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TV Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Episode 8 / November 19, 2013)

11.20.2013

NOTE: Join us every WEDNESDAY as we review the latest episode...

EPISODE 8: "The Well"

SYNOPSIS:  In the aftermath of Thor's battle with Malekith in Greenwich, Coulson and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pick up the pieces -- one of which threatens to destroy a member of the team.

BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).

Last week, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team finally came together in an episode that seemed to be the non-Marvel Cinematic Universe dependent template for things to come.  The inner-workings of S.H.I.E.L.D. came to the forefront as the subplots for Coulson, Skye, Fitz, and Simmons all began to solidify.  The need for asides about the big screen adventures of Marvel's elite seemed to be on their way out.  Until this week.

This episode opened with a brief montage of scenes from THOR and THOR: THE DARK WORLD before taking us to Greenwich University and the S.H.I.E.L.D. clean-up crew tasked with the aftermath of Thor and Malekith's battle.  The requisite mentions of how attractive Thor is, how superheroes never clean up their messes, and a brief recap of who Asgardians are, and we are right back to the Chitauri episode from a few weeks ago.  Sigh.

The team visits the site at a Scandinavian forest preserve where a tree is cut down to reveal an Asgardian staff that appears to give the person who holds it a superhuman strength.  Coulson decides to visit an expert on Norse mythology he consulted during the events of THOR and for a moment I was hoping for a Stellan Skarsgard cameo.  Instead we get Peter MacNicol explaning that the staff in the tree is the Berserker Staff and sets the team on the path to find the other two pieces.

Ward feeling the effects of the Berserker staff triggers a flashback to someone stuck at the bottom of a well very reminiscent of THE RING.  His anger brings out a nice outburst against Skye, Fitz, and Simmons where he chastizes them for constantly talking with no action.  Finally, the writers are listening to the feedback from those of us watching the show!  I still think Ward is a waste of a character but it was nice to see him cut loose from his very cardboard Clark Kent persona.

Using Ward, the team discovers that the Professor is actually an Asgardian living in secret on Earth and he explains how the staff channels power in those who possess it.  MacNicol doesn't come across as the type of Asgardian we have come to see in Thor, Odin, Loki, or the other warriors.  Partially it feels like a cheat that this is how they pass off the connection to the Marvel Universe at large, but it is about par for the course on this show.

Ward's flashback comes into focus as he grabs hold of all parts of the staff and we learn he was not the boy in the well but actually the one at the top, prevented from throwing a rope to save the kid at the bottom.  Ward makes the worst rage face I have seen on any show in years as he battles through to save the day.  Melinda May joins in as well and explains to Ward after the battle that she doesn't succumb to the anger because she sees it every day.

The episode ends with Skye putting herself out there for Ward and it seems for a moment that the seed of a romance is growing there, as we all have expected since the pilot.  But, then something odd happens.  Ward turns her down and heads up to his room when he makes eye contact with Melinda May down the hall.  She gives him a knowing look and we see a bottle of liquor in her hand and she leaves her room door open.  Ward walks in and closes it.  I am going to assume the two banged all night in keeping with S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol for such matters, but it still came across as a surprise as I was expecting Coulson and May to get together.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES:

Are you kidding?  The entire episode centers around THOR: THE DARK WORLD and Asgard in general.  Coulson also makes mention that Thor is on Earth but off the grid, a reference to the closing scenes of the new movie.

BEST LINE:

"Did the math: One, you are not the first Asgardian I have had in custody.  You guys don't flinch or panic in captivity.  Two, a Waterfield 44 on a lit professor's salary?  I don't think so.  And lastly, when I tell someone that I have had some one on one time with an alien, they tend to be a little curious." - When asked how Coulson figured out the Professor was an Asgardian.

COOLEST SCENE:

Coulson shoving his hand into the Professor's chest cavity to try and keep him alive long enough for his Asgardian regeneration to kick in was just perfect.

DO WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO COULSON YET?

Coulson explains that he has no memory of being revived after his encounter with Loki and ponders taking the Berzerker Staff to see what happened to him when he was brought back to life.  The final scene shows Coulson in Tahiti getting a massage only to wake up in a cold sweat aboard the plane.  Something is going on and we need to find out soon!

EPISODE CLEARANCE LEVEL: 7/10

Better than I expected it to be as a THOR: THE DARK WORLD tie-in, the episode does not rely on that film and does work as a standalone episode while giving nice insight into Ward's back story.  I would have given the episode an 8 but I have to dock a point for Ward's awful rage face.

 

NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:

"Repairs" - Coulson and his team are haunted by a mysterious force that threatens to destroy them all, and only a secret fromMay's past can save them

TELL US WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THIS EPISODE BELOW!

Source: JoBlo.com

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12:41AM on 11/21/2013
"The episode ends with Skye putting herself out there for Ward and it seems for a moment that the seed of a romance is growing there, as we all have expected since the pilot. But, then something odd happens. Ward turns her down and heads up to his room when he makes eye contact with Melinda May down the hall. She gives him a knowing look and we see a bottle of liquor in her hand and she leaves her room door open. Ward walks in and closes it. I am going to assume the two banged all
"The episode ends with Skye putting herself out there for Ward and it seems for a moment that the seed of a romance is growing there, as we all have expected since the pilot. But, then something odd happens. Ward turns her down and heads up to his room when he makes eye contact with Melinda May down the hall. She gives him a knowing look and we see a bottle of liquor in her hand and she leaves her room door open. Ward walks in and closes it. I am going to assume the two banged all night"

Angry sex is great sex.
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+2
3:34PM on 11/20/2013
This episode was better than the rest, but the show is still pretty bad. I want to like S.H.I.E.L.D., but it's really hard right now. When a "pretty good" episode is their best attempt for the entire season, then you've got a problem. Almost Human has only delivered two episodes so far, and they're both better than everything S.H.I.E.L.D. has given us all season. If Marvel's name wasn't attached to S.H.I.E.L.D., it would've been cancelled by now.
This episode was better than the rest, but the show is still pretty bad. I want to like S.H.I.E.L.D., but it's really hard right now. When a "pretty good" episode is their best attempt for the entire season, then you've got a problem. Almost Human has only delivered two episodes so far, and they're both better than everything S.H.I.E.L.D. has given us all season. If Marvel's name wasn't attached to S.H.I.E.L.D., it would've been cancelled by now.
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3:05PM on 11/20/2013
The opening was meh and felt forced, but the rest of the episode was great, and it did something REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT: it literally *gave* Agent Ward a character attribute! One that he should of had from the beginning! But it's justified in-universe now that he will have a short temper for the rest of the series! That's fantastic! I mean...there's still a ton of work left to do to get this show up to par, but this is a hell of a step forward. Such is the advantage of setting your series
The opening was meh and felt forced, but the rest of the episode was great, and it did something REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT: it literally *gave* Agent Ward a character attribute! One that he should of had from the beginning! But it's justified in-universe now that he will have a short temper for the rest of the series! That's fantastic! I mean...there's still a ton of work left to do to get this show up to par, but this is a hell of a step forward. Such is the advantage of setting your series in the Marvel universe: have a flat character? MAGIC ANGER STAFF!

I hope MacNicol becomes a recurring character. It never hurts to have a lascivious superhuman informant hanging around. Although honestly at this point, I wish *any* ally who's shown up in an episode to be a recurring character. The show has become cameo central so far.
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1:55PM on 11/20/2013
finally an episode I enjoyed. I liked the darker tone and the humor was spot on and not too forced.
I'll keep watching, if they continue along the same lines it can only get better.
Simmons has got to go though, she is awful. Her opening dialogue was atrocious and she smiles every line, she needs to be killed off.
finally an episode I enjoyed. I liked the darker tone and the humor was spot on and not too forced.
I'll keep watching, if they continue along the same lines it can only get better.
Simmons has got to go though, she is awful. Her opening dialogue was atrocious and she smiles every line, she needs to be killed off.
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1:23PM on 11/20/2013

Did anyone else got the Whedonverse reference...

... to Dollhouse ? "Did I fall asleep ?" "For a little while." Loved the nod.
And it might not be the greatest show ever, but it's very enjoyable. I liked the Indiana Jones/Da Vinci code aspect of the investigation and the Asgardian Aliens/God mythology. I don't get the hate.
... to Dollhouse ? "Did I fall asleep ?" "For a little while." Loved the nod.
And it might not be the greatest show ever, but it's very enjoyable. I liked the Indiana Jones/Da Vinci code aspect of the investigation and the Asgardian Aliens/God mythology. I don't get the hate.
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1:22PM on 11/20/2013
Would've introduced Carl 'Crusher' Creel to gain his powers from that, so to introduce to next Thor villain.
Would've introduced Carl 'Crusher' Creel to gain his powers from that, so to introduce to next Thor villain.
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-3
10:33AM on 11/20/2013
Ok. I wish this film dealt with threats we want to see - Hydra, A.I.M., other super powered humans/metahumans. so far the show doesn't make me feel that they are in the same universe regardless of references to previous films. Its way past the time they showed a world of super powered people living in the world.
Ok. I wish this film dealt with threats we want to see - Hydra, A.I.M., other super powered humans/metahumans. so far the show doesn't make me feel that they are in the same universe regardless of references to previous films. Its way past the time they showed a world of super powered people living in the world.
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9:56AM on 11/20/2013

six in one hand.....half dozen in the other

Reading reviews of this show is starting to get frustrating. Either people want the show to not rely on the MCU (like the above review), or they want it to be fully submerged in the MCU, complete with Avengers cameos every week, and that is this show's problem. It is trying so hard to please everyone, that it is frustrating everyone. The show is trying to reach the broadest audiencd possible, so it tries to appease everyone. I enjoy the show for what it is. I like the characters (mostly), and I
Reading reviews of this show is starting to get frustrating. Either people want the show to not rely on the MCU (like the above review), or they want it to be fully submerged in the MCU, complete with Avengers cameos every week, and that is this show's problem. It is trying so hard to please everyone, that it is frustrating everyone. The show is trying to reach the broadest audiencd possible, so it tries to appease everyone. I enjoy the show for what it is. I like the characters (mostly), and I especially like the episodes dealing with the inner workings of SHIELD, and I;m always going to enjoy Clark Gregg as Coulson. All in all, I find it to be a fairly pleasant hour of TV to watch when I get home from work. But going forward, I think it would be smart for the show to decide what it is and commit to it. Better to piss off half the adience than frustrate the entire audience. Oh, and get Tom Hiddleston to guest star.
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+11
8:55AM on 11/20/2013

I'll say it...

...I like the show. It's not perfect, but it gives us a glimpse into SHIELD and does some nice "what happens after the movies" answers.
...I like the show. It's not perfect, but it gives us a glimpse into SHIELD and does some nice "what happens after the movies" answers.
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7:31AM on 11/20/2013
Haven't seen it yet but as it's directed by Jonathan Frakes and it being the Thor tie-in I'm hoping for an improvement, even a slight one.

Haven't seen it yet but as it's directed by Jonathan Frakes and it being the Thor tie-in I'm hoping for an improvement, even a slight one.

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7:22AM on 11/20/2013

I don't care much for this show still.

I am praying with all hope and might that it will pay off by the end of season 2. Yeah, I'm gonna give it that much time.
This episode was another "average" viewing experience. Please, Joss, take a look at what's going on and provide more input.
I am praying with all hope and might that it will pay off by the end of season 2. Yeah, I'm gonna give it that much time.
This episode was another "average" viewing experience. Please, Joss, take a look at what's going on and provide more input.
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7:22AM on 11/20/2013

cricky

Joblos love for below par marvel continues.
Joblos love for below par marvel continues.
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11:48AM on 11/20/2013
Like there's not enough WB/DC dick sucking on this site. Both DC and Marvel get their balls fondled equally.
Like there's not enough WB/DC dick sucking on this site. Both DC and Marvel get their balls fondled equally.
7:05AM on 11/20/2013
This episode was directed by Jonathan Frakes!
This episode was directed by Jonathan Frakes!
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7:27AM on 11/20/2013
Shut up Wesley!
Shut up Wesley!
10:09AM on 11/20/2013
Wesley Crusher?
Wesley Crusher?
11:43AM on 11/20/2013
If only they had Culson sit down funny
If only they had Culson sit down funny
2:11AM on 11/20/2013
i have not seen thor 2 yet but in the episode they kept calling the Asgardians aliens did they pull a highlander 2 and decide to make them aliens if so kinda lame the episode was ok
i have not seen thor 2 yet but in the episode they kept calling the Asgardians aliens did they pull a highlander 2 and decide to make them aliens if so kinda lame the episode was ok
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9:12AM on 11/20/2013
Asgardians have always been aliens. What we call planets, they call realms and what looks like magic to us is just different, more advanced science and technology.
Asgardians have always been aliens. What we call planets, they call realms and what looks like magic to us is just different, more advanced science and technology.
9:22AM on 11/20/2013
still liked it better when they were just gods iv only read the old comics so thats what im familiar with just the whole alien thing seems meh kinda let down now
still liked it better when they were just gods iv only read the old comics so thats what im familiar with just the whole alien thing seems meh kinda let down now
12:38AM on 11/21/2013
Alien in the sense that they are not from this world. It kind of plays into the "ancient aliens" conspiracy theorists. You know, the conspiracy that scientists are trying to cover up the "fact" that we were visited by aliens millennia ago.

Personally, I like Thor Hyderdal's theory that Odin was a real man from Azerbaijan who traveled to Scandinavia on horseback on by boat and taught the Norsemen how to read and write. The theory is supported based on the fact that Norse writing does
Alien in the sense that they are not from this world. It kind of plays into the "ancient aliens" conspiracy theorists. You know, the conspiracy that scientists are trying to cover up the "fact" that we were visited by aliens millennia ago.

Personally, I like Thor Hyderdal's theory that Odin was a real man from Azerbaijan who traveled to Scandinavia on horseback on by boat and taught the Norsemen how to read and write. The theory is supported based on the fact that Norse writing does exist and somebody had to have invented it.

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