T.V. Review: “Agents of SHIELD” Episode 8 – “The Well”

Written by Alex Bowman November 20, 2013

Some Marvel fans may be turned off the idea of watching this week’s episode of “Agents of SHIELD” because, as the promo stated, it’s going to be a tie-in episode that matches up with the events depicted in “Thor: The Dark World.” But, I can assure you, all you spoiler fanatics out there will have nothing to fear because the events in this episode and the events of the second Thor film are as loosely tied together as the thoughts within the head of your typical college student before an exam. Regardless, this is another enjoyable episode brought to us by the talented directorial skills of Jonathan Frakes a.k.a. COMMANDER RYKER.

This week’s episode deals with the team cleaning up after the events of “Thor 2” (so nothing will be ruined for you if you haven’t seen the movie). The team soon discovers that some radical pagan anarchists have found an ancient Asgardian weapon that grants superhuman strength to whoever touches it, and must find out how to neutralize this threat before the damage becomes too great to stop. As a sub-plot, we delve into a bit of Ward’s past and the dark secret he’s trying to keep locked away from everybody when he possesses the power of the staff.

“It would be nice if, for once, Thor sent down The God of Cleaning Up After Yourself”

This episode had a lot of great moments. Frakes really knows his stuff and I am surprised with the amount of times I forgot that this is supposed to be a tie-in for “Thor 2”. SHIELD just so happens to be the clean-up crew, and that’s a good thing because 1) you’re not spoiling anything for someone who wants to see the movie and 2) it’s not going to confuse anyone who’s not going to see the movie. This episode is more of a thematic tie-in in the idea that both mediums focus heavily upon Asgardian mythology. I approve but I just wish that ABC could’ve kept their greasy fingers out of the ratings jar by staying away from the word “tie-in.” I feel like it just leaves room for disappointment or confusion for those not familiar with Marvel’s cinematic universe.

The Asgardian elements of the show were the best parts. The history concerning the Berserker staff actually felt like something you would legitimately hear in a university lecture. I like that the show is making an attempt to teach the audience something instead of numbing us with dull action scenes. The Asgardian played by Peter MacNicol was the definitive scene-stealer.

“We Are Gods”

I’ll stop myself from ranting about how he, despite being an immortal Asgardian that has lived on Earth for centuries, hasn’t raised any suspicions or caused any trouble for himself. He’s just that good of a character and some of his lines were very funny. When Coulson asks him if he has ever met Thor, since he’s a fellow Asgardian, his reply is both glib and sensible. Not every Asgardian has met Thor (who is royalty, after all) much like how not every SHIELD agent has met Captain America or Black Widow. That kind of clever humor, again, is what prevents this show from falling into the category of piss-poor action-show-of-the-week. The Whedon-esque elements and action keep the show from becoming stagnant and that gives me hope for the series’ remaining episodes.

The villains in this episode were kind of weak so it’s ok to see them get smacked around but it’s surprisingly seeing the backstory for Ward and the dark secret that the staff is using to fuel his rage. The ending of this episode will leave you with two obvious questions: what is the current relationship regarding Ward and May? AND when the flying fuck are we going to find out what happened to Coulson? Stop LOST-ing me, dammit!

All in all, another stellar episode. The villains could have been given more development but they were just meant to be pushed aside so we could get to the entertaining bits. The Asgardian mythology is handled really well, and an episode dedicated to Ward is refreshing because we get a better understanding of his past and what he’s trying to hide. No spoilers for those who haven’t seen “Thor: The Dark World” so I highly recommend you check out this episode.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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