Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.08 - The Well
Spoilers for episode eight are included, read after you've seen the show
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes its first proper step into the feature film universe this week by setting this latest episode in the aftermath of Thor: The Dark World. It also seems to these eyes, the ones belonging to the fingers that typed "processed cheese" when describing the last episode, that the violence and action quotient are decidedly more adult this time. Characters are stabbed through the heart, we have racist hate groups and a young child drowning. It definitely seemed to me that the writers were aiming above the heads of the kids here.The tie-in to the movie basically involves the team in cleaning up the aftermath of the invasion, bagging and tagging the detritus and any possible security threats. Meanwhile in Scandinavia, Norse radicals (really?) are hunting down the existence of an Asgardian relic left by a previous visitation. Said relic, the Beserker staff, has been split into three pieces and hidden about the planet, but any one piece confers amazing strength to anyone who touches it. Unfortunately for Nordic park rangers, the undesirables get hold of the first piece and are soon fomenting revolt. Our happy band investigates with the help of professor Peter MacNichol.
Now there are a few dodgy moments here. The Norse actors are pretty unconvincing, there are plot-holes about the powers of the staff and why you'd need all three parts, and a lack of courage in explaining why the baddies are a "hate group". Still, there is a pleasingly convoluted storyline with revelations and insight into the team, and the violence/action is, as I said, much more believable than in previous weeks. And, well I have a soft spot for the prof. I can forgive his Bean movies, as he enlivened a fair few episodes of Numb3rs and I find myself happy when he pops up be it in Cheers, Boston Legal or Chicago Hope. He is a pleasingly eccentric, often unpredictable presence, and in a show that is often over-produced his appearance as a somewhat deceptive character is a very good thing.
We finally get a bit of love action in the team as well, and it's not a predictable union at all - which is another good turn of events, even though there's a bit of cradle robbing about it. This weeks final scene features Coulson waking from a very artificial dream as if from a nightmare, adding to the questions about how he survived his fate in The Avengers film. Another positive of having MacNichol on board is that we also get some mature quality scenes between him and Gregg as Coulson, which comes as a blessed relief given the rather soapy acting of the rest of the cast.
Still this was a lot better and up to the standard that episode 3 set. More please...