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November 20 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss tonight's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The episode is titled "The Well." It was written by Monica Owusu-Breen and directed by Jonathan Frakes. This is the episode that references events from Thor: The Dark World.

Magic broom please.
Ward has clearly been taking lessons in social interaction with geeks.
We are Gooooooods! I want to believe that was a Buffy reference!
I'm going to be nit picky and say I wish the Norwegians had spoken Norwegian when only with other Norwegians.
Mom just threw on the Myface signal. Whedonite rush in 5.. 4..
And there's another reference that makes S.H.I.E.L.D. sound like a government agency of some kind instead of something transnational. I'd prefer it to be something federal for storytelling purposes.
Coulson is a pen enthusiast? Cool.
So the bad guys just happen to bump into the Prof as he's escaping with the 2nd part of the staff?! How convenient!
I think we're gonna need to update the rotating quote list after this episode.

EDIT: Typo.

[ edited by Ozzel on 2013-11-20 03:40 ]
I'm thinking the bad guy was on his way to retrieve the second piece so it's not really that coincidental.

Is it weird I find it funny Coulson thinks he has to point out when he makes a joke?
So the bad guys just happen to bump into the Prof as he's escaping with the 2nd part of the staff?! How convenient!

Yeah I'm hoping one part of the staff lets you sense the others, or something.
This staff clearly has some kinda Hulk droid magic.
Character development for Ward! Finally.
"I think we're gonna need to updated the rotating quote list after this episode."
Ozzel

Yup.
Coulson's got interesting ethics.
Wow, for once... it was aliens!
Simmons is the creepiest sometimes.
Anything for a girl.
"Simmons is the creepiest sometimes."
Sunfire

Oooo, vivisection is FUN!
I don't think that is how Asgardian first aid works.
Good B_b that was SWEEEEEET!
Not sure if that's what they mean by "open door policy."
Uh huh what now?
Solace between warriors. Not S'prised.
Ahhhhhhhh Dollhouse reference!
Dollhouse reference!!!
Ahhhhhh!

It seems there was a collective scream among Whedonites.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2013-11-20 03:02 ]
Oh my god! I screamed at the dollhouse reference/possible clue to truth about Coulson!

[ edited by Destructo Girl on 2013-11-20 03:01 ]
"Did I fall asleep?"/"For A little while."
*Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee*
I just want to point out how awesome I am as I made mention in one of our threads of something similar to Dollhouse with Coulson. It was a thread about an article discussing Coulson theories

Go me. Go me. Go me.
And so he's an Active. Huh.

[ edited by Ozzel on 2013-11-20 03:03 ]
This was a great episode, especially the last few scenes. Loved the Dollhouse shoutout.
Screaming because Dollhouse.
Yeah, I figure the site would explode after that bit ;)

More to say later, I'm going to bask in the Dollhouse glow for a while.
My boyfriend and I have been referring to Coulson as a doll from the very beginning. Absolutely loved it!
I just had a little mini heart attack. Dollhouse <3
So Coulson is an Active?

Anyway, this was quite a good episode. Stuff happened. Much of it unexpected.

I just wish they'd cut loose with the fight scenes. When Ward and May picked up those pieces of the staff, I thought we were gonna get a beautifully choreographed beatdown. Instead, they just hit a couple of people and that was it.

But, I think this was up there among their best episodes so far.
Loved tonights episode.Probably my favorite so far.Nice Dollhouse shout out to.Just across the board a great one tonight IMO.
I came on here just to see everyone scream about the Dollhouse reference. I was not disappointed. :) I may have shrieked.
But he looks like Coulson. How can he be an Active imprinted with Coulson's memories? And if he was, how would they have his memories updated to the moment he died? No, I think this is Maurissa and Jed winking at us.
But I still loved it.
And poor poor May. Like the Hulk, living with all that rage.
Dollhouse and AoS are owned by different companies, so it has to just be an easter egg and not an actual crossover. Kinda surprised they did it, though. Joss usually likes to keep his various 'verses separate.
Maybe Coulson was a fan of Dollhouse while it was on.
I called it weeks ago. I'm so happy
@Lioness, that would be AMAZING… that's my new head-canon for now.
That's got to be it, Lioness!
Sure. So he dreamt about it as a possible explanation. We all do that, right? ;-)
Indeed! I know Yeerks were my go-to nightmare explanation for everything during my Animorphs phase in junior high.
I hope it's not just fan service, but it's still awesome if it is. I like that I'm not the only who thought of a Dollhouse connection and that the writers are teasing it
"We are gods" could be shout-out to "Much Ado" (Clark Gregg doesn't say it, but he's in the scene where Reed Diamond as Don Pedro says, "We are the only love gods"). Or could be Asgard ref :)
It could be a shout out to both.
Valantha, thank you so much for that reference. Animorphs doesn't get nearly the love it deserves.
Agreed!


I think this was the first episode where I didn't have to struggle to enjoy it. The previous two were good, but this was even better.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2013-11-20 04:34 ]
Who went into May's room after her? Originally I thought Grant, but it didn't look like his left wrist, and the person entered from the side, not the front (where Grant was).
Why are all my toys so damaged!?
So good ep? Can't wait to watch!
"I came on here just to see everyone scream about the Dollhouse reference." -KnitWit

This. Exactly this. The entire Dollhouse loving section of Whedonesque just exploded when that happened. <3
OK, so the shout out was fantastic, but wasn't the real zinger the prior scene? That's some serious character development for a show where a lot of critics have been moaning about a lack thereof. Coolness.
Damn, that was just frigging neato. Couldn't tell Frakes directed that one, could you, and totally suited to the material. Outta the ballpark, baby!
aaaahhh! Dollhouse reference! does SHIELD have Rossum tech? is coulson an Active? is he a Active clone? does SHIELD have clones?
Also,how come Coulson doesn't have Jane Foster's number?
and I wanted more of May being badass with the beserker staff.

Well done to Jonathan Frakes, his episodes are always visually impressive.

I have many questions I'm not even capable of articulating yet
This was more like an Argardan "Item 47" than an epilogue to the Thor movie. An OK episode, but the epilogue was a nice touch. Coulson, and we viewers, should know if he's....real
DOLLHOUSE FTW! WOOT! WOOT!

I really enjoyed tonight's episode. My opinion, short and sweet.

ETA: I'm sure Coulson does have Jane Foster's number, but she's an astrophysicist, not an Asgardian artifact expert.

[ edited by ladypeyton on 2013-11-20 07:19 ]
Yeah - I can't remember who knew what by the end of "Thor: The Dark World." I think it's unlikely that SHIELD would be directly informed of certain developments known to those who stayed through the end credits.
Jonathan Frakes needs to direct all episodes from now on.
Yep, he's Number One (sorry! ;)

I think the DH reference (YAY!!!) was a wink to us but it doesn't rule out a similar tech being involved.

My only complaint about this episode is that I wished for more of Melinda fighting. She needed more fanatics to whack around.
I've been a fan since the beginning, but I think this is the first one where I'm totally keen to watch the next one already. That ending - no, both endings - were very exciting. An unexpected character development and the most exciting tease of Coulson's big reveal - delivered with a dollhouse reference. I'm really looking forward to seeing how things will develop from here.
Not reading any comment before I share this. I just finished watching the episode and I can say I am impressed!

The final scene with Coulson is so haunting, my GOD. Not only we know for sure something is wrong with Phil but the Dollhouse quoting was chilling.

Ward and May. Can't say I'm surprised but I sure prefer it to him and Skye. I rather like thinking of Ward as an older brother/protector to Skye, Fitz and Simmons. And as he shares that and now something else with May it kind of makes sense that they would bond over it together. Can't say it is healthy or not. We will see what happens. But I actually like it. Wonder what Phil will say.

Speaking of Phil and UST, the reference to Portland was a clear shout-out the Avenger's cellist. I so wanted him to touch the staff even before we saw him kneeling over it.

LOVED the tiny asgardian :D I was going to be miffed that they didn't have a lot to do with the movie but I was pleasently surprised that it took it further. Gave more histroy rather than bank on existing ones. *two thumbs up* Embrace the new Verse!

Simmons reluctant to talk to her parents is a nice touch. Fitz showing some signs of hidden darkness is intersting. I wonder if that is a concious character development or coincidental.

Less Skye. I like her in small doses. I enjoy her Superhero nerdiness though.

First Hill and now May lusting over Thor? I fear for the future king lol

I love that Coulson despite having 'bad experience' with aliens doesn't hold it against the Prof and saves him, even offers to introduce him to Thor. It's a good insight into his character. Other characters might resent the whole race if they were in his situation.

Fury not able to contact Thor? Um, hello. Did someone try Jane? Especially after the events of Thor:The Dark World. It's already been made a fact that keep track of her.

All in all... one of the best episodes. I'm no longer worried for AoS if it keeps a tight focus, expand the verse and building up their characters. I care for Ward now. His woodiness makes sense. Keep it up writers!

p.s. We Are Gods is totally a nerd trio reference. I choose to believe that. ;p
It's taken me several hours to really process seeing The Well and all the crazy goodies it brought, but between the new mystery of just what kind of family did Grant Ward grow up in and that kick-ass Dollhouse reference in Coulson's nightmare? Our cup definitely runneth over with next-level plot and character moments!

The penultimate scene, with Ward going into May's room, is interesting since the comments she made about living with rage/fear every day seemed to tie in to her mystery of why someone nicknamed "The Cavalry" would end up working admin...but the different ways of interpreting the scene - Ward and May gonna booze and horror story schmooze? Wounded warrior "friends with benefits" with May pulling an Inara before moving on to getting him doing Tai Chi and other meditative activities to help quell some of the rage the Beserker Staff ignited? - really sold the episode for me, emotionally speaking.

I have to admit though...the reveal of Peter MacNicol's Dr. Elliot Randolph as a millennia-old Asgardian was awesome, but was I the only one just a tiny disappointed that he didn't channel his Ghostbusters 2 "Janos" character once the jig was up? No? Right then....

;P
There was no reason to contact Jane. Asgardian artifacts are not her specialty and the things that were shown at the very end of Thor 2, after all the credits ended, if they are even well known enough for SHIELD to know, do not happen until 6 months after the movie. The Well happened directly after during disaster clean up.
Agent Coulson tries to be his best.
1. Dollhouse squeeee! My boyfriend Had no idea why I suddenly went "no! Did they just do that?'

2. Best episode yet. In my mind this hold have been the pilot and Thor should have been released 2 weeks before this as the pilot. The ep could have started with the geeks and Coulson and recruited grant early on. May could have been recruited in ep 2 with Skye. Then the rest could have aired in the order they've been in after that. This episode was an edge of the seat pay attention to everything ep whilst the others have been eps I could happily do work whilst watching. Given me hope for the show but I'm worried it has already shed too many viewers.

3. I had no idea Jonathan Frakes directed now. Excellent job
Well, I saw boyth good and bad here. The story itself was not so great, lots of comic book skipping around (like, they went to Ireland to a church, and it just so happened that the very person they needed to fight was there just as they arrived). But the good was really good- first, it is always a pleasure to see Peter MacNichol- the man just has chops to spare (though I still think his best role was as the camp leader in Adams Family Values...). The DH reference was a great tweak, which whipped my head around when it was said- though I sincerely think it is a tweak to Whedon cognoscenti. And I am glad to see at least a recognition that people who work together might party together, and that Ward and May have shared a lot over time. I don't want to see the show bog down in unrequited sexual tension, but good juxtapostion of Skye letting Ward know of her interest and Ward then choosing to go with May (hey, I'd make the same choice! :-)). Truly, though, I am less interested in movie tie-ins; I sort of feel that is market expansion I would rather not see. So, in short, banal story, with good stuff buried in it.
Just finished the episode. Nice tie-in with Thor without actually requiring to see the movie, straight plot with a little too convenient coincidences, but great emotional resonance with Grant and Phil, so that's what really counts. I was genuinely surprised by Peter MacNichol's true nature, the revelation of Agent Ward's true involvement in the well accident, and the maybe-hook up with May.

All in all it's a solid episode, maybe I liked it a little less than FZZT and The Hub, that the show has found its footing in an adventure-mystery vibe. Since we know 1.09 is May-centric, I wonder where the Centipede plot will come back..
Did they reveal the names of the various Asgardians involved? I couldn't amke anythign out with my eharing and all. I'd like to compare them to what I recall both from Thor comics of the 70s and 80s, and authentic Norse mythology.

(Jane Foster? One of the less than a dozen names from the Marvelverse that sickens me even to hear or read.)
@Dana5140: I had similar thoughts, highs and lows.
Did like the McNichol reveal. (Although I wonder if they could have done a better job setting it up to look like Ward lost control during the interrogation.)
I did like the Ward/Skye talk in the bar. I'd like the show more if it had more of those types quiet moments, but maybe they are worried about the audience tuning out of the talky moments in an action series.

Didn't like the rage scenes. "Rarrr!" "Arrgh!" (No offense to MrArg.) Was hoping for something more interesting. Funny rage, maybe. If May is full of rage, I kinda wish she would have stayed ice cold during the staff fight (instead of yelling out), to make it seem like she wasn't affected at all, until we get a nice close-up to see she is just hanging on by a thread.

For the Ireland church, they probably should have said that the monks never talked. That would explain why the bad guy waited around for MacNichol to lead them the right chest, stab him in the chest (but not the same chest), then grab the 3rd piece.

Now that I've said that aloud, I'm wondering if the 3rd piece should have been inside the Asgardian. (3rd piece being smaller than the other two, but still painful to see pulled out.) That would have been surprising, kind of like the cell phone in "The Dark Knight". It would fit the "next to (a) god" quote, and the set up would still have Coulson reacting to a gaping wound in the guy's chest.

(Edit: I'm now wondering, when May left her door open, if the Asgardian went in. The guy admits to being horny, and knows about controlling rage, which is why May may have been drinking with him.)

[ edited by OneTeV on 2013-11-20 14:21 ]
I have a nitpicky kind of question that just occurred to me as I mulled the episode. Why did we see the kid in the well from a view right at the bottom of the well? All the view we saw of the kid struggling were taken right at the level of the water. If this was Ward's memory and he was looking down at the drowning kid, why isn't that the memory? How could we look to see him (Ward the younger version) at the well top?
I wonder why this show avoids extended, choreographed fight scenes. Are they not confident in the actors' ability to pull it off? It can't be a desire to avoid violence in an 8 PM show, since we've seen a woman burn alive before our eyes just a couple weeks ago.

An action series needs better action scenes. That was really my only complaint about this episode.
I found this episode to be once again pretty average with some good and some bad moments. The effort from the last couple of episodes (which I liked more, btw) to develop the various characters continues, this time with Ward, but his childhood traumas left me completely cold and disinterested on what end of the well was his kid self located, so the twist that he wasn't the one drowning didn't affect me much. And I didn't really believe that this incident was supposed to be the main source of his rage. I'm used to deeper psychological wounds from other Whedon shows. This seems very shallow, essentially like a screenwriting crutch, which can be found in every other Hollywood production. I fear, that May's backstory will be similarly uninteresting. However, the Dollhouse reference was a pleasant surprise. :) Infact, the Sierra/Priya backstory is a good example of a well written emotional trauma that feels genuine and convincing. I hope that Jed and Mo will take inspiration from their former work in this regard as well and the reveal of The Cavalry nickname origin will leave a similar impact like the events in Belonging. ;)

[ edited by Anuris on 2013-11-20 15:37 ]
Enjoyed the episode well enough (see what I did there?)

I would have liked the staff change to more physically obvious - as it was the folks with the powers of Norse gods just appeared to be drunken bikers with a scowl and an accent

Thought episode really delivered the goods in the last ten minutes. Nice work hinting at Skye / Ward hotel hook up (I swear I could hear the collective eye rolling in certain quarters) only to change partners - what were Vegas odds on a Ward/May collaboration? Also, nice Coulson bits (including cellist reference)

Still think the show needs a Big Bad for focus, but clearly the show is hitting a new, more confident, stride
I think we might have gotten a hint of an upcoming Big Bad in this episode, actually... Ward's brother. As we saw here, he is quite possibly a psychopath. I think he's going to be more than just a backstory character.
I liked this episode. But I've really enjoyed them all except the Latin America set one.
This was very interesting, good to get some back story on Ward, and the May/Ward connection really fits. Makes sense. Sky/Ward just would feel awkward. She feels like a kid. Do we know her age?
The "Did I Fall Asleep" ending however made me roll my eyes. Give it up Joss! Dollhouse is over.
Wasn't this episode originally supposed to air last week and 'The Hub' this week?
The "bad" kid in the memory looked like Ward, but I assumed that he was his brother (and Ward was in the well). Apparently, some of you thought he was the one outside the well. Now, I'm not sure about what that scene meant.

I think the "reveal" was that it wasn't an accident, but that his brother pushed him.
My man crush on Jonathan Frakes began 25 years ago and shows no signs of abating. What a talented director he is. Shame he has been restricted to TV. But the shows he works on are the benefactors.
Yes I heard the order should've been reserved with this and the hub but abc wanted to give people more time to watch Thor TDW, which makes sense cause there were a lot of references to FZZT in this one.

I thought Grant was the one the throw the rope but I am not sure give the perspectives and all.
In one episode he said that his brother beat him, or something like that, so I doubt he'd be the oldest of the three.

What's surprising is that I expected something bigger for his worse memory. Being dumped in a well by his brother would hardly be important enough for Coulson to say "given your family history..."
But, but... SkyWard. MayWard isn't even a word! But it sure makes things interesting.

As much as I like it, I think the Dollhouse line was just a fun wink.

The bad kid in the memory did look a lot more like Ward than the kid he was bullying or the kid at the bottom of the well. And yes, I'm sort of wondering if he wasn't the bully all along. What he told Skye could have been an Obi-Wan certain point of view.

[ edited by BringItOn5x5 on 2013-11-20 16:52 ]
Definitely one of the better episodes, if not the best. The little Asgardian has the makings of a great character, and they could do a lot of great stuff with him. He may be the most interesting character I've seen on the show so far. Basically, he's kind of an awkward nerd at home in Asgard, but he comes to earth so he can be cooler, more powerful, and get laid a lot. Imperfect heroes are by far the most fun, see, e.g., Spike, and he has the makings of a very imperfect hero. I really hope we see a lot more of him.

Also glad to see at least some effort to explore the internal struggles. We need more of that. And the Ward-May hookup was a welcome change of direction because it was unexpected (the show needs more surprises), because it is highlighting character flaws (the show needs more character flaws), and also because it is taking things in a darker direction (the show needs to go darker, in my opinion).

Someone wondered in a previous thread whether the first episodes may have been handicapped because the plot was basically in a holding pattern until Thor 2 came out. I'm thinking there may be something to that, and am hopeful we'll now start seeing more development of the larger, serialized plot.

ETA: I love the idea that Ward was the bully all along, and his story about being bullied was just BS. And if that were the case, it was a nice double-mislead when you first think he's the kid in the well, but then you think he's the kid not helping, but then they reveal he was the most horrible kid of all... I especially love the idea that he was an especially cruel bully because that would make his heroic motivations now much much more interesting (and more in keeping with the Marvel universe ethos). It could be great if his bullying actually had some tragic and permanent consequence about which he is racked with suppressed guilt.

[ edited by Squishy on 2013-11-20 16:57 ]

[ edited by Squishy on 2013-11-20 16:57 ]
"Still think the show needs a Big Bad for focus, but clearly the show is hitting a new, more confident, stride"
TallMichaelJ

I think the "Big Bad" is the crew pushing the alien tech.
Overall another great episode!

I think they tried to cram too much into this episode, this could easily have been a two parter, allowing for more time to find the staff, more time for (even more) character development. Coincidence aside, this is a show based off a comic book, and it's always the case that the good guys and bad guys find the phlebotinum at the sime time and fight over it. That is a good example of why this should have been a two parter. Giving the hate group more background and screen time would be better, and give us more side characters to root for.

Ward development! Not only the Well reveal, but his talks with Simmons, his "rejection" of Skye's offer, and his new bond with Melinda was phenomonal. I found myself thinking "This is exactly what people have been wanting to see all alone." We are getting information on May painfully slow, but tonight was a welcome addition and we'll get more next episode.

There's been a lot of talk about comparing the first seasons of AoS to other Whedon shows. The pilot started out strong, took a big dip with 0-8-4 and The Asset, but has steadily climbed in quality. Eye Spy and Girl in the Flower Dress advanced the Centipede arc; FZZT and The Hub and The Well gave us backstory on the characters that we were clamoring for, and stirred up the group dynamics a bit. That trend looks to continue in Repairs.

We've also gotten more super hero content (Asgardians, berzerker staffs, and the upcoming paranormal stuff). I agree that the fight choreography really falls flat and is poorly executed. The fights in Buffy were always fun (though to be fair, those also got better and better each season).

The Dollhouse reference was purely for us, Coulson is not an Active, but it's a nice shout out ;)

Some of the non-Whedonesque sites have noticed the increase in quality of the episodes, and I hope this will translate into increased viewership. For my part, the show is giving me what I wanted and getting better and better. Let's see this trend continue into the second half of the season, and I think we'll be five by five.
Looking forward to watching later today. Happy birthday Ming-Na Wen.
I KNEW IT!

Tahiti = The Attic.

Shivers. Me. That line. Whoa.
looking forward to watching later today. Happy birthday Ming-Na Wen.

50 years old, which is completely unbelievable.

Of the kids in the well scene, I think the bully was Ward's brother; the kid who lowered the rope was Ward himself, and the kid in the well was their youngest brother.

But yeah, it's kind of weird that Grant would be remembering this incident from the POV of the bottom of the well.

[ edited by AndrewCrossett on 2013-11-20 17:09 ]
Kind of an anti-attic, don't you think?
my thoughts on the Well scene:

my gut impression when watching it was that Ward's little brother was in the well. Ward wanted to help his little brother out, but his big brother scared him into leaving little bro in the well.

Ward (as a chubby kid, nice contrast to his adult self) has that instinct to help people who are helpless, which the well scene illustrates. When that desire to help is thwarted, it makes him hate his older brother, and hate himself for not being able to stand up to him. That works better for me than if Ward was the one in the well.

[ edited by chrisobrien on 2013-11-20 17:16 ]
The kid in the well was shouting for "Grant" to help, so... yeah. I really don't see where the confusion is coming from.
But who knows if "Grant" is "Grant"? There's a literal way to take this scene, just wondering if there's something more to it. I never take a memory/dream sequence at face value.

[ edited by BringItOn5x5 on 2013-11-20 17:28 ]
I think it would be a much better and more interesting twist if the "bad kid," who we assumed to be Ward's older brother, actually turned out to be Ward himself. I think BringItOn5x5 was alluding to this possibility. I'm not sure I saw or heard anything in the scene that would preclude this possibility but I suppose I may have missed something.

ETA: Was he actually speaking specifically to the kid with the rope when he called out to "Grant"? Maybe he was calling out to whomever pushed him in the well in the first place?

[ edited by Squishy on 2013-11-20 17:33 ]
I believe the actor who played the "good" kid (who lowered the rope) was identified in the credits as playing "Young Grant Ward."

The bully was listed as "Maynard."
What would be really twisted is if the "bad kid" was never even really there.
MayWard isn't even a word! But it sure makes things interesting.


You certainly MayGrant that.
"What would be really twisted is if the "bad kid" was never even really there."

Hell yes.

"You certainly MayGrant that."

Simon gets the zinger award.
@Squishy: What is "ETA" supposed to mean? The only usage of ETA I am familiar with is "Estimated Time of Arrival." You seem to be using it as a marker for your "edits?"
When Ward walked into May's room, I thought, "It just became a Whedon show." I like the Whedon family brand of humor, but to me the defining Whedon characteristic is pulling the rug out from under the viewer by having people act like people. The standard TV show thing to do is boil the Skye/Ward will-they-won't-they mess for at least a couple of years until viewers can barely stand it anymore. Life doesn't always work that way, and neither did this plot.

I like both Ward and May more now. They seem like people.
D-e-f, I honestly can't remember what it's supposed to stand for, I just have a vague recollection that it is used to indicate subsequent edits. Is it the wrong acronym?
ETA = edited to add
Huh, you learn something new every day. Never seen it used like this before.

edit: (<- that's how I see it everywhere :P) I feel like I've seen May/Ward hints (very vague) in previous eps. May (no pun intended...) just have been a look or the way a scene was set up with how and where they were standing but I definitely saw that as a possible hint. What I find weird now is what others have also remarked on: we don't see the person entering May's room's face. I think it's clearly Ward though. The person entering is wearing short or rolled up sleeves of some kind of shirt and a black wristwatch. Ward is wearing just that in the bar scene with Skye.

Is this now actually a "let's share our pain by doing physical things!" scenario or a "oh we just poured our hearts out and shared secrets with our good friend Mr. Alc O. Hol" followed by Skye checking in on Ward the next morning only to see him leaving May's room setting up a weird "oh no, just as I discovered weirdly inappropriate feelings for him!" kind of typical misunderstanding-scenario? I definitely know which one I like better and it's not the second one.

[ edited by D-e-f- on 2013-11-20 18:15 ]
Theory #286: Ward's family/brother are bad guy types. SO bad they're prone to killing SHIELD types ... even if those SHIELD types have kids

Ward and Skye may have more in common than model good looks
"What would be really twisted is if the "bad kid" was never even really there."

Ok, that's twisted in ways that not even Dollhouse prepared me for. o_o

Speaking of, Dollhouse reference made me cheer. Loved this episode! The characters are really shaping up for some interesting things ahead.
@TallMichaelJ: Interesting. There's definitely a lot of potential for dark messed up stuff. And that's how we love our stuff best, right? :)
I don't think it was Ward. No reason not to show his face if the bit right before wasn't a misdirect. And Agent May is my hero. Such a convincing bad ass in every way.
"Not yet, Grant. You throw that rope down, and I throw you in." Not verbatim, but...that's what the bully older kid said to the panicky "I gotta save him from drowning!" young boy.

Loved seeing the Eel again! Very cool twist that he was "the one who stayed," although given how easily he translated the staff (barely looked at the 3D version) and how quickly he found the references we shouldn't have been that surprised.

Man, do not piss off Phil! "I just wish they'd send down the God of Cleaning Up After." I was really expecting him to grab the staff at some point, especially after it was pointed out that it showed dark memories. Plus he was barely-contained-rage guy pretty much from the start of the episode.

Lots of good shout-outs to The Avengers and Thor: Dark World without making people who hadn't seen the movies confused. "I hear they have a good philharmonic." (Ooh...word play...Phil...harmony....) You either catch it and smile, or you don't.

More intrigue with May. Loved that end scene w/her & Grant going into their rooms. But that final after-credit scene...ouch. Poor Phil. I really hope he gets his answers soon, or something bad's gonna happen. He just might break.
My feeling - the show just grew up. It wasn't just the fact that May left her door open (at which point I found myself saying "I wasn't expecting THAT"), it was the look she gave Ward before going in. Not something you could consider inviting or seductive, more, we're equals now. My guess about May's past is that whatever happened isn't something that happened TO her, but something that she was involved in that went wrong and a lot of people got hurt or died on her watch. We'll see.

And I've been thinking for a while that the Tahiti/"It's a magical place" trigger was operating like a Doll dialogue, so of course loved the Dollhouse shoutout. It doesn't make sense as a crossover, but it may still be a clue. One thing I just realized is that in the May "take off your shirt" sequence, one of the purposes of that scene may have been to make sure we the audience see the scarring, so we don't imagine that Coulson is a clone or Life Model Decoy or android or anything else. This Coulson is the the one who had an Asgardian staff go through his heart.
I don't know, if he was an LMD, he'd look the same, including the scars. Otherwise, he'd figure out he's an LMD.
Show is definitely finding more footing on the character front, and this was maybe the first episode where the cast really felt like it was interacting organically, but everything about the case of the week was obvious and hollow.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2013-11-20 18:58 ]
Enjoyed the episode. And boy it was good to Peter MacNicol again. (Loved him in Ally McBeal.) Thought the girl from Alphas was kind of wasted though. She's a bit more capable than the material she got here, which is a shame.

Keep saying folks saying, 'How could Fury not contact Thor/Jane Foster?' But I think everyone's kind of missing the point there. As if you think about it, in the first episode it was stated that the Avengers haven't been told about Coulson being back. And I don't think Fury's gonna want them interacting anytime soon, Because:-
a)They're not going to be too chuffed about being manipulated into some 'Avenging' and
b)They might actually confirm to Coulson that he was y'know properly dead.
And I'd imagine Thor would be officially the last Avenger they'd want knowing about it. Since it was his brother that did the deed and all..
Hmmm . . .

Never pictured Melinda May as a Grand Marnier drinker.

I thought of her more as a Jack Ripper grain alcohol and rainwater type.

Well, maybe the brandy was from her pre-cavalry days and before whatever event she was remembering.
I liked Peter MacNicol's character. Someone like him needs to be in the actual Thor film to help ground the Asgard stuff. Everything else was kinda boring though. The Dollhouse reference made me cringe, but maybe that has something to do with the fact it made me cringe every time I heard it on Dollhouse as well.
I instinctively said "for a little while" out loud at the same time as the nightmare lady--I just thought I was being clever with myself. That was fun.
I also love Peter MacNicol, thanks for mentioning Jas. Not only Ally M. but Picket Fences, still missed by me ("You are a toad" ... "I am a toad"). PF watchers back in the day will get that ref. I think the sibling in the well died because kid Grant froze. A bullying incident alone would not take him to such dark depths or turn him into someone so intent on being a super-saviour; certainly that is why he works for an agency like S.H.I.E.L.D. and they must be aware of everything about him and exploit that part of his psychological makeup.
@IrrationaliTV: I would think the same but the clothes and watch match up perfectly. That's what irritates me. I would totally scream misdirect from the rooftops with you if that weren't the case.

Let me do a Simmons and desperately try to find a logical explanation: the only one I can come up with is that it might just have looked better and more like a "guilty pleasure" thing to not show his face. Have it seem secretive, forbidden. You shouldn't look. I don't know. It's all weird. I guess we won't know for sure until next week when they either address it head on or give hints.

@FornicusLordOfBondageAndPain: Ha, did the same thing :D ...such a great moment.
@Tonya j : For Peter MacNicol, you left out Dragonslayer ! :-)
Oh no, I shall be drummed out of the league! And Sophie's Choice, where I really fell head over heels.
Ok so I thought Ward was the kid in the well from the perspective used but this is the kid who is listed as playing young Grant in several places http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2152695/ this is the 'boy in the well' http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3249216/ and this is Maynard http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2614237/

Bit disappointed that it turns out this way as this was supposedly his darkest memory? Bullying some kid? Unless it turns out he was too late and the kid died, it doesn't fit.
@Ivalaine, I think the kid in the well was his little brother, the bully was his big brother who threatened to throw him in too if he helped. (Notice that that threat happens in the scene with the three kids). The horrible memory seems to be that he was too scared of his big brother to help his little brother. AT least, that's what I think was going on. It explains why now he is so fanatical about having to protect people. The writers seem to have wanted us to think that Grant was the kid in the well until that scene where he is shown wanting to help and then being threatened. Clearly he had to go through a process before he could stand up to his older brother--which makes one wonder just how bad the abuse got. But it's telling that his worst memory is not about his own being physically abused directly (which surely happened too, given the ominous references to his family history) but about wanting to help someone else and not feeling able to.
@trunkstheslayer Indeed :) They were great, though they're probably pretty dated now with all of the Xena references…
The Dollhouse reference killed me. I shouted, then got teary-eyed. Loved it!

I think the kid dies because Ward was late deciding to help the kid. That's what I took from the way the scene ended.
It was a little confusing because the older boy did in fact resemble grownup Ward so much. My hearing is a little off, so I didn't catch the older boy threatening "Grant". I would think that having a psychopathic older brother torture your kid brother could in fact be a traumatizing experience. And in real life the boy in the well could in fact die. "Near-drowning" is a potentially fatal condition. If he takes in enough water into his lungs while he is struggling, even if he is still alive when he is finally pulled out he could still die without treatment.
I think it was a little girl in the well, and I didn't get the idea that the older boy was family, although it's not impossible we're talking Wonder Years territory.
Just watched it. Jizzed my pants at the dollhouse reference
Also, i think that ward used to be the bully. Not his brother
Just watched this. Really good episode! Thats 3 in a row.
They don't have any way of contacting Thor.

Thor: The Dark World spoilers ahead.



[ edited by Jason_M_Bryant on 2013-11-21 11:08 ]
That Dollhouse reference was so specific that you'd think it's more than just fan service. Then again, non Whedon fans wouldn't catch the message there at all so maybe it was just a little easter egg for the Whedon fans

Geeky rant incoming:

I listened to the Afterbuzz podcast on this episode and they made no mention of the Dollhouse reference, which made me not really want to subscribe to them anymore. Seriously, even if you're not a Whedon fan, a little time on the internet or social media after the episode aired would have caught them up to speed. I'm sure the internet exploded over the Dollhouse reference and the fact that a couple of people who do a podcast on the show would be oblivious to it is just one of those face palm moments.

Shame on them
Monica wrote the episode and she is not a Wheaton alum is she? Seems important someone Whedon told her to include it?
Angel&Faith- I've read something like 20 reviews of the episode from different sources, and not one of them mentions the Dollhouse callout!
Angel&Faith.. perhaps you're forgetting how many viewers Dollhouse (sadly) had.. You can't expect the whole world to be aware of every pop culture reference out there. There are people watching S.H.I.E.L.D. who've never seen another Whedon show.
The last thing that happens is her wondering if the whole "treason" thing is going to keep Thor locked up on Asgard for the rest of her life.


@Jason_M_Bryant I think you need to spoil text your post for those had not seen anything of Thor: The Dark World yet.

Also, you need to see the movie again and stay all the way through. ;)
Hmm, my first attempt at commenting plainly didn't take. Short version of what I said:

I love a good "he fell in love and switched sides" story, so the Berserker was awesome. Only problem is that his chronology is totally wonky. The legend of the berserkers goes much further back than the 12th century. (Yay, now I get to be a picky geek too!) Also, I didn't see the Asgardian twist coming, but once revealed it cleared up quite a few problems... such as "Why is there a professor of Norse mythology in Seville?"

The Dollhouse callout was beautifully done. Frakes timed it perfectly -- enough gap so all the Whedonites in the audience noticed it, not enough to stand out or distract.

[ edited by ManEnoughToAdmitIt on 2013-11-21 05:26 ]
"The Well" was a great episode! Not perfect, like I thought "The Hub" was, but this is quality stuff. Sooo, this time they journey to my country: Norway... BAFFLED, I was, to see that!

The plot had a clever way of developing Grant's character bio. I totally bought it when he was Hulking out on Fitzsimmons and Skye, as well as when the villains were met by his uncontrollable rage. The acting is getting better with each episode.

There was an easter egg for Dollhouse fans! YAY! I was SO HAPPY, not knowing what came after would be even more haunting than last episode's "It's a magical... place". A more cathartic ending it could not have been.
Me & my group (again) thought highly of the episode overall, but we were all groaning a bit in the beginning when the Norwegians all spoke in English with an accent. Totally second the fifth comment in this thread (NYPinTA) - it would have been better if they had spoken Norwegian, with English subtitles. That's how it was done in South America in the second episode, right? This just felt off and almost threw us out of the story.

Then, the villains walking past Dr. Randolph carrying the staff seemed like a quick way to propel the plot to me. I would have liked it if they had given more of an explanation to that, like the power of the staff bits being drawn to the other parts. To me, the coincidence was just too much as it was presented now.

Overall the villains' motives, characters and relations to one another could have all been fleshed out some more. It would have been nice if they could have used the 'Wrecking Crew' from the comics, a version of that group would have suited the storyline, but I suppose those characters are saved for potential Thor villains, or something for the Marvel Netflix series.

But the flaws we found in the episode were more than made up for by the character developments of the Agents & the great use of the existence of Asgard in the world(Midgard).
The Dollhouse reference was incredibly awesome, but that bonus scene was amazing anyway, it also thrilled the two in my group who haven't seen Dollhouse.

I really liked the Norwegian telling Coulson about the villains' first actions and completely breaking down - a genuine human response to seeing death and destruction.
Andrew, I tried to stay for the after credits scene.

Unfortunately, the theater I went to here in China did not show the after credits scene. I kept telling my date, "There's more," and "Eventually. Eventually there's more." Then the lights came on and I felt a little silly.

I found one after-credits scene on the internet, but not the other.
I gave up looking for the Thor post credits scene and just read a description of it.

I still think SHIELD saying that they couldn't contact Thor in this episode is valid because

[ edited by Jason_M_Bryant on 2013-11-21 11:05 ]

Simon, thank you for pointing out the instructions for spoiler text.

[ edited by Jason_M_Bryant on 2013-11-21 11:07 ]
You can find how to use spoiler text at the following link - whedonesque.com/?read=howto
Eliza Dushku acknowledged the Dollhouse call-out on her twitter account. :-)
Just saw this episode. I am happy to see that AoS is improving and although it is not "must-see" TV for me at this time, I plan to continue watching.

Loved the Dollhouse call out.
Like I said earlier, Coulson is obviously being lied to about SHIELD not being able to contact Thor/Jane Foster, otherwise they'd have to admit to the Avengers that Coulson's alive. And all sorts of trouble could come out of that.

Oh and thanks Tonya J. I hadn't realised Peter MacNicol was in Picket Fences. Now going to add that to my list of shows to look into at some point! :)
First off, when I read through these discussions, I'm astounded by how you guys remember so many details! Perhaps it's because I'm quite new to the Marvel-verse, but I miss so much! (The first thing I saw was was Thor, because I'm a Branagh fan (left me kinda cold), then The Avengers because I'm a huge Whedon fan (loved the dialog, but couldn't keep track of the action), and then yesterday snuck off to watch a matinee of Thor TDW, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it - maybe I'm beginning to get it!.

Anyway, I've been watching this whole season, and I'm also liking it more as it goes along. I'm right with those who feel the last 3 eps show great improvement. It took me a while to figure out what was going on at the well, but I was quite sure the kid who finally lowered the rope into the well was our Ward. I assumed it was Ward walking into May's room - they'd just had that eye-lock, plus the watch. And the Dollhouse lines caused my body to jerk! ... maybe I'm slow, but it never occurred to me that they were suggesting Coulson might be a Doll. Hmmmmmmmm. Well, I guess we'll see.

Anyway, it's fun reading what everyone has to say here. Thanks! I've been reading these discussions because I am so new and miss so much, and it really helps.
@Shadowquest - I saw the "philharmonic" sell more as a shout out to his cellist girlfriend who is in said philharmonic...
Peter MacNHicol was in Chicago Hope but I don't recall him in Picket Fences, although both shows had so many cast changes with actors doing both I'm most likely wrong. Kelly can be exasperating to follow but I've liked 4 of his shows now.
Yes, I got it mixed up. Sorry Jas. Both shows are David E. Kelley, and I loved them both.
DaddyCatALSO,
Borrowing from upthread (Thank you Ivalaine for doing the research), there is a character listed as 'boy in the well' http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3249216/; and the actor playing young Grant is clearly the younger boy http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2152695/.

What's significant in that interchange is that young Grant lowers the rope down AFTER he's been threatened by older brother. We're seeing the formation of his character in fighting back and protecting others.

And I also would not have seen May as going as going for a sweet liqueur for a hard night of drinking, not a fancy liqueur. She's a bad ass. She should be holding a good single malt Scotch, not Triple Sec. Who throws back shots of Triple Sec?
Oops. Sorry about the double posting - computer glitch. Powers that Be, please erase copy.
Ah yeah, no worries Tonya. And DaddyCatALSO you're right I do remember him in Chicago Hope and indeed in the sixth season of 24 as well..
Another good episode. Not really got much to add that hasn't already been said, except to agree with everyone on the improved character work. I now feel incredibly stupid for saying after the first episode that Ward was never going to be a good character. He is the one that has received probably the most growth throughout the series so far. You could argue that Skye has had the most story focus, but those are pretty much all plot points rather than anything that has changed the way I view the character. I've looked at Ward in a different light many times already.

Also enjoyed May without Coulson for the first time. Looking forward to seeing the episode that focuses on her.

Also, to join in on the ongoing thread discussion, Ward stood at the top of the well and dropped the rope; the other boy next to him was his older brother and (I assume) the boy in the well was his younger brother. Ward joined May for drinks/misery sex. Many chills were had from "Did I fall asleep?" Coulson is not a doll.
Does anyone think Professor Elliot Randolph will return? He could be an interesting ally/adversary/frenemy for SHIELD.
Regarding whatever May was drinking, it looked like generic whiskey to me, not grand marnier.

Also, I'm finally starting to get into this show. Still a bit too glossy for my taste, and I agree with the criticism of the fight scenes, but I think I sort of... care about the characters! I want to know what happens next! Gah!
....or, you know, Ward just joined May because the two of them both know acutely and keenly well what it is to have personal demons, and to be plagued by them, haunted by them, to greater or lesser extent....and so they're commiserating accordingly....shared experiences, common ground and all that, and hence, a standing of empathy accordingly. Why automatically the presumption of the shmex? :) My friend and I, watching it, could both tell instantly it was just about, well, commiseration, as mentioned - these two both knowing better than any the painful need for it, after having been vividly confronted with the horrors in their own separate pasts....

Also kind of amused with all the notions of Coulson somehow being anything like a Doll - being as "Dollhouse" was a Fox show, and it's also extremely long-past, I'd rather be inclined to think that's *not* even remotely the case, heh. ;) I did notice the line, too, like everyone else, and felt it to be just a neat little shout-out to the Whedonites - which, given the folks on the show, of course we know only but to expect. :)

What about the fact, though, that he actually woke in a cold sweat, bolting upright in bed, just short of *screaming* from it, really - what on the surface of it seems like it should've been a pleasant enough dream, but instead poor Coulson is jolted from it as though it's the most dread and horrific of all nightmares.

Maybe it is now, though - for him to now intrinsically, instinctively *know*, to *feel* something amiss within himself - that utterly blank space between being stabbed, and for all intents and purposes dying, then waking up *not* in the hospital, not in recovery - and what in al lthe worlds happened to him, and why can't he remember? - that definitely would make it rather the nightmare for him, I suspect, hence all the more reason he'll clearly be getting to the bottom of it, one way or another. And once he does, what he'll find, I can only but imagine what a titanic, monumental shake-up to his worldview (and his view of SHIELD, and of Fury, etc., etc.) that may well end up being.... (also, did I mention, poor Coulson?!)

Also, yay awesome fight scenes! These were yet again phenomenal, and May was like a Valkyrie in her own right, when she went at it (though it says much for her that she could wield both pieces of the staff at once, then set the whole thing down of her own accord and with a relative minimum of effort, for all that...says that maybe whereas Ward tries to hide from his own demons, May acknowledges that she lives each and every day with hers and she cannot hide from them, and it'd be far worse if ever she tried....see Bruce differentiating between himself and "The Other Guy" for so long, etc., etc.), and Ward under the Berserker influence was just *terrifying*, really. :)
Next weeks closing scene will show Fitz holding a big bowl of popcorn, Simmons popping in a DVD as Coulson enters the Bus's lounge area. Simmons asks AC if he'd like to join them again as they're about to start season 2. Coulson silently looks from Simmons to Fitz, then turns around and walks back out.
@FruityOatySaladbar
>>Regarding whatever May was drinking,
>>it looked like generic whiskey to me, not grand marnier.

On second viewing, you're right.
I plead poor reception on a cheap hotel TV and Post Traumatic May Disorder.

[ edited by RobynH on 2013-11-25 00:46 ]
Just caught up with the two most recent episodes. Nothing to add to the discussion other than to say that I liked it.

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