Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Easter Eggs and Marvel Comics References in "Nothing Personal"

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This week's episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was an intense one (as they've all more or less been since the game-changing events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier). There wasn't, truth be told, a ton of time to plant clever little in-jokes, and so most of the references we got this week were more continuity nods. Nevertheless, it seems worth a run-down...even if it won't be quite as impressive as it has been recently. We'll start, because there are a lot of them, with the familiar names and faces who have already appeared at least once, but who nevertheless ought to be reintroduced to anyone who might be reading our Easter eggs column for the first time: Maria Hill Fury's right hand at S.H.I.E.L.D., Maria first appeared in Marvel's The Avengers before being carried over to the Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot and, finally, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. She's one of a very small number of people who know that Fury is alive. Glenn Talbot Colonel Talbot, played here by Adrian Pasdar, who got to know Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb when both of them were working on Heroes at NBC years ago, is an antagonist of The Incredible Hulk in the comics, working under General Thunderbolt Ross. John Garrett In the comics, Garrett works on the Deathlok project. So...that much holds true. Deathlok A Marvel Comics superhero who gets his enhanced abilities from cybernetic parts affixed to his body to replace damaged tissue. In the TV series, he's under the control of the bad guys (which you already know if you watched becuase they go into painstaking detail this week about just how that works, almost as if they're setting it up to be a major plot point in the next couple of weeks). S.H.I.E.L.D. 616 The Bus's designation/call sign is a wink and a nod to the fact that in the Marvel Comics multiverse, the world fans read about every month is Earth-616. This one used to come up almost every week but the Bus has been out of the sky for a couple of weeks, and with no S.H.I.E.L.D. to speak of anyway, who would be using that call sign? ...and now, onto the episode proper...

Avengers Pepper Potts

Talking to Pepper When we first meet Maria Hill at the start of the episode, she's on her cell phone, talking to somebody about her harrowing Congressional hearings. It's not particularly relevant who, since we don't hear the other end of the conversation and it seems like a personal call anyway...until it's Pepper Potts, Iron Man's girlfriend (played in the movies by Gwyneth Paltrow). There's still no Gwyneth, but it's interesting that she's becoming a confidant for Hill, given that she served that role for Coulson back when everyone knew he was alive.

Ellen Brandt, Doctor Strange, Man-Thing

Man-Thing At one point, as we noted already, Maria Hill tells Pepper that Congress wanted to know "who or what is a Man-Thing." That's a wink-and-a-nod to Marvel's answer to DC's Swamp Thing...a character whose wife from the comics appeared in Iron Man 3 as one of the Extremis soldiers working for AIM. Man-Thing and his wife (Ellen Brandt) have ties to Doctor Strange, who was name-dropped in The Winter Soldier. Past tense At various points in the episode, Hill talks about Fury in the past tense -- even to Coulson and May, suggesting that they're not allowed to be in the inner circle which includes Captain America, Black Widow and Falcon. Of course, nobody believes her. Which is pretty much the reaction that the audience had to Fury's death when it became apparent in trailers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Garrett's controls Who is watching the Deathlok controls? At one point, Mike says "Garrett says you have five minutes" and leaves, when Garrett is nowhere to be seen. The implication, of course, is that he's controlling the device behind Mike's eye like he did with another compromised S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in "Eye Spy." Later, though, we see that it's somebody else -- Raina, maybe? -- actually operating the controls, because it reads "Garrett is done waiting," suggesting that the "Clairvoyant" himself is actually somewhere else while this is going down. So...who's in charge of Deathlok, and where is Garrett? Pilot callbacks There's pilot callbacks all over the place; not only do they go back to the same diner where Skye and Mike discussed S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Rising Tide, but we see a "superhero jump" from Deathlok not unlike the ones that drove so much discussion online when the first trailers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  came out. They even make explicit references to the pilot.

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Eye Candy The alternate suggested eye candy for Fury, had he not chosen Maria Hill, was Black Widow...who I think is officially the Avenger who gets the most references in this series. Coulson's still dead Again, we get a lot of references to Coulson being "dead" in the eyes of the world, as we not only see his grave being excavated but also hear that he can't take a job with -- or even say hello to -- Tony Stark since Stark believes him to be dead.