Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. saved one of its best comic book homages for what is possibly its last season.
The show's devoted fanbase was gobsmacked last week when it introduced the Bronze Age supervillain "Graviton," in the form of a gravitonium-juiced Glenn Talbot. The man who's been an ally and thorn in SHIELD's side the past five seasons made a desperate decision to try and stop the alien scavengers who had invaded the Lighthouse. But while he did save the day, it appears the newly powered Talbot may actually be The Destroyer of Worlds we've been hearing about all season. Or is he?
Tonight's episode is titled "The One Who Will Save Us All." It finds Talbot with an extra pep in his step (massive superpowers will do that to a guy), nicer facial hair, and a snazzy cape… er, cloak. That power trip probably won't sit well with Coulson, who has spent quite a bit of time in Season 5 trying to get Talbot right after being psychologically trampled by General Hale. It leads to an interesting dilemma as we approach what could be the final three episodes of the series. It also means we'll probably be treated to a few more choice one-liners from Mister Air Force.
SYFY WIRE had a chance to talk with the actor who's portrayed Talbot from the beginning, Adrian Pasdar (Heroes, Colony, Supergirl). The fan favorite spoke about his knack for stealing a scene with his character's trademark wordplay, including one great story about one of his more memorable bits of dialogue. Pasdar also addressed whether the show would touch on the events that happen in Avengers: Infinity War.
What's up with the cape and goatee you're rockin' in the new episode?
[laughs] Well, every superhero has to have a super look, right? If you go back to the original Avengers comics from 1977, you'll see what he looked like, so we tried to get a little closer to that look.
Glenn Talbot just got a major upgrade in power. When did you find out you were going to be Graviton?
The hat tip was at the end of last year. I had a meeting with [executive producer] Jed Whedon and some of the writers and producers and was given the information that this was going to unfold just the way it did.
Talbot has been through the ringer this season. Then he makes this crazy and selfless act to absorb the gravitonium to help fight off the aliens. But now, his new powers have created a whole new set of problems.
Yeah, well, you have an egomaniac patriot who really believes that everything he does is in service to his country. But it's a questionable combination of events when you infuse yourself with this much power and you think that you can't mistakes, and your judgment may be askew due to being brainwashed by Hydra. Those three elements probably come together in a way that doesn't have a great result. But, you'll have to wait and see how it unfolds.
Are you and Coulson going to butt heads in Friday's episode due to your power boost?
I think that's a pretty good guess. The nature of our relationship is always to bicker and to butt heads. It's the matter in which we resolve it, which is a good portion of what the episode serves, we do get into it. There is some conflict resolution. And with that, there is some brand new conflict that's opened up with, maybe some other members? There's a lot to go over, but don't lead me down a scary path because I may not be able to answer you. Sorry!
Coulson and Talbot are great frenemies, who share a grudging mutual respect. Did that vibe you have with Clark Gregg pick right up when you returned to the set this season?
Oh yeah. Clark is just one of the best. It's a battle between him and Nathan Fillion for the Nicest Guy in Hollywood. I've worked with both and they're such wonderful guys. Working with Clark, he's very giving, he's very present and always prepared. Like a true leader, he's always willing to delegate. He's very happy to have guys like me to come in and pick up some of the slack, do some of the heavy lifting with him, and that's always rewarding. No matter what's going on in a scene, with Clark, it's always going to be worthwhile.
Your character always gets some of the best dialogue. You actually said ‘a steaming pile of fart pebbles' last season. Another time, it was ‘I smell a load of L. Ron Horsecrap.' Are all these great one-liners in the script, or are you winging it?
[laughs] Actually, the fart pebbles was … it was a woman named Stephanie in ADR, where we loop our dialogue, she came up with that. There was a line in that episode that … it was Fubar. The line was "steaming pile of Fubar." That's what was written, but that didn't pass Disney muster.
Yeah. That's how this stuff is born. That was the line, we filmed it. Then we went back to do the looping for it. And you can see it, my mouth, says Fubar. So the F and the B were very clear. So we had to find two words that fit in there that wasn't Fubar. And Stephanie went on the internet and looked up various synonyms for Fubar, and ‘fart pebbles' was like number 300 on the list. So we tried it, and ‘steaming pile of fart pebbles' was what fit the dialogue. That's how it went down. We were wondering, will this pass muster? And apparently, fart pebbles is acceptable by Disney and Marvel, and Fubar is not.
So that's how that line came up, but the rest of ‘em, that's all from Craig Titley and all the great writers on the show. They all have come up to me individually and said they've had so much fun writing this character. Because they just get a free-for-all. They're not restricted that much by plot development very often. They're able to just go in and have some funny lines come out of Talbot's mouth.
There was a reference in last week's episode to something weird happening in New York. Is this week's episode going to touch on what happened in Avengers: Infinity War?
Yeah, we do tie in. It's hard to tell. Sometimes that stuff is done in post-production. We'll have a TV on in the background but it'll be green screen. In post, they'll put in whatever's happening in the Avengers world. With Infinity War out there, they're tying this episode in heavily. The season finale coming up is called "The End," and Thanos talks about it being the end. Or it could just be [referring to] the end of the series, or just the season. They always tie in with the Avengers, but we don't really know how it will manifest.
Fans of the show really want to see Talbot make it back to his wife and son. Because at his core, he's a family man. Is there a chance we'll get that moment?
You know, that falls under the umbrella of, I can't give that away. But I think you're right to assume that that is part of his drive. I would certainly be surprised if Talbot didn't make every effort that he could to see his wife and son and assure them that he's doing this all for them. That's always been a part of it for him. But whether that happens or not is something I can neither confirm or deny.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays at 9PM on ABC.