This week, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. had a “crossover” with Thor: The Dark World that essentially amounted to five seconds in England before the plot kicked in. On the other hand, this was also one of the show’s better episodes, as we finally get to know Grant Ward just a little bit better.
The episode centers around, at least in theory, an artifact left behind by an Asgardian called the Berzerker Spear, broken into three parts. Touch it, and it will both make you vastly stronger and tap into your ugliest memories to drive you into a rage.
Needless to say, the last thing you want is a “Norse pagan hate group” getting their hands on one. No points for guessing what they do! Also, considering this episode is all about Ward, no points for guessing who accidentally touches the big steel Viking rage stick!
This episode has some glaring flaws; the aforementioned “hate group” doesn’t even really have a name, for example, and they’re not even really established as that much of a threat. Or Norse. Or pagan. Or a hate group. They mostly come off like somebody called Central Casting and said “Send us all the guys who look like they’d stab you for meth.” Although needling the neo-Nazis whining about how Heimdall was Black in the Thor franchise is a nice touch.
But they’re not really the focus of this story. Instead, it’s Ward and Peter MacNicol. MacNicol is nominally a mythology professor, but it quickly becomes clear there’s more to him than just being a fan of Thor. MacNicol is a wonderfully snarky presence in the episode and you find yourself hoping he’ll be back in later episodes, something that is left open.
Brett Dalton, meanwhile, gets to develop Ward has a character. The well of the title is not some Asgardian artifact or a vaguely named menace; it’s the place where Ward first felt hatred. Ward’s family history turns out to be that his brother, when they were kids, was a psychopath. Needless to say, replaying deeply painful memories from his past turns Ward into something of a dick to the rest of the team.
The episode ends on two important notes: One, Ward and May are heavily implied to have a drunken hook-up, and Coulson has a nightmare, of sorts, about how Tahiti is a magical place. We also learn that Coulson has no memory, whatsoever, of his recovery; he just woke up a few months after being stabbed through the heart. That’s… troubling.
A few more thoughts:
- I’d be more annoyed about how token and shoddy this “crossover” was if the episode weren’t better.
- I wish May had been allowed to beat up more Norse pagan hate group members, but smacking down the annoying blonde villain so hard she did a triple backflip was highly entertaining.
- Apparently, touching Viking staff has some long-term effects; hopefully this means Ward will have something personal to deal with.
- Fitz was a little off this episode, you’d think after last week’s events he’d be a little less cowering around Ward.
Any thoughts? Let us know in the comments!