In my last review, I mentioned that there would be an episode that tied in with Thor: The Dark World. This is that episode.
It opens with our team cleaning up the mess left behind by the Svartalfar ship falling apart in Britain.
This was an excellent episode, so lets dive in!
Finally, We have a direct connection to the wider Marvel universe! Watching the team deal with the debris left behind by Thor and Malekith was entertaining. In particular, I enjoyed Skye processing the information in regards to Thor and the rest of the asgardian pantheon being an alien race. I know that this is something that was dealt with tangentially in Avengers, but it was nice hearing being discussed with a bit of awe and reverence. I kinda like that the clean up job is really unimportant to the rest of the episode as well. Instead of driving the action, It provides a link to the wider universe and makes the revelations occur later more compelling.
I love that the main thrust of the episode is tied into Norse mythology. The artifact that is ripped from the heart of the tree in the ancient forest is part of a berserker staff. The couple looking for it are following the lines of a poem written hundreds of years prior. They then go on a spree of violence. This episode takes the idea of a significantly advanced technology appears like magic and runs with it. It ties in neatly with the descriptions we are given of asgardian technology from both Thor movies and yet has the touch of the fantastic about it. We get a super powered problem without it being overwhelming as well as continuing to tie us to the universe with which we are already familiar. This is something the earlier episodes lacked and really shines here.
I love the reveal of an asgardian ex-patriot having resided here for over a thousand years. It meshes well with the story we are given at the beginning of the first Thor. When we find out that he was just a mason on Asgard, it makes even more sense why he stayed. I also love love Peter MacNicol who plays the asgardian in this episode. I remember him from Ally McBeal and Ghostbusters II and have a soft spot for any character he plays. I liked how he talks about being a mason on Asgard and how boring cutting rocks for a millennium could be. He took up the call to be a berserker to travel but found the rage that the staff engendered to be distasteful. Hence he broke it and hid the pieces. Fascinating!
By far the best ting about this episode is the depths that get added to both Ward and May. When Ward tries to take the staff piece from Professor Randolf he is imbued with the power of the berserker which pulls upon the worst memory of the handler. We get to see Flashback throughout the episode of a boy in a well. Where the villains of the piece give in to the rage, even revel in it. We see that this is something that Ward fights against the entire time and tries to remove himself from the operation. It showed a side of the character that we hadn’t seen before and I was glad to see for once. In the climactic battle, he uses two pieces of the staff to fight off most of the gang that had been infused with the power. He collapses at the end only to have the leader of the group walk in with the last piece of the staff. She picks up the two pieces and proceeds to lay down a beating. During a break in the action, the villains part of the staff attaches to one of May’s and then the staff reassembles itself. The villain is easily dispatched.
As May and Ward sit there exhausted from the battle, he asks her how she handled dealing with the entire staff. Her answer is that she deals with her worst memory every day. I know it is cliche but I found this to be damn cool. When the team has a night at an up-scale European hotel, we get a bar scene. This is where one would expect Skye and Ward to finally connect but they do not. Ward heads up to his room and May walks by before he leaves the hallway. She leaves her door open. A few seconds later Ward enters. An excellent twist.
We also move forward with more about Coulson’s past. As the operation raps up, he talks to the asgardian about being dead. During the discussion, he mentions how the time being dead and recovering is more of a blank. He has no dreams or memories of that period. Just getting back to work. The episode ends with a dream sequence. Coulson is in Tahiti getting a a massage from a gorgeous island maiden. He then wakes up in terror. It just reinforces the idea in my head that he is a life model decoy but doesn’t rule out other possibilities!
This really wasn’t bad but confusing. The name of the episode comes from Ward’s horrible memory. It is of child in a well screaming for help. When the scene is first introduced you are led to believe that he is the one in the well. When we get to see the memory in it’s entirety it appears that he is actually watching from the top of the well. His brother threw the boy in the well and he is to watch and not lower a rope down. We then see him lower the rope. It left me more confused than anything else. I understand that they are leaving us more questions about Ward’s past but the questions need to be a bit more straight forward. If it wasn’t muddled to me I would have put this in the good category.
By far, the best episode yet. I hope the show keeps on this trajectory.