Marvel’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap – “The Magical Place”

     January 7, 2014


Previously on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Coulson has fallen into the nefarious of Centipede!  Mike Peterson, once foe now friend, has apparently been blown to smithereens! The gang is rudderless as they attempt to find their lost leader.  Will the agents be able to put an end to Centipede’s scheme?  Will Agent Coulson’s mysterious resurrection be explained in full?  Mysteries revealed in this episode, entitled “The Magical Place”. Hit the jump for our recap.

marvels-agents-of-shield-the-magical-placeOur episode begins with a neat little action scene featuring the agents taking down some smugglers of Chitauri (the alien antagonists from the Avengers) metal.  This was a good way to re-introduce the characters to the audience coming back from winter break, with every member of the team working in unison and having unique, yet essential, roles.  Well, almost essential anyway as Fitz and Simmons controlling a handful of tiny airplane flashlights was a tad odd, but I guess that’s a perfect analogy for Fitz and Simmons as part of the team anyway.  Cue the smuggler running into Victoria Hand on the roof with a battalion of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents armed to the teeth.  Right off the bat, it was nice to see two problems I’ve been having with the show overall addressed in that the gang is recognized as part of a large organization, not just handling missions on their own, and each member of the team is given something to do.

Simmons states at one point of the episode, as their airplane HQ is teeming with other agents, “I think its good that they’re here” which I completely agree with.  I think one thing that has been lacking from a lot of the episodes was a sense of energy that is gained by having the team seem like its a part of a cog in a much larger machine. It makes the stakes seem more real and more threatening than when you had just had a handful of agents who were constantly fish out of water.  Hand, acting leader of the team while Coulson is M.I.A., is a great foil for everyone in the group and I certainly smirked when she instantly discovered Skye’s usual shenanigans and instantly put a stop to them, ordering her off the plane.

Meanwhile, Agent Coulson is being interrogated by Centipede and their leader, Po.  I mentioned in my previous review that Po came across as something of a Hannibal Lector-esque character, but this go around, is just your typical megalomaniac, spouting off exposition.  This is later solved though by the Clairvoyant, Centipede’s enigmatic commander, surprisingly offing him and giving his duties to Raina, his former second in command.  Po does however go over a tiny nugget of Coulson’s back story before kicking the bucket as it’s revealed that Phil lost his father at a young age.  Man, having kids in superhero universes is just signing your own death warrant!

agents-of-shield-the-magical-placeOn the other end of town, Skye is attempting her own method of finding Coulson’s location.  This part of the episode is…painful.  It seems more like filler than anything else as Skye shuffles from set piece to set piece, going so far as to pass herself off as Agent May to the character Mr. Rathman, played by Human Giant’s Rob Huebel.  As I had stated in past reviews, you can really begin to see the line between the elements of the show that are holding their own and those that are sinking, with Skye and her plotlines slowly floating into the murky depths.

Coulson’s interactions with Raina, discussing his resurrection and the loss of his beloved cellist, were involving and the relationship between the two is hopefully something they can continue to expand upon in the future, as you can see a nice chemistry between the two developing.  The reveal of another aspect of Coulson’s resurrection had me pretty to shocked to be honest, not so much in that S.H.I.E.L.D. was responsible for his return, but how DARK the scene was that played out.  Coulson on a slab with his exposed brain being worked on a methodically by a creepy looking robot under Fury’s orders as he begged to die was a pretty horrific scene.  It’s strange that for a show that’s been pretty “clean” to this point that they’d create such a horrific display.  I’m not knocking it by any means, and I hope the show will reveal how the procedure took place and whether or not Coulson is in fact human anymore.  Hopefully this will lead to a confrontation between Coulson and Fury at some point in the future of the series, or perhaps in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.

The final stinger of Mike Peterson being alive, albeit missing a leg and having several horrific burns on his person was welcome, as I dug the actor and the character overall.

In summary, I think that it was a serviceable return to for the series.  I’ll let you in on a little secret, over the holiday break, I began really getting into Arrow and am wrapping up the first season of that.  That show really helps to demonstrate a lot of what S.H.I.E.L.D. could be doing and more importantly, SHOULD be doing to make itself better in future episodes.  As it stands, I find myself frustrated with a lot of aspects of the agents and I feel that with each episode for every one step forward, we get a step back without ever missing a beat.

Grade: C

agents-of-shield-posterAgents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.:

– “Is that a roomba?” Good Lord, even their bombs have to have the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo printed on them? To say nothing of the giant S.H.I.E.L.D. firewall that accesses a coffee shop full of computers when Skye is trying to break in.

– Glad to see the day was saved by ONSTAR! A little more subtle with the product placement guys.

– “We have something for you.”
“You made me a sandwich?”
“Yes. It. Is. That.”

– “So clutch.”

– “Ro-Sham-Bo you!”

– “Remember our safe word?”

-”What is it with the flowers?”
“Who doesn’t like flowers?”

Watch the promo for next week’s episode, “Seeds”: