TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “The Well”

Gordon Miller writes…

“The Well” finds the team in London cleaning up after some battle that took place during Thor: The Dark World. I didn’t get out to see the film and don’t think it was required after watching the episode.

Elsewhere, two hikers, who we later discover are members of a Norse Pagan hate group, cut down a tree in a Norwegian park and find within it a silver staff, actually one of three parts as we later discover. When the female hiker touches it, the staff glows red and she receives great strength. It’s an Asgardian weapon and I thought for sure she was going to be revealed as the Valkyrie, but it was not to be and seems like another missed opportunity.

Agent Coulson and his team goes to Spain to confer with Professor Randolph (Peter MacNicol) who previously helped him identify Thor’s hammer. Randolph tells them the artifact is the Berzerker staff, a weapon that once belonged to an Asgardian who stayed on Earth centuries ago. The team needs to find the other two pieces to keep them out of the hands of the NP group, whose intentions aren’t very clear beyond mindless destruction.

One portion of the staff is in Seville, but before the team gets there, Randolph retrieves it, but not for long as the NP group arrives. In taking on the NP group, Ward gets his hands on a piece of the Berzerker staff. His rage is generated from a memory, which at first I thought was his own near drowning in a well, but turns out to be that of his younger brother, and rage stems from his involvement/acceptance in the bullying taking place. After the fight, Ward has trouble processing and letting go of the rage, and takes it out on those around him.

Of course, the team saves the day by the end of the hour. It would be nice if they tried some longer stories. Skye is very concerned about Ward and offers more than her shoulder to comfort him, but he has elsewhere to turn, which has the potential for intriguing moments in the (hopefully near) future. I still don’t feel like I need to see what happens next. If ABC schedules a long break between new episodes, the show could lose me.

Todd Karella responds…

I did actually go out and watch the new Thor movie because I knew there was going to be a tie-in between it and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I was planning on seeing it anyways, but it was pretty annoying that there really wasn’t much of a connection other than they were cleaning up the aftermath. It would have been nice if there had even been a little something for the fans.

Finally in this episode we got to see into Ward’s character. He actually showed some emotion and developed some personality. Even though the scene of his little brother treading water at the bottom of a well was somewhat nonsensical, it provided some insight into his past.

The overall plot of the story was interesting, but once again it seemed to bumble through the actual execution. There was never any explanation of how the Pagan group actually found the first piece of the staff buried inside a tree in the middle of the Norwegian forest. And for all Randolph’s crying over not wanting the staff hidden from humanity, he sure coughed up the second piece quickly enough without a fight when he easily could have defended it himself.

For me the episode was just okay, but still better than a lot of the previous ones. I felt like the removal of the Berserker staff from the center of a tree was a metaphor for the removal of the stick up Ward’s backside, which this episode seemed to do and will hopefully continue throughout the rest of the season. But now that the groundwork has finally been lain for the characterization of the team it’s time to improve on the rest of the storytelling.

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