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Warning: MAJOR spoilers ahead for last night's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Don't read any further if you have not seen "Self Control" yet.
The best thing about Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the way in which the ABC series acts as an intersection of all avenues in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Over the course of the its four seasons, the series has evolved from a basic spy-versus-spy story to a real melting pot of this comic book universe's best properties. That tradition appears to be alive and well during the latter half of Season 4, as last night's episode of the Marvel series included a significant reference to a classic Dum Dum Dugan storyline taken straight from the comics.
First, let's get some background information. Last week's installment in the ABC series saw a battle take place between The Superior and Daisy "Quake" Johnson, and although Quake ultimately managed to drop a building on The Superior, Aida found him and used his body for her own personal gain. The final scene of "Self Control" really epitomized the particular brand of weirdness that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has become known for. Aida revealed that she preserved The Superior's brain and remotely transmitted his consciousness into a Life Model Decoy so that he can do her bidding. He's not a traditional L.M.D., because his mind remains intact -- just separate from his body.
Die hard fans of Marvel's comic book lore will instantly recognize this narrative device, as it bears a striking similarity to something that happened to Captain America character Dum Dum Dugan in the Original Sin story arc. During that story, Nick Fury couldn't live with Dugan's death (in 1966) and subsequently had the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent's consciousness uploaded into an L.M.D. This revelation enraged the revived Dugan, who angrily put a bullet in his own head to end his existence as a machine. However, by the end of the story, Nick Fury revealed that he had Dugan's brain preserved inside a central containment unit, and that there are several copies available, offering Fury the chance to upload his best friend into an army of Life Model Decoys operated remotely by Dugan's brain. Sounds familiar, right?
This raises some significant questions about where the Marvel Cinematic Universe could potentially take this story. Marvel's TV properties have often helped telegraph big moments and storylines for the MCU, so introducing this new development with L.M.D.'s could easily pave the way for a similar storyline to take place with Neal McDonough's live-action version of Dugan. The character has appeared in the films as well as the small screen properties, and his ultimate fate is obscure enough that we could easily see an adaptation of the Original Sin storyline take place at some point.
We will just have to wait and see if Dum Dum Dugan and his experience as an L.M.D. factors into the rest of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fourth season. No matter what, I think it's pretty clear that The Superior's storyline just became quite a bit more interesting. Marvel's ABC series airs every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. EST.
For more information related to all of the most highly anticipated spring television debuts, make sure to check out our comprehensive midseason premiere guide and fill out your TV viewing schedules accordingly!