Well, it’s been a hard slog, but after weeks of sub-par episodes and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D not living up to its potential, loyal, patient fans were finally rewarded with an episode that not only didn’t suck, but also bordered on good. Really good. It made getting to this point pretty much worth it. Thanks. SHIELD.
‘The Well’ gave us some backstory and insight into Agent Ward, a new perspective on Asgardian culture and some serious ass-kicking on the part of Agent May. Skye managed to be not altogether annoying (and she’s right; turndown service *is* a life-affirming event); Coulson’s resurrection was barely acknowledged, and when it was, it made sense to the story and the episode.
Finally, who knew that the one thing we had to do to make Ward interesting was get him hopped up on anger and surrender to the Asgardian version of ‘roid rage? Not me.
Angry Ward is an entertaining Ward, as opposed to regular, boring Boy Scout Ward. Maybe he should get his hands on that Berserker Asgardian staff more often. Take one for the team, there, buddy.
The staff in question belongs to an Asgardian warrior who chose to remain on earth and live a (comparatively) peaceful life. The Angry Young Things who desecrated a national forest to find the first part of the staff certainly opted *out* of a peaceful life, in order to live like Gods.
Gods who beat people up and burn shit and generally act like a group of methed-out hooligans. Think ‘Drunk Soccer Riot’ meets ‘WWE Locker Room’ and you’ve pretty much picked up what the New Gods are putting down. And they’re jerks. Tree-killing, graffiti-tagging jerks.
The Remaining Asgardian was played brilliantly by Emmy-winning guest-star Peter MacNicol (Ally McBeal; 24; NUMB3RS). While he may seem like an odd choice for playing a warrior, MacNicol demonstrated that not all Asgardians are tall, handsome, rough-and-tumble Thor types. Not everyone is royalty and some jobs, even on Asgard, are really awful.
As a mason for thousands of years on his home planet, MacNicol’s character joined the Asgard Foreign Legion (No. I don’t know what their Away Team is called. I’m doing my best here) because he was bored of smashing rocks and wanted to see the universe, which is pretty much the reason almost anyone joins the Armed Forces, “I hate working at KFC and I’d like to see the world, please.”
MacNicol, an especially endearing actor (I am still grieving his death on Chicago Hope) is the complete opposite of what we’ve been trained to assume an Asgardian warrior would be like. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of his nebbishy, sweet-natured college professor appearance and the fact he could kill us all with his thumbs six ways to Sunday.
The staff itself works by tapping into the psyche of whomever is holding it, ultimately triggering a rage that is uncontrollable and violent. Ward’s childhood memory of being bullied and putting another child in danger down a well is shown in jarring flashbacks, which not only explains the blinding anger he starts to feel, but gives us an idea of how, and why, Ward grew into being, well, Ward.
The basis of anger is often helplessness. Being unable to control or be in charge of whatever is happening can be a catalyst to rage. In suffering at the hands of a bully who threw his brother down a well and wouldn’t let Ward rescue him, Ward’s helplessness turned to rage, which he successfully buried until picking up that staff.
Our Agent Ward: strong, in control, with the life-mission of being the ‘Good Guy,’ was defined by needing to control the helplessness and fear he felt that day at the well. This is what formed him.
We don’t get a similar insight to Agent Miranda May’s motivations, as her only explanation for the visions given to her by the staff not affecting her as deeply as Ward’s experience is that she sees her trauma every day.
It made me want to know more about May and her background, and how she got to be the Cavalry, then chose to ride a desk. There’s damage there, and I hope Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will eventually let us know what it is.
â€¢ I had a roommate who wrote in runes (aggravating when you’re trying to read her diary) and, for anyone wondering, the graffiti tagged to the National Park sign was a rune whose definition is ‘Homeland’ or ‘Home’. You are welcome.
â€¢ If Norse mythology is your thing and you’re wanting more Gods on Earth stories, you need to check out, The Almighty Johnsons, a two-season series from New Zealand. Again, you are welcome.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Dennis Heaton Talks The Imperfects
Longtime readers at TV Goodness will know that Motive is one of my ride-or-die series, and as such, I am fiercely loyal to its creator, Dennis Heaton. He followed up that fantastic reverse procedural with Netflix’s The Order and is back on our streaming screens with The Imperfects, which dropped…
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…