Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S01E08 “The Well” Discussion

Posted by Matthew on November 20, 2013
Television

Agents of SHIELD

Another week, another adventure in the Marvel Universe! This week the team deals with a mess of Asgardian making as this episodes follows on directly from the film Thor: The Dark World.

Once again I’m assuming that you’ve watched the episode and spoilers will abound.

Stark Is Still a S.H.I.E.L.D. Contractor

Just a quick note, despite all the Asgardian stuff it was cool to see Fitz using a 3D holographic interface a la Tony Stark’s workshop.

Follows On In Name Only

The marketing of this episode promised that it was going to follow on from Thor: The Dark World, that Coulson and Company would be cleaning up after the battle in London. That’s what is going on in the first scene but rather than find anything in the mess they get called away to Norway where someone unrelated has found an Asgardian artifact which is otherwise unrelated.

While I liked the story of said artifact? Those first few minutes were kind of wasted. Like, “look! we’re in London! We’re going to do Asgard stuff! We’re even teasing Thor in the promo! BUT NOPE HERE’S SOME OTHER ASGARDIAN STUFF!

My point here is that if the show is going to tie into the movies? It should tie in. Don’t tease Thor and then show me a bunch of other stuff, just tell me you’re doing an Asgardian episode and then do that!

Hopefully whatever tie in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier happens a little more in depth. They kind of have to what with the strife within S.H.I.E.L.D. that’s supposedly the central plot of that movie.

I don’t really expect Captain America himself to show up for a full episode (how cool would that be though?), however if they are going to tie in? Make me believe that it actually ties in, you know?

I’m Too Tired To Come Up With a Well Pun To Do With Ward That Doesn’t Sound Dirty

Finally a nice look at the backstory of a character other than Skye or Coulson.

We already knew that Ward has a complicated family past with his brother and this shows more of that. A few flashbacks to a boy in a well which we’re led to believe is Ward but turns out that it was some other kid Ward is trying to help and his older brother is preventing him from doing so.

So Ward’s brother is a sociopathic bully. I’d already speculated that we’ll meet Ward’s brother and that he’ll be an antagonist that Ward will need to overcome. This makes it a bit clearer that that is pretty much certainly going to be the case.

The question now is how are going to meet him? Mercenary working for the centipede people? Head of some villain group?

Also, when May picks up the staff and just kicks some serious ass? Awesome. When asked how she overcame the things it forced her to see and she replies “I see them every day”? Awesome also. Not surprising given her character story to date (she’s like Bruce Banner, her secret is that she’s always angry) but still cool. Hopefully we get a May centric episode soon so we can find out what it was she went through that made her leave field work behind.

Plus, implied hookup. Who will that cause tension with first you think? Skye (who’s crushing on Ward) or Coulson (who is closest to May of everyone on the team)? Skye, obviously, but it’d be nice for them to throw a curve ball.

Tahiti Is A Magical Nightmare

Coulson gets more development. We now know that he has no memory of being revived and that the span between his death and his first memory is actually months. He tells Professor Randolph that it doesn’t bother him but then in the stinger we find out that he’s having nightmares, beautiful nightmares, about “Tahiti”. So are these memory implants to cover for the time they spent rebuilding him?

We don’t know what exactly he is at this point (Life Model Decoy seems most likely as they are designed to mimic all outward appearances of being alive, right down to the biology) but whatever they did to him they clearly didn’t do a good enough job of covering it up.

Will it be that he’s special or will it be an inherent flaw in the process of whatever they did?

Also, nice little call back to The Avengers by mentioning Portland and their local Orchestra. How much longer until they end up in the Pacific Northwest and we get to meet his cellist (ex?) girlfriend?

Conclusion

All in all a strong episode. I’m still irked that the tie in wasn’t really a tie in, but the rest of the episode was good enough that I don’t actually really care. Ward wasn’t wooden, May kicked some awesome ass, we met a new Asgardian, Peter MacNicol is always fun, and the Coulson story wasn’t just a teaser at the end it actually comes up throughout the episode. You could argue that the berserker staff was a lame macguffin, but the character beats worked for me so I don’t really mind.

The series continues to improve and I am liking it more every week for the past few weeks. Here’s hoping the trend continues! I wouldn’t quite say that it’s a great show yet but it’s getting close to being more than just “good enough” finally.

Next week the bus might get knocked out of the sky. Here’s a promo for episode 9, “Repairs”. See you then!

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  • You forgot to mention the episode was directed by Will Riker

    • Matthew

      I probably should have not just because Jonathan Frakes is Will Riker but because he’s become a fairly capable tv director.