Written by: Monica Owusu-Breen
Directed by: Jonathan “Please…call me Riker” Frakes
Plot: In the aftermath of the events chronicled in the feature film Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, Coulson and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pick up the pieces, one of which threatens to destroy a member of the team.
Review: Lets get this out of the way, this ties into Thor: The Dark World for literally only the first few minutes of the episode. We see the team help out do the clean up at the university in London, picking up the pieces of Dark Elves technology left behind. While this was cool, I was a disappointed to see that this episodes storyline had nothing to do with the events from Thor: The Dark World directly. That being said, this episode does deal with Asgardian mythology.
This episode is the first one that is Agent Ward centric, and I can see how the writers are finally getting closer to how to make him work. The problem with Ward is that, from a distance, he and Agent May are too similar to each other. They are both cold, badass agents who are all business. Episode by episode, Ward has been loosening up, and more importantly, they started to figure out his real role in the team. A few episodes ago, as Simmons is dealing with the Chitauri alien virus, we realize that Ward sees himself as the guardian of the non-action-first trio; Fitz, Simmons and Skye. This episode plays into that idea even more. At one point in the episode Simmons has to examine a tree, but she is deathly afraid of heights. Ward sees this, and he tries to find ways for her to keep her distracted. Simmons catches on to what he’s doing, but she is grateful for the help, especially since it’s working. This bit was nice as it’s a way to show Ward use other skills besides fighting to help his teammates out.
We also get just enough of a glimpse of Ward’s dark past, and while we still don’t know all the details, it’s enough to understand why he feels the need to protect people. It’s pretty dark, and not the answer I though I was going to get coming from Ward, and I’m actually really interested in seeing how they will play out his back story. As to how we found out, that’s thanks to the help of a crazy Asgardian staff that turns peoples rage into full blown warriors with super strength.
I wasn’t crazy about the Fight Club-y gang of terrorists who were obsessed with finding the staff. They were extremely underdeveloped, and I got no real sense of motivation from them. They were basically used to as plot devices. The real meat of the episode is the use of the character of Professor Elliot Randolph, played by the incomparable Peter MacNicol.
Peter brought a great bit of energy to the episode, but more importantly, was a ton of fun to watch as we reveal that he is in fact Asgardian himself!
While I’m having a hard time seeing tiny Peter MacNicol as a warrior, I appreciate the fact they didn’t go the easy route and make him a Loki clone. He could have just been another menacing Asgardian with delusions of power, but it’s clear he is a pacifist, who has no interest in going back to battle. It seems like they are setting him up to return at some point, and I will look forward to that.
Coulson makes a LOT of references to knowing Thor and trying to contact him, but it’s clear that even if he did get a hold of him, Thor would have plenty more questions for him (Coulson did DIE in front of him the last time he saw him.) I’m sure they are playing it kinda brief about that, and I’m gonna give myself a Marvel No-Prize by assuming that even if got a hold of Thor they would not mention that the information is for Coulson.
This episode is the first real nice step into making Ward a much more rounded character (actually, thanks to the Staff, we even get a small snippet of what’s going on with Agent May as well.) It was another decent episode, just one that wasn’t as tied to Thor: The Dark World as you probably would have hoped, despite what the advertisement has told you.