‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ 1.08 Episode Recap and Review: The Well

Thor may be home again, but it’s our team who has to clean up the mess in Greenwich on this episode of Agents of SHIELD!

The events of Thor: The Dark World have officially happened in SHIELD-land, and now it’s up to our team to help tidy up London. They’re mid-clean when they get an alert about something going down in Norway. Two hikers have cut down an ancient tree in a national park in order to get to the gooey, alien artifact-y center. The metal stick inside gives one of the hikers super rage powers, which she has no issues using against the park rangers. This can’t be good.

SHIELD’s investigations tell them that the staff in the tree was definitely Asgardian and that the hikers who took it are part of a Norse paganist hate group that is currently starting an unhealthy amount of rioting in Oslo. Definitely not good.

Coulson has a contact in Seville who is able to tell them all about what’s going down. According to Professor Randolf, the stick is one of three pieces of a Berserker Staff, which created a particularly vicious part of the Asgardian army. According to the incredibly convenient poem-legend, one of the other pieces is right there in Seville! Randolf sneaks away to find the staff piece himself, but he’s intercepted first by Ward, then by the hikers (who have names, but Rage Chick and Backup Man are more fun to type than Petra and Jakob) who commandeer the staff.

Ward’s encounter with the Angry Stick has left him Hulk-ish and grumpy. After snapping at FitzSimmons (a sure sign of impending evil. Seriously, it’s like kicking puppies on this show), Ward goes to Coulson to tell him he might have been compromised by the staff. Coulson tells him to use his anger to intimidate some answers out of Randolf. The intimidation doesn’t work so much, but it allows Coulson to gather enough intel to discern that Randolf is the original Asgardian owner of the Berserker Staff. He tells them that the final piece is in a church in Ireland.

Said church is the staging ground for the inevitable fight scene that happens each episode. This time between a whole passel of Norse pagan hate group members (which is also fun to type, if I’m honest) and Ward. One of the bad guys stabs Randolf with the final piece of the staff, but Coulson, Fitz, and Simmons are able to save his life. Ward takes on the bullies with 2 out of 3 Angry Sticks, but it takes a lot out of him. Evidently when you wield the Angry Stick, it dredges up the worst memory that you have. Ward is able to take out the minions and Backup Man, but he’s out of commission for the final boss battle. May puts together the entire Berserker Staff and takes out Rage Chick on her own. Once again, the day is saved!

May and Ward take some Warrior Bonding time. May says that the Berserker Staff didn’t affect her state of mind because she lives with her darkest memory every day. Coulson ends the episode with a dream about Tahiti with overtones of Dollhouse. Creepily awesome!

Glory be! It’s an episode of Agents of SHIELD that I can sink my teeth into. I’ve really appreciated the opportunities that we’ve had in the last few episodes to see Ward become a little more fleshed out as a character. He and Skye have been the dual banes of my SHIELD-watching existence for a while now, but it looks like Ward is starting to sneak his way out of the cookie-cutter obscurity that’s been his home for most of the season. Now if we can just manage the same thing for Skye…

I have to say, though. I loved the movie tie-in just as much as I hoped I would. Admittedly, my desperate pipe dream of Malekith popping back in never materialized, but I knew Mr. Eccleston would be busy getting digitally added to several shots in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. (I love and respect the man for his principles, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t sell a firstborn to see him in a leather jacket again. Just sayin’.) Regardless, it was well-handled, and I’m excited to see them bring in other facets of Marvel movies.

And yes, May. Thor is dreamy.

Best Quotes:

Coulson: “Y’know, it’d be nice if for once Thor and his people sent down the God of Cleaning Up After Yourself. They probably have a magic broom for this sort of thing.”

Coulson: “Did I fall asleep?”
Masseuse: “For a little while.”

Things to Ponder:

• Wouldn’t you think the Asgardians would have been looking for the staff? It seems like it was rather important.

• Also, is it me, or were the Berserkers basically the Asgardian version of the Kursed?

• Wait, isn’t Thor literally across town macking on his girl at the beginning of this episode? Does no one remember Jane’s phone number?

• I need all of the Dollhouse references to happen in this show. All of them.