the true nature of the show, get fully revealed." All of the standalone episodes that felt like throwaways are being revealed as part of a larger plan with Coulson and his team in the middle of it.
Watch the "Guardians of the Galaxy" trailer:
Are you still on board? Or are you worried that questions will go unanswered? Will you be sticking around to see more Bill Paxton? Or Sif? How integral do you think "Agents of S.H.I.EL.D." will be to the "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" opening next month and "Guardians of the Galaxy" later this year?
"Agents of S.H.I.EL.D." airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.