While Inhumans have been a part of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ongoing story since Season 2, the latest episode of the series, “Emancipation,” introduced an important subset of the genetically enhanced species from the comics, the Alpha Primtiives.
In “Emancipation,” they are simply referred to as “primitives,” the results of Dr. Holden Radcliffe’s attempts to replicate the Kree experiment that created Hive using the powerful Inhuman’s parasites and Daisy Johnson’s Kree blood. Radcliffe considers them a failure and an abomination, but Hive accepts them as part of his growing Inhuman family. The primitives obey Hive’s every command, and Hive plans to transform as many humans as possible into these Inhuman primitives.
In the Marvel Comics Universe, the Alpha Primitives are the worker drone underclass of Inuhman society. They perform all the hard labor and menial duties necessary to keep the upper class Inhumans of Attilan free for greater pursuits.
In the comics, the primitives are all identical. They’re cloned, they’re stronger than the average human, they’re completely docile, and they have a child’s vocabulary.
The Alpha Primitives are frequently the henchman, test subjects, or loyal subjects of Inhuman supervillains. Most frequently, they fall under the sway of Maximus the Mad, Black Bolt’s brother, but they have also been loyal to the Unspoken.
Hive seems to be playing the role of charismatic Inhuman leader for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s purposes. As we saw in tonight’s battle with Lash, the primitives should prove useful henchmen indeed.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.