After an excellent episode last week where we saw the debut of Victoria Hand and a ton of interesting and integral character development moments for the team, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ returns with it’s highly anticipated crossover episode with recently released ‘Thor: The Dark World’. However, while the story was an interesting one, it definitely wasn’t what we were hoping for.
Billed as a “follow up” to the hit Phase Two film featuring the God of Thunder, this week’s episode found the team literally cleaning up after the scuffle between Thor and Malekith in England. Not long after the tidying up begins, Agent Coulson’s team discovers that some Asgardian artifacts were found elsewhere and needs to be dealt with before a radical hate-filled cult beats them to it. But in the scuffle to retrieve the items, one of the agents gets compromised and starts to question their part in the mission.
First of all, the crossover portion of the show was a complete let down. This episode could have come up at any point in the show’s season, but in order to capitalize on popularity of Marvel’s most recent release, they over-hyped the loose connection the film. Yes, Asgardians were involved, but none that we saw on the big screen. The only part that was actually connected to the movie was the first few scenes. It was hardly the big event that advertisers were boasting about.Peter MacNicol as Professor Elliot Randolph
However, that being said, it was still a good episode. Had it not been for all the hype surrounding it, I probably would have enjoyed it more. Part of what made the story so interesting was guest star Peter MacNicol. The great character actor known for his roles in ‘Ghostbusters II’, ‘Ally McBeal’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ appeared as Professor Elliot Randolph, an expert in Norse mythology and Asgardians that Agent Coulson brings in to help on this case. The story that unfolds around him is really engaging and it’s supported by an excellent performance from the actor. There’s one line during his questioning in the interrogation room that I just love, but for the sake of spoilers, I won’t go into it.
Another fascinating character from this episode was Agent Grant Ward. Up until now, we’ve mostly seen him as a soldier that only did what he was told and followed the book on everything. While he still maintains a lot of that, we got a glimpse at what’s deeper this week. It was a little weird though how this piece of his past was revealed since we weren’t given all the information necessary to understand the situation. Despite that small complaint, it’s definitely a step in the right direction in further establishing each team member as their own individual person.
Besides Ward, some strides were made with Agent May as well. I loved when she called Thor “dreamy”, but it was even better when she was able to wield the Berserker staff and manage all the rage that came with it. At first, I thought that this would be a job for Bruce Banner since Ward was having some anger management issues, but May dealt with things just fine and, as always, like a badass.
Finally, things pertaining to Agent Coulson’s mysterious reemergence are starting to come to a boil. For many, this is the whole reason for keeping up with the show, so I’m glad that we’re starting to get hints of a payoff in sight on that front. Last week’s episode seemed to further hint at the Life Model Decoy theories, but whatever information we have now is still inconclusive. All we know is that the organization known for keeping secrets is even keeping them from one of their most valuable and trusted agents. As each new tidbit gets revealed, I get more and more excited to get the real answer.
Overall, this episode was fairly solid. The over-hype took away a lot from it, and this idea that everyone’s backstory needs to be unveiled slowly over the course of the season can get taxing at times, but generally this was a good episode with a great guest star and a few interesting twists that no one could have seen coming.
‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ starring Brett Dalton, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Chloe Bennet, and Clark Gregg airs on Tuesdays at 8:00pm on ABC.