Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D S01E08: The Well (open spoilers)

Okay, it seems nobody else has started a thread yet.

I think this was the best episode so far. Jonathan Frakes directed this episode so it’ll be ironic if this is the one where the show grew its beard.

A good concept, a good plot, a good guest star, and some good character scenes (including a surprise hook-up).

The prediction I made a few days ago about how the crossover with Thor would be minimal was obviously wrong.

Another vote for best episode in the series to date. May is the real badass of the crew. Kinda surprised she’s apparently going to boink Ward, though.

I’m surprised he wants to boink May, said no one ever.

I haven’t been keeping up with the show, but I figured I’d tune to watch Coulson get pissy about Asgardians.

Still not crazy about the show, but I do like pissy Coulson.

This was probably the best May episode. It started with her confirming that Thor is “dreamy”, then dodging Ward’s punch when he’s in bezerker mode, then her stepping in to take Ward’s place in the fight, then the scene were she mentions whatever traumatic event happened to her, and the final scene were she invites Ward in to her room.

Anybody else catch the Dollhouse reference?

I wasn’t able to watch the episode til later tonight, but I have enjoyed writing these recaps, so I wrote it up after watching and I will just stick it here. I agree with most of you guys, this was a great episode.

Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Written by Monica Owusu-Breen

The Well is Agents of SHIELD’s follow up to Thor: The Dark World. Knowledge of that movie isn’t really needed to enjoy it. Far more references to Avengers, and Norse Mythology pop up during this episode. The Well was a treat with a major plot twist, and a deep glimpse into Agent Ward’s past, and a bit more information about Coulson and May.

The episode opens with generic uplifting talk about all the supers who have entered the world in the recent past and this quickly shifts to the team cleaning up at a site filled with pieces of Asgardian equipment and Simmons complaining about the “enormous mess to clean up”. Fitz complains about how the work he is doing could easily done by monkeys (Perhaps foreshadowing a future episode where the cast is replaced by monkeys due to a doomsday machine. One can dream) and Simmons declines a phone call from her parents, while warding off a meaningful look from Fitz. Ward shows that one of his spy talents is the suppression of curiousity. He quickly takes the oddly shaped piece of Asgardian tech that Fitz finds and sprays it and locks it up. I am not sure what the spray does. Skye and May might not agree with how great it would be to fly a alien ship, but hey they both agree that Thor is Dreamy.

Next we see two park rangers arriving at the entrance sign in a park in Norway. Was the symbol on the sign referencing anything in the episode, or the series? Or just a red herring that is neither here nor there. While the park rangers clean that sign, in the park two harsh looking Norwegian looking people start chainsawwing down a tree. The tree downed, the man and woman find a magic rune filled stick and pick it up together. Forces seem to come out of the stick, and the man tells the woman to welcome the rage. The two park rangers come to check out what is going on, and the woman welcomes the rage all over the non bearded park ranger’s chest. and throws him across the forest.

Ward and Simmons are at the downed tree with climbing equipment. Simmons is a bit more wary of heights after her recent airplane jump. Ward tells her that some feelings take you over if you dwell on them, especially fear. He says that she should focus on something she enjoys and go forward. He starts asking scientific questions to get her walking. She sees through his ruse, but goes anyway, and uses her doodads to take 3D images of the inside of the tree, and sends it to Fitz. Fitz uses up the visual FX budget for this week’s episode and finds the shape of the piece, and the runes that are on it.

The harsh Norwegians are from a Norse Paganist Hate Group. (You find them all over the place nowadays.) They outed themselves by starting a panic in Oslo and declaring themselves to be Gods. The rune on the piece is Asgardian. Skye declares it to be magic, which everyone scoffs at, but leads to Coulson to look up a professor that helped him with the hammer. They go to Seville to look up Elliott Randolph and his Asgardian expertise. He quickly tells them that the runes are from something called a Berserker Stick which was left on earth by a Asgardian warrior who fell in love with life and decided to stay after hiding three pieces. He tells the poetic story of where the pieces went and gives the team an idea on a place to check.

Randolph’s idea was a dead end, but Skye finds a place right in Seville that is a possible spot for a piece of the stick. Ward and Skye go spelunking. While down there Ward sees Randolph and chases him. When Ward grabs Randolph he takes a hold of a piece of the stick. He is overwhelmed with a vision of a boy in a well. Randolph runs away. While running away, the harsh Norwegians come upon him and throw a car. Getting the piece in the process. SHIELD gets to him after the gang of anti-god thugs has left. Randolph tells the guys that he has made a mistake.

Back on the plane Simmons, Fitz, and Skye are having Ward run through a fitness test, while Coulson interrogates Randolph. Ward is especially angry, and does not want to talk about what he saw when he touched the stick. Randolph isn’t telling Coulson very much. Ward leaves the lab and takes out his rage on a punching bag while seeing the well boy. His attacks start to go over the top until May taps him on the shoulder, and he attacks her. She deftly avoids the punch (because her awesomeness is infinite) and asks if he is alright.

Ward goes to Coulson and tells him he feels compromised after touching the piece, and Coulson says the fact that he knows that he isn’t ok shows that he is ok. He tells him he can use his rage to get some information out of Randolph. Ward goes into the interrogation room and attacks the professor with a knife. Randolph stops the attack easily, proving that he is the Asgardian who stayed. (I assumed it proved that he also got powers from the rageahol stick, but Coulson’s deductive reasoning was spot on. I shouldn’t feel so bad, Fitz didn’t see it coming, either)

Simmons speculates on what Asgardian secrets she could find out if she opened him up, and Skye thinks about the fact that he lived through disco. And, she calls Simmons the weirdo? Randolph’s story got out because he was trying to a woo French girl who’s brother was a priest in the 1500s. He says the last piece is in a monastery in Ireland.

After Randolph has some time to reminisce he looks for the last 3rd piece, but it’s not in his hiding place. One of the Norse Paganist Hate Group members stabs Randolph through the heart and declares that he became a god to kill a god. Ward lets his inner rage come out and attacks taking the fight to the second floor. Skye decides that she needs to use her elite hacking skills to help in the physical battle, May follows her for protection. Simmons is stopping the flow of Asgardian blood, but as she knows nothing of their anatomy, she doesn’t know how to save him. Coulson sticks his hand in Randolph’s chest, holds the heart to stem the bleeding, and give his Asgardian body time to heal itself.

Meanwhile, downstairs, Ward is kicking all of the Oslo power ass, and fighting the demons from his past in the visions, where his older brother forced him to keep their little brother down the well. He fights those demons by doing what he likes best, beating up bad guys. When he wakes up from the vision the floor is covered in harsh Norwegians. Skye comes over to comfort him. The two original berserker piece finders come in and Ward goes to pick up the piece again, when May comes over and tells him to let her help him. I thought she was going to take care of business without even picking up the berserker stick pieces, but she picks up two of them without even a hiccup and takes on the two Norwegians finishing the man off easily. Next she takes all three pieces and puts them together and finishes the woman off. Ward asks if she saw visions when she touched the Asgardian pieces, and how she was able to pick up three of them. She badassedly replies that she sees those dark painful visions every day.

Coulson seems interested in picking up the Berserker Stick. Randolph asks him why, and advises against it. Obviously, Coulson is hoping it will fill in his dead time blanks. He decides against it. Randolph expresses interest in moving someplace new, Coulson recommends Portland. Great Philharmonic. Simmons calls her Dad and checks in.

Back at hotel Skye and Ward share a moment at the bar. Ward thanks her for the offer to talk about his brother, but says he is not up to talking. He goes back to his room, and sees May enter her room with a big bottle of wine. She leaves her door open, and he walks down the hall to join her. Do they hook up, or just share their dark private painful visions with each other? We never see. (Come on! They totally hooked up. Their rage powers left SHIELD an especially high hotel repair bill.)

The last scene has Coulson on a beach getting a relaxing massage. The masseuse utters the dreaded “Tahiti is a magical place”, and Coulson wakes up in a terrified sweat.

I have very few complaints about this episode. I think they did a wonderful job of tying into Thor, without expecting, or demanding viewing the film beforehand. As Little Nemo said, this was a wonderful May episode. She’s able to take over the show when she isn’t the main character, I can’t wait until there is a May centric episode; that promises to be wonderful. Skye was a little bit superfluous in parts during this episode. Did she really need to mention Magic in order to remind Coulson that he could talk to the professor? I realize Skye needs to be the character to mention other possibilities, but how about they let her be right, or at least relevant one of these times. Although, I thought she was used effectively at the end when she gave Ward a chance to open up, and he thanked her and left to end up with May. It showed that she is trusted now, and a part of the team, but she doesn’t really have true connection to the world May and Ward inhabit. We got another morsel on the Coulson story. I’m happy with that, we’re not moving super quickly, but fast enough that it seems like things have to come to a head this season. And, I am glad they are letting Simmons get over her near death experience gradually. Being fearful of heights, and avoiding your parents makes sense after something like that happens. Also, the general idea of group’s of people fearful of the new gods who have entered the planet is interesting, and it is something that will be touched on again and again, I am sure.
One thing I am looking forward to is episode’s that involve the character’s family or friends from the past. I know we had one with Skye, but that wasn’t really that great of a character. It’s interesting to get a new look at a character through a person from their past.

This episode was jam packed with great lines!
[li] That dreamy Thor stuff was great.[/li][li]“Yay Internet! She said sarcastically.”[/li][li]“Analytical and as cute as a button!” “You are easily the most beautiful thing I have seen in 1000 years.” Randolph is a horn dog![/li][li]“Great Philharmonic!” [/li][li]“If Thor is in town I’ll introduce you.”[/li][li]“See what I did there?”[/li][li]“Brought down from the God’s in heaven” “Aliens brought it. From space.”[/li][li]“If we could just open him up…” “Or we could jsut ask him weirdo”[/li][li]“Is that the normal Ward, or the new angry version?”[/li][/ul]

Also, can anyone clear up what we were seeing in ward’s flashbacks? So there was a kid in a well, and Ward wanted to let a rope down for him, but his jerk brother wouldn’t let him? Or was Ward the jerk brother? What did we know about his brother before this?

In his Tahiti flashback dream, Coulson was all “did I fall asleep”, and the masseuse said “for a little while”, which was the call-and-response for the Dolls in Dollhouse when they were getting their brains hijacked/dehijacked.

By the end of the episode I was getting a mite annoyed with Coulson’s, “oh I know Thor, I’ll introduce you” stuff because I am fairly certain he can’t introduce anyone to any Avenger at this juncture.

I think Ward’s brother was the kid down the well, and his brother drowned just as Ward was going against the bully’s wishes and throwing the rope to his brother.

So, anyone else think that May drinks heavily to keep her demons at bay?

ETA: We just re-watched the most recent Superman movie, and I noticed that they destroyed everything that they possibly could (and went out of their way to destroy more). I can see where superheroes fighting and destroying peoples’ cities would get real old, real quick.

Skye’s role in the team is “The Chick”. (See “Five-Man Band” trope) It explains why Skye is used the way she is, with respect to the team dynamic. The roles are:

The Leader: Coulson
The Lancer: May
The Big Guy: Ward
The Smart Guy: FitzSimmons
The Chick: Skye

Does anyone know for sure what Coulson’s official live/dead status is? I thought he was pretty much openly “alive” now. If that’s the case, then why couldn’t he introduce anyone? Stark liked him, Cap liked him, Banner didn’t interact with him much IIRC, Black Widow and Hawkeye didn’t have any issues with him. I’m pretty sure Thor would be keen to talk to any Asgardian living on Earth, if only to make sure he or she wasn’t up to any Loki-business. That would necessitate someone knowing where Thor was, of course.

That was actually real. Unfortunately there really are white supremacy groups that identify with Norse mythology and they use that rune as one of their symbols - sort of a Scandinavian version of a swastika.

I also liked Randolph’s detached attitude towards time. His response to the Norwegians getting the staff? No big deal - they’ll just die of old age eventually and the problem will be solved. The effects of the staff? Don’t worry - it only lasts a few decades.

In the pilot episode, this question was specifically asked and we were told the Avengers have not been told that Coulson is alive.

Actually, the crossover with Thor was pretty damn minimal. the opening scene – which had the only actual connection to the Thor movie – was quickly over and utterly irrelevant to the plot. The staff and the Asgardian nebbish have about as much connection to the Thor movie as the Chitauri hat did to the Avengers movie.

At least this episode was a little more clever than prior episodes, and it actually made use of its Marvel background in a substantive way. And if the effects of this episode’s events are actually remembered, giving Ward an edgy dark-side would go a great way to giving him an actual personality.

I liked it. Funny, meaningful, some good character development.

May wasn’t just carrying wine. To me that looked like a bottle of brandy.

The rune, as mentioned, is an actual hate group symbol. It means “possession, heritage.”

Randolph was a hoot.

Nice recap, but I’m pretty sure that was a bottle of whiskey or bourbon, not wine. May wouldn’t be drinking wine. :slight_smile:

The jerk kid refusing to drop the rope looked so much like a young Ward I assumed that was him and he so hated what he was then he became someone who always has to save everybody.

Ward was definitely the kid who wanted to let down the rope and eventually did. At one point, the drowning kid (who for the first few flashbacks I thought was Ward) calls up “Grant! Help me!” to the chubby kid. The chubby kid gets a rope and begins to lower it, when the bully tells him “Not yet”. Which kid was actually his brother, or if they both were, and did the kid actually drown, I have no idea.