Once the action got rolling, there wasn't a lot of time for them. That didn't stop the fact that this is one of the rare episodes to actually revolve around a Marvel Comics villain, though, and that while "the cellist" wasn't exactly a comic book character first, she's certainly a part of the mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and somebody fans have been eager to meet.
And on that note, we'll start our regular rundown of the Easter eggs and Marvel Comics references we noticed by ripping off the Band-Aid and getting the really big ones out of the way:
A Marvel Comics villain, first created as a villain in Nova in 1978 by Marv Wolfman and Carmine Infantino. His origin pretty much played out exactly as it's described in the episode, including the connection to the Darkforce, which we'll touch on a bit below.
Like The Griffin, referenced in last week's episode, Blackout was at one point a member of The Hood's Secret Empire.
Also, note that in the comics, Blackout can mentally open apertures into the Darkforce Dimension. That probably means his explosion at the end of this episode is not permanent.
First referenced in Marvel's The Avengers and repeatedly mentioned throughout the first season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Audrey is finally a recognizable face...but before then, she was already a character that fans were invested in.
Now that we've heard her full name, -- Audrey Nathan -- we can say confidently that unless she's living under another name, there's no comic book corollary for the cellist.
Once it was revealed that Blackout was obsessed with Audrey, this made a bit more sense even...but when we first saw him plug in those headphones with classical music, the first thing we thought of was that there is a real air of the white collar criminal element in this show, and often with odd tics.
Raina has her flowers, Edison Po had his food...the classical music fits a motif.
There have probably been more comparisons between Grant Ward and Black Widow than there have been references to all other non-Asgardians Avengers combined on this series. It seems that she's the barometer for "great Agent" and he's determined to beat her. Weirdly, it hasn't been him that brings her name up all the time; the universe just keeps juxtaposing the two.
It almost makes us wonder whether the "super huge guest star" Chloe Bennett teased a while back might be Scarlett Johansson, although it seems unlikely she'd do TV.
In Iron Man: Titanium #1, a villainous AIM representative named Huang Qiaolian was introduced. It's difficult to imagine that's a coincidence, especially with Centipede having connections to Aldrich Killian's Extremis projects in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot.
The real question, then, is whether May's mother, introduced in this episode and not named, might have a connection to AIM.
Oh! And May was married at one point? Did we know this?
In the comics, Eric Koenig was in fact a member of the Howling Commandos, so when he expresses how much he'd have loved to be descended from one in this episode, it seemed a little bittersweet.
Meanwhile, the revelation that Triplett's grandfather was a Howling Commando is an interesting tie to the Marvel Universe. The obvious assumption is that it was Gabe Jones (played by Derek Luke and the only black Howling Commando in Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
When the group is being given their psychological/lie detector exams, everyone is asked about Alexander Pierce and Project Insight, the HYDRA operative at the top of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the plot that he rolls out to collapse S.H.I.E.L.D.
Apparently because she's British, Simmons would have hoped to find a TARDIS (Doctor Who's time-traveling police call box) on a lonely desert island.
"Mary Sue Poots"
I almost missed this one, since there's no "Mary Sue Poots" in Marvel Comics.
But Skye? Skye has "Mary Sue" written all over her, doesn't she?
From TV Tropes, where you can see the various different types of "Mary Sue" characters, which Skye seems to fit a number of...
"The prototypical Mary Sue is an original female character in a fanfic who obviously serves as an idealized version of the author mainly for the purpose of Wish Fulfillment. She's exotically beautiful, often having an unusual hair or eye color, and has a similarly cool and exotic name. She's exceptionally talented in an implausibly wide variety of areas, and may possess skills that are rare or nonexistent in the canon setting. She also lacks any realistic, or at least story-relevant, character flaws — either that or her "flaws" are obviously meant to be endearing."Darkforce
Once they explained what it was that powered blackout, fans might have recognized "Darkforce" as the name given to a negative energy drawn from a dimension near our own. A number of Marvel Comics characters can tap into it, sometimes as part of their standard power set and sometimes through magic. In addition to sapping the energy of others as seen in this episode, it allows people and objects to be moved from place to place in our dimension rapidly by using the Darkforce dimension to seemingly teleport.
"Steve Rogers here...
How do you convince a guy who wants to be a Howling Commando to do your bidding? Impugn his courage and masculinity by holding him up to the standard of Captain America.
There's been a lot of Banner's technology flooding S.H.I.E.L.D. recently, since he joined the organization (at least part time) in Marvel's The Avengers. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, they used a drug developed by Banner to fake Fury's death. Here, it's his gamma ray gun.
Doesn't Bruce Banner, of all people, know better than to mess around with gamma rays?
"I hate change"
Earlier this season, Fitz was frequently cited telling other agents to "embrace change," a phrase we noted was suspect because of its history in the comics with Skrull impostors.
Here, though, he says he hates change.
This week, we found out that both Triplett and May were "legacy" spies (it's not clear whether May's mother ever was a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, though she isn't now and apparently wasn't just prior to her retirement, at least). Discovering both at once begs the question: did their families know each other or have a connection? What does the long history of these people in the organization say about them? Could some of them be HYDRA?
And then there's Skye, who has her own odd legacy of having been discovered by a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent all those years ago. Could it have been May's ex-husband or her mother?