By Felicia Kudronowicz
After a brief winter hiatus, Marvel Agents of SHIELD swung back into action with episode eleven, The Magical Place last night.
As the title promised, Coulson finally got some answers about his mysterious resurrection following the battle of New York.
The episode begins 36 hours after Coulson was taken in The Bridge and the SHIELD team is looking for any possible leads on his location. One of SHIELD’s upper agents, Hand (recurring guest star Saffron Burrows) is calling all the shots on the plane now and decides that Skye isn’t a valuable asset, giving her the boot in a shocking moment in which May seems only to happy to be rid of her. However, look closely before judging May too harshly, viewers! Agent May merely agreed that Skye would be no use to them onboard the bus. (clever May). Skye leaves before handlers can contain her and begins her own mission to find Coulson. This episode shows just how loyal Skye is to Coulson. She even scolds someone for touching Lola, his prized car.
In the meantime, Centipede member Po is interrogating Coulson about how he was brought back to life. It’s clear that even he doesn’t know how he was resurrected. (Welcome to our world, Po!) They decide to stick him in some kind of brain scanner that can dig into hidden/erased memories.
Once on her own, Skye uses her intuition and quick wit to impersonate May and get information from Lloyd Rathman (guest star Rob Huebel) a wealthy businessman who has been helping Rayna transfer money. Skye discovers that Coulson is being kept in an abandoned 1940s nuclear testing facility in the desert. Skye was pretty brilliant as May; is this yet another hint that May is her mother?
Coulson manages to escape Po momentarily, but since he is in the desert there is nowhere to run. Rayna and Po keep talking about a mysterious clairvoyant, who seems to be the leader of the whole Centipede organization. He gives orders for Rayna to kill Po, which she does via cell phone. Weird way to go. Just talking to the clairvoyant makes Rayna excited. It’s clear that Centipede has no loyalty to anyone involved.
Rayna convinces Coulson to undergo the memory machine. She knows a lot of personal things including just how SHIELD erased every hope Coulson had of having a normal life. She says something about Tahiti and once again his Pavlovian response is to say “it’s a magical place,” which he admits he has no idea why he keeps saying that. Once in the machine, Coulson discovers that he was never on a beach but instead on an operating table. With his brain is fully exposed, we get a glimpse of many robot arms operating on it. A doctor in the room (Ron Glass from Firefly) tells the other doctors to listen to Coulson who is screaming to let him die, but the surgeons say Fury ordered them to continue. It’s heartbreaking to see Coulson in so much agony.
Skye and the rest of the agents break in and save Coulson who is crying and screaming from his painful trip down memory lane. Coulson is rescued and Rayna is taken into SHIELD custody. The team seems so happy to be back together. Coulson finally takes Skye’s restriction bracelet off and he convinces her that the memories he relived were fake, even though they weren’t. He later finds the doctor from his dream who tells him he knew he would eventually find him. Coulson finds out he was actually dead for days and had numerous operations to bring him back.
And if there weren’t even shocking revelations, the very last scene shows Michael Peterson waking up. He has serious burns, one leg and now has a robot eye. He doesn’t seem to happy about this changes.
It’s getting more and more interesting now that answers are being revealed. It was getting a little annoying to not know about Coulson’s death and now I can’t wait to hear more. It was also great to see the team work together even when they couldn’t physically be together. There is a definite juxtaposition between Centipede and SHIELD. the SHIELD team has a bond between its agents and they stick together whereas Centipede will betray each other in an instant. Their Achilles heel, perhaps?
Agents of SHIELD is new again next week with “Seeds” an episode that promises to finally reveal more about Skye’s past.