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Agents of SHIELD episode 8 review: Ward cuts loose in 'Thor' follow-up

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From its inception, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD has promised grand crossovers with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but for all the hype - 'The Well' being pitched as a semi-sequel to this month's Thor: The Dark World - all the Asgardian antics are really no more than a backdrop.

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD episode 8: 'The Well'

© ABC

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD episode 8: 'The Well'



That's a smart move because a major movie-to-TV crossover, while exciting, could prove problematic. You not only run the risk of alienating viewers who haven't seen the big-screen outing but more than ever, viewers will be left asking, 'Where's Thor?'.

So instead, 'The Well' is another in a string of character pieces for Agents of SHIELD - after Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) fought for her life in 'F.Z.Z.T.' and Fitz (Iain De Caestacker) took centre stage in 'The Hub', this episode looks to shed a little light on Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton).

Yes, Ward is easily this show's least effective character - but stick with us.

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD episode 8: 'The Well'

© ABC

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD episode 8: 'The Well'



'The Well' sees our team looking to reassemble the pieces of an Asgardian staff scattered across the Earth by a disgruntled Berserker soldier, now posing as an expert in Norse mythology and brought to life by the excellent character actor Peter MacNicol.

The staff fills anyone who touches it with an unquenchable rage and when Ward comes into contact with the weapon, all the pain he's buried deep down starts bubbling to the surface. While the staff's effects appears to have dissipated by episode's end, MacNicol's Professor Randolph warns our chiselled hero that the darkness within him isn't going away any time soon.

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD episode 8: 'The Well'

© ABC

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD episode 8: 'The Well'



Is 'The Well' just an excuse to spice up Ward a little, transforming his clean-cut boy-scout persona into something more interesting? Quite possibly, but credit to the writing team on Agents of SHIELD for apparently recognising that Ward was their weakest link and doing something to address it.

Despite all the evidence pointing towards a romance between him and Skye, Ward now appears to have chosen fellow tortured soul Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) as his 'talking' buddy - it's certainly a new and interesting direction for the character and hopefully the first of many more twists to come.



Make Mine Marvel! - 'The Well' is obviously loaded with references to the Thor movies and Marvel's Asgardian mythology - plus plenty of nods to The Avengers.

And after meeting the Hulk, Coulson has clearly learnt that a maelstrom of rage pointed in the right direction can prove rather valuable.

Coulson Lives! - This arc is really kicking into gear now - after his investigation was shut down last week, here Coulson (Clark Gregg) admits to Randolph that he in fact has no memory of his time spent in "magical" Tahiti.

Which would seem to suggest - shocker - that he was never thereā€¦ but if so, what was that creepy dream sequence about in the episode's final moments? Intriguing...

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