After a season of teasing, Cal finally Hyde-ed out on tonight’s episode of Agents of SHIELD.
Like his comic book counterpart, the MCU version of the character wasn’t born with any superpowers. Instead, he uses a special serum of his own design to give him superhuman strength. It’s no Super Soldier Serum, but it does the trick.
So what’s in Calvin Zabo’s concoction? For once, it appears that this wasn’t an attempt to replicate the formula that created Captain America, it was just a random mess of drugs that Cal mixed together.
Simmons ran it through some lab tests to see what it was made of, and her initial results found that his serum contained:
- Anabolic androgenic steroids
- A liver enzyme blocker
- Various metabolic enhancers
- Gorilla testosterone
- And most importantly, a drop of peppermint
And while Cal has apparently used the serum before with mixed success, he was missing a key ingredient that really pulled it all together: adrenaline, which was administered to save his life after his drug cocktail nearly killed him.
The comic book version of Cal was quite a bit scarier. His serum was a piece of bonafide mad science called the “Hyde Formula.” Like the literary character it takes its name from, the formula allowed Cal to turn into a massive, muscle-bound creature he called Mister Hyde. In this form, he had superhuman strength (he was eventually able to lift 70 tons of weight), increased stamina, and rapid healing.
Basically, if the MCU had given Cal the same range of powers, he’d be more or less in the same general power group as guys like Thor. The character we saw in tonight’s episode was not exactly on that level, but he was still more than a handful for SHIELD.
While Cal got a nice, dignified exit from the story in the finale, we certainly can’t rule out the possibility of him returning. After all, Coulson’s Theta mindwipe was far from permanent. Perhaps the next time we see Cal, he’ll have a bit more up his sleeve than just gorilla testosterone and peppermint.