Eric Koenig (guest star Patton Oswalt) explains the high-tech lie detector that the Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. must be given in a clip from next week's episode "The Only Light in the Darkness", following the promo released yesterday. In addition, we also have promo art from the upcoming episode, designed by artist Pascal Champion, which depicts Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), his cellist girlfriend Audrey (guest star Amy Acker) and subtly hints at the villain Marcus Daniels a.k.a. Blackout (Patrick Brennan). The artwork will be available for purchase starting tomorrow, Friday, April 18 at MarvelStore.com. Check out the new footage and poster before this episode debuts Tuesday, April 22 at 8 PM ET on ABC, then read on for new details about this episode from executive producer Jeffrey Bell.
When asked what he enjoys the most about Pascal Champion's poster, Jeffrey Bell had this to say.
"For me, it's funny, because I was going through old movie posters that I've collected with some people here recently. And looking at them, I realized I was very attracted to figure ground work - you know, black, white, finding shapes within shapes and that stuff. And then I look at this one, and it's exactly what I love. It uses negative space, it uses the black and the white, it uses the color...and for me, it's very emotional with what the episode is about, with Coulson, his past, the cellist, with who our villain is in this episode and how he's represented. It's clean, it's simple and graphic, and I think it'll look great. You know how sometimes things look good close, but they don't really look good far away? And to me, this is a really classic poster. I like the little red Marvel box at the bottom, but I love that this is something that I think will look really great across the room. There's lots of details in it as well that you can really dig into, with Blackout in there. And I like the way that color also reflects the color in the cellist, so she kind of feels part of that, too."
As you may know, the cellist Audrey was first mentioned in Marvel's The Avengers, during a conversation between Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), although she wasn't mentioned by name. Jeffrey Bell had this to say about how that one line turned into a fully developed character.
"It's so funny how one line in a movie... it tells you the power of Clark, and the power of the character, that there's that one line and suddenly it's who is this person? And what is this person? And when are we going to see this person? And we talked about it a number of times over the season, and we had different versions and different ideas how to get there. But when the Fridge was emptied, suddenly we had a real legitimate reason to go there and bring him back. At a time when he's at his most vulnerable, it seemed to be a good choice for us."
The executive producer also talked about why the villain Blackout is introduced in this particular episode.
"He's the antagonist, in the same way we've used other Marvel characters as antagonists in the episodes. At the same time, we're dealing with the fall-out of what happened with S.H.I.E.L.D., and the viewers finding out about Ward and what's going on over there, so there's a lot going on. Emotionally, he's perfect. Here's a character who absorbs light, and one of the things he says to Audrey - which is the title of the episode - he refers to her as "the only light in the darkness." And his obsession with the cellist is a beautiful metaphor, I think, for who Coulson is to her, who she is to Coulson, who S.H.I.E.L.D. is to the world...and the idea of S.H.I.E.L.D. falling apart, and Hydra coming out and darkness speaking, the idea of having Blackout as an antagonist seemed perfect."
He also discussed Patrick Brennan's performance as this villain, who isn't exactly the most verbal character.
"And Patrick Brennan, who plays him, has such a nice presence and just really took to the role when we first were discussing it with him. We described it many ways...it's not a big verbal part, it's a part where so much of the reaction comes from the reaction and the presence. And he really got into that, and he just really enjoyed bringing that quality. He's a tall man and he's got these great eyes and he really got excited about that. You know, a lot of actors count words, and a lot of our parts are physical. A lot of what J. August Richards has done as Mike Peterson as Deathlok is a physicality and a look. And as we explore Dreathlok moving forward, I think you'll really see that. Just the pain and the anguish and the strength on J.'s face playing Mike Peterson is my favorite thing, and Patrick does that for Blackout as well."
The executive producer also talked about the shift in tone on the series, from an action series to more character-driven drama.
"I think that's true. And part of it is earning the emotions, and it takes time for people to get to know our characters. But I do think that a lot of the emotional aspects are coming to the front, especially with pain and betrayal and love - all these big massive primal feelings, we get to play those out, which is terrific. And let's give credit where credit is due: Samantha Thomas, a producer on the show, and Arune Singh, Executive Director of Television Communications, Marvel Entertainment, are really the masterminds behind this. Really, it originated from them."