Last week's episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, "The Man Behind the SHIELD," left the fate of the villain called the Superior in a rather ominous and uncertain place. This week's episode, "Self Control," reveals it be a fate that mirror's that of a classic Marvel Comics character.
Spoilers for the Marvel's Agents of SHIELD "Self Control" follow.
At the end of last week's episode, the Superior had been left buried under a collapsed roof after an encounter with Quake that did not go his way. However, Aida found the Superior and saved him, saying that he still had a purpose to serve.
This week's episode showed that the Superior was ready to die and would, in fact, prefer death to being turned into something other than human. Aida still needs the Superior to protect the Framework and set about transforming him whether he wanted to be transformed or not.
The episode's final scene reveals what exactly Aida did to the Superior. The Superior awakes to find himself in control of an artificial body. However, the Superior's body is different than a typical LMD. Aida did not scan the Superior's mind and insert his memories into a robot body. Instead, Aida has preserved the Superior's head and brain in some kind of containment pod. It is the Superior's original brain that remotely controls his robot body.
As bizarre as the Superior's fate is, it is actually the very same status quo as another character from the Marvel Comics Universe, Dum Dum Dugan. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dugan is played by Neal McDonough and is the leader of the Howling Commandos during and after World War II. In The Marvel Comics Universe, Dugan is Nick Fury's best friend and right-hand man and one of the longest-serving and highest-ranking agents of SHIELD.
During Marvel's Original Sin event, it was revealed that Dum Dum Dugan actually died in 1966. Nick Fury wouldn't accept his friend's death, and so he copied his brain scans and memories into an advanced LMD. Dugan is angry when he finds out the truth and shoots himself in the head, but it is later revealed that there are several backup Dugan LMDs for Dum Dum's consciousness to be downloaded into and he was "resurrected" by Maria Hill.
Dugan struggled for a time with the existential ramifications of his existence while still serving SHIELD. When rogue SHIELD agent John Garrett hacked Dugan's entire line of LMDs, the New Avengers working for Avengers Idea Mechanics felt it was necessary to reveal the truth.
It turned out that Dugan's conciousness hadn't been downloaded into a robot body. Instead, Dugan's body survived and was kept in a state of suspended animation, a fact that was kept secret from nearly everyone even within SHIELD so that no would find the body and finish Dugan off. It is Dugan's own stil-living brain that broadcasts into his LMDs, remotely controlling them even when he was unaware of his own situation.
Whether or not Dugan's fate was the inspiration for the Superior's is unknown, but the similarities are pretty stunning.
Marvel's Agents of SHIELD is currently on hiatus and will return to finish out its fourth season in April.