Terrigenesis and a Case of Typhoid

Whether you are one of the many that have stuck with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since the beginning or you abandoned the helicarrier somewhere in the middle of season one, one thing is certain… the Inhumans are coming and <cliché> the Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be the same </cliché>.

By now, even the most casual of AoS viewers should be well aware of how the events of season two concluded and that the MCU equivalent of the 616 Terrigen Bomb has been unleashed on the world. While the methodology was far less explosive than that which was depicted at the conclusion of Infinity, the end results should prove the same. All human beings possessing the applicable DNA and are exposed to the Terrigen Mists (Are they still consider “mists” if they come in the form of fish oil supplements?) will begin the Inhuman metamorphosis. With this transformation comes a myriad of potential physical mutations and ability manifestations.

With Fox’s vice around the rights to the X-Men and the “mutant” label, itself, the Inhumans have become the MCU’s answer to the necessity for mutant-type characters in its franchises. Evidenced by the inclusion of Daisy Johnson/Quake on AoS, the MCU is obviously taking creative liberty regarding the cinematic iterations of its non-X-Men mutant characters. Namely, their histories are being tweaked and altered to give them Inhuman genetics as opposed to mutant.

As Inhumans is tentatively scheduled to hit theatres some time in 2019, it stands to reason that these powered individuals will begin making their presence known in some of the other MCU properties. Their storyline has already been confirmed to continue in season three of AoS, but what about the upcoming Jessica JonesCaptain America: Civil War, or season two of Daredevil. In order to assess the possibilities, one has to consider the mutant ties that some of these characters have in the source material. If the MCU is looking to head in this direction with the Inhumans, all obvious signs point to Matt Murdock’s nemesis, Mary Walker (a.k.a. Typhoid Mary), as a likely candidate to appear in Daredevil.

Mary Walker was first introduced in 1988’s Daredevil #254 and quickly became a recurring rogue in Matt Murdock’s villains gallery. Her first run-in with Matt, pre-Daredevil, was during the vigilante’s raid on a brothel where she was employed. As Murdock battled the owner and his loyal employees, he accidentally sent Mary through a window, the physical trauma triggering her dissociative identity disorder. The more warped of her personalities, “Typhoid” and “Bloody Mary,” have full access to Mary’s mutant psionic abilities (telekinesis, psychic persuasion, hypnosis, and pyrokinesis). Often working as an assassin, Mary would later be recruited into the Initiative program, following the events of the super hero Civil War, as the mysterious Mutant Zero. Most recently, she was seen battling the X-Men with Madelyne Pryor, Selene, Lady Deathstrike, and Amora the Enchantress as part of Arkea’s Sisterhood.

On the most basic level, both Inhumans and mutants are radically similar with both groups sharing the commonality of developing superhuman traits based on their DNA. If anything is to be learned by the inclusion of Daisy Johnson in AoS, it’s that the explanation for the abilities of enhanced characters can be easily manipulated to be related to Terrigen exposure as opposed to mutant genetics. Typhoid Mary’s power set is potentially no different in that regard.

Assuming that Daredevil will jump onto the Inhuman bandwagon and bring Typhoid Mary into its cinematic mythos, the main concern is the potential for character overload. With the impending arrival of Elektra in season two, can Daredevil afford to introduce another new character that would factor prominently in both the personal and vigilante aspects of Matt Murdock’s life? This would not pose a threat if viewers have already met Mary. What if she has been lurking under Hell’s Kitchen’s radar since the beginning?

Karen Page, portrayed by True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll, was introduced in episode one and quickly cemented herself into Matt Murdock’s daily life by landing employment at his newly established law firm. The character is based on the 616 version of the same name whose on-again/off-again relationship with Matt Murdock culminated in her death at the hands of Bullseye in 1999’s Daredevil vol. 2 #5.

Based on the likely fact that the MCU iteration of Claire Temple is a composite of the 616 versions of both that character and Linda Carter, the Night Nurse, it would not be completely outside the scope of plausibility that the cinematic version of Karen Page could be amalgamated with Mary Walker.

In addition to Deborah Ann Woll’s physical appearance bearing a striking resemblance to the comic book version of Typhoid Mary, it should be noted that there are several other factors that could contribute to a legitimate reason for Karen Page’s transformation into Typhoid Mary.

Item #1: To reiterate, Mary Walker’s “multiple personality” disorder stemmed from severe head injuries that she suffered after a fall through a window during an encounter with Matt Murdock. Looking back at the MCU version of Karen Page, it is worth noting that she had endured a significant amount of cranial trauma during Daredevil’s inaugural season. An early encounter with Union Allied’s hired goons resulted in Karen being assaulted and her head being slammed into a wall, allegedly leaving a dent in the structure. Later in the season, Karen was kidnapped by James Wesley, Wilson Fisk’s right-hand man. She was chloroformed and taken to an empty warehouse where, upon waking, was told by James that he was concerned that too much of the chemical had been used to render her unconscious. A heavy dose of chloroform can lead to brain damage in the person ingesting or inhaling it.

Item #2: After successfully turning the tables on her kidnapper and keeping James at bay with his own gun, Karen makes it abundantly clear that he would not be the first person that she has shot. Mary Walker is also no stranger to violence. Could this subtle reference to a violent past hint at something more?

Item #3: Following the death of James at her hand, Karen is plagued by vivid dreams and hallucinations that rock her emotional stability. This is noticed by Matt and pointed out toward the end of the season. He tells her that he knows something about her has drastically changed even though she never fully comes clean about what took place at the warehouse.

While all of this is wild speculation, introducing an amalgamated version of Typhoid Mary into the MCU might prove more fruitful than not. Viewers have spent the first season becoming attached to the character of Karen Page and witnessing a potential mental breakdown and loss of self would prove emotionally grueling to those who are invested in the likable character. Plus, adding this extra layer of dramatic depth and superhuman abilities to Karen would steer the character clear of possibly becoming the token “helpless woman in distress” that needs saving again and again. It's true that Mary is far from the SFC that women should strive to be like, she is inarguably a powerhouse that takes guff from no one.

Whether or not Typhoid Mary becomes part of Daredevil‘s cast of characters, bringing the Inhumans and Terrigenesis into the series would tie the show closer to the MCU as a whole. Establishing and maintaining that connection should be high on the to-do list for show runners.

Follow Shaun N. on Twitter at @ThatShaun.

Shaun N.'s picture
on August 16, 2015

A Marvel fanboy whose super powers include throwing side-eye, drinking whiskey, and re-reading back issues of "Alpha Flight."

Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat: ThatShaun