The title of this episode, “The Writing on the Wall,” conjures something that we have been wondering about for quite some time – what is that alien writing? Sources have claimed it is Kree, but that has never been said on the show “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” itself. Why is Coulson driven to carve it? What does it mean? And if it’s a map, where does it lead? Hopefully, answers can be found in this episode, and after the jump.
Civil War Begins Here?
First things first, a rumor arose during our two weeks off. As you know, Marvel Studios recently announced their film schedule for the next few years, and one of those films, set for release in May of 2016 is Captain America: Civil War. Civil War in the comics has been one of the most critically acclaimed and politically charged stories in recent history, centering on a divide between Iron Man and Captain America over civil rights and metahumans registering with the government – an argument that eventually leads to a war between superheroes.
Various sources have noted that tension between Iron Man and Captain America will begin to be shown in Avengers: Age of Ultron coming this summer, but other sources say it may just begin for real a sooner than we expected right here in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” The event that serves as catharsis of Civil War is the destruction of a town by a super-villain, but the blame lying firmly with the teen heroes known as the New Warriors, and led by Speedball. Rumor has it that Speedball has been cast for the TV series. Hold on, folks, we may have a bumpy ride coming.
GH-325, yeah, we’re back to that old bugaboo again. This was the chemical that was pumped into Agent Coulson and much later into Skye that theoretically brought them back to life. This genetic material came from that big blue alien, that is most likely Kree, but has never been verified as such out loud on the TV series.
Why did it bring Coulson back? We don’t know. Untested, it was designed to bring a fallen Avenger back from the grave, and obviously worked on a normal human, but with an interesting side effect. Coulson is occasionally struck with the need to carve alien symbols, a message, or as Skye calls it, a map.
Speaking of Skye, it could be theorized she wasn’t affected negatively by the GH-325 because she is already special, already classified as an 0-8-4. She might already have alien DNA in her to begin with. Her father, the mysterious Doctor played with such fun “Twin Peaks” weirdness by Kyle MacLachlan, is probably an alien himself.
Described as some sort of monster, possibly a shape shifter, we have already seen Skye’s father in action. He is a monster yes, a murderer, easily angered, super strong, and possibly not at home in this body. Could he be a Chitauri, a Kree, a Dire Wraith, if legally doable with Fox, maybe a Skrull? No matter what he is, the bad news is that he’s now aligned with the Kraken and the hordes of Hydra.
It’s All Connected
We open on our friend from the end of the most recent episode, a man who has the alien writing tattooed all over his body. He meets a woman in a bar who thinks she knows him. Back at her place he reveals the writing, and before he kills her, she asks how he knows about the writing. He proceeds to carve the language on her.
While the rest of the agents pursue the escaped Ward, who knows they are following them by the way, Coulson and Skye investigate the crime scene, mostly because Coulson insists he knows the victim but doesn’t know how. And it’s notable that Coulson mentions SHIELD are still outlaws, answering one of my questions from last time. In the woman’s apartment, they find paintings in the alien language.
As it turns out, the woman is in fact a SHIELD agent, and that’s how Coulson knows her. The funny thing is she died of cancer five years ago. Her art with the writing, besides having portions that Coulson hasn’t been carving, also includes the phrase ‘a magical place.’ These are words that Coulson has always associated with Tahiti, where he thought he rested while recovering from his fatal wound.
What if Coulson wasn’t the only one brought back by GH-325? Yeah, that’s what everyone is thinking. Easy peasy, they swipe the woman’s body for an autopsy. Both her and her killer had GH-325 in their blood. Not only is this bad, but Simmons has a name for it – hypographia. The urge to carve, followed by psychopathy in Tahiti patients that didn’t have memory replacement like Coulson did at first.
Ward on the Run
Lest we forget this is also a spy show, May, Trip, Hunter, and Morse are still tracking Ward. Wired up with plastic explosive like a human bomb (seems like a theme for this Tuesday evening’s viewing), he’s making friends and on the move and playing bus tag. Once free of all his fleas, except for Hunter, Ward goes to a safehouse bar to meet with Bakshi.
In this meeting, Ward makes a passing reference to Baron Strucker being in Europe. We know from the after-credits sequence in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that Strucker is indeed still active, has Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in his custody, and is just waiting for his chance to strike in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ward wants to meet with Kraken, and will deliver Coulson to him.
To get the information needed to find the tattooed man and any other T.A.H.I.T.I. patients, Coulson volunteers to get back into the torture machine. This is where he learned that Tahiti was all a lie. He has to remember through all the patients to see which one is the killer stalking all the others. It’s the one guy who didn’t want to be mind wiped, who was already carving.
Going rogue, Coulson locks Skye away in Ward’s old cell and goes after the assassin himself, because it’s personal. I’m going to guess that’s not all it is. If each message is slightly different, with just a little bit extra, maybe the killer is after the full message, and maybe, just maybe, Coulson is after that too.
Give and Take
As one team of agents close in on Ward only to find him gone, but left with a gift – Bakshi, the other team is in pursuit of Coulson, similarly on the run. Coulson finds the killer and the last victim, and together they discover what the writing really means, along the way learning that pain brings enlightenment, which is why the torture machine worked so well. It is a map of sorts, of a city.
A city? If we’re dealing with the Kree, and they may have been here for thousands of years, only one city comes to mind – Attilan – and that brings us back to my fellow Biff Bam Pop! columnist J.P. Fallavollita‘s conspiracy theory from a few weeks back. Is the city in question really Attilan, the city of the Inhumans, who were seeded by the Kree millions of years ago? Is GH-325 just some form of Terrigen mist? Time will tell, folks, it looks like “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has a very interesting future coming…
Next: S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra go to war over The Diviner in “The Things We Bury.”