Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Post-Thor

Not more voiceovers!  Not you too, Simmons! 



And frankly, why is Simmons voiceovering?  This episode isn’t remotely about Simmons, it can’t be, because we just had a Simmons episode so obviously we’ve got to shift back to Skye and Ward because that is how television works.

This episode is post-Thor.  Which is kind of a bummer for me, since I haven’t seen The Dark World because I have a kid and am therefore as locked in my house as if I had one of those ankle-bracelet things. 


anklet_s2aLAURA: Just an excuse to post a pic of Neal’s anklet tracker from White Collar, let’s be honest. Sorry, Neal.

C’mon, let’s be serious, now.


They’re cleaning up some rubble, and Fitz is complaining about how monkeys could do this, and Ward calls him a monkey, and Fitz looks offended but as I recall he likes monkeys and “their little monkey hands,” so that’s species-ist of him.  Simmons is avoiding talking to her parents, and Ward and Fitz are looking disapproving, which clearly proves that they have no parents, because all of us avoid our parents in times of stress.  (Don’t we all?  I do.  Ask my mom).


Laura: Appropriate Hemsworth gif is appropriate!


There’s a bit of recap for those of us viewers who are, apparently, morons–Asgardians are aliens, but they visited earth a long time ago, when we couldn’t understand aliens, so we thought they were gods, so that’s where our Norse mythology comes from.  Yeah, got that from way back at the first Thor movie because hey, not a moron.

Skye points out that maybe all the deities were aliens too–“Vichnu for sure, right?”  I’d have gone with Kali, myself–all those arms freak me out.  Skye wishes some of the Asgardian tech got left behind with all the rubble (what, did it get sucked back up through a portal at the end of the movie?) but Coulson bursts the bubble: “I can’t think of a single time when anything alien in human hands ended well.”

 And now I’m sitting here thinking of something to contradict him with….well, there’s Superman.  I don’t think Lois Lane had any complaints.



Aaaaand, Skye steals my joke: “I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on Thor.  He’s dreamy.”  Coulson: “Sure, he’s handsome, but–”  Melinda May: “No, he’s dreamy.”  (Which brings me to a mostly on-topic confession: I like me some Thor.  He is Superior Hemsworth, and is my favorite Avenger, for no good reason, except voice and arms.  But those are good reasons, right?)


Superior Hemsworth!

LAURA: ME TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I can finally confess it now, and admit: voice and arms. Pretty much it. Everyone’s like “Loki/Tom Hiddleson’s so charming,” and I’m like…”Thor has big arms!”

Okay, back on topic.  There’s a totally weird moment where they do find a piece of alien tech (“a piece of the ship”–so a ship crashes???  Spoilery jerks!), and Fitz and Simmons look kind of excited, but then Ward takes it and locks it away, which is completely what I expected him to do, but Fitz and Simmons look sort of disappointed, and Simmons wipes her teary eyes and Fitz looks at her all concerned…but nothing happens at all.

Some Norwegian couple goes and cuts down a tree–how they knew which tree is unclear–and there’s a piece of an Asgardian staff inside it.  The female half of the couple touches the piece, and it fills her with rage and Asgardian runic-business.  Uhoh.

"Feel the rage!"

“Feel the rage!”

The team is there to investigate, and Ward helps Simmons walk up the tree, because she’s developed an irrational fear of heights from, you know, falling from the sky.  Simmons monitor tells us that what was inside the tree isn’t from ’round here.  Seriously, look:


Alientechnometer: “alien substances detected”

Rage Couple go on a killing spree–they are part of a Norse Paganist Hate Group–Thor-worshippers.  (Though they would seem more like Loki-worshippers, no?)  This actually makes sense to me; a crazy amount of power would make you believe in gods, and would make someone want to be a part of it–isn’t that sort of what they were talking about in the premiere?  What’s left for those of us who aren’t super?  I’m not sure this particular storyline is the most thoughtful way to pursue that question, but it does point out the dangers inherent in suddenly flooding the world with powerful unknowns. 

Skye, ever the dreamer, says “ooh, magic!” and Simmons says, in a remarkably derisive voice, “just because we don’t understand the science yet, let’s not go back to the Dark Ages,” and Fitz gives a weird look but says nothing.  They decide to research Norse mythology to get a handle on Asgardian tech, which is sensible.  They go to see Elliot Randolph, a professor at the University of Seville–but he’s gross.  “I won’t change your grade, young student, but I do hope we’re on for dinner tonight!”

Peter MacNicol has always squicked me out, even on Ally McBeal.

Peter MacNicol has always squicked me out, even on Ally McBeal.

 LAURA: I agree! He’s inherently creepy. You were supposed to find it endearing on Ally McBeal, but…NOPE.

He says it’s a Berserker weapon (yay!  My video-gaming days, though short-lived and rather unsuccessful, are finally worth something!) and tells the story of a Berserker who stayed on earth rather than return to Asgard.  They decide to go looking for the staff there in Seville…because of the well-known Nordic history in Spain?!?  And here, according to my notes, what happens next is:


Okay, scanning ahead, mandatory siesta joke, Skye and Ward are poking around in creepy places in Seville, and Ward catches Professor Randolph with a piece of the staff–shocker.  But then, ack, real shocker, Ward grabs the staff and it makes him go crazy!  He has a flashback that is, I’m sure, intentionally reminiscent of Batman’s origin story–a boy down a well, though this well has water in it.  The professor gets away, but he immediately bumps into the Rage Couple (apparently everybody knows about Vikings and Spain) and hands the staff piece over to them.

Simmons is checking out Ward–who must therefore not wear a shirt, sniff–and Simmons and Fitz ask about the flashback.  Skye tries to protect him, but the staff has turned him into an asshole.  Apparently, it’s spiking his adrenaline, and they suggest he take a sedative–and he refuses because they need somebody to juiced to fight Rage Couple.

"Am I going to have to save Simmons' ass?  Again?"

“Am I going to have to save Simmons’ ass? Again?”

They send Melinda May to try to calm him down, but it doesn’t work very well.  The Rage Couple passes around the staff pieces like a really violent game of hot potato to build a berserker army.

Ward goes to see Coulson.  The staff made him relive his first memory of feeling hate, and he doesn’t feel he’s in control anymore.  He asks to be benched.  Coulson says, hey, if you’re this self-aware, you’re in control.  Coulson sends Ward in to see the professor, who isn’t talking, and so Ward goes to stab him (been taking lessons in espionage from Simmons there, Ward?)  But the professor stops him, because, of course, he is the Berserker Who Stayed Behind.  (Although actually, that wasn’t my first thought–I thought maybe he had also touched the staff, since he was carrying it and all…but no.  He’s Asgardian).  Skye: “How long has he even been here?”  Simmons: “We could dissect him…”  Skye: “Or we could just ask him, weirdo.”

The professor explains that the staff shines a light into your dark places.  (Simmons is annoyed at the lack of a scientific explanation–girl, what show have you been watching?)  He’s eternal, so his plan is to just sit around and wait for his problems to die off.  Coulson threatens to expose him and sic Thor on him if he doesn’t help.  Fine, pouts the professor, and takes them to the final piece of the staff.

Ward is really bothered by all his rage.  It’s kind of sweet, really–he normally keeps it all bottled up, and he’s miserable.  But when the human berserker team shows up and stabs the professor with the staff (actually injuring him, since it’s an Asgardian weapon and all) Ward grabs the staff and goes all black-eyed Willow on their asses.

All I did to find this was google "Veiny Willow."  Thanks,

All I did to find this was google “Veiny Willow.” Thanks,

Coulson sticks his hand inside the professor to patch the hole in his heart while he heals, and while Ward is fighting, he relives his well experience.  Turns out Ward was not the kid drowning–that was his younger brother.  He was forced by his older brother to watch, and risked his older brother’s anger by throwing his younger brother a rope.  Skye is very, very worried about him.

When the Rage Couple shows up after Ward has taken out their army, Melinda May takes up the staff (man, how come we don’t get to see her flashback???  That’s so unfair), and kicks their ass-i.  Ward asks her how she did it, since she seemed to handle it much better than him–she says, “because I see it every day.”

Coulson contemplates picking up the staff to see if he can remember his death.  The professor talks him out of it, and they clap each other on the back and Coulson tells the professor to move to Portland.  I figure it’s cause Coulson watches Grimm, but really it could be for any number of reasons.  Simmons talks to her parents finally, and Fitz looks sad. 

They stay at a hotel (really for no narrative reason except to make this next scene possible) and Skye finds Ward drinking in the bar.  He tells her his rage-vision was about his brother, she’s all “yeeaaaahh, not a moron,” but she says it in a nicer way than that.  She offers to listen and help.  He turns her down, and goes back to his room…where he sees Melinda May letting herself into her own room, bottle of something alcoholic in hand.  She leaves the door open, and in he goes.

Sure, why not.

Sure, why not.

The final scene kinda surprised me, because honestly I thought it was a Corona ad.

Doesn't this look like a Corona ad to you?

Doesn’t this look like a Corona ad to you?

But it was Coulson in Tahiti, and he looks super happy…but he wakes up from the dream in a cold sweat.  Because in case we missed it the last 500 times they told us, Tahiti was not all it was cracked up to be.

Empowered Count: 1

Pithy Line: “Is that Normal Ward or New Angry Ward?  Can’t tell.”

Episode Grade: B

Okay, so a great deal of this episode either made no sense or really pissed me off.  However, any episode that has a moment that makes me scrawl “Oh shit!” all over a page cannot be dismissed entirely.

Things that made no sense: 1) How did the Rage Couple know how to find everything?  The Berkserker Professor wanted to hide the stuff.  He left no clues, and they didn’t exactly have Simmons’ handy alientechnometer.

  2) Why did the Berserker Professor just hand over his piece of the staff?  He could easily have snatched it back from them, boom, problem solved.  He wouldn’t have even had to blow his cover–“I touched the staff, it gave me powers, I won the end.”

3) It’s like scenes were cut or something.  All those weird looks and very depressed-seeming Fitz and nothing ever came of it.  Also, see?  The episode was not about Simmons.  No excuse for voiceovering.  Just sayin’.

Things that pissed me off: 1) Why was the professor so gross?  Were we supposed to care about him enough to find Coulson sticking his hand inside him anything other than icky?  ‘Cause I didn’t.  They intentionally made him gross (he also kept hitting on Simmons) and then expected us to care about him

2) Ward and Melinda May.  I say to you wha?  These aren’t grownups who can just go and have casual sex!  These are people who stammer over sandwiches!  Okay, I suppose that was Fitz and Simmons, but it’s like we’ve entered a totally different show here.  I don’t know, I found this very upsetting, way more upsetting than Skye sleeping with her stinky boyfriend.  I guess it makes sense, maybe, since Skye was offering talking, which leads to a real relationship, which Ward and the show are obviously not ready for, but there has been no indication of anything between Ward and May ever, not ever, missed it entirely.  So even though this is obviously just “we both have horrible memories let us not talk at all but just drink and have sex and be really depressing and then be totally cool about it in the morning” and I don’t really begrudge them that–it just felt like it came out of nowhere.


Things that were interesting: “If you want to defeat a god, you must become one.”  Perhaps they weren’t Thor-worshippers after all.  But it is  an interesting psychological question–the nature of human nature is to wish to become more, or at least as much as, whatever is in front of us.  We’re the top species on the planet, whoops there are other species, we must become better than them too.  Why do we feel this way?  It could possibly have something to do with Loki telling us all we were meant to be ruled (I would want to stomp on him for that, sure) but obviously the tendency has been around for way longer than that.

 The show is saying, “we see superheroes, we want to be super too.”  But as we all know from The Incredibles, not only does wanting to be super not make you super, it really makes you supremely un-super.  I never really got that.  I love the movie, but was it saying that it was evil to want to be as good as?  I think S.H.I.E.L.D. begs to differ with that statement too, though clearly not in this episode–I’m thinking more of the premiere.   I don’t really know where I’m going with this, and I’m not sure the show does either, but maybe we’ll wander into something at some point.