TV Recap: Agents of SHIELD – 1.11 – The Magical Place

CLARK GREGG (BACKGROUND), J. AUGUST RICHARDS in Agents of SHIELD - 1.10 - the Bridge

So it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Life got in the way, but I’m back to keep everyone up to speed on everyone’s favorite band of SHIELD agents. But first to quote Indigo Montoya, “I sum up.”

The Mid-season finale had a lot going on. It saw the return of Mike Peterson (J. August Richards), this time as an Asset. There was tension at first, but Peterson seemed to be on his game. Things got complicated when Centipede kidnapped his son as leverage, something Coulson warned him about, and when faced with the choice of family or duty, there was no choice at all. Peterson’s son is exchanged for Coulson, and when Peterson goes to save Coulson he is caught in an explosion that presumably killed him.

The Story:

This week’s story was a direct continuation of the mid-season finale. With only a few days having passed since Coulson’s abduction, the Crew are looking for him with the help of Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows) as acting leader. She’s more concerned with finding Centipede than Coulson, but much to her dismay, Fury doesn’t see it that way. Hand believes Skye as a liability, so she has her kicked off “The Bus.” Agent Ward stands up for her, but Agent May doesn’t. Skye’s given a one-use satellite phone by the Crew and has to find a way to work her cyber magic in spite of her nanny bracelet. Agent Fitz has also become very edgy with the loss of Coulson. In a funny twist, Skye impersonates May in order to get a lead on Centipede’s financial dealings. She also gets to show off some of the combat skills she’s learned from Ward.

RUTH NEGGA, CLARK GREGG in Agents of SHIELD - 1.10 - the Bridge

Meanwhile, Centipede has Coulson and is trying to figure out how he was resurrected. Po (Cullen Douglas), the current face of Centipede is getting nowhere, so Raina (Ruth Negga) suggests another method. Apparently Centipede’s secret leader “The Clairvoyant” agrees, and kills Po using what seems to be the same device (this time through a phone) that Stane used on Stark and the leader of the Ten Rings in Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man.” Raina is able to convince Coulson to willingly get on the machine to figure out what happened to him after he “died.” What we learn is that there was no Tahiti and whatever was truly done was very much against Coulson’s wishes. Skye informs the Crew of what she found and they meet up and save Coulson, much to a teary eyed Skye’s relief. Raina is captured and all is well…or is it?

The coda finds Coulson visiting the doctor from the pilot (Ron Glass), who tells him that Fury moved “Heaven and Earth” to save him, gathering scientists and doctors to do things no good doctor would do. He says he was brought in on the seventh operation, and Coulson was conscious the whole time. It didn’t help that the good doctor was using words like “catastrophic” and “ungodly” to describe Coulson’s situation. In the end, we learn SHIELD created the Tahiti fabrication in order to supply Coulson with the will to live again. Finally, we learn that Mike Peterson didn’t die in the explosion from the previous episode, though he is badly burned and lost a leg, and is now in the clutches of Centipede, complete with eye implant. Poor Mike.

BRETT DALTON in Agents of SHIELD – 1.11 – The Magical Place

The Crew:

The team showed how close they’ve become as they rallied around saving Coulson. His loss most affected Skye, Fitz and Simmons, while May and Ward kept cool heads — at least on the outside. May also revealed surprising faith in Skye, though it looked quite the opposite at first. The Crew came together on all fronts, from a raid in an opening scene to the final rescue of their leader and mentor. I’m interested to see how the show’s two major personal issues will impact the team from here on out — Coulson dealing with the truth behind his resurrection and Skye’s parents.

Coulson:

This was a dark episode for our favorite agent. He got to show off some skills while being mentally and physically tortured, and the revelation behind his return was almost painful to watch. He is still dedicated, but his faith is somewhat shaken, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out and how he confronts Fury. A lot of personal information was given as well. We find out what happened to Coulson’s cellist girlfriend (who was mentioned in “The Avengers), and even got some background on his parents. How will this episode’s big reveal change Coulson’s outlook? Regardless, it was good to finally find out what happened.

The pieces are all on the board, and the game has begun. Now let’s raise the stakes, and get this chess match into high gear.

Promo for next week’s episode, “Seeds”