Maya Zach ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
“The Well” directly follows the events that transpired in Marvel’s new film Thor: The Dark World (released November 8th). No knowledge of the film is necessary to enjoy this episode, as the plot does not come into play. However, having seen the film adds another layer of intricacy and gives the viewer a little more information on who the Asgardians are—in short, they are an alien race that humans know to be the mythological Norse gods.
It seems as though a piece of debris from Thor’s battle with Malekith will be S.H.I.E.L.D.’s main concern, but instead they must deal with a completely separate Asgardian artifact. Two Norse worshippers, Jakob Nystrom (Michael Graziadei) and Petra Larsen (Erin Way), find a strange rod in Norway and activate it, giving Petra immense strength. They go on a rampage in Oslo and etch “We are Gods” in fire on the street to announce that they are coming.
Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) visits Elliot Randolph (Peter MacNicol), a professor in Norse mythology that he consulted with on Thor’s hammer. Randolph explains that the rod is from a staff of a Berserker, an Asgardian with immense power that is fueled by rage. One Berserker that came to Earth stayed and broke the staff into three pieces and left them hidden. Once Coulson and the team decipher the riddle that holds the location of the second piece of the rod, Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) heads to a crypt near Seville, Spain. Professor Randolph beats them to the location and grabs the staff, which quickly gets nabbed by the pagans waiting outside.
During the struggle, Ward grabbed hold of the rod, which granted him the temporary power of the Berserker. Along with ultimate strength, Ward’s deepest feelings of hate resurfaced. Throughout the episode he continuously relives the memory of his brother nearly drowning in a well. When he tried to help, the local bully threatened to throw him in as well. Leaving him helpless, afraid, and furious.
When Ward steps into the interrogation room, he is furious and takes no precautions with Randolph. Ward stabs him (With Coulson’s go-ahead) with little effect, revealing that Randolph is Asgardian, the Berserker that came to Earth. After some convincing, Randolph gives away the location of the third staff piece—in a monastery in Ireland. By the time they arrive, the pagans have already arrived and harnessed the power of the rod. Since Ward can’t take out the horde of people alone, Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) grabs the three pieces of the staff and attaches them, attaining its full power and easily clears the room.
Meanwhile, Randolph gets badly injured. Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), the resident doctor, flounders due to her lack of knowledge of Asgardian anatomy. Coulson steps in and resuscitates Randolph. Jemma is left feeling ashamed that she was too afraid to take action and save Randolph’s life. She experiences exactly what Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) did when he didn’t leap from the plane to save her in the episode FZZT.
After an incredibly stressful day, Skye (Chloe Bennet) tries to get Ward to open up. He gives her a small glimpse into his past, but shares very little. He appreciates the gesture, but all he wants is to drink and try to repress the memory of the well once again. May can offer him that much; he follows her into her hotel room when he sees her with a bottle of booze.
Both Agents Ward and May are strong, capable fighters and outstanding agents, but they achieve this through vastly different means. May harnesses her hatred and pain when she fights, she uses it to buoy her strength, just as the Berserkers do. Ward, on the other hand, suppresses these emotions and focuses solely on his objective. Being forced to relive his first memory of hate poses a real challenge for him. One that will surely haunt him for years.
This wouldn’t be an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. if Tahiti weren’t mentioned! And the audience still doesn’t seem to learn anything about what transpired there. In a nightmare, Coulson sees himself on a masseuse’s table, where he murmurs “Tahiti’s too good to be true.” To which she responds, “It’s a magical place.” Well, Phil, it probably is too good to be true. Hopefully more will be revealed about Tahiti and Coulson’s death soon.