Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 Ep11 – The Magical Place

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 Ep11 - The Magical Place

We’re living in a day and age where comic book movies and shows are thriving. Shows like The Walking Dead and Arrow continue to impress their audiences and gain more ratings each week. Meanwhile, we have Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a show that has the potential to be amazing. Just the concept alone of super spies living in super hero filled/comic book world is enough to reel viewers in. Add to that the fact that it ties in to an ever expanding cinematic universe that continues to succeed with every film and you have a recipe for awesomeness. So why does each episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. leave a bad taste in my mouth? We’re already eleven episodes into the first season and I don’t see myself recommending it to friends and family. At the same time I want to recommend it simply because I do want it to succeed. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 Ep11- The Magical PlaceRegardless of quality, what Marvel Studios is doing with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is revolutionary and unprecedented. Never have we had a company attempt to create such a large TV/Movie universe the way Marvel Studios is doing. If the show fails its unlikely something similar will ever be attempted again. Still, eleven episodes in and I’m struggling to watch. I was hoping this week’s episode would serve as a palate cleanser for the majority of the first 10 episodes, but again I’m left mostly unimpressed.

“The Magical Place” picks up not not far from where the mid-season finale left off. Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) seemingly died in an explosion and the group known as Centipede captured Agent Coulson. The majority of S.H.I.E.L.D. is now on a primary mission to take down Centipede, while Coulson’s team just wants to find their leader and bring him home.

The episode follows two arcs. One being the team trying to find Coulson’s whereabouts and two being Centipede’s interrogation of Coulson. For me, the more uninteresting scenes in “The Magical Place” involved Skye and the team. While it was nice to see Skye hacking into systems and investigating leads on her own, I soon grew bored with it. I did enjoy the brief fight and chase scenes in the beginning and at the episode’s conclusion, though. Although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. sometimes fails at telling a compelling story, it usually does action scenes well.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 Ep11 - The Magical Place

Coulson wants answers.

The real meat of the story involves Agent Coulson himself. We find out Centipede is only interested in Coulson because they want to find out how he was resurrected following the events in The Avengers. In other words, they want to know about Tahiti. Coulson is tortured continuously under the command of Edison Po. Half way through the episode, after failing to break Coulson, Po is killed off by order of The Clairvoyant, who we still have not seen. That’s when Coulson’s arc becomes interesting. Raina, a.k.a. the “Girl in the Flower Dress,” assumes control of Coulson’s interrogation following the demise of Po. She convinces Coulson to willingly use their machine that will help uncover his forgotten memories, thus giving Centipede insight on how to bring someone back from the dead. Fortunately for S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson doesn’t divulge that information, but he still finds out the answers for himself. It’s here the truth behind Coulson’s resurrection is finally revealed to the audience.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 Ep11 - The Magical Place

Tahiti isn’t so magical after all.

While Coulson is in the machine we catch a glimpse of him in Tahiti. That glimpse quickly turns disturbing when we see he was never in Tahiti at all. Instead, he was on an operating table in a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. The most frightening part about this is seeing a robot perform some kind of scan or surgery on Coulson’s exposed brain while Coulson pleads “let me die.” Actor Ron Glass, better known for his role as Shepherd Book on Joss Whedon’s Firefly, returns to the show as Dr. Streiten. We see him in Coulson’s flashback, in shock that Coulson has been subjected to such cruel techniques to have him revived. After Coulson’s team rescues him from the grasp of Centipede, he later pays Dr. Streiten a visit to find out just what went down on that operating table. There’s been much speculation floating about on the internet as to what happened to Coulson prior to this episode. Some expected that Coulson was a Life Model Decoy or even a clone. Streiten clears all that up, stating Coulson went through several traumatic operations that eventually led Coulson to lose the will to live. The robot in his flashback was there to scrub away any memory of the horrifying procedure, leaving him with the beautiful memory of Tahiti. That’s it. I can’t say I’m all that pleased with the final revelation, but I’m glad we didn’t find out he was just a robot or a clone. That would have been too obvious and unoriginal. Although, more secrets can still be revealed later on.

One of the best parts of “The Magical Place” was the stinger scene at the end. We find out that Mike Peterson never died in the mid-season finale. He awakens in a room with burns on his face and an amputated leg. We then see that he’s now under the control of Centipede, much like the woman from episode 4, “Eye Spy”. I really do like Mike Peterson as a character, partially due to the charisma J. August Richards brings to the role. I’m happy to see he’s still alive and kicking, and hope his current predicament leads to some interesting encounters with his friends at S.H.I.E.L.D. in the future.

Overall, “The Magical Place” was another OK addition to the series, but it wasn’t anything mind blowing. I found myself bored for the majority of the episode, and didn’t really get interested until Coulson had his flashbacks. As stated before, the action in this episode was good, but brief. I feel bad judging Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so harshly, though. While there are many prime time shows out there having a great first season (e.g., Sleepy Hollow), sometimes shows just don’t get good until the second season. Arrow, my favorite show currently, had a pretty weak first season in my opinion, but the current second season has blown me away. So, if you’re enjoying Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then good for you. Keep watching. If you’re not, I say you should still stick with it. It has potential and might finally find its niche later on.


Watch “The Magical Place” on Amazon Instant Video.