AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. and ARROW Midseason Questions (and Answers)

Credit: CW and ABC

The Holiday season is upon us, and that means an involuntary vacation for fans from the superhero comic book world’s two flagship television programs: Marvel/ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and DC/the CW’s Arrow. So while we are opening our presents hoping for either a 1950’s era two-way wrist watch radio (one of only seven ever made!) or a mask that won’t slip and get in the way when the action gets heated, our minds remain with our heroes as new revelations threaten to change their respective worlds forever.

Who is The Clairvoyant?

The (very) slowly building mystery behind most of the events of the first half-season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , including not just the Extremis-infused-alien-strength-enhancing technology but also the people-controlling eyeball cameras that can fry their user’s brains both turn out to be the work of the mysterious Centipede Organization. However, even they are unable to solve the fundamental problem with using Extremis: keeping people from exploding!

Hence the breakout of Edison Po, ex-military scientist and strategist and the apparent only contact to The Clairvoyant, a mysterious source of knowledge that Centipede needs to solve their combustion problem.

When this code name is revealed to our heroes, Agent Coulson dismisses the idea that whoever The Clairvoyant is, they can actually be a clairvoyant as no such power exists on their ‘Index’ of super-powers/super-powered people, and since the Marvel Cinematic Universe is bound by licensing laws to be mutant-free, this discounts the usual X-suspects.

This might mean perhaps The Clairvoyant is just very perceptive or intelligent. Given Centipede’s evil-technology focus and passing resemblance to both the comic book and the Iron Man 3 versions of A.I.M., a lot of speculation points to a being like M.O.D.O.K., but the use of a code name like The Clairvoyant could be telling. Strictly defined a clairvoyant is someone who sees things that ordinary humans can’t, someone with…Vision.

The Android Avenger would be an inspired choice, as students of the medium would remember that The Vision was originally built with a sinister purpose before developing an artificial human conscious and turning on his creator. Oh and, that creator? Ultron, who is poised to be the villain of the next Avengers movie.

Credit: Marvel Studios / ABC

Kidnapped to a Not-So-Magical Place?

The big twist/cliffhanger at the end of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. midseason finale wasn’t that the team’s new recruit, J. August Richards’ Mike Peterson, was apparently killed in a massive explosion, since its more than likely he wasn’t. Referencing the climax of Iron Man 3, we’ve seen that Extremis-enhanced people are resistant to heat, fire and concussive force. It also wasn’t that Agents Coulson and May might know even more about Skye’s origins then they have let on so far. The twist was that instead of desiring Mike’s unique stabilized enhancement, directed by Po and The Clairvoyant, Centipede wanted Agent Coulson and the secret of his resurrection.

Other than the fact he was taken and is being held against his will, Agent Coulson is increasingly curious about the events after Loki stabbed him through the back as well. The story that he was only ‘out’ for a few minutes then forced to recover for a while in Tahiti (it’s a magical place) has been looking increasingly shaky to him as evidence, including the behavior of his former co-workers, mounts. So unfortunately as Phil Coulson gets the answers he wants, the bad guys might gain the power of life over death.

The Mirakuru of Re-Birth

On the other side of the barrier, Arrow has been jumpstarting the super-heroics this season first in the introduction of the drug Mirakuru, desired first chronologically by the mad scientist Professor Ivo on his aptly named cargo ship Amazo and then by the Starling City Alderman Sebastian "Brother" Blood.

Found by Oliver, Shado and Sarah Lance in the wreckage of a WWII era Japanese submarine they use the last of the drug to save Slade’s life, but its healing and strength-enhancing power is not effective fast enough to save Shado’s life when Oliver is forced to sacrifice her to save Sarah.

It’s a decision by Oliver that haunts him and not only in his memories or occasional hallucination: the Shado-loving Slade has survived to the modern day and is revealed to be the one pulling Brother Blood's strings.

In a twist on his comic book origins, Blood himself has used the drug to turn a man named Cyrus Gold into a nearly unstoppable warrior, whose apparent death by being electrocuted, burned by acid and buried alive at the end of the mid-season finale comic book fans know won’t take, since the former Mr. Gold is known to them as the immortal zombie Solomon Grundy.

However, Mirakuru is not done yet changing the landscape of Arrow, as erstwhile Team Arrow ally Roy Harper Jr. was involuntary injected with the drug and has apparently has at least gained its healing abilities. Finally, it can’t be a coincidence that Mirakuru, aka The Miracle, sounds and acts a lot like Miraclo (if you were to write that out in Romaji, a Japanese variation of Romanized words, it would be Mirakuro), the drug developed by Golden Age DC hero Rex Tyler, aka Hourman. With Hourman tapped for an upcoming pilot, also for the CW, his time-sensitive heroism is a shoe-in for an appearance sooner or later.

Deathstroke revealed!
Deathstroke revealed!
Credit: CW

An Eye For an Eye

Fans of Arrow with sharp eyes and good memories will remember the scene of Oliver being rescued from the island after his five-year stay, in the background there was the distinctive orange and black mask of Deathstroke with an arrow though one eye. While earlier depicted events on the series might have lead people to think it belonged to Slade Wilson’s ex-partner Wintergreen, the reveal of a vengeful one-eyed Slade at the end of the mid-season finale might mean that a serious fallout between Oliver and Slade over the fate of Shado is in the offing.

Reinforcing this idea is the rather specific threat of the modern day Slade to stab Oliver through the eye with an arrow, an echo of the threat that the comic book Deathstroke made to Green Arrow after the latter did the same to him (though into his already ruined eye) during a brutal fight scene in the pre-New 52 Identity Crisis event.

Who is Isabel Rochev really?

While the mere mention of Ra’s ah Ghul was enough to send season one Big Bad Malcom Meryln running, the Demon’s Head might have already had a more tangible presence on Arrow via Summer Glau’s corporate shark character Isabel Rochev, who many have speculated is really Talia ah Ghul, in a Dark Knight Rises-like twist. However, the reveal of a corporate suited (rather than body armored) Slade Wilson in the modern timeline might throw water on that theory. Ra’s isn’t the only villain with a child; it’s possible that Isabel Rochev is instead really Slade’s daughter Rose Wilson. An Isabel is a type of Rose after all.

Since Slade’s plan was to take everything away from Oliver and that would include his family’s company, in comes Rochev who nearly accomplished this. Despite failing to take over Queen Industries, she has stuck close to him Oliver gathering information and as seen in during Team Arrow’s adventure in Russia, driving a wedge between Oliver and Felicity.

Naturally all of this is pure speculation, but its these little details that keep up watching these shows after all, and looking for the next little clue.

A New Spin on The Flash

The arrival of Barry Allen on Arrow has been foretold not just by casting notes and press releases about the establishment of a DC Cinematic Universe via an interconnected Flash television series, but the running (ahem) background story about the controversial particle accelerator opening in Central City.

Untested speed-related science plus Barry Allen? It seemed like it would be a shoe-in that an accident at the accelerator would stand in for the classic lighting plus police chemicals comic book origin, especially when Barry himself lampshades it by organizing a shelf full of colorful chemicals in the Arrow Cave.

Then everything changes when Barry gets home late, in his typical fashion, and misses his chance to attend the accelerator opening. Just when it seems like there will be no Flash, the accelerator explodes into the distance, throwing up waves of red, white and gold energy. As the energy wave covers all of Central City, Barry opens the roof hatch to the CCPD crime lab and is zapped by lighting and thrown into a shelf full of colorful chemicals.

Now if that doesn't create a speed-related super-hero, one with a ready made Smallville-style Wall of Weird hidden in his office, nothing will. However a question remains: the accelerator accident wasn't a localized event, like the propagation of Mirakuru, will the accident 'jump-start' the super-human population of Central City? After all, more than a few of The Flash's Rogue's have speed or speed related powers including Professor Zoom/The Reverse Flash, The Top and The Turtle and the second Captain Boomerang. We will find out when The Flash television arrives in 2014.

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