SPOILERS for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 episode ‘Inside Voices’ ahead
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has teased the long-awaited arrival of a Marvel Comics villain - Graviton. The fifth season of ABC's flagship Marvel series has not only rocketed Phil Coulson's team to the future, but has also indulged in numerous callbacks to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s past episodes, especially the events of the first season. This week's episode, "Inside Voices," revealed the shocking fate of Ian Quinn, one of the series' earliest villains, as well as shedding new light on another character long believed deceased, Dr. Franklin Hall.
Both Ian Quinn and Franklin Hall first appeared in the third episode of season 1, "The Asset." Quinn was a billionaire industrialist and owner of Quinn Worldwide who was also in league with Hydra. Quinn developed the technology to create Deathlok, and he was one of the first villains Daisy Johnson (then known as Skye) faced as a recruit of S.H.I.E.L.D. Later in season 1, Quinn shot Skye point-blank and nearly killed her. However, beyond his dealings with Hydra and his hand in the creation of Deathlok, Quinn's true obsession was Gravitonium. This is where his old Cambridge University classmate Franklin Hall came in.
Hall was a scientist, an expert in Gravitonium, and an unwilling S.H.I.E.L.D. asset. Hall leaked his location to Quinn so that his old friend could help him escape S.H.I.E.L.D.'s clutches. In turn, Quinn hoped Hall would weaponize Gravitonium for him. However, Hall recognized the danger Gravitonium posed to the world and planned to destroy it; Phil Coulson ended up throwing Hall into the Gravitonium during S.H.I.E.L.D.'s assault on Quinn's Malta headquarters. Hall was presumed dead, but now, "Inside Voices" indicates this isn't entirely the case.
General Hale brought Carl Creel, the Absorbing Man, into her operation because she wanted him, via his powers, to test the effects of Gravitonium on a person before she used it in the Particle Infusion Chamber that would create the Destroyer of Worlds - who will be either Daisy Johnson or her daughter Ruby. Creel attempted to absorb the Gravitonium but soon realized the unstable element was "alive." Later, the Absorbing Man referred to whatever is in the Gravitonium as "they."
The final scene of the episode is a flashback to "Four Years Ago." In the season 1 finale "Beginning of the End," Quinn and Raina escaped Hydra together and took the Gravitonium with them. "Inside Voices" revealed Ian Quinn hasn't been "in hiding for years" as General Hale believed. Rather, during their escape in a truck, Raina betrayed Quinn and trapped him in the Gravitonium - the same fate that was inflicted on Franklin Hall. Therefore, the two former classmates have been absorbed in the destructive element for the last four years but they - or their consciousness, at least - are still somehow alive.
When Hall perished in "The Asset," fans were disappointed because, in Marvel Comics, Franklin Hall is the gravity-powered supervillain Graviton. It seemed like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would never pull the trigger on having Graviton on the show. But now, with both Hall and Quinn alive within the Gravitonium, the seed has been planted for Graviton to possibly appear in the series in some fashion after all.
This could possibly be through the Absorbing Man, who retains the memories of Hall and Quinn; Creel could somehow mutate into a gravity-powered hybrid of all three and become S.H.I.E.L.D.'s version of Graviton. Or if Ruby does have Gravitonium fused into her cells and become the Destroyer of Worlds, her new gravity powers could make her Graviton. It will be fascinating to see how this will all play out as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fifth and possibly final season rockets towards its climax.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays @ 9 pm on ABC.