Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Finale: Easter Eggs and Marvel Comics References

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Tonight's episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really rewarded repeat viewing and comic book reading. There were more Easter eggs in this episode than in any other episode of the show I can remember -- heck, than any three episodes of the show that I can remember. So we're going to go lightning round on this sucker, only giving things a few sentences or a paragraph rather than the hundred or so words we usually end up dedicating to each Easter egg. What did we spot? What did we miss? read on and comment below, respectively! Zeller? That's the name of the guy in charge of the Cybertek facility where much of the episode took place -- and the guy who helped Skye find Ace. The only Zeller I can find on the Marvel Wiki is Gretchen Zeller, a World War II resistance fighter who was created by Captain America: The Winter Soldier author Ed Brubaker.

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Asgardian Staff The cheat-code weapon Coulson, May and Triplett use to get out of the Barber Shop is the Asgardian Berserker Staff used in the Thor: The Dark World tie-in episode (titled "The Well"). "Bring the house down" For some reason when Coulson said to "bring the house down," all I could think of was Iron Man 3's "House Party protocol." That might be me, or it might be a house style of writing that favors that kind of understated humor, but there it is.

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Gravitonium After almost a full season of waiting, Ian Quinn gets away with the Gravitonium in the end. What that means for Graviton himself, whose essence is apparently trapped in there, is anybody's guess. Presumably we'll see some more supervillains next year since a number of them were loosed on the world at the end of the season. Back to the beginning In fact, by the time all is said and done, the bad guys left over are...the bad guys from the beginning of the season. Back before we knew there was a "Clairvoyant," we thought Quinn and Raina were serious threats on their own.

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Uprising Hey, look! John Garrett gets to do a title drop! Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Uprising was the subtitle they started using in promotional material just before Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but dropped a couple of weeks later. Remember that? "I bring the noise and the funk..."

"The beginning...of the end!"

Hey, look! John Garrett gets to do a title drop! Tonight's episode was titled "The Beginning of the End." Along with "Uprising" and "Turn, Turn, Turn," this is the third time Bill Paxton's character has been the one to drop the title into his dialogue, and it's always been really obvious (other episodes have had title drops in the dialogue, too, but usually with a little more subtlety). "Be monsters together" Apparently, Garrett has figured out the "true nature" of Skye, which he says will eventually present itself. What's that? Well, last episode we were told that her parents were "monsters" who rampaged through China looking for the lost baby. Here, he tells Ward that maybe they (he and Skye "can be monsters together," when Ward says he has no shot with her because she hates him. The Joss Whedon Tragic Death™ Fake-Out While the show hasn't taken a ton of chances with its characters, many fans have spent the season worrying about the random, unexpected death of a beloved character because the pilot was directed by -- and the series is Executive Produced by -- Joss Whedon, the director of The Avengers whose time spent killing Phil Coulson wasn't the only time he'd done something like that. It's a bit of a trademark -- something he did in Buffy and Firefly (well, Serenity anyway) to great effect. So when we get Fitz's bold, self-sacrificing moment here, it was more tense and worrying because so many fans were convinced they knew how it was going to turn out. Nick Fury Apparently, Samuel L. Jackson is the huge star that series star Chloe Bennett said she leapt on and nearly terrified with her enthusiasm for meeting him. That's Nick Fury, who had a pretty extended stay on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. today before handing his old (non-existent) job title over to Phil Coulson along with what seems to be a sophisticated piece of machinery that will help him rebuild the spy agency. And we'll roll this one into it, too: Nick Fury "quitting" or being ousted as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a trick as old as time. It's happened in the comics a bunch.

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S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Destroyer Gun During the climactic battle, Agent Coulson gets to fire off a few rounds from the "god gun" that they built using tech scavenged from the damaged Asgardian Destroyer. Back in Marvel's The Avengers, Coulson used it against Loki and knocked the Norse god back on his heels for a minute before being killed for his trouble. He got better. Coulson's quips Hey! Coulson has a sense of humor again! Throughout most of the season, Coulson has been driven by angst -- and rightly so, since we've seen him in some very tense situations. Apparently, though, he just knew everything would be okay once Fury showed up because the whole second half of this episode revolved around him making jokes and quips, more reminiscent of his early appearances in Iron Man and Thor. "Our Ace in the hole." Yes, we get it. His name is Ace. And he's a strategically-valuable surprise to have, e.g. an "ace in the hole." Still...the puns! They burn! Ace's toys Back in the pilot, we saw that Ace had a whole collection of toys based on The Avengers. It was part of the whole justification for letting Mike go seeking super powers by any means necessary -- because he wanted to impress his son. Well, we get another look this week as Skye rescues Ace and the first thing she does is take his Incredible Hulk toy from one of the bad guys and give it back to the kid.

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"What are we?" In another callback to the pilot, Mike's son Ace asks him "What are we?" and then answers that they're a team. That's what Mike kept saying to the kid whenever things got bad, and if it seemed a bit silly and out of place at the time, the finale explains why it had to be there: they were establishing basically a code phrase that Ace could use to convince his dad it was him on the other side of the intercom. Not, ultimately, a bad device there. Mike leaves Ace again Of course, Mike squanders a little of that goodwill by deciding to go off and be Deathlok for the greater good, sacrificing his relationship with his son to do so, much like he did when he first chose to become an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson's an Avenger Not strictly an Easter egg, but a great moment for the character. The Playground In the comics, The Playground is a secret base of unknown generation, operated by Nick Fury. Its original purpose is classified. It is located on the borders of Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which suggests that there are valid reasons for its secrecy. While I can't find any reference to it in the comics, the "Toolbox" Coulson is given to use to restart S.H.I.E.L.D. follows the same naming convention that "The Playground" and "The Bus" do, in that they're understated names for incredibly sophisticated things.

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Alien lettering Oh, yeah! We almost forgot: in the post-credits sequence, we see that the scribbling John Garrett did earlier in the episode and the inscription Coulson does with glass on the wall are both apparently related to the weird designs that appeared next to the Skrull writing in "Eye Spy."

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