SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for "The Other Thing," the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Sarge and his crew aren't the bad guys after all -- even if his methods are a bit dubious. In "The Other Thing," the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., he revealed the true purpose of his mission: to stop those bat-like parasites from infecting a new world.
To convince May of this threat's seriousness, Sarge put her face-to-face with a man infected by a parasite, which he called the Shrike. Like it did to Keller in the last episode, the Shrike possessed the man, contorting his body. He attacked May, who quickly figured out what she was supposed to do. After she dispatched the creature, Sarge provided some much-needed answers.
"They come from another world. They're called the Shrike -- primal, simple beings. They jump to a new world and infect a host. If the host gets taken out, they go berserk in search of a new one," he explained.
He also had a name for their deadly attack, which causes a crystal-like substance to burst out of the host's body: "Super-charging. Turning the host's energy into pure destruction. Left unchecked -- well, it's a good thing you came to your senses."
"You're not creating these things. You're trying to stop them," May realized, only for Sarge to nod and continue, "We follow them to a new world, then track anything that doesn't belong there and kill it."
Meanwhile, Doctor Marcus Benson revealed some of his discoveries to S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Alphonso "Mack" Mackenzie and Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez. He compared the crystalline substance to the monoliths, which have sent the team across time and space in past seasons. "Molecularly, the growths appear to be similar," he said. "If monoliths control space and time, maybe these control life and death."
"So if there are more of these creatures, then how bad could it get, and what are they after?" Mack asked.
"Keller said the man was headed towards a lay line convergence point," Yo-Yo pointed out.
"A week ago, I would have said this was hippy-dippy nonsense, but lay lines are believed to be a matrix of the planetary energy," Benson added.
"We've seen what these birds do with human energy," Yo-Yo said.
"Now if the creature had made it to a convergence point and initiated the same process, the result would be --" Benson started, only for Mack to finish, "Catastrophic."
Sarge described this as "the death of everything." He revealed he had seen it before, "Too many times. They're singular in focus, serving only their creator -- a monster. This is the closest I've come to stopping it, and I've been hunting for as long as I can remember."
When May asked what he did remember, Sarge continued, "I've been tearing my way through this galaxy since before you were born. I've lived on planets moving at almost the speed of light. I've been alive for 100 of your years, and I'll be alive 100 years after you're gone. Your man may have run out of time, but for me, the tick of the clock is only getting louder."
"The Shrike are a cancer. We've got to make sure this is the last planet they ever infect," he added. "To stop the spread, you cut off the limb. When their creator arrives, I'm going to burn it all down." Per his last comment, it seems he is willing to let Earth be a causality of his fight with the Shrike. Fortunately, May was able to knock him out and bring him to S.H.I.E.L.D. before he could enact that phase of his plan.
It appears the Shrike have no counterpart in the comics -- at least, not on the surface. Marvel Comics boasts two characters who go by Killer Shrike, both of whom were mercenaries more than world-ending madmen. Marvel's Killer Shrike was granted enhanced strength and flight thanks to experiments from the Roxxon Corporation, which is hardly the same as the Shrike creatures that appear on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
However, a loose comparison could be made between Killer Shrike and Sarge, who bounces from world-to-world and kills anything that has a chance of being possessed by the Shrike. Plus, seeing as Sarge is a Killer of Shrike, the name is quite apropos. Further, it's possible Killer Shrike is the name of the man controlling these parasites. However, we'll have to wait for another episode to find out for sure.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays at 8 pm ET/PT on ABC. The series stars Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Henry Simmons, Iain De Caestecker, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Elizabeth Henstridge and Clark Gregg.