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January 07 2014

(SPOILER) Discuss this week's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The episode is titled "The Magical Place" and was written by Paul Zbyszewski and Brent Fletcher.

Is that a Roomba?
And Mike is dead. :(
Did everyone notice Ron Glass in the credits? And the article about the five characters that needed to reappear. Victoria Hand and the doctor were their first two choices. And here they are.
Why look - it's Mr. Printy's second cousin...
I love the part where the team conspires to get Skye off the bus so she can do her thing.
Someones' insurance is dinged.
Ahhh, the old decompress the room trick.
I love Skye in this episode! This episode as a whole is really "popping" for me so far.
Sky is rolling quite a Rap sheet tonite!
Ah, just May's plan about Skye, then.
Does your scene need more creep factor? Add mannequins! Oh god.
If they want to use a modified Aurora Chair, they should have hired Scorpius.
Hang on, the Clairvoyant wants to speak with you again....

Did not see that coming!
That was alot of trouble to bust a player out of prison, just to bump him off, like three days later.
"Did everyone notice Ron Glass in the credits?"

Flash back cameo? Or something more?
My favorite moment thus far was May and the BUS pulling a Crazy Ivan :)
Aaaaand were on the table.
Ron Glass!!!!!
"Heeeeellooo Doc."
What did Coulson see, my TV cut out to commercial break early? It was right when we first see Fury's face. We switched to a different ABC we get here and it was the crew on the bus, talking about how Reina was going to be interrogated.

[ edited by PaperSpock on 2014-01-08 02:57 ]
Yay, it's Mike! I knew he wasn't dead.

Oh god no Mike. D:
I don't normally comment but holy crap, that...robot brain thing creeped me the hell out. o.O
Hooray Mike's back!

Ohhh, Mike's back. :(
PaperSpock: Coulson saw Dr. (Whoever played by Ron Glass), who is objecting to some awful device rebuilding/messing with his brain. He/we ultimately ended up with more questions than answers.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2014-01-08 03:06 ]
That last scene with Ron Glass...some of the best goosebumps since Dollhouse. The very end was great too...the Mike character is great.
PaperSpock, same thing happened to me. Not sure how Rayna was neutralized.

I have come to the conclusion that you cannot think too hard when watching this show. If you do, you get upset. For example, there they are in the jet. All of a sudden the jet's engines go from parallel to perpendicular, while the jet is moving at hundreds of miles per hour. The engines should have torn off the plane! And Skye was with perhaps the stupidest head of a major corporation in history. Who let her do all she wanted without any real identification, without his lawyer, etc. And how did Coulson get the tweezers, which he used to release his handcuffs faster than Houdini? And how often did SHIELD be right where they needed to be exactly when they needed to be there? HOw, for example, did May and Ward end up right behind the bad guy on the roof at the beginning, when a second ago they were way down low as Skye sent the elevator up fast? Argh! And yet still I watch, because it it, in the end, a comic book and uses comic book conventions. Move the action, explain little. Argh!
And why did the Clairvoyant need to get the info from Coulson as opposed to from those who orchestrated what was done to him?
Boy Coulson's resurrection now has shades of Buffy's in season 6.I'm still not clear on what exactly they did.I get that they were messing with his brsin/altering his mind.This raised more questions then it answered.

Good epsiesode overall and really liked seeing Skye kick some ass.

Also,when JAR name was in opening credits and he had not shown up by the end,I figured the post episode tag would be where he popped up.A great and shocking twist to the reveal.
I really liked that episode! Skye was finally interesting! Ward was even less annoying than last episode! Fitz and Simmons had badassdom! Coulson isn't an LMD! Possibly! Really we don't know yet but we know more than we did! The bus can hang a serious uwey! May was sneaksy, albeit it was a bit telegraphed! (and could May be Skye's mother?)

And Petersen's been co-opted by The Clairvoyant. :( but also WOOT!

To sum up, I think they put the winter break to good use.
"PaperSpock, same thing happened to me. Not sure how Rayna was neutralized."

Skye, right hook.
May; "Nice Jacket."
The "moved heaven and earth" and "ungodly things" comments gave me a season 6 Buffy vibe as well.
"And why did the Clairvoyant need to get the info from Coulson as opposed to from those who orchestrated what was done to him?"

Maybe the Clairvoyant didn't need the info.

Maybe the Clairvoyant needed *Coulson* to have the info.
This was a very good episode.

How do I know? Because I noticed the plot holes and they didn't bother me.

It didn't even bother me that we didn't get the full reveal on Coulson this episode. They're putting some meat on the bones of the arc, and that's what matters.

Also... Skye going bad-ass in her Melinda May suit? Hot.
Dana5140: " the end, a comic book and uses comic book conventions."

You've been reading too many mediocre comic books.
The good ones manage to be funny and clever and exciting, while still have an internal logic that bends-but-doesn't-break suspension of disbelief. "Fray" is a good example.

The jet engines bugged me too. The maneuver they pulled was far less efficient than simply turning. The only reason to do what they did was to show off. If the writers felt it was urgent to show the VTOL capabilities of the plane, they could have thought of a better reason (like Reavers chasing Serenity in the Firefly pilot episode).

For all the good things the show does, it still has too many scenes which don't make sense (like roddikinathome pointed out with Po).
I don't normally comment but holy crap, that...robot brain thing creeped me the hell out. o.O

It was taking me back...
Thanks alot show. Now I'll have nightmares about robots picking in my brains tonight.

Good episode. Especially the last half hour. BadAssAgentSkye was great. And hot. Loved the team working together at the beginning. I have no idea what was the point of Poe, little bads on Buffy lasted more than one episode. Clark Gregg was really good in the 'reveal' scene. I was totally engrossed during that part.

Mike got 3 levels of shit at the end there, 1)he got burnt up. 2)he lost a leg. and 3) if that wasn't enough, now he's got The Clairvoyant in his head. Poor Mike, the writers must really like you.

I was so SURE that the girl in the flower dress was The Clairvoyant up until the part where she got captured. It really seemed like it to me with the way she let Poe die and knew all that info on Coulson.
I thought it was surprising but hilarious how the show took Po out. He was built up as this arrogant, evil genius, giving his Evil Speeches of Evil... you could practically see him steepling his fingers. He seemed like the kind of guy who'd be around until James Bond kicked him into his own volcano or something at the end of the season.

And he ends up getting killed in the middle of the season by... a phone call.

Very Jossy.
It gave me chills. It wasn't perfect, and had a lot of flaws. But it was a fun watch, with an "answer" attached to it. I always think about how much Buffy and Angel had to evolve into their own, and that this show is going to have to do the same. I don't know how much it can evolve if they don't acknowledge the flaws though. A little worried about that. And what the FUCK is going on with the Grr Argh outro? I can't hear the Grr Argh anymore!!!!
Still not making me feel anything.
You know what they say, it's easy to find flaws, but it takes serious effert and hard work to make stuff. And SHIELD is good stuff. Far from perfect, and should be improved more, but still good.
So Fitz's character is getting darker, eh?
Was there tech from the first Iron Man movie used?
Well now. This episode goes from The A-Team to The Matrix over 42 minutes. I approve.

Also - that final scene with Ron Glass. Dear lord. Clark Gregg and Ron need more screen time.
Someone on my timeline said that security had badges that were in Serenity.
Also - anybody who says the show isn't serial enough isn't watching, I think.
Wow this episode blew me away.

Simon- yes that's what I thought too: Iron Man tech.

So what DO you guys think exactly happened to Coulson? That robot thing freaked me the hell out!! And I mean that in a good way. Clark Gregg was fantastic- his facial expressions when Rayna was talking about the cellist, his begging them to let him die. And then Mike Peterson on top of it all. This episode really brought it for me.
Oh, I forgot about that Rayna and Coulson scene VisionGirl. Top stuff.
My impression when Coulson was being operated on was that they were 3D printing him a new body. They started at the feet and the top of the head was last. However, that doesn't quite jibe with Doctor Glass saying that there were seven operations.

Dr. Glass's comments about catastrophic neurological damage seemed odd to me. He was stabbed through the heart, so there shouldn't have been any brain damage. One possibility is that getting stabbed with a super staff irradiates the whole body. I hope they explain that somehow, right now it sounds like there was more going on than just extensive heart damage.

Also, this episode proves what I've been saying since the beginning. Ron Glass needs to be in every episode.
Jason, I think the idea was he was dead for several days - so his brain would have been lacking in oxygen. So, neurological damage.

[ edited by gossi on 2014-01-08 16:12 ]
@Caroline - I've been noticing that for a few episodes now, since Jemma's dive from the bus.

Good job team - I think you finally got this 'team work' thing down. Although, Skye did work on her own - but she's better at that I think. I approve. The rock-paper thing was so Winchester Bros it made me giggle.

Clark blew my mind this episode (bad pun not intended). I think mentioning his girl and mom was what finally broke him. And the LOOK of disgust he gave Rayna as they were taking her away - ouch. Also, I seriously was worried he was going to go all avenger on the Dr.

"What he turned into" - is it really losing his will to live - or is that just part of a darker character transformation. Oh Phil! What did Fury do to you?!

Mike, yay! I knew the only way they'd let him stay on was if he becomes the baddies' tool (joining the team was too good to be true)... so not so shocked about that. The level of mutilation though - writers got their dark on this episode!

[ edited by Mirage on 2014-01-08 16:26 ]
A lot to love in that return, not the least of which was seeing the team band together to work cohesively for a good result; getting Coulson back. I tell you though, when I saw what had been done to Mike and him being held captive, [and I may burn for this] I had a blinding flashback to Boxing Helena and not in a good way, much as I think Jen Lynch is very talented. And I'm sure I wasn't supposed to feel good about it. Still, ick.
Gossi, I thought of that. If they never say anything more, I'll be willing to accept that. However, it sounded like a more profound statement.

All of this sounds like there is more going on. I'm sure Coulson is a good agent, but was he really good enough that his life was more important to Fury than any other agent's? Plus, the recovery effort in this episode struck Agent Hand as being completely over the top. If all Coulson could tell them was, "They did a bunch of surgeries on me and I could see the reflection of some metal hands working on my brain," then he wouldn't be that much of a security risk. There's still a lot more to Coulson's death and resurrection. There's something Fury doesn't want getting out.

Since Dr. Glass said catastrophic neurological damage instead of the much simpler, "Your brain had decayed too much," I'm guessing something about his death was special. I think that's what spurred the massive effort for his resurrection.
As someone else said I don't think the Clairvoynet just wanted what happened to Coulson. He/she wanted Coulson to know. So now we know Coulson was more than mostly dead. But Fury had to have more than sentimentality as a reason for bringing him back. That's the reveal I want. But I'll wait. It'll be interesting to see how Coulson reacts to knowing SHIELD lied. And why is it so important everyone believe he died that isn't level 7? And did he lose his will because of the pain of the operation or because he understood what they had done to him that we don't know yet?

I even liked Ward in this episode. Kudos!
For the first time I heard/noticed the score to the show. When Raina and Coulson were talking about the Cellist, there was cello and it was beautiful. I may have cried. :) Such a wonderful episode of a wonderful show.
I want to know *why* somebody put the "it's a magical place" compulsion into Coulson's brain. Why would they do that, especially if they're trying to prevent him from questioning the circumstances of his resurrection?

I have a feeling someone in that operating room had an agenda that didn't gibe with Nick Fury's.
I didn't notice the cello music but I did see a note on Tumblr about it this morning. That's a nice touch, even if it zips past people very focused on the dialogue like me.
Sure there's some plot holes, but this was a rip-roaring good time, and a great setup for the rest of the season. Coulson's been the company man all along, preaching to Skye and anyone else who will listen about trusting the system. Now his trust is broken. Should make for interesting dynamics, and certainly some interesting things for Skye (who is clearly the pivotal member of the team to the viewer, which makes me wish they'd found a slightly more magnetic actress to carry such weight). And I don't give a crap if the engines flipping would tear that bus six ways from Sunday, it looked like a Firefly class boat and that's all that mattered to me.
Hahaha, MrArg - exactly. Isn't tech great?
Is The Bus really any worse than the helicarrier...?
"Don't touch Lola."

"You made me a sandwich?" "Sure. It is that."

"No agent is worth that." "Coulson is."

This was a fantastic episode. I loved Skye - she took initiative, she got creative, she kicked some serious ass. Loved her channeling May.

"Creepy much?" Considering I used to have nightmares about "makadins" coming to life, those scenes had a whole other level of creep for me. Guh. (Although anyone else get a "Indiana Jones & the Cave of the Crystal Skull" vibe from that place?)

I kept begging Phil not to get back in that machine. He didn't need to know that badly! But I smell rogue agent coming. Once he gets the whole truth, he's gonna be seriously pissed with Fury for what he did. And there has to be an explanation. Was Phil just a convenient guinea pig for some new tech Fury wanted to try out? Man, that'd suck! But it'd be all the more reason for Coulson to take his team rogue. 'cause you know they'll go where he goes.

Loved seeing them gelling, and how determined everyone was to get their boss back. I totally wanted a group hug at the end! Skye has some seriously strong feelings for Coulson. I'm getting a bit of a Buffy/Giles vibe from their relationship.

Loved the Firefly-esque reversal of the Bus.

"He wants to talk to you." Po puts the phone to his ear, gets fried Not anymore. Eek. I thought maybe he was channeling the Clairvoyant, like some kind of symbiotic thing, but I guess not.

Poor Mike! Not cool at all.

Can't wait to see what happens next week! The truth will out. And it'll be ugly.
Indeed it is, Tonya, indeed it is...and what Beth said. Next thing you know they'll try and convince us a man can fly around in an iron suit with jet propulsion units in his hands and feet.

We are all rooting for Mike (Jaugust, as my fawning daughter refers to him) but he sure does seem to have a tragic arc going, one does see self sacrifice for a good cause probably being his best end at this point. And it's been rolled out pretty beautifully, from the switcheroo on the whole hero saving an innocent scenario in the pilot through last night's end cap. Love the fact that, as promised, we are seeing a lot of threads laid out in the first half of the season coming together in the second half.
More to the point, the Coulson in that movie wasn't an LMD.

And, again, all of them are trained but Ming-Na's character is deadly!

Decent of the Doctor to explain some things. I'm assuming they were tapptp-tapping his brain while Coulson was conscious to trigger needed memories. It's a common occurence for those brain surgeries where the patient isn't sedated (ALthough, if he was in that much pain they'd be likely to get nonsense rather than memories.)
I want more Ron Glass in a car talking about horrific things while doing some heartbreaking face stunts!


"I have come to the conclusion that you cannot think too hard when watching this show. If you do, you get upset."

Don't take this the wrong way but you have come to this conclusion months ago and repeatedly since then in the comments section for every episode. You should know what to expect by now in that regard.
"And why did the Clairvoyant need to get the info from Coulson as opposed to from those who orchestrated what was done to him?"

Maybe the Clairvoyant didn't need the info.

Maybe the Clairvoyant needed *Coulson* to have the info.

Wouldn't Coulson realize that?
The only complaint I have is that AoS has this remarkable habit of killing off baddies that I grow quite fond of. And that robot? That's in my top five all time creepy Whedonverse moments. And Clark Gregg was stunning last night.

Outside bet that the Clairvoyant is Ultron.
The spider brain robot reminded me of something in film; oh, now I remember, it was like something out of Burroughs' Naked Lunch, the film with Peter Weller. Also, a mini-bug from Bug Planet (Starship Troopers. I give it a 10 on creepy level.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2014-01-09 00:07 ]
Sorry - gah, wrong thread.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2014-01-09 00:32 ]
Clark Gregg was fantastic in this episode. Other than that...ugh.

This is all pretty spoilery from here on out, so just skip it if you're concerned about that...

Can we stop portraying SHIELD as a bunch of incompetent nitwits, even if they're going to turn out to be the actual villain? Skye's entire b-story was just miraculously dumb. It felt like parody most of the time. The lockdown bracelet that created (incredibly incriminating) screensavers could be thwarted by just telling someone what to type? Really? The banker guy is an incompetent fathead that doesn't know how to use a computer? Groan.

And jesus, the Coulson "reveal." How bland can you get? They messed with his brain and rebuilt him with a magic surgery robot (Is it alien? Is it from Tony Stark and Bruce Banner? Who cares?). Everyone assumed some version of that. And yet it got presented exactly as "some version of that." I don't think the writers ever figured out how to properly address Coulson's resurrection, and it shows. Maybe I'll be surprised down the road, but it seems unlikely.

Arbitrarily making Fitz edgier and more resolved is not helping, because it doesn't feel earned yet. Ward is still a boring cypher. May has taken on the role of "illuminated sage" because that's all they can seem to do with a "quiet" character on this show. Simmons is british and uptight and enthusiastic and puts her foot in her mouth for attempted comic relief, but that's about it.

This show is a slog, and I never thought I'd say that about a Whedonverse show. I suppose things can still be fixed, but they really need to start happening SOON.
What Shpadoinkle just said. This episode went from bad to worse. Except I will say Ron Glass gave it his all with what little they gave him.

Going by the comments further up-thread I was really hoping for something better than this. :(
I dunno what got to me more...Skye showing off why SHIELD would have been after her in the first place as a link to the Rising Tide (IDing a good target for coercion, jacking the target's Escalade, crashing it, tricking the tow truck into taking the vehicle back to owner's listed address, tricking said CEO into coming home and using his ID to hack secure financial records after making him think SHIELD was targeting him), or the scene where the crown of Coulson's skull was completely removed and that robot was tinkering with his brain and he's begging to die.

Both generated some powerful emotions, but seeing Coulson getting his grey matter jiggered with really made me go "Oh f**k!" and wonder what was done to him before that point to save him but require memory modification? Plus, Coulson confronting Dr. Streiten about what was done to him? Masterful work by Clark Gregg and Ron Glass!
Re: neurological damage - Coulson may have been stabbed through the chest, but he was stabbed through the chest by a magic wand that brainwashes people...
Pretty thrilling episode with fantastic creepy bits like the brain surgery and the Peterson endscene. Coulson repeatedly screaming "Please let me die" made me shiver.
The main question remains what makes Coulson so important that he needed to be revived. As Dr. Ron Glass said, he 'lost his will to live', but why the need to go through extreme lengths to restore life to a corpse anyway? I'm very intrigued.

The semi-reveals of the episode might still match the 'Dark Coulson' theory I posted early on: he was killed by Loki's staff which was used for turning people into mindless zombie slaves (as said above by QingTing as well: this explains the extensive neurological damage as well as having been dead for days), I'm thinking that the 'what he turned into' had nothing to do with 'having completely lost the will to live' but rather with having become something evil and responsible for dire actions.

With pretty much every episode, me & my group feel that it was even better than the preceding one. We all thought this one was excellent again and it kept us talking and speculating for quite a bit afterwards.
IMO, people who still think the stories and characters are bland (a word which I could never match to the series myself, but opinions clearly differ) really need to finally draw their conclusions and realize that this show will never meet with their tastes, desires and demands. Luckily, it does seem to do for a hell of a lot of people. May the AoS-love only grow from now on!
With every new episode I realize more and more that May is the smartest one on that whole team, including Coulson. She's perceptive, observant, and can get a plan in motion without anyone even knowing she's doing it. She's got the perfect poker face too

The Coulson reveal was boring in terms of what actually happened, but it gave us some great scenes. The robot picking his brain was wonderfully nightmarish. And the scenes between him and Shepherd Book (who ironically talks about S.H.I.E.L.D. doing "ungodly" things)was great. The Sky stuff was too much, and her dressed as May was silly. I'm sort of over Sky. I'm not saying that I hate her, but some of her scenes are getting too silly. Agent Ward and May are my favorite characters right now, along with Coulson. The rest of the crew is getting too silly for my tastes. I like that those three characters can be taken seriously and don't have silly or ridiculous moments. They're the adults of that team, Sky, Fitz and Simmons are the kids

[ edited by Angel&Faith on 2014-01-09 18:38 ]
Holy crap . . . anyone ever see The AniMatrix? The history archives with the machines rise to power, and how they designed the Matrix by experimenting on human nervous systems? That used to be the creepiest thing I ever saw on video.

Kudos to AOS for topping that. God, I'm going to be seeing THAT in my nightmares!

My speculations added to the pool:

- I like the Mike Peterson/Deathlok theory. It fits well. The scars, the cybernetic eye, and Winter Soldier should be introducing advanced cybernetic limbs in just three months. Very plausible.

- The moment The Clairvoyant killed Poe, I was thinking "That's Stane's sonic stunner amped to 11!" Same sound, same veins popping, same blue tint. Iron Man tech indeed. And it's been tossed about that Ultron might be a Stark creation in the films (rather than Pym in the comics), so someone's idea earlier in this thread that The Clairvoyant is Ultron . . . maybe? Could work.

- "Moved heaven and earth," eh? Maybe an Asgard reference of some sort? Probably not, common phrase, but who knows? Regardless, there HAS to be a bigger reason why Fury revived Coulson. There must be more to it than sentiment.

- Coulson is going to defy clearance and go see the cellist. It WILL happen, sooner or later. Whether or not she's already moved on, that's up for debate.

- I don't think Skye is related to May or Coulson. Too obvious. I do think she could be connected to May in some way.

Nothing more to say for now, other than awesome episode, can't wait to learn more about Skye next week!
- I don't think Skye is related to May or Coulson. Too obvious.

Agreed. But Rayna, perhaps? There will be more background to that character for sure. I liked the revelation that the machine had been used (successfully) on her in the past.
It's interesting that the cellist keeps coming back up. I got the distinct impression from Coulson's exchange with Pepper in The Avengers, that the cellist moving back to Portland was a sign that that relationship had ended.
Hmmmm . . . I doubt there's ANY link between Skye and Raina. But I agree, there'll be a LOT more about her in the future. I saw earlier, someone described Coulson's look at Raina at the end as "disgust." I think it was actually severely troubled and conflicted regret. I think he felt she really could give him answers, and now he's lost his chance.

I wouldn't be surprised if, after contacting the cellist and discovering she's moved on (or at the very least, simply can't reconcile having lost him and now he's back, and she can't deal with the constant fear that next time, he won't be, and he works for such a dangerous and secretive organization that would keep him from her, and that he was willing to go along with it, etc), Coulson could start visiting Raina with some regularity, under the pretense of interrogation, but really looking for answers and a perverse sort of comfort and companionship . . . kinda like Xavier visiting Magneto in prison.

On another speculative note . . . I think the earlier theories are correct: the Clairvoyant could have hunted down any of the scientists that revived Coulson to get the info he needed. He wanted Coulson himself to remember, however. Probably because he hoped revealing the truth to Coulson would get him on Centipede's side, flip him, turn him into a double agent within SHIELD. After all, what better resource than one of Fury's most trusted agents? Someone so valuable to Fury that he'd bring him back from the dead would be TEN TIMES more valuable as an asset to the enemy.

I think Raina and the Clairvoyant were banking on turning him, and that's why they didn't go straight at the scientists who did it. And if Coulson does start "interrogating" Raina . . . they may just be successful. Especially since he already has broad operational latitude, and he has the "rogue loose cannon" influence of Skye to rub off on him, show him the system isn't always worth trusting. Her being on the Bus could actually be detrimental in ways Fury never predicted.

Completely unrelated . . . I just loved how petty FitzSimmons were about her going to jail. "Bet there are no flower dresses where she's going!" Thought that was hilarious.

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