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All The Aliens In MODOK Episode 3 Explained

Contains spoilers for "Marvel's MODOK" on Hulu

Maybe the best thing about "Marvel's MODOK" on Hulu is that it's relatable. Take the third episode, for example — the show's hero, tired of taking the leisurely route to success town, figures that his best bet for professional advancement is to open a portal to an alien world, trigger an attack on his colleagues' work conference, and then save everyone through the liberal use of his mind blasts. We've all gone through similar situations. The corporate landscape is a minefield.

MODOK's only hurdle is picking which menacing race of aliens, precisely, to transport to Earth. It's a real goldilocks scenario — the invaders can't be too tough, but they also can't be a bunch of obvious pushovers. He powers through a list of potential candidates and, in a characteristic move for this absolute comic book nerd love song of a show, the references come hard and fast. Here's a look at all of the extraterrestrials on MODOK's short list, and why each one had longtime Marvel fans reenacting that Leonardo DiCaprio pointing meme.

The Skrulls

Thanks to 2019's "Captain Marvel," the Skrulls are a pretty familiar species these days, albeit in a less cacklingly super-evil capacity than they were in the comics. Also, they sort of sound like Guy Ritchie characters in the MCU, which isn't something most nerds were probably expecting.

Skrulls came straight from the Silver Age Marvel tap, introduced by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in "Fantastic Four" #2 way back in 1962. Those were simpler times, back when an alien incursion could still be stopped by hypnotizing the shape-shifting invaders into thinking they were cows and then leaving them in a field.

Skrulls are capable of seamlessly transforming into any form they choose, be it animal, vegetable, or mineral. This has traditionally meant two things: One, they could be anywhere, at any time, carrying out their surreptitious misdeeds without Earth being the wiser. Number two, and most importantly, any time that a recognizable Marvel character gets killed in the comics, there's a 50-50 chance that they were actually a super disposable Skrull imposter.

The Shi'ar

Do you like birds? What about chrome space armor and stilted sci-fi dialogue? Does it seem to you that Charles Xavier deserves an on-again, off-again girlfriend even though he's spent most of his life conscripting children into paramilitary service? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, the Shi'ar have got you covered.

First introduced during the classic, beloved, and frequently weird run of Chris Claremont "X-Men" comics, the Shi'ar have gotten up to all manner of noteworthy business in the Marvel multiverse over the last few eons. Originally descended from birds but eventually evolving into that seemingly inescapable "outlandishly athletic human" body shape, they're sort of the boss hogs of outer space. Or boss parakeets, if you'd prefer.

Through political cunning and advanced technology, the Shi'ar empire has incorporated hundreds of thousands of cultures from all across the cosmos. Also, through the use of faster-than-light travel, their sometimes-queen Lilandra makes frequent visits to Netflix and chill with Professor X. Between the constant stealth jet takeoffs and the overnight lower atmosphere spaceship parking, the X-Mansion is definitely an air traffic controller's nightmare.

The Watchers

Comic book characters love two things: having one rule, and breaking it dramatically. Storm never uses her powers to harm someone, unless she does. Batman never uses a gun, until a good plot twist is needed. And the Watchers? Ask any of them. They're sworn only to observe, and never to intervene. Except for in their debut appearance ... also, most of their other appearances, after that.

Another Kirby and Lee creation, the Watchers are a species of ancient and enigmatic aliens. Advanced? Absolutely, enough so that they could give most civilizations a launchpad that would set their technological acumen ahead by centuries. Unfortunately, they tried that a while back and accidentally gave a world the gadgets they needed to destroy themselves in a nuclear war. Hindsight being 20-20, they elected to watch the universe and take notes, but to never again interfere with the course of events. Unless, you know, they really, really want to.

The first appearance of a Watcher came in 1963's "Fantastic Four" #13, when a member of the species named Uatu broke his non-interference oath to make Ben Grimm and the Red Ghost fight over whether capitalism or communism was better. Since then, the degrees to which the Watchers, and especially Uatu, have taken their vows seriously have ebbed and flowed. Sometimes they stand in the corner of the room and watch mournfully as history unfolds in tragic ways. Sometimes, like in the conclusion of 2013's "FF," they have a barbecue with Ant-Man.

The Brood

The insect impregnation body horror imagery of Ridley Scott's "Alien." The hive-minded destruction of individuality of the Borg. The big old teethers of a golden years Todd McFarlane villain. By their powers combined, we have the Brood, Marvel's most over-the-top terrifying race. Or they were, until "Marvel's MODOK" introduced the snail creatures in episode 3.

Another throwback to the Claremont era of X-Men stories, the Brood are sadistic alien bugaboos with a penchant for getting folks pregnant. Once they implant a victim with their spawn, the gestating little bundle of joy and tentacles slowly takes over the mind of its host, occasionally wresting control of their body and absorbing all of their memories. Not long after that, a bouncing baby Brood is born, fully educated and possessing the abilities of their host body.

The Brood have been everywhere — comics, action figures, the "X-Men" Sega game — they were even responsible for Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel) getting her second set of powers back in the eighties, transforming her into Binary through painful space torture. There's just no such thing as a good Brood ... with the possible exception of Broo, a mutant Brood with the capacity for love who's just as cute as a dang old button.