The Ninjabot

Going Back to “The Well” – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review

Posted on November 20, 2013 at 10:42 pm by Amanda Andonian

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This week on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Ward finally gets some much needed character development, and it doesn’t help at all! Spoiler alert: he’s still boring. Even so, “The Well” did finally give poor Ward a chance to do more than brood and talk about how it’s his job to protect everyone. Instead, he screamed at everyone about how it’s his job to protect everyone, nearly punched May in the face, and absolutely made Fitz feel like a terrible coward.

Ward’s crazy time wasn’t entirely his fault, though. It was actually caused by an ancient Asgardian staff that amplifies rage, left on Earth thousands of years ago and scattered across Europe in three pieces. A couple random psychos manage to uncover the pieces and try to start a revolution, thus S.H.I.E.L.D.’s involvement. There’s a MacGuffin if I’ve ever heard of one! The Thor: The Dark World tie-in was pretty much a marketing stunt. Thor doesn’t even show up! Not that I’m entirely surprised. Although the initial setting ties in the movie with events in the show, the two really had nothing to do with each other except for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to remind us, “Hey! We’re totally occupying the same world as all these awesome superheroes!”

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Mostly, though, the episode is about Ward struggling with controlling the rage caused by the staff, as well as the memories it dredges up from a time when he felt powerless. Apparently, his older brother was a bully who terrorized him and threw kids down a well when they were younger. Psychotic to be sure, and maybe I’m just cynical, but it didn’t seem like very good backstory. Maybe it’s because Ward as a character is so wooden, emotionless, and lacking in nuance. The show is obviously trying to give him some depth, but it feels entirely tacked on, not as though it’s a real facet to his character.

Even so, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actually managed to surprise me at the very end of the episode, namely Ward and May’s little coda with the booze and shared hotel room. While it’s a teeny bit weird since they have no chemistry (though to be fair, neither of them has chemistry with anyone), I can also easily see why they’d gravitate towards each other. They’re both warriors dealing with a difficult past that no one else can truly understand. Where else are they supposed to find comfort? I just hope it doesn’t become some kind of weird love triangle between Ward, May, and Skye, especially since it seems like Skye’s character is being pushed in that direction.

Some other random thoughts from this episode:

  • Man, Skye’s clothes are ugly! Sorry wardrobe department—you can’t just dress someone in a weird plaid/denim shirt to trick us into thinking she’s actually a nerd.
  • Peter MacNicol was super creepy as the Asgardian turned Norse mythology professor. I assume he wasn’t supposed to come off so sleazy, but he did.
  • Apparently getting ahold of an ancient Asgardian staff makes you want to re-enact Fight Club in underground Oslo, judging by the randos who found the thing.
  • We get yet another little hint that Coulson’s “trip” to Haiti was not everything it seemed. Whatever happened, it must have been bad. Who wakes up in a cold, terrified sweat from a dream about being massaged by a beautiful woman on the beach?

Still, I enjoyed this week’s installment, probably because I was only half paying attention, and Skye wasn’t given very much to do. Just the way I like it! Who else watched Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last night? What did you think? Tell us in the comments!

The Well: B

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 1 Episode 8, “The Well,” aired on ABC November 19th, 2013 at 8/9c.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516.

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