Luckily, the plot focused around Asgard and its past. Now, this is what Agents of SHIELD should be doing week in and week out. Helping to further flesh out the Marvel Studios Universe and not focusing on silly, insipid love triangles between characters that fans don't like to begin with.
1. What is it?
Agents of SHIELD Season 1, episode 8, titled 'The Well.'
2. Who's in it?
The series regulars, Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, and Iain De Caestecker. Guest starring this week is Peter MacNichol as Dr. Elliot Randolph; Michael Graziadei as Jakob Narstrom; and Erin Way as Petra Larsen
3. Who made it?
'The Well' was written by Monica Owusu-Breen; the episode was directed by Jonathan Frakes. Yes, THAT Jonathan Frakes.
4. What is it about? (**Spoilers Ahead**)
After a quick narration that summarized the underlying mythos of the two Thor films, we open on the Level 7 team playing clean-up at the university in London. They are testing and securing all the leftover Asgardian and Dark Elf artifacts caused by the events at the end of The Dark World.
In Norway, a young couple seemingly out for a stroll finds a tree surrounded by stones and it matches a text that they have been following. They cut the tree down, only to find a mysterious section of a staff covered in Asgardian runes embedded deep within the wood. The couple are part of a Norse Pagan Hate Group (seriously) and they take the power of the staff and start to cause havoc.
This staff section is one of three, and the holder is granted berserker rage whenever they touch the staff, per Asgardian legend. The legend says that an Asgardian warrior came to earth to fight thousands of years ago, and he decided to stay. He broke his weapon into three and hid them around the world.
Agent Ward (Dalton) comes into contact with a segment during a fight and goes into a rage. He bites the heads off his team, including Skye (Bennet). The contact with the staff also forces him to relive a dark moment in his past, involving his younger brother being trapped in a deep well, and Ward unable to help--perhaps fueling his rage as an adult.
Level 7 has to race around the world to find the other two sections before the Norse Pagan Hate Group (NPHG) can. Coulson (Gregg) calls upon the world's expert in all things Asgard, Dr. Elliot Randolph (MacNichol), who tells the team that the other two parts are in Spain and Ireland. Well, he doesn't spell it out, he reads the old texts and the team figures out that the next section is in Spain. Lucky for them, that's where Dr. Randolph is.
As the team comes upon the exact location of the next piece, they find it already missing. As Coulson begins to piece it all together, Dr. Randolph tries to escape with the staff section, only to have it taken by Jakob (Graziadei), Petra (Way) and their gang of Norse Pagan Haters.
Coulson apprehends Dr. Randolph and accuses him of being an accomplice. Dr. Randolph admits to being the fabled Asgardian Warrior and he was only trying to recover his staff to destroy it. Dr. Randolph tells Coulson where that last section is and the team arrives in Ireland just in time to confront the NPHG. Another battle ensues--with the raging Agent Ward taking on the raging Haters. Melinda May (Wen) grabs the completed staff and goes into a super rage, and together, she and Ward are able to stop the NPHG.
The completed staff is sealed away, and Dr. Randolph is released to continue living his life in secrecy. The episode ends with Ward and May possibly hooking up.
The post-SHIELD scene focuses on Coulson getting a deep tissue massage in an exotic location and when the masseuse mention that they are in a "magical place," Coulson wakes up in his bed on The Bus. His mystery deepens.
5. Any revelations, tie-ins, easter eggs, etc.?
The whole episode was designed to tie into Thor: The Dark World, which is does early. Later on, we get Asgardian references out the wazoo and still--STILL more Avengers references. A line at the end that harkens back to Joss Whedon's last TV show, Dollhouse.
6. Will we watch next week?
Yes. This was probably the most complete episode to date. The way I measure that is if I can see the episode as a comic book, and this episode passed that test. It had villains, and battles, and lore, and world travel and mysteries. I hope that the last few weeks are a major turning point for this series, as it can be so much better than it is.
- Jon Hueber