Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Well

"It would be nice if, for once, Thor's people sent down the god of cleaning up yourself. They probably have a magic broom for this kind of thing."

Beware the Spoiler Kitten! If you haven’t seen Thor: The Dark World you may not want to read this review. Although it is highly likely you've all guessed some of the stuff I mention from the trailers.

For a while now this episode has been hyped up as a crossover with Thor: The Dark World. All the promo trailers promised that the story that started in The Dark World would continue in this episode. Which was true, in a sense. The episode opened with the team in Greenwich, helping with the clean-up from Thor’s climatic battle with the Dark Elves, which had left Greenwich University and other parts of London in less than pristine condition.

And that was about it.

The rest of the episode had absolutely nothing to do with the film at all. Yes, the case of the week involved some rogue Asgard tech, but it was completely unconnected with anything that happened in The Dark World. The entire opening scene was clearly shoved in just to generate some buzz for this episode. You could easily cut it out completely and it would have no effect on the remainder of the episode.

I didn't really have a problem with the scene itself because it's something I expected the series would do. I loved seeing Simmons grumble about having to pick up the pieces after these careless superheroes. But it was a serious mistake to hype up this episode as much as they did. A lot of people would've come to this episode expecting more than what was delivered. An established show, with a loyal and stable audience, could get away with that. But a new show, one that is seriously struggling holding onto its audience, should not be promising that audience something and then fail to deliver on it. Many will feel disappointed, maybe even slightly cheated.

The episode itself was alright, but in order for me to enjoy it I had to ignore some pretty big, let’s not say contrivances, let’s be kind and say incidents of people being very lucky. I mean, it was a rather very lucky that out of the thousands of experts in Norse myths all around the world, Coulson would just so happen to consult the one who happened to be an undercover Asgardian, who may or may not have worked at a Boston law firm in the late 90s. And how lucky was it that he was also currently living in one of the cities where he stashed one third of his rage staff?

This episode’s bad guys were also incredibly lucky. Despite their leaders being wanted by S.H.I.E.L.D., they were able to get from Norway to Spain to Ireland in record time with no obvious bother from border control. And they must’ve had one hell of a research team. Using just a single vague clue, they were not only able to work out exactly where the final piece of the rage staff was located, but were also able to get there before the team did, despite lacking a private jet of their own or info from the guy who actually put it there in the first place. They were also lucky that Coulson didn’t call ahead and ask the Ireland office to secure the location.

The unwritten laws of television drama dictate that when a mystical device that affects people by touch is discovered, one or more of the main characters will inevitably touch it. Sometimes this will happen by accident. In this case it happened because Ward was really dumb. You’d think an experienced agent like him wouldn’t just grab the dangerous alien weapon like that. His stupidity gave us an opportunity to scratch under the surface and find out what makes Ward tick. Except I don’t really care about what makes Ward tick, especially if it is going to be a bog standard abusive childhood backstory. All through those traumatic flashbacks all I could think was “that well looks a lot like the one Batman fell down as a kid".

Intel and Assets

--Looks like Coulson’s programming is starting to break. But that’s not important right now, what is important is that he doesn’t actually wear Captain America pyjamas!

--Why were all the Norwegians speaking English?

--Ming Na Wen celebrated her 50th birthday this week. Yes, she's 50. Someone please explain to me how this is possible? Did she make the same demonic pact as Bianca Lawson?

--Is it just me or do Peter MacNicol and Iain De Caestecker look like they could be father and son?

--In my mind May and Ward just sat in her room getting drunk and making fun of Irish TV. Anything else is not worth thinking about.

--In the Marvel Cinematic Universe everyone thinks Thor is dreamy, unlike the actual universe where everyone thinks Loki is the dreamy one.

--I love the idea that Norse mythology has now become a history subject in this universe.

--Berserkers do come from Norse Mythology. They were warriors who fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury. In the comics Thor could invoke the berserker rage to increase his strength.

Coulson: "Lots of bones. Let's see what we can dig up. See what I did there?"

Coulson: “Did I fall asleep?”
Masseuse: “For a little while.”
--Nice Dollhouse reference there.

Two and a half out of four magic brooms.

10 comments:

Lamounier said...

Boy, did this episode bore me. I actually thought of quit watching it a couple of times.

Then there was that nifty twist of the expert on Asgardians being Asgardian himself, and the episode finally had my attention. But, see, the twist was not as exciting as it could’ve been because I don’t know a thing about the comics’ mythology and could care less about it. I’m not a comic book fan and I wonder if that will always hold back my appreciation of the show (then again, it doesn’t seem that Marvel fans are loving the show so far either).

Still, the second half was miles away better than the first, and I liked the Ward stuff. He’s still a boy scout, but the writers are finding ways to make him more interesting. It was very brave of him to hold the weapon thingy again once he knew what it would cost him. Then it was awesome when May did it too. Man, that woman rocks.

But, seriously, show, enough with the mysteries already! Now we have four out of six main characters with past traumas we know very little of. Either give us something or don’t, but stop using the same freaking character development device over and over again. It’s ridiculous that they are playing with audience’s expectation like that. And, really, if the deal with Coulson is not going to be revealed any time soon, just stop mentioning it EVERY DAMN EPISODE (the Dollhouse shout out was nice, but still).

“In my mind May and Ward just sat in her room getting drunk and making fun of Irish TV. Anything else is not worth thinking about.”

Right there with you.

sunbunny said...

So, it's not going to happen, but how awesome would it be if Coulson was somehow a doll?

I actually liked that it wasn't *really* a crossover. I was concerned that I would miss some stuff as I still haven't seen The Dark World. I wonder if they scared off some of their viewership with the hype, though? I almost didn't watch because I was afraid of being spoiled.

Both Thor AND Loki are dreamy.

Josie Kafka said...

And how lucky was it that he was also currently living in one of the cities where he stashed one third of his rage staff?

Never mind the signal flare. When this show gets good, please send one third of a rage staff screaming into the sky.

Billie Doux said...

I was very jazzed by the Dollhouse reference because it was something only the fans would get. The rest was okay. I'm still enjoying the show, even though it's not grabbing me like I wanted it to.

Personally, I found the idea of May and Ward having wild and crazy alien-affected sex to be rather fun. I realized last week that May is my favorite character. I'm not sure why.

M said...

I'm all right with Ward and May. Mixes things up a little!

I like Coulson best. He is the perfect mix of sweet, tough, funny, charming, and capable. Also, I think he is very handsome. He is the only one I love so far, but I love him a lot.

Vero said...

I'm still really enjoying this show and I was actually glad that they didn't reference the Thor movie that much, I really have no interest in seeing any Thor movie (well, except The Avengers). Oh, and I don't find either Thor or Loki hot or dreamy. Nope. Shirtless Ward is more my type.

Of course, the show isn't perfect, but I like that they're concentrating on character development (even though I agree that the fact that they pretty much all have past traumas is a bit much), instead of brainless action and destruction of stuff. I can take 5 minutes of action and violence during an episode, but I'd be really turned off if it was more than that.

I hate though that they always go over a minute in the next hour. I already record two shows at 9 pm, so I'm never able to see the last minute of the show. Apparently, this week, I missed the Dollhouse reference.

Sooze said...

As a woman who recently turned 50, I am a bit miffed at Ming Na Wen for raising the bar so high for the rest of us... ;-)

Eris said...

If Ward and May wanted to make fun of Irish tv, they could just have looked at the supposed footage of the riots in Oslo at the start of the episode. Which was actually footage from the Parnell Street end of O'Connell Street during the Love Ulster parade riots several years ago. You can see the Parnell Monument very clearly, complete with Irish harp in gold...

Also, anybody else spot what Coulson said to the masseuse?

Coulson: Did I fall asleep?
Masseuse: For a little while.

Fun Dollhouse shoutout or something more sinister?

Jess Lynde said...

"His stupidity gave us an opportunity to scratch under the surface and find out what makes Ward tick. Except I don’t really care about what makes Ward tick, especially if it is going to be a bog standard abusive childhood backstory."

Yeah, this. I'm starting to find Ward fairly entertaining in small doses and in overall team interactions. I definitely enjoyed his material with Fitz last week. But when an episode centers on him and his issues, and pushes the Ward-Skye thing, I find that I just don't care.

I completely missed the Dollhouse reference, so thanks to all for highlighting it. Fun! Or possibly sinister. Hmmm ...

migmit said...

Well, I liked the twist that Ward wasn't actually an abused child, but the one doing the abusing. I imagine it could be harder for him. What's more, he was bullied into that himself, so he had the worst from both sides.

I also liked May's comment about "seeing that every day".