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3.12.13 0052
The 7 - Movies & TV - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1x8 - "The Well"
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John Orquiola
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#1 Posted on 20.11.13 0822.47
Reposted on: 20.11.20 0825.39
So, who saw Thor: The Dark World? Pretty great, huh? Action-packed, humorous, cosmic, just about everything you could want in a Marvel movie. Unfortunately for the denizens of the Bus, they missed the boat on Thor: The Dark World and drew clean up duty in Greenwich, England, site of the big conflagration between Thor and the Dark Elf Malekith (who is never mentioned.) Fitz complained that any monkey could pick up shards of alien metal and place them in secure S.H.I.E.L.D. casings for future analysis and storage -- and he would be correct. Why is Coulson's team doing this dirty work, exactly? Maybe Coulson just wants to be riding on Avengers coattails for old time's sake, you know, to stay on the cusp of the big leagues? Exposition from Simmons and Skye as to the nature of Asgardians as aliens and whether other cultures' gods ("Vishnu. Gotta be, right?" says Skye) are also aliens quickly and rather expectedly segueways into how handsome dreamy Thor is. May and Skye agree on this point, just like every woman I know in real life who has seen any or all of the three movies starring Thor. But if we're expecting to see Thor (besides footage of his boots in a montage) or any of his Asgardian buddies from the movies -- Odin, Sif, Heimdall, Loki -- nay, verily, look elsewhere, mortals of Midgard. The God of Thunder is officially "off the grid."

Not to say there is nothing Asgardian in "The Well," which turns out to be not so much influenced by any Thor movie. Rather, "The Well" strangely resembles The Da Vinci Code. Besides the globehopping -- Greenwich to Norway to Seville to Ireland -- and the presence of a mysterious academic who is not who he seems to be, there are also, in an attempt to shine a light on the torment buried within the action figure man named Agent Grant Ward, flashbacks to his most deeply buried memory of a child being trapped in a well. (Just like how Dan Brown's tweedy hero Robert Langdon was trapped in a well as a child.) There are also the villains of the piece, a fanatical "Norse-pagan hate group" who could be stand ins for the religious fanatic Silas, all chasing after the MacGuffan of the story, in this case the three pieces of an Asgardian Berserker staff instead of a mysterious Codex. But I mean, close enough. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is definitely playing in Da Vinci Code territory here.

So Dark The Con of S.H.I.E.L.D.

One piece of the Berserker staff was found by a couple in the forests of Norway, leaders of the aforementioned Norse-pagan hate group. These Norse-pagan haters (meaning that they are Norse-pagans who are full of hate, not that they hate Norse-pagans -- because wouldn't the latter definition make almost everyone else in the world a Norse-pagan hate group?) are fearful and envious of the aliens and superheroes now appearing in this Marvel world and want to cause riots to take the world back, or something. Point is, with the Berserker staff, they are violent and fancy themselves gods. All of the exposition about Norse mythology and the Berserker staff is provided by "one of the world's leading experts in Norse mythology," and before anyone gets excited about seeing Thor's friend, daffy nudist scientist Dr. Erik Selvig, in this episode, no, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn't get him either. Nope, instead we get Dr. Eliot Randolph (guest star Peter MacNichol), who takes an immediate shine to pretty, skeptical Simmons, and regales the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a tale of an Asgardian warrior who arrived on Earth in the 10th century, fought many wars, but fell in love with Midgard and never left. Instead, this mysterious warrior broke his Berserker staff into three pieces and hid them in three places in Western Europe.

The Berserker staff, when touched, elicits rage. It makes the holder see bad stuff within them and then gets them to, in Marvel terms, "Hulk out." (But not anywhere even close to the level of rage Bruce Banner reaches when he Hulks out.) This is exactly what happens to Ward when he and Skye are in the dungeons beneath Seville searching for the second piece of the Berserker staff and Ward runs into the mysterious Dr. Randolph, who absconds with the piece before running into the Norse-pagan haters. While Randolph is held captive on the Bus for interrogation, for the ladies watching who are still hoping for a glimpse of Thor, Ward tries to fill Thor's shoes by losing his shirt. But Ward is infected by the lingering effects of the staff and the madder Ward gets, the... er... madder Ward stays...? Point is, Ward's angry, and no attempts by Skye to reason with him with how cute she is seems to help. Ward is aware of his condition - now haunted as he is of flashbacks to the little boy trapped in the well - and he asks Coulson to be relieved of duty. Instead, the two of them savvy the mysterious secret behind the mysterious Dr. Eliot Randolph.

Ready for it?

Dr. Eliot Randolph is Asgardian! Didn't see what coming, did you? Why in the world would you, conditioned as we are to seeing Asgardians looking like Thor, Loki, and Sif, all beautiful, perfect physical specimens? But no, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would have us willingly accept that Peter MacNichol's nebbish was the Asgardian warrior who remained behind on Midgard and then moved silently down through the centuries, living many secret lives, no one ever aware for a thousand years he is an Asgardian god in our midst. To help explain, Eliot was a mason on Asgard who answered a call to battle on Midgard, and no (as our hearts sink further), he doesn't know Thor nor ever palled around with the future king of Asgard. This creates an opportunity for Coulson to feel big since he does know Thor, even though he can't call him or get him to appear on his show. Later, after Randoph is stabbed through the heart with a piece of the Berserker staff, with Fitz-Simmons fretting about not knowing Asgardian anatomy (how different could it be besides probably not at all?), Coulson plunges his hand into Randolph's chest and keeps his heart from bleeding, or something. What's important is Randolph is able to regenerate (Asgardian healing factor) so that Coulson can commiserate that he too was once stabbed through the heart by an Asgardian weapon and came back to life. Coulson now makes a regular thing of telling strangers his "I died in The Avengers and woke up in Tahiti and I don't feel right!" sob story.

Randolph reveals that the third missing piece of the Berserker staff is hidden in a monastery in Ireland so off the Bus whisks to the Emerald Isle. Wouldn't you know it, the Norse-pagans beat the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to it! And pause for a moment to ask, "What? How?" Instead of being distracted by tales of Asgard and magical rage rods, why aren't the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. remotely curious about how these Norse-pagans, who are all over the news as terrorists, are able to instantly travel from Norway to Spain to Ireland? (My explanation? Heimdall was watching and was bored and opened some Bifrosts for them to travel. Hell, it's better than no explanation.) After Randolph is stabbed through the heart, Rage Ward takes on the Norse-pagans in a super fight. But Rage Ward is overwhelmed by the rage of the Berserker staff as the Norse-pagans' cavalry arrives. Luckily, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have their own cavalry, The Cavalry: May grabs the Beserker staff, assembles it into a whole, and then provides a serious Rage May beatdown on the rest of the Norse-pagans. How did May not get overwhelmed by the rage of the Berserker staff? May answers it's because she sees the things that enrage her every day. ("That's the secret," Bruce Banner once said before the Battle of New York, "I'm always angry.") If they had the budget, May punching a Chitauri giant space worm in the face would be pretty cool.

Instead of recruiting Randolph as an asset for future Asgardian incursions, Coulson lets Randolph off scot free to reinvent himself and live some other new life. Whatever, there's no room for that guy on the Bus anyway, and S.H.I.E.L.D. can keep tabs on him. Meanwhile, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. earn some downtime and a rare overnighter in a bed and breakfast. Simmons is finally able to speak to her mum and dad after ignoring their calls for weeks, in perhaps the most banal of C subplots. Despite putting out all of signals, Skye completely bombs in picking up Ward in an Irish pub. Ward retires to his room but sees May enter hers with a bottle of wine, leaving the door open for him. Ward follows her in. What's this? Rage May horny? Rage Ward and Rage May getting it on, mayhaps? So much for all of the online Skye-Ward 'shipping, which apparently is named Skyward. Looks like Mayward is the 'ship. That actually makes more sense, the two older, mature, action figures on the team knocking boots. Someone else not getting any sleep is Coulson, who dreams about his relaxing days in the magical place called Tahiti and wakes up in a cold sweat. Oh, and all that stuff about the kid in the well? The swerve was that it wasn't Grant Ward in the well, it was Grant who put his little brother in the well. Either way, this is for the Ward in The Well. (vimeo.com)
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Spiraling_Shape
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#2 Posted on 20.11.13 0825.35
Reposted on: 20.11.20 0825.41
You left out the best moment!

"Did I fall asleep?" "For a little while."

Nice nod to the last Whedon Family TV Show... (And for all of the ballyhoo about S.H.I.E.L.D. ratings, more people probably saw last night's episode than watched Dollhouse when it aired.)
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#3 Posted on 20.11.13 0828.21
Reposted on: 20.11.20 0828.49
    Originally posted by Spiraling_Shape
    You left out the best moment!

    "Did I fall asleep?" "For a little while."

    Nice nod to the last Whedon Family TV Show... (And for all of the ballyhoo about S.H.I.E.L.D. ratings, more people probably saw last night's episode than watched Dollhouse when it aired.)


Yeah, see, Dollhouse is my version of memories of the Well. I don't think about Dollhouse.

I tend not to make blunt judgments or statements in these recaps, but I thought this episode was lousy. Might be the worst episode so far, in comparison to the hype of crossing over with Thor: The Dark World. This was just a series of miscalculations and questionable decisions that made for something really, really underwhelming.

I will say in its favor that the cast has gelled nicely. They have rapport and you can see the both the cast and characters they portray have grown comfortable with each other and enjoy each other's company. All the team building in these first 8 episodes have paid off. It would be great if the show now accelerated the storytelling and gave us some payoffs for Skye's story and Coulson's resurrection. As well as, you know, more excitement in general.

Compare SHIELD to where Arrow was by episode 8 a year ago, and Arrow had already introduced The Huntress, the Royal Flush Gang, Deadshot, mentioned Stagg Industries, Central City, Coast City, and tons of DC Universe iconography. Why isn't SHIELD doing the same? Yes, they mention the Avengers a lot, but why aren't they universe building? Why aren't they deepening and expanding their Marvel connections. X-Men and Fantastic Four locales are out, so no Genosha or Latveria. Fine. But why isn't SHIELD mentioning the Savage Land? Madripoor? Attilan? Atlantis? Wakanda? They should be laying seeds. Otherwise, what is this show for?

(edited by John Orquiola on 20.11.13 0747)
Matt Tracker
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#4 Posted on 20.11.13 1206.38
Reposted on: 20.11.20 1208.55
Has Lola moved from the cargo ramp since the pilot?

(edited by Matt Tracker on 20.11.13 1006)
Moss
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#5 Posted on 20.11.13 1259.03
Reposted on: 20.11.20 1259.36
Lola was next to the Law & Enforcement:SUV when Ward hopped in.

Maybe May and Ward are just going to drink some wine and talk about their dark passengers- why does everything have to be about sex with you people??

I considered heading out in our weekly Calgary blizzards to catch Thor to prepare for this ep. I think I made the right choice staying in my warm home and watching Man of Steel. So the "adventure" that started in the Thor movie and continued in this ep was nothing but cleaning up the ship crashing, right?

Yeah, this was the worst ep of the show so far and I'm a sucker for Norse shit.
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#6 Posted on 20.11.13 1341.33
Reposted on: 20.11.20 1341.53
A pretty big question was raised this week: Does Coulson know his death was used by Fury to motivate The Avengers?

I ask because Coulson attempted to contact Thor this week, only to be told by Fury "Thor is off the grid." Fine, but was Thor actually off the grid, or is Fury trying to keep Coulson away from the Avengers? I'm pretty sure it was established that they don't know he's alive. But what about the other way around? Does Coulson think the Avengers know he survived? Do the writers even care?
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#7 Posted on 20.11.13 1447.29
Reposted on: 20.11.20 1447.41
    Originally posted by John Orquiola


    I tend not to make blunt judgments or statements in these recaps, but I thought this episode was lousy. Might be the worst episode so far, in comparison to the hype of crossing over with Thor: The Dark World. This was just a series of miscalculations and questionable decisions that made for something really, really underwhelming.




I think this is a really fair judgement of the episode. I would add that this episode also had Brett Dalton's worst line readings of the entire season, and some of the worst I've ever heard in any context. The episode picked up some steam after introducing the Asgardian, but everything bookending it was just underwhelming.

They really made things a lot harder for themselves than they needed to if they wanted a Thor tie-in. They had the makings of a potentially interesting bottle episode if they wanted to focus on the clean up. They could have done a more standard "bad guys (Centipede?) try to steal the wreckage and SHIELD has to stop them" story, and that would have been good too. But introducing ideas that are only minimally connected to Thor or Norse mythology, which actively ignore what we know to be true about Norse history and culture (Berserkers are real, and the existed within the time of written history) to tell a story that largely only exists to make me care about Ward's backstory? Perhaps I've been unclear about my feelings for Ward. I do not like Ward. Agent May(and can we all agree that she's essentially sexy lady Wolverine at this point?) can do way, way better than Ward.

Finally, was it made clear which character Ward was in his childhood flashback? I also thought the bully looked a lot like adult Ward, but then why was his memory from the perspective of the kid in the well? Either the bully was Ward's brother (and it would make sense for him to look like Ward), or the makers of SHIELD do not understand how perspective works in a visual medium.
John Orquiola
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#8 Posted on 20.11.13 1823.56
Reposted on: 20.11.20 1826.54
    Originally posted by Tenken347
    was it made clear which character Ward was in his childhood flashback? I also thought the bully looked a lot like adult Ward, but then why was his memory from the perspective of the kid in the well? Either the bully was Ward's brother (and it would make sense for him to look like Ward), or the makers of SHIELD do not understand how perspective works in a visual medium.


It was made clear that our Agent Grant Ward was outside the well looking down at his younger brother, who pleaded "Grant!" at him. Your further point about perspective is accurate.
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#9 Posted on 20.11.13 1933.13
Reposted on: 20.11.20 1933.58
    Originally posted by John Orquiola
      Originally posted by Spiraling_Shape
      You left out the best moment!

      "Did I fall asleep?" "For a little while."

      Nice nod to the last Whedon Family TV Show... (And for all of the ballyhoo about S.H.I.E.L.D. ratings, more people probably saw last night's episode than watched Dollhouse when it aired.)


    Yeah, see, Dollhouse is my version of memories of the Well. I don't think about Dollhouse.

    I tend not to make blunt judgments or statements in these recaps, but I thought this episode was lousy. Might be the worst episode so far, in comparison to the hype of crossing over with Thor: The Dark World. This was just a series of miscalculations and questionable decisions that made for something really, really underwhelming.

    I will say in its favor that the cast has gelled nicely. They have rapport and you can see the both the cast and characters they portray have grown comfortable with each other and enjoy each other's company. All the team building in these first 8 episodes have paid off. It would be great if the show now accelerated the storytelling and gave us some payoffs for Skye's story and Coulson's resurrection. As well as, you know, more excitement in general.

    Compare SHIELD to where Arrow was by episode 8 a year ago, and Arrow had already introduced The Huntress, the Royal Flush Gang, Deadshot, mentioned Stagg Industries, Central City, Coast City, and tons of DC Universe iconography. Why isn't SHIELD doing the same? Yes, they mention the Avengers a lot, but why aren't they universe building? Why aren't they deepening and expanding their Marvel connections. X-Men and Fantastic Four locales are out, so no Genosha or Latveria. Fine. But why isn't SHIELD mentioning the Savage Land? Madripoor? Attilan? Atlantis? Wakanda? They should be laying seeds. Otherwise, what is this show for?

    (edited by John Orquiola on 20.11.13 0747)


Ok, here is where you are wrong. Arrow is all about building this new DCU for TV. Shield is about continuing what was already built. Arrow has an easier path. They can create and use any characters they want from the B team when they started out. So, we get D Level characters like the Royal Flush, Vertigo and a C+ in Huntress. In Shield we got Fury and even a Thor cameo even if it was Thor 2 footage, it still counts. They are playing with A listers. So, if they screw up with the big guys then they get blamed more.

Arrow also has the advantage of coming off the trainwreck of Smallville. Shield has the impossible task of following a Billion Dollar Franchise. Shield is by no means perfect, my hatred Skye is well noted. I liked this week's episode. Its still doing good things. They have another card with the Beserker/Mason Asgardian. MayWard is much easier to take than SkyWard, Simmonds is still lovable and Coulsen is awesome. This week's Arrow not so much.

We also have to realize that when Gotham comes out on Fox, a lot of what Arrow is doing is going to get short changed. Unless, Fox and CW build a very good relationship which well..its Fox. Dollhouse was also bad to start than got a hell of a lot better.

(edited by lotjx on 20.11.13 1934)
John Orquiola
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#10 Posted on 20.11.13 2032.37
Reposted on: 20.11.20 2035.44
    Originally posted by lotjx
    This week's Arrow not so much.


You posted this before you even finished the episode.
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#11 Posted on 20.11.13 2217.54
Reposted on: 20.11.20 2219.43
Hm. For my part, I always thought the kid in the well was Ward's brother, and Ward was the one looking down at him. Supposedly, Ward's brother didn't survive, after all.

I'm okay with the flashbacks for one episode. But the professor said that they'll probably wear off after "a few decades". If we have to relieve The Well Scene for the rest of the show's run, count me out.
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#12 Posted on 21.11.13 0140.59
Reposted on: 21.11.20 0141.29
I would really appreciate if this show would stop faking me out every week.

Is it Luke Cage? It's Mike!

Is it Sunfire? It's Skorch!

Is it Thunderstrike? It's... Angry Generation Y?

They have the chance to build the C list on TV, do it. No one's going to pay for a Darkhawk movie. Give us Darkhawk! Or Shang Chi! Damage Control. Somebody. Anybody.

If they have half a brain, most if not all, of the Netflix series will have a backdoor pilot disguised as a Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode.

(edited by J. Kyle on 20.11.13 1341)
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#13 Posted on 21.11.13 0251.04
Reposted on: 21.11.20 0251.15
    Originally posted by Moss
    I think I made the right choice staying in my warm home and watching Man of Steel.


Watching MoS is never the right choice.

(edited by Mike Zeidler on 21.11.13 0253)
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#14 Posted on 21.11.13 0555.27
Reposted on: 21.11.20 0555.56
    Originally posted by John Orquiola
      Originally posted by lotjx
      This week's Arrow not so much.


    You posted this before you even finished the episode.


I wasn't feeling anything through the episode and the end of that episode. Wow. Just wow,
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#15 Posted on 22.11.13 2349.23
Reposted on: 22.11.20 2351.08
Shit like this is why I'm still watching NCIS at 8pm every Tuesday. The only thing I liked about this episode was watching Ming Na kick a little ass. This show is doing nothing for me for the exact reasons John O was mentioning.

In the comics, when they use SHIELD characters for something, they don't have dorky agents doing stuff, they have Nick Fury do stuff or Dum Dum at the least. Not some dude no one cares about. SHIELD sends Captain America out on these same missions you see these schleps going on, or they'll have someone like Black Widow and Hawkeye. Since they can't use these characters, bring in the C and D characters like Silver Sable, Misty Knight, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Dethlok... ANYONE that you would WANT to see in a super hero/comic book based series.

None of these characters are doing it for me except Coulson and May. I couldn't give a shit about any of the other people on the show.
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#16 Posted on 23.11.13 0858.25
Reposted on: 23.11.20 0858.25
    Originally posted by Cerebus
    SHIELD sends Captain America out on these same missions you see these schleps going on, or they'll have someone like Black Widow and Hawkeye.


They send Cap out to clean up the mess from an alien intrusion? Harsh man.

They basically can't win with Ward.

Audience: Ward has no personality!
Episode focusing on Ward
Audience: Why are we spending time on Ward I don't care!
Tenken347
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#17 Posted on 23.11.13 1125.18
Reposted on: 23.11.20 1126.03
    Originally posted by Greymarch
      Originally posted by Cerebus
      SHIELD sends Captain America out on these same missions you see these schleps going on, or they'll have someone like Black Widow and Hawkeye.


    They send Cap out to clean up the mess from an alien intrusion? Harsh man.

    They basically can't win with Ward.

    Audience: Ward has no personality!
    Episode focusing on Ward
    Audience: Why are we spending time on Ward I don't care!


It's not that Ward has no personality, it's that I don't like his personality. I think that the problem is that Ward is so wooden that he's impossible to connect with, and they have yet to fix that problem - certainly, this episode did nothing to help me like him or relate to him at all. Spending this episode with this Ward was not a pleasant viewing experience. I cut the character some slack last week, because I thought that him hanging out with Fitz did a lot more to humanize him than anything they've done with him yet, but Ward on his own is a wood robot being played by an actor who has very little chemistry with the rest of the cast.

(edited by Tenken347 on 23.11.13 0926)
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#18 Posted on 24.11.13 0123.28
Reposted on: 24.11.20 0124.21
    Originally posted by Moss
    I considered heading out in our weekly Calgary blizzards to catch Thor to prepare for this ep. I think I made the right choice staying in my warm home


A few friends and I held off on watching this week's episode until after we saw Thor this weekend, as soon as we saw the opening scene happened after the movie. I knew the cast was handling clean up, and one of the post credits-scenes indicated that there was definitely something that required attention in Greenwich. Of course, that raised our standards impossibly high for this episode. I'm curious to know if Thor got any sort of bump this week since the SHIELD episode tied into it, but then I'm also thinking that the SHIELD audience probably wouldn't elicit much bump even if they all went out in force.

May-Ward makes sense for all the reasons above. I feel like while Skye-Ward is the obvious relationship (and I'm sure we'll get there), there's been enough meddling with Fitzsimmons (like Ward coaching Simmons up the tree, and Fitz's infatuation with Skye) that I wonder if they aren't holding off on pursuing any specific relationships until they see who has chemistry. Hell, Fitzsimmons haven't even hooked up yet, and they've supposedly known each other forever.

That said, I can't imagine this will be a standard relationship. Depending on how long the effects of the berserker staff last, this is just two veterans blowing off steam. Then again, perhaps that's why the Asgardian was so amorous - maybe its a natural response to the sudden overdose or rage, or maybe its a secondary effect from the staff.

Thanks for pointing out the Dollhouse reference.

Speaking of which, Dollhouse spent six episodes setting up the chessboard and then immediately flipped the table over and started shooting you in the face. I was hoping SHIELD's slow start was a sign they were following the same pacing. Instead, this show feels more like Heroes, where the first few episodes felt like setup, and the show never got into second gear. If my girlfriend didn't seem to enjoy the show so much (and I'm glad that she's interested in the Marvel Universe, so I'm willing to foster that), I'd probably be at the point where I'm watching only because I'm afraid the episodes will be wiped from my Hulu queue. That said, I fully expect the season finale to be mindblowing, since I'm sure that's when we'll find out about Coulson and I personally am expecting a character death. Of course, this was episode 8, and I'm guessing the first season will be 22 episodes, so we'll see if we can make it without getting too bored.
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#19 Posted on 24.11.13 0212.52
Reposted on: 24.11.20 0212.59
A friend of mine made this analogy about the show.

"It's like a Star Trek series centered around giving Miles O'Brian his own ship, having the Commander Riker doppelganger as the pilot and then a bunch of random Red Shirts rounding out the cast. But the Red Shirts don't die!"

I agree with this.
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#20 Posted on 24.11.13 0418.20
Reposted on: 24.11.20 0418.34
    Originally posted by Cerebus
    A friend of mine made this analogy about the show.

    "It's like a Star Trek series centered around giving Miles O'Brian his own ship, having the Commander Riker doppelganger as the pilot and then a bunch of random Red Shirts rounding out the cast. But the Red Shirts don't die!"

    I agree with this.


I would watch the hell out of that show. Loved O'Brien.
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