Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 Ep6 – The Well

Agents of SHIELD S1 Ep6 - The Well

I can understand ABC’s intent behind advertising “The Well” as a Thor: The Dark World tie-in. Recent reports suggest that the show’s ratings increased with this episode, but was it really a tie-in? No. Sure this episode makes plenty of references to Asgardian mythology in the Marvel Universe and throws Thor’s name around a lot, but other than the very first scene “The Well” has nothing to do with the events laid out in Marvel Studios’ latest feature film. Instead we get a character piece focusing on Agent Grant Ward.

Peter Macnicol

Peter MacNicol guest stars

A Norse Pagan hate group hellbent on becoming powerful enough to take on gods find a third of what is called a Berserker Staff. After finding and touching said staff two members of this group commit some violent acts against two park rangers with their new found “rage” powers. After cleaning up a mess left over from Thor’s recent adventure, our S.H.I.E.L.D. team is lead to this very crime scene. They find out about the staff and quickly see they are out of their depth. They decide to get help from a Professor Elliot Randolph played by Peter MacNicol. Randolph specializes in Asgardian mythology and according to Agent Coulson was a consultant when they originally found Mjolnir in the first Thor film. He is their best option for finding the so called Berserker Staff and stopping anyone else from abusing its power.

Randolph assists Agent Ward in finding another third of the staff but ends up betraying the team and taking the staff for himself. It’s here that Ward accidentally touches the staff and is immediately overcome with a childhood memory of a boy trapped in a well. He then becomes excessively angry and violent towards his teammates. The team eventually catches up with Randolph but not before the Norse Pagan hate group steals the piece of the Berserker Staff away from him.

A lot of the episode focuses on Ward dealing with his rage and his childhood memory. We are made to think that the boy trapped in the well is him at first, but by the end of the episode find out that he was actually a childhood bully who helped trap this seemingly innocent boy in the well. Since the pilot episode I haven’t felt sympathetic towards Agent Ward at all which may be partially attributed to Brett Dalton’s bland portrayal of the role. Finding out that he was once a childhood bully who has since turned his life around progresses his character some but there’s still a lot of work to be done. In addition to this there are some nice character moments between Ward and Agent May although they ultimately lead to a very weird place by the episode’s conclusion.

CHLOE BENNET, BRETT DALTON, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE, IAIN DE CAESTECKERWe also get more into Coulson’s character in this episode. He’s still struggling with the fact that he doesn’t know anything about his own resurrection. Part of me wishes the writers would just tell us the story behind  it already. Not because I’m anxious to find out the truth but because I’m afraid when we do find out what happened it won’t actually be a big deal. What is he? A robot? A clone? I bet he’s one of those.

Overall, this episode wasn’t anything special and the show is struggling to maintain quality. While there were some nice action scenes during the climax the episode mostly fell flat. This is partially due to it focusing on a character I really haven’t been given a reason to care about. In addition, this wasn’t a crossover with Thor: The Dark World but the overuse of Thor’s name felt awkward as if the actor’s were just told to refer to him to remind the audience that there’s a movie out in theaters. I watched Thor: The Dark World in theaters last weekend and enjoyed it thoroughly. Afterwards I couldn’t wait to see how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was going to tie-in. I was disappointed.

Although I continue to be unimpressed by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I really do want it to pick up. The two episodes prior to “The Well” were very good and make me enthusiastic that the show will get better. I don’t want this to be another failed Joss Whedon series like the amazing Firefly and underrated Dollhouse. Some shows do take a while to find their footing. I’m willing to continue giving Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a chance.