TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D 8

Sunday 24 November 2013 by

Agents of SHIELD, Joss Whedon, Channel 4, Marvel, Clark Gregg, TV show, PilotThere’s nothing quite like a series that has gained some traction and is now starting to gain some speed. As with anything Whedon has done, the audience has to be patient to a certain extent – think on early episodes of Dollhouse – and for that we are rewarded.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – episode eight – The Well

*mild spoilers alert*

I’m going to flag up now that yes I am sorely disappointed Thor didn’t make an appearance (although I’m not surprised). This episode starts in England, in the aftermath of the huge battle from Thor: A Dark World (I always say that I feel sorry for the big cities in the Marvelverse – they don’t half get beaten up), and our team are playing mop-up.

Meanwhile, in Norway, a couple are chopping down a very old, very protected tree to get at a big silver stick. On touching the stick, it seems they gain super strength, but also a lot of rage.

Coulson and co. are quickly despatched to retrieve the stick… which turns out to be Asgardian (STILL no Thor)… and actually only a third of a bigger stick.

The team then have to race to get the other bits of stick (I’m going to stop calling it a stick now – it’s a Berserker staff, which means it’s an Asgardian weapon which makes the holder REALLY angry), and in the process, Ward touches one part of the staff.

Cue some enraged Ward.

I enjoy this Ward. He’s much more entertaining (in a scary, please-don’t-kill-me-with-your-little-finger kind of way), but it also reveals why the normal Ward is so cold and serious, as the rage unravels some of the worst of his suppressed memories.

Now it’s a race against the super-angry rabble-rousers and a race to cure Ward before the anger consumes him.

It all comes to a head at the location of the last bit of the staff – where Ward gets to let go and throw people around for a bit (the please-don’t-kill-me aspect). But when he’s finally run out of energy, Agent May steps in. Remember Agent May? The taciturn pilot who was taken from a desk job back in to the field, whose nickname is The Cavalry, and whose reason for leaving the field in the first place was rumoured to be a pretty spectacular one.

But Agent May doesn’t just touch one part of the staff, but the staff in its entirety, and yet still manages to remain calm. I don’t know about you, but that isn’t just due to her Tai Chi. Is May Asgardian!? *gasp*

Actually, as she explains to Ward, it’s because she lives with the memories that make her angry every day. It’s one of those scenes that sort of leave a sad hush behind them (that Whedon does so masterfully), and is further given its strength by the final scene between May and Ward (*ahem* is there a romance brewing? Say it ain’t so).

This episode is great in so many ways. It relies less on humour than the others, and plays on your heartstrings much more; it tightens the connection to the bigger Marvel films much more; and it gives our characters a chance to stretch their legs in ways that may not have been possible to them in earlier episodes. I get all those warm fuzzy feelings when I watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D now – it’s like returning to old friends – you’re invested in them, you understand them, and you want to know more about them.

Oh, and as for that FINAL scene!? Could we be teased ANY MORE right now!? Goddamit.

Rating, Four, Review

Are you enjoying Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D at last?

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