Directed by Jonathan Frakes. Commander Riker himself.
…well, I’ve nothing more to say about that.
I haven't seen Thor: the Dark World, but this episode
is exactly what it should be: S.H.I.E.L.D. cleaning up after the larger
events, the behind-the-scenes stuff. The relics left behind that create
super villains. Even if they were left behind a long time ago.
Convenient timing that an ancient Asgardian artifact is uncovered right
after the Dark Elf invasion. Still, I like that they made an episode
that technically ties in with the latest film that can be enjoyed by
people who haven’t seen the film.
I also really like how Skye tries to address the theological
implications of the Norse Gods being aliens, and Coulson just wants to
go about the 9 to 5. As for the plot, it turns out, if you cut up a 9000 year old tree,
there's a staff of power inside. How did the villains know it was there?
Well, there was a prophecy. Always a prophecy. You know, I hate it when
ancient prophecies in another language always have an English rhyme...
though the prophecy in this episode doesn't always rhyme. Nice touch.
Wait, they find a metal rod that bestows Asgardian-level super-strength?
This is just an update of the magical crowbar that gives the Wrecker
his powers. And the main villains use the rods they got to give other
people powers, too. Like how Wrecker shared his powers with Thunderball,
Piledriver, and Bulldozer. Although, the rods (actually the broken
"Berserker Staff" from a member of the Asgardian "Berserker Army") also
cause ULTIMATE RAGE through negative memories. When Ward went all
ragey, he apparently remembered something about his brother. A well,
and his brother drowning in it. We begin to see his issues with needing
to save everyone from this. This is further seen when Ward made the
choice to wield the staff again, which goes on to show his
The idea that Ward and Melinda will have dark, inner rages for a few decades
is an interesting one, and I'm interested to see how this plays out. If
Coulson's team is compared to the Avengers, I guess Ward is now the
team's Hulk, and May... is a more in-control Hulk. Well, if they
remember this plot point.
That’s right, Melinda May could activate the rage-staff, so I don’t know
if she's human or not anymore. That Whedon, always keeping us guessing.
When May says she sees her rage memories every day, I can't help but
wonder, was she the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who took Skye to the orphanage as
a child? Or is she talking about Coulson? Now, the reveal of Ward's
childhood trauma, that a bully coerced him into not throwing a rope for
his drowning brother (a very Loki-ish looking bully), was quite the
shock, and I don't know what to make of it.
On a lighter note, my God, I love Peter MacNicol as villains. Mad
Hatter, Doc Ock, this former Berserker, he does all these roles so well. When Peter MacNicol bent the knife that Agent Ward tried to stab him
with, I thought he just touched the staff, but him being Asgardian? Dang.
I like how Coulson figured it out by seeing his fancy pen and
remembering what Loki acted like in captivity. Well, that and the fact
that the prof wasn't interested in the fact that Couslon had met aliens.
The fact that MacSerker (as I call him) explicitly states never knew
Thor is in a nice stark contrast to similar situations where every alien
knows each other. Every Vulcan knows Spock, or every Yoda knows
Simmons almost seems offended by the lack of specifics when it comes to
Asgardian magic/science. It’s a nicely implemented character trait. The
whole "reach-inside-MacSerker-until-you-fix-his-heart" plan of hers
is... iffy, but it works.
I like that MacSerker and Coulson have a budding friendship at the end
of the episode. They have a nice bonding moment talking about getting
stabbed in the heart and dying. Speaking of which, Coulson had no
hospital, no recovery, he just woke up. ...as a robot, maybe? I hate to
keep harping on this, but it's the mystery of the show.
Continuing Coulson's subplot, the episode ends with a nightmare... of
him getting a massage in Tahiti by a lovely young lady and being told
that Tahiti is... a "magical" place. This makes him wake up in a cold
sweat, no doubt lending itself to many "Coulson is gay because his
nightmare is a beautiful woman" jokes. I will not be making any. But
there's that word again, "magical." Tahiti is always called "magical." It has to mean something.
But alas, such things are only for Whedon to know.
Until next time!
(Originally posted on 11/26/13)