Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 1, Episode 3 of ABCs "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," titled "The Asset."
Well, this definitely isn't a Marvel movie, or a Marvel comic for that matter. At least we are finally getting to see some glimpses of the "super" world these characters supposedly live in. Sure, we had the not-Luke-Cage guy in the first episode, but there was nothing last week. This week, though, was the mother of all teasers for Marvel fans: We got our first supervillain ... well, sort of.
Actually, we got a new origin story for one of Marvel's classic supervillains. Dr. Franklin Hall was a S.H.I.E.L.D. asset, which apparently means getting transported across the country in the back of a tractor trailer. Only, he didn't make it to his intended destination. Instead, some random gravity fluctuations threw his guard vehicles into the sky before finally lifting the entire 18-wheeler. This was gravitonium, one of those fun elements that only exists in comic book realities.
As it's name might indicate, gravitonium can be used to change the rules of gravity, though it's quite unstable and incredibly dangerous. A device only a couple of centimeters in diameter was used to toss those vehicles like they were nothing. Imagine the potential chaos a much larger device could create. Then stop imagining it, because we got to see it first-hand. It turns out, Hall orchestrated his own capture by his former partner, Ian Quinn. He knew Quinn was close to harnessing this power, and he also knew it was far too dangerous for anyone to have, including S.H.I.E.L.D.
As he told Agent Coulson, "Your search for an unlimited power source brought an alien invasion [as seen in "The Avengers" move]." Even Coulson had to concede it was a good point. See, he's not just a company man. Skye would appreciate that.
As for Skye, she finally became a field agent this week, going on her first assignment. She was also immediately put to the test, as Quinn tried to hire her for his own company. He knew her from her notoriety as part of Rising Tide, and the fact that she hacked her way to an invitation to this soiree. For awhile, it seemed she was considering his offer. She even went so far as to let him know that S.H.I.E.L.D. was listening, before dumping her earpiece altogether.
In the end, though, she made her choice. She helped take Quinn down, and even proved she picked up at least one skill from all that training with Agent Ward. She also opened up to Ward a little about her childhood in the foster care system, and said she's all in. But what about that message to Rising Tide where she said she was in with them? Her loyalties will likely be tested again.
While Skye was facing off against Quinn, Coulson was downstairs with Hall and the enormous gravitonium generator. As it was active, the gravity in the adjacent room started shifting around, meaning the guys got to talk/fight in a spinning room like "Inception." Not as dramatic of a scene, but it did set up the climax nicely. Gravity had shifted so that the wall facing the device was now the ground, as it were. While standing on the glass separating the rooms, Coulson made a hard decision.
Hall had decided to take the device, and everyone around it, to the bottom of the ocean. He said this was for the good of the world. Coulson shot out the glass and allowed gravity to pull Hall into the gravitonium. This at least served to stabilize it, though it appeared to destroy Hall. But that's what closing scenes are for!
Coulson put the gravitonium blob into a containment unit in The Fridge, but he kept it off the S.H.I.E.L.D. books. In this way, he could still sort of honor Hall's wishes. After the blob was secured in the chamber, a shot of it showed a hand reaching out. This, then, would be the birth of Graviton.
In the comics, Hall's cells merged with graviton particles and he gained the ability to control gravity with his mind. Throughout the years, this basic ability has been used in a variety of fun ways. Here's hoping Graviton returns to have some fun with our agents. "S.H.I.E.L.D." needs at least one supervillain to fight before too long! A large looming threat wouldn't hurt either. Joss Whedon usually sets up a"big bad" in the first several episodes, so I'm looking for it. Will it be Rising Tide? Quinn Worldwide? Graviton?
There were a few other nice character moments. Ward opened up to Skye about his past with his brothers. And just as it was nice to see Skye finally embrace the opportunity to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Plus, it was about time May took herself off of the sidelines. Now, we'll get to truly see her kicking ass and taking names as a field agent. Ming-Na Wen is too strong of an actress to just be flying the plane. And while we're not getting any more depth with Fitz and Simmons just yet, I find that I don't care. They're just too much fun together. Besides, I'm sure we'll get to them sooner or later. I suspect there's an interesting story there.
- The origin of Graviton brings the first official Marvel Comics villain to the show. Who's next?
- "If we had a monkey we could get in [to Quinn's compound]. If we had a small monkey ... with his adorable little hands," Fitz suggested. Marvel loves apes and monkeys. How long until Fitz gets one? Or perhaps we could visit the "Marvel Apes" universe! Or maybe we'll meet Martin Blank aka Gibbon soon.
- Coulson laments the loss of his Captain America trading cards, which happened in "The Avengers" film.
- Agent Coulson's muscle memory is gone? Or at least the muscle memory that can take apart and reassemble a gun, adding weight to the theory that he's either a life model decoy (LMD), or some sort of clone. Nick Fury has a ton of LMDs in the comics, but they have been created for other agents.
"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." airs Tuesdays, 8 p.m. ET on ABC.