What Is the MacGuffin on 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D?'

Tuesday night gave us an exciting beginning to the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , but it also gave us something else: a new MacGuffin for the show. For those uninitiated into the details behind this kind of storytelling, the MacGuffin basically means this: there is a Thing, and it's powerful, and the good guys need to get to it before the bad guys. It's essentially a plot device, and whether it's The Arc of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark or The One Ring in The Lord of the Rings, it's often used in heroic storytelling. However, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a Marvel property, which means that whatever the "Obelisk" turns out to be, it probably already has a pre-existing history in the comics.

Although not much has been revealed about the first 0-8-4 yet, big hints in the Marvel movies suggest that it may be an Infinity Stone. ScreenRant has a great post describing how the Infinity Stones have already appeared in the movies; basically, they're six different powerful gems that can be combined into an even greater power in the Infinity Gauntlet (glimpsed in Odin's Vault in Thor). So far, we may have seen three or four stones in the films: the Space Stone is the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger; the Reality Stone is the Aether in Thor: The Dark World; the Power Stone has been confirmed to be the Orb in Guardians of the Galaxy; and the Mind Stone may be the stone embedded in Loki's staff.

So how does the Obelisk fit in? Well, being an all-powerful MacGuffin does certainly help it point to an Infinity Stone. And it's effect on Isabelle Hartley's arm may point to it being the Soul Stone, the most dangerous stone that hungers for souls. But this being the first new episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, it does present some obstacles: namely, that we have no idea what the hell the Obelisk even looks like at this point. Right now, the Obelisk looks just like a rectangle with some other fun angles thrown in and the Words of Creation written on the outside — otherwise known as the symbols both Agent Garrett and Agent Coulson were writing after being injected with GH.325.

But the Words of Creation point to another possibility. GH.325 was derived from a blue alien, currently presumed to be of the Kree race. There's a Kree weapon called the Psyche-Magnetron, a weapon that can shape matter. Its power core was contained in a small shielded box, but it was so radioactive that it would easily burn subjects once unleashed...sound familiar?

Whatever the technology, it's certainly alien. So just what alien technology will it be, and what kind of ramifications will it have on the show and even on other existing Marvel properties? Better stay tuned for when they open that box...

Images: ABC; Marvel