Television: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., "The Well"

Yes, it tied in to Thor: The Dark World. A tiny, tiny bit. You know, it walked that line between assuming most of the audience has seen the movie and not wanting to spoil anything for anyone who is still waiting for the crowds at the cinema to die down. Then it riffed on Norse mythology for the rest of the hour. Plus: Peter MacNicol!

(Also, the episode was directed by Jonathan Frakes. Remember him?)

The story goes thusly: We start with Coulson's team cleaning up the mess in Greenwich left by Thor & Friends in the film. Well, at least they have something else to talk about than the Battle of New York (because we were seriously starting to get sick of hearing about it).

Meanwhile, in a Norwegian Wood two "new adults" (that's an age classification now as well as a publishing term, see, because I just made it one) spray paint the Rune Othala on a sign an then go cut down a tree and extract a piece of an Asgardian relic, namely one third of a Berzerker rod. (The use of Othala, or Odal, which is the last rune if one doesn't count Wyrd, and stands for ancestry . . . or "homeland" . . . or even ancestral spiritual power and things of the heavens coming to earth . . . And yet it was also used by the Nazi S.S. so . . . WTF?)

Anyway, Coulson knows a guy (Peter MacNicol!) who is an expert on all these Norse things, and S.H.I.E.L.D. pays him a visit to learn more about the Berzerkers and the Rod, etc. The Rod uses the darkness inside a person—their anger, their bad past memories—to give them super strength. But they also lose a bit of control (hence, Berzerker). The legend is a Berzerker who came to Earth fell in love with Earth and decided to stay. He broke his Rod into three parts and hid the pieces at various sites around the world to keep anyone from using it. But when the legend was written down at a later date, clues to the locations of the pieces were included. And now these punk kids are tracking them down in an attempt to reassemble the Rod.

Same old story, really.

So now S.H.I.E.L.D. goes looking for the remaining pieces, but it turns out Dr. Randolph (Peter MacNicol!) has also gone to collect them because—surprise! (not really)—he's the Berzerker Who Stayed.

And then the rest of the episode, which follows pretty predictable lines and includes the fact that people with a lot of deep, dark places inside them (like Ward and May) are very affected by the Rod and yet also best able to wield it because, hey, that's how this thing works. We get lots of flashbacks of the titular well, a young Ward standing over it as his brother splashes around below and begs for help. And yet Ward refuses to rescue him. (??? Did I miss something? I'll admit, I wasn't 100% focused on the television at the time.)

The end of the episode is, of course, what so many are talking about: Ward joins May in her hotel room. But to what result? Is it just a drink fest . . . Or more?

Oh, and Coulson dreams of Tahiti. But is Tahiti just a dream? (This tease is getting really old, btw. We're all pretty sure he was never in Tahiti, right? Why can't he figure that out?)

I liked this episode for a few reasons: (a) Skye was suitably sidelined and not the center of attention; (b) I enjoy anything that taps mythology and ancient history; (c) Peter MacNicol!

And yeah, I'm curious about this group using the Othala Rune as a symbol. Will there be more of that/them? It's always good to have intrigue . . .

1 comment:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I was hoping for SHIELD to have to try and capture the Ice Beast still on Earth and chasing pidgeons at the end of THOR II. No such luck. But it would have been a fun tie-in -- just too special effects intensive to do on TV I guess.