“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” recap (1.08): Hermione Danger

Previously, Odin the Allfather sent Thor and his hammer to earth to teach him a little lesson in humility, but Agent Coulson found Thor’s hammer before Thor found Thor’s hammer, so there was a lot of demigod-crying and wailing and general sadfacing. But Thor learned his lesson and saved the earth and got his hammer back and went home to Asgard to be king, so his brother Loki was like, “Fine, Dad, I’ll just go be a king on the earth!” So he opened up a portal to another dimension in Manhattan and blew things up a little bit and Thor was like, “Oh my glob, dude, you can’t just destroy my favorite planet!” So he went on down to Chinatown and saved the earth some more. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the Dark Elf Malekith also decided to smash up earth, but in Greenwich this time, instead of New York City, and so Thor had to zippity-zip back down here again for more heroics. He kept the planet from exploding, but he made a damn mess.

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S.H.I.E.L.D. is in Greenwich cleaning up the pieces of Malekith’s busted spaceship and whatever other Asgardian debris fell from the heavens in Thor: The Dark World. Chloe and May want to talk about how dreamy Thor is, Coulson wants to bitch about how he never cleans up after himself while secretly squeeing on the inside about how he got Thor to autograph is Battle of New York trading card, and Simmons just wants people to stop attributing all this alien tech to magic. Magic, she says, is just science that scientists haven’t figured out yet. When Hermione Granger invites that girl for a drink at the Leaky Cauldron one of these days, her mind is going to be blown wide open.

While the rest of the planet has its eyes on the Asgardian shenanigans in Greenwich, two members of — I kid you not — a “Norse paganist hate group” chop down a tree in Oslo and recover another Asgardian relic: A piece of a Berserker staff that imbues the people who touch it with super-strength and super-rage. The way Norse mythology expert Professor Elliott Randolph explains it, while ogling Simmons, is: There are three pieces of this Berserker staff hidden all around the world because once upon a time, a Berserker warrior came to earth from Asgard to protect humans from something or other, and once he was here, he fell in love with the place. So, he broke his staff and hid it so no one would ever find it and use it for evil. Of course then geocaching and “Norse paganist hate groups” became a thing, and here we are.

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S.H.I.E.L.D. puts their noggins together and determines the location of one of the second piece of the staff, so they go trotting off to some catacombs, only to discover that Professor Elliott Randolph beat them to the punch. Ward tries to grab the staff away from Professor Elliott Randolph, but he forgets to cover up his hand, so he gets possessed by that thing real quick. It makes him even stronger, and also makes him remember a situation in which one boy was drowning at the bottom of a well while another boy watched helplessly from the top of the well. Professor Elliott Randolph uses the PTSD diversion to escape, but the “Norse paganist hate group” tracks him down in the parking lot. But don’t worry: Coulson runs up and saves the day!

Back on the bus, Professor Elliott Randolph dances around Coulson’s interrogation, even though Coulson name-checks Thor about a hundred times like they have sleepovers and eat popcorn and watch Natalie Portman movies and stuff once a month. He finally confesses that, duh, he’s the Berserker warrior who stayed behind and he should have kept his alien mouth shut about who he was, really, but he was trying to get into this woman’s pants one time and she loved a good story, and boy, was that ever a good story. About 1536 is when that happened. Professor Elliott Randolph is thousands of years old. So but meanwhile, Ward hollers at his new bro Fitz, for absolutely no reason, and then tries to pummel the stuffing out of a heavy bag while thinking about those boys in that well. May steps in to calm him down and takes a super-punch swing at her head. May just makes a whooshing noise and steps back faster than lightning. Ward hollers, “YOU SHOULD BE MORE CAREFUL.” And May calmly goes, “I’m fine, dude. But you need to check yourself.”

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Professor Elliott Randolph finally agrees to take them to the third piece of the Berseker staff at the monastery where he stayed with Jean Valjean one time back in the day. The “Norse paganist hate group” is hot on their trail and as soon as they storm up into that monastery, they flat stab Professor Elliott Randolph in the chest with his own staff! Simmons tries to save him using human resuscitation methods, but Coulson literally shoves his hand into Professor Elliott Randolph‘s chest and pumps his heart by hand. It’s pretty hardcore, guys.

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Ward does his Ward thing about defending everyone from all the evil, and every time he grabs onto a piece of the staff to fight, he remembers that well and it almost breaks his soul. The story of the well is that Ward’s birthday cake-stealing brother threw a kid down there and wouldn’t let Ward save him. So that’s Ward’s deal. When he can’t take the dark magic of the staff anymore, Malinda pats his wittle head and walks over to that thing and picks it up and kicks everyone’s ass. All the asses. She kicks each of them. She also merges all three pieces of the staff back together and twirls it around for a second and looks so awesome. Then she just sets it right down like NBD and wanders off to like eat a sandwich and read Gandhi or something. Later Ward asks her how the hell, and she says she’s haunted by her awful thing every day anyway, so the staff’s horrors were nothing new inside her brain. Dark!

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The team gets a much-needed break in a B&B and after ‘fessing up to Skye that his brother’s ghost had been taunting him all day, Ward goes upstairs to get some shut-eye, but finds himself on the receiving end of an invitation for whiskey drinking and/or sex stuff with Agent May. Dammit, Ward! I already didn’t like you and now you steal my lady? This isn’t over!

Coulson finally remembers his time in Tahiti. He’s on a beach getting a massage from a bikini lady when he gains consciousness and gives a Dollhouse shout-out, asking if he went to sleep. The bikini lady says he did, for a little while. Coulson wakes up gasping and sweating, which is quite an accomplishment, considering the fact that he’s clearly a robot.

What did you think of “The Well”?

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