Bad Trip Down Memory Lane in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s “The Well”
By Felicia Kudronowicz
“The Well,” the long awaited SHIELD/Thor crossover aired this week, and as promised, there were mentions of Thor and his home planet of Asgard, but it also turned out to be a bit of a history lesson and an unpleasant trip down memory lane for three of the SHIELD team members.
Our agents kicked off proceedings this week by cleaning up after Thor’s battle from the conclusion of “Thor 2: The Dark World.” Their less than glamorous mission? To clean up any alien debris remaining, and Coulson jokes that he wishes Thor would send along a “God of cleaning up after yourself.”
So far so every episode of SHIELD this season. Next the scene flashes to Norway where a hiking couple uncover a strange artifact, in the form of a staff, in a tree. When the woman touches the object she experiences extreme rage giving her the ability to take out a park ranger by simply touching him.
SHIELD is brought in to investigate. Simmons and Ward are able to get an imprint from the staff meaning that that Fitz can create a replica. Simmons immediately figures out that it is Asgardian and the team find a Norse mythology professor (guest star Peter MacNicol) to see if he can tell them more.
The strangely knowledgeable professor is able to explain that this staff is one of three parts. Apparently, an Asgardian soldier stayed behind on Earth and hid the staff because he didn’t like the feel of its power. The staff gives the holder extreme uncontrollable rage and the strength of 20 warriors. (Or a whopping case of road rage.) Ward is sent to find the other two pieces before the hikers can.
Ward finds it, but the professor beats him to it. In the ensuing struggle, Ward makes a grab for the staff and ends up succumbing to its powers – and a rage-filled flashback to a boy in a well, which causes him to pass out. However, Skye is right behind them and helps him back to their compound where Simmons discovers that the artifact creates a biochemical reaction that increases adrenaline.
In the meantime, Coulson discovers that the professor is in fact the same Asgardian soldier that hid the staff in the first place (We knew he knew too much!), and use him to locate the remaining piece.
When they find it, a battle goes down and Ward is forced to grab the staff again. He has blackout rage and takes out a whole gaggle of people while high on a deeply unpleasant flashback from his childhood – watching his brother trapped in a well while he begs for help. Another boy shows up and tells Ward not to help him or he will get thrown in too.
It’s interesting to get this small piece of Ward’s past and it was a creative way to do it. The flashbacks come in quick rapid cuts during the fight. Ward falls to his knees and Agent May comes in to take a turn. She is able to hold the staff with all three parts.
Later, Ward questions her ability to hold on to the staff as a whole and she comments that she sees her nightmare everyday. I would have loved to see her flashback. Her character is such a mystery. She never smiles, and never shares any information about her past. Come on SHIELD, don’t keep the good stuff in reserve!
In the end, SHIELD is able to move the rage weapon to safe-keeping. The team gets the night off to recoup and the last thing we see is Ward closing the door as he walks into May’s hotel room. Will they share more than a drink?
Coulson also has a dream that he is back in Tahiti getting a massage but as soon as his masseuse says, “Tahiti is a magical place” he wakes up with a start and ominous music blares. What is with Tahiti and when will we find out?
Overall, “The Well” was a solid episode. It gave some insight on our team’s past, and linked (if tentatively) Ward, May and Coulson’s suppressed memories.
It seems like you have to have some kind of damage to be a member of SHIELD. I just hope we don’t have to wait forever to find out what those histories are.