Launched in September 2013, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has become a tremendously popular spy-action series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Continually reinventing itself, and shifting from Hydra to Inhumans without skipping a beat, the series is soon to return for Season 4. As we gear up for the return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I felt now was a good time to look at one particular character's journey: Chloe Bennett's Daisy Johnson, a.k.a. Quake!
Meet Agent Skye - Hacker Extraordinaire!
Spinning out from the Marvel one-shot Item 47, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started off with a simple premise: how do non-superhumans deal with a world of aliens, gods, and supersoldiers? The pilot introduced us to Chloe Bennett's Skye, an orphan who believed S.H.I.E.L.D. was mysteriously tied to her past. A gifted computer hacker and part of an organization known as the Rising Tide, Skye managed to break through S.H.I.E.L.D.'s security and raid their files with impunity. S.H.I.E.L.D., of course, soon tracked her down; in a controversial move, Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson decided to bring her into his team.
The first half of the series was a succession of 'one-and-done' missions, charting Skye's relationship with S.H.I.E.L.D. Although she was hesitant at first - at one point she even seems close to switching sides - Skye eventually accepted Coulson's team as her family. She even began an (ultimately ill-advised) relationship with Brett Dalton's Grant Ward.
Of course, Season 1 was moving in a direction none of the cast truly expected: in a tie-in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated by Hydra, and Skye wound up targeted by Ward - an obsessive traitor who was determined to turn her, and who gave cryptic hints about knowing her family secrets...
Daisy Johnson's Past Revealed
Skye's continuing quest to find her parents dovetailed neatly with other plots in Season 2, revealing tantalizing questions about her nature. At one point in Season 1, Kree blood had been used on Skye to keep her alive. Where the same process left Coulson struggling with delusional obsessions, it didn't have any impact on Skye at all. We'd ultimately learn that this was because she was an Inhuman; Skye's genetic structure accepted the Kree blood in a way that normal humans couldn't. Meanwhile, the series revealed Kyle MacLachlan as her twisted and insane father, who was dedicated to seeing her achieve her true power...
Matters came to a head in What They Become, where Skye was exposed to Terrigen. This triggered the Inhuman powers within her, and granted her the ability to generate vibrational waves of force. Terrified, she tried to keep these powers secret for a while, and ultimately wound up on the run.
Skye was rescued by the Inhumans, and taken to an Inhuman colony for training. While there, she met her mother, Dichen Lachman's Jiaying. At first excited about spending time with her parents, Skye eventually uncovered the threat her mother posed to the world, and helped S.H.I.E.L.D. defeat the rogue Inhumans. In a heart-wrenching twist, she had Coulson use the T.A.H.I.T.I. equipment on her father, giving him a life of peace but robbing him of his memories of Skye.
During these devastating events, Skye learned her real name: Daisy Johnson. Fans of the comics were astounded that the character they'd known in Season 1 had morphed into the Marvel superhero Quake, although by What They Become most had worked out where the series was going.
The Secret Warriors
In a plot lifted straight from the pages of Marvel's Secret Warriors, Daisy began to gather new Inhumans to her side as an elite superhuman task force. At the same time, she began a relationship with Luke Mitchell's Lincoln, an Inhuman with electricity-based powers. The two made a good couple, although they struggled to make a relationship in secretive S.H.I.E.L.D. work.
Season 3 dived deep into the backstory of the Inhumans, revealing a powerful Inhuman known as Hive who possessed the bodies of the dead. Possessing Grant Ward, Hive returned to Earth, and proved capable of controlling and manipulating Inhumans. Daisy wound up under Hive's influence, and at last found the peace and belonging she had always craved. Matthew Willig's Lash gave his life to free Daisy, but she was left emotionally devastated, like an addict craving the drug that had given her peace. Although Daisy submitted herself to Hive once again, whatever Lash had done had left her immune to his powers.
Ascension - the finale - tore Skye apart. She was willing to give her life to destroy Hive once and for all, but Lincoln took her place out of love for her. This was the blow that crushed Daisy's spirit.
What About Season 4?
Ascension ended with a glimpse of events "Six Months Later" - and revealed Daisy on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D.! Lincoln's death has left her in a very dark place, and she's now a renegade with as-yet-unknown motives. We do know that it's Daisy who stumbles upon Gabriel Luna's Ghost Rider, although there are hints the two won't get on...
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As you can see, over the course of three seasons Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has utterly transformed the character of Daisy 'Skye' Johnson. She started off as an orphaned computer hacker, became a seasoned agent, and was ultimately transformed into a conflicted superhero and team leader! It's a remarkable transformation, and testament to the quality of the show that it's successfully navigated such a complex character arc!
Personally, I couldn't be more excited for Season 4. Shifting to a later timeslot, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. looks set to become darker and more intense than ever, and there'll be inevitable consequences for Daisy Johnson...
Are you looking forward to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4? Let me know in the comments!