Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 has been off to a much stronger start than season 1, hitting the ground running, addressing lingering mysteries, and introducing fans to new and better characters, both heroic and villainous. As we get to know the new S.H.I.E.L.D. and their new opponents in Hydra, there is still one big mystery from season 1 staring us in the face: who is Skye?
[Warning – Spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Episodes 1 – 5 Follow!]
In season 1 we learned that hacker Skye was actually linked to S.H.I.E.L.D.; Skye had been taken from a tribe of supposed monsters as a babe, brought to S.H.I.E.L.D. where she was categorized as a “084,” or object of unknown origin. Her father (who himself holds a not so favorable reputation) was alive, and he was looking for her.
When Skye was mortally wounded, Coulson’s team administered a drug called GH-325 to heal her and save her life; that same drug (derived from a mysterious blue alien corpse) was used to both resurrect Agent Coulson after The Avengers, and to heal Hydra agent John Garrett (Bill Paxton) from a terminal disease.
In season 2 it’s become readily apparent that whereas Coulson and Garrett have been driven mad by GH-325, Skye has had no such adverse reaction to the drug. As Coulson finally revealed to her in episode 5, “A Hen in the Wolf House”, Skye may have taken to GH-325 so well because she had more in common with the formula’s sample of alien DNA than anyone wanted to admit. We also got to meet Skye’s father (Kyle MacLachlan), a mysterious underworld doctor who operates on criminals and has some kind of issue with uncontrollable rage (and super strength).
So if Skye and her father are not human – what are they? We have a theory.
The Hyde/Quake Theory
Hat tip to reader R. Bastien for pointing us to a couple of very helpful Marvel Wikis – for characters that sound oddly close to the situation we’re watching unfold on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Here’s what we know about Skye’s father: He’s a doctor; he has super-strength; he has some kind of fragile hold on control; he hates to be looked at as a monster; he knows a lot about alien artifacts like The Obelisk. That sounds reasonably close to a villain like Marvel’s Mister Hyde.
In the comic books, Hyde is actually Dr. Calvin Zabo, a gifted scientist and chemist who developed a formula that transformed him into a Hulk-like monster. As a fan of the classic story, Zabo took on the name of Mister Hyde. The villain has since been part of everything from The Masters of Evil to the battalion of street-level villains serving under gang leader The Hood following the Civil War schism.
The plot thickens: in comic book lore, Zabo also fathered a daughter named Daisy Johnson, who became a much bigger player in the MCU. As a teen, Daisy found out that the Hyde formula actually gave her seismic powers; she was identified by Nick Fury and groomed as a secret weapon for him to employ. When Fury left S.H.I.E.L.D., Daisy (or “Quake”) led his team of Secret Warriors (other illegitimate offspring of superpowered characters) against Hydra. After that she was appointed head of a reactivated S.H.I.E.L.D. by Steve Rogers, and also joined The Avengers. As of late, Quake has gone underground, hooking up with Winter Soldier and Mockingbird along the way.
Obviously there’s a lot that’s different between these comic book stories and what’s transpiring on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the connections may be there. There is the big obvious difference of the GH-325 and 084 extraterrestrial origin to both Skye and her father; without SPOILING anything, that plot thread has much closer ties to Guardians of the Galaxy than anything else. But even with alien origins, it’s not hard to see how the Hyde/Quake backstory could be amended to fit the modern MCU.
A formula resulting in an uncontrollable monster is a story already held by The Hulk – and introducing superpowers into the MCU is still a tricky thing at this stage (after all, the “Age of Miracles” will just be kicking off in Avengers 2). It would be easy to explain how Mister Hyde became what he is using an alien origin – and it would explain the entire scene with Skye’s father and Raina, where it was clear he has some kind of terrible hidden (and powerful) side to him. For all we know, “The Doctor” could be some form of Inhuman (Kree/human hybrids) – a property and plot point Marvel is actively developing.
The other part of the equation of course, is Skye. Since her near-death in season 1, many fans have been (patiently) waiting for the moment when Skye finally reveals her full super-powered nature, thus progressing from upstart hacker, to full-fledged S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, to an actual… well, marvel. (And maybe Coulson will too.) Even if Skye doesn’t turn out to be an exact adaptation of Daisy Johnson – given the nature of Quake’s origin, she could be an approximation of the character that is possibly melded with another Marvel superhero.
But then, this isn’t the only theory about who Skye may turn out to be – we have a secondary possibility, and it’s nowhere near as noble.
The Sin/Skull Theory
In Marvel Comics, The Red Skull had a daughter named Sinthea “Sin” Schmidt. Furious with having a daughter and not a son, Red Skull put the child into the care of Susan Scarbo – aka hypnotist villain, Mother Night – who indoctrinated the child with the Skull’s teachings. After some back-and-forth genetic tampering and criminal campaigns, Sin was taken to S.H.I.E.L.D. and implanted with false memories to make her think she was a normal teenage girl.
Not surprisingly, when The Skull reappeared, Sin was reminded of her true origins. She played a part in Marvel’s Civil War, and eventually the assassination of Captain America (an event which could be coming, if Captain America 3 is truly titled “Fallen Son”).
Obviously this theory, if true, would put Skye’s character in a much bigger position going forward in the MCU. Sin works closely with fellow Skull disciple, Crossbones (Frank Grillo’s character from Captain America 2), who we expect to see in Cap 3 – while many have been waiting for the Red Skull (last seen being disintegrated by the Tesseract at the end of The First Avenger) to reappear at some point.
In the comics, Skull has hidden in plain sight in modern times (in disguise) and has used multiple methods (clones, brain downloads, cosmic power) to cheat death over and over again.
Red Skull’s return to the MCU is all but a given – but it would be HUGE if that return was delegated to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. With season 2 starting off with WWII flashbacks meant to setup Red Skull connections to the season’s major big-bad (Daniel Whitehall) and MacGuffin (Obelisk), it’s not outside the realm of possibility that a surprise twist return could be in order. With his keen scientific mind, knowledge of alien artifacts, tenuous hold on normal human appearance, and enhanced strength, Skye’s father could conceivably be The Skull. (That would make the Ward twist look like small potatoes…)
We know that original Red Skull actor Hugo Weaving has little interest in returning to the character; Kyle MacLachlan certainly has the caliber to pull it off, and red facial prosthetics could definitely be done on a TV budget. Just sayin’…
No telling what Skye and her father’s future will be on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – not to mention who (or what) they’re revealed to be. The Sin/Skull theory is a much longer shot – but would provide the show with much bigger impact, plus increased legitimacy within the MCU (“Look, they have movie villains now!”). On the other side, the Quake/Hyde theory seems a lot closer to what we’re seeing unfold – though the payoff wouldn’t be nearly as big as a Sin/Skull reveal.
Finally, it’s important to remember that this is just fun conjecture amongst Marvel fans – so NONE OF IT may turn out to be true. But we can discuss what is/is not likely and what would/wouldn’t be cool in the comments section below.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays @ 9/8c on ABC.