On this week’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., entitled “The Well”, the gang finds themselves dealing directly with a threat spawning from the recently released, Thor: The Dark World. It’s certainly an interesting decision to see Marvel tying their universes so closely together with the television series being affected by the events of a movie that was released only two weeks ago. However, as Asgardian shenanigans run amok, does this mean the audience will be granted with an appearance by a god of mischief or thunder? Will this tie-in prove successful both critically and in the ratings for the agents? Hit the jump to find out.
I’m going to get this out right now, I’m a huge sucker for Thor. He’s one of my favorite comic characters, so seeing an episode with Asgard as a focal point is always a plus for me. Our episode begins with a voiceover discussing what Asgardians are in the Marvel movie-verse: aliens rather than actual gods. Cue a scene of the agents cleaning up after the events of Thor’s recent adventure on earth, discussing that ancient humans weren’t able to come to grips with what Asgardians were exactly, so just happened to call them gods in norse mythology. From here, we are introduced to two Norwegian hippies who come across an Asgardian staff which gives one of the pair superhuman strength. Norwegian hippies! Truly the bringers of the apocalypse.
After sending a security guard hurtling to his death, the pair flees the scene and begins attacking a nearby city, leaving a burning message in the street, “We Are Gods”. Right off the bat, I enjoy the fact that these antagonists are different than past villains of the show such as “the Peruvian army” and “Anonymous evil army #67”. A pair of antagonists, who are later revealed to be part of a larger group, who go mad with Asgardian power and dub themselves gods is a nice little twist. These two’s ill will leads the agents to contact an “Asgardian expert” played by Peter MacNicol. Always nice to see MacNicol show up in media, as he is a talented actor all around. Anyone else think he was going to start praying to Viggo halfway through?
In past episode reviews, I complained that the Agents were starting to become nothing more than a vehicle to remind people about The Avengers and so you may be asking yourself, isn’t this episode guilty of the same thing? Well, yes and no. We haven’t spent the past seven episodes making reference to Thor: The Dark World in the same way we have with The Avengers, so seeing these events transpire does come across as fresh. I liked the way they were able to expand on Agent Ward’s backstory a little bit by having him become possessed by the “Berserker Staff”, setting up characterization through the events of the plot. Ward acting akin to a robot throughout the series is actually explained by something horrible happening in his past. The only way that Ward is able to do his job as an agent is by pushing his emotions down and not showing them whatsoever. Hopefully we’ll get a little more insight into his “mysterious and horrible” past moving forward since what we’ve seen so far with the well scene was fairly brutal.
When it’s revealed later on that MacNicol is actually an Asgardian, the show is able to demonstrate some of Coulson’s detective skills. This leads into Coulson and Grant interrogating the now revealed Berserker (MacNicol), who reminded me a little of Tom Hiddleston’s performance as Loki to be honest. I hope we can see more of the retired Berserker as the show moves along, as he’s an original creation that has ties to the Thor franchise, while also being able to act as a unique foil for S.H.I.E.L.D. The factions of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the “Nutgardians” come to blows, causing the Berserker to be gravely injured. This leads to an entertaining scene of Fitz and Simmons not knowing exactly how to save someone who has a completely different anatomy. Cue Coulson, slamming his hand inside the Berserker to look for organs in order to keep him alive.
The episode definitely had some of the better action shots of the show thus far, with Ward and Agent May getting the opportunity to fist fight Asgardian powered baddies and eventually take them down. It would have been nice if Skye and the wonder twins (Fitz and Simmons) had more to do throughout, as Simmons’ weird plot about her parents calling her seemed forced. Minor quibble though as this was a surprisingly solid episode. It still suffered from some of the problems that past episodes have had, but did a good job of intricately weaving characterization with the plot. It even managed to throw us a curveball as the final scene is Ward and May walking into her hotel room with a bottle of booze. Considering it seemed like they were trying push a Skye/Ward relationship at a lot of turns, it was nice to see that the two characters who are astoundingly alike may actually get together.
Overall, more episodes like this one would be greatly appreciated. The final scene of Coulson actually being in Tahiti was a nice zinger of his resurrection arc.
– “You think other deities are aliens too? Maybe VIshnu?”
– “Yay internet! She said sarcastically”
– At least they gave some explanation as to why Thor didn’t show up. In the comics, you can’t have Thor jumping into Spider-Man’s and the X-Men’s adventures every time they get their fat in the fire even though they have him on speed dial as well but a nod isn’t bad.
– “That’s your progress? People suck?”
– I almost feel that when Agent Ward was yelling at his teammates, telling them all to “STOP TALKING”, he was channeling a lot of naysayers of the show thus far.
– “He’s lived through all the bad stuff. The Crusades. The Black Death. Disco.”
– “Were you captured? Tortured?”
– “Do you know Thor?”
“Oh sure, we palled around, had a ball. Of course I didn’t know Thor!”
-”You and I have a lot in common. We were both stabbed in the heart.”