Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 11: The Magical Place

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Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 11: The Magical Place

Unlike the show, I won't keep you waiting for the stuff you really want to know.

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It was mentioned right at the beginning of the episode that it had been 36 hours since Coulson had been captured.

this series is kind of losing my attention. they started of good and did some good world building. but now i want some answers to all the unanswered questions or mysteries they throw in every now and then into the overall narative. ofcourse a show like this needs some mystery, but too many different plotlines and it starts to go all over the place.

btw, am i the only one who gets a 'would you kindly' vibe from Coulsons line 'it's a magical place'?

This episode got a rating share of 2.1/6 and a viewership of 6.48 the second lowest of the season expect next weeks to get an even bigger drop.

Unless they start making this an actual Marvel series with real Marvel bad guys soon this won't get a 2nd season.

I missed a good portion of the Coulson reveal because my local TV station cut into the show to air commercials about the lousy weather and the crack news team it has working for them. This was not a breaking news report explain a tragedy or severe weather heading our way, these were commercials. I was seriously pissed about that.

Kinda bummed Coulson is not a LMD but it makes me wonder why Fury went to such lengths to bring back a friend of his. Is Fury really that kind of a person or was this an order from higher up (possible tie-in to Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

Also, my money is still on the Leader being the main baddie behind all of this. But we shall see.

I'm confused as to why Coulson is so pissed about all this. I mean, I can understand his problems not knowing what happened, but now that he knows, what's the problem? They brought him back to life (some appreciation for that might be in order), but the process was traumatic so they gave him pleasant memories instead to save him the pain and scarring. That sounds downright charitable to me.

Bob, I am amazed at how much effort you are putting into this in hoping that it does get better. Marvel does some cool stuff, this show isnt one of them so treat it for what it is now and not for what you hope it becomes.

You put so much effort into ripping apart any non-Marvel superhero stuff that it comes out very poorly when every review for this show ends up like "It seems like the next episode will really start the good stuff"

MahouSniper:
I'm confused as to why Coulson is so pissed about all this. I mean, I can understand his problems not knowing what happened, but now that he knows, what's the problem? They brought him back to life (some appreciation for that might be in order), but the process was traumatic so they gave him pleasant memories instead to save him the pain and scarring. That sounds downright charitable to me.

Isn't it just repeating what happened with Buffy?

Hero dies goes to heaven gets brought back by friends so hero gets pissed at them cause heaven is awesome. Just Joss Whedon being Joss Whedon.

I'm beginning to like this show. I half expected Coulson to get rescued *just* before having that secret revealed. And that surgery scene did freak me out. Now I'm interested in further development of the mystery. Damn you TV, I thought I'll never have to watch serialized TV again.

Kumagawa Misogi:

MahouSniper:
I'm confused as to why Coulson is so pissed about all this. I mean, I can understand his problems not knowing what happened, but now that he knows, what's the problem? They brought him back to life (some appreciation for that might be in order), but the process was traumatic so they gave him pleasant memories instead to save him the pain and scarring. That sounds downright charitable to me.

Isn't it just repeating what happened with Buffy?

Hero dies goes to heaven gets brought back by friends so hero gets pissed at them cause heaven is awesome. Just Joss Whedon being Joss Whedon.

Yeah, except Coulson didn't go to heaven. He just went black, then Tahiti. If anyone stole him away from paradise, it was Centipede when they robbed him of sandy beaches and replaced it with brain surgery.

MahouSniper:
I'm confused as to why Coulson is so pissed about all this. I mean, I can understand his problems not knowing what happened, but now that he knows, what's the problem? They brought him back to life (some appreciation for that might be in order), but the process was traumatic so they gave him pleasant memories instead to save him the pain and scarring. That sounds downright charitable to me.

Well, he is a super secret agent (supposedly) high up on the command chain. Finding out secrets is in his job description, and something I'd imagine he'd do naturally. He's built to be a curious person. Meanwhile, he's high up enough that he expects some amount of trust from his superiors.

Plus, this is the comic book universe. Doing good things for good reasons always ends up horribly, eventually.

MahouSniper:
I'm confused as to why Coulson is so pissed about all this. I mean, I can understand his problems not knowing what happened, but now that he knows, what's the problem? They brought him back to life (some appreciation for that might be in order), but the process was traumatic so they gave him pleasant memories instead to save him the pain and scarring. That sounds downright charitable to me.

There's a lot of potential possibilities since we don't know Coulson that well. There are VERY large ethical issues here from the ethics of forcing a patient into treatment against their wishes, to SHIELD having resurrection technology (and probably other medical tech) not being shared with the general public for one reason or another. There's a lot to be pissed off about in the big picture.

Then there's the personal side: why lie? Even assuming he'd have no issue with the resurrection for ethical reasons, why not just be straight up and tell him he was dead for days, brought back the hard way and given false memories to spare him the trauma? It would have spared him the confusion of the season, and kept him from being tempted into the bad guy's brain scanner. Again, it's an ethical line that might have crossed coulson, but moreover, he probably realized he's being manipulated. For what reason, he doesn't know, but he does know that he isn't important enough as an asset to SHIELD, or even Fury to be brought back without reason. From the audience perspective it's extra true since Coulson was prior to his death, more doofy comic relief than super agent.

That last parting thought was exactly what flashed through my mind an hour after watching the show.

Fury resurrected Coulson *BECAUSE* he saw SHIELD going bad -- remember, they wanted to weaponize the Tesseract Cube (like Hydra did) and prevent Fury from forming the Avengers -- and Coulson was the one man Fury trusted to help put things right...

Kind of an anticlimax, but I suppose they can't lay everything on the table at once. We know the what and the how, but not the why, though Coulson will likely get the chance to ask before too much longer.

I believe Skye's decision to impersonate May arose from a grudge for getting her kicked off the Bus along with the previous harshness she has displayed towards everyone, especially Skye, and for me her trying and failing with improvised trick after improvised trick was the highlight. It certainly worked to intimidate that businessman.

Kumagawa Misogi:
This episode got a rating share of 2.1/6 and a viewership of 6.48 the second lowest of the season expect next weeks to get an even bigger drop.

Unless they start making this an actual Marvel series with real Marvel bad guys soon this won't get a 2nd season.

Those numbers don't really say a lot in regards to this episode, ABC did a piss-poor job of marketing when Agents would return after mid-season.

While I haven't seen too much of the show so far (mainly due to forgetfulness), curiosity prompted me to give it a look. And... it was interesting.

[SPOILERS, obviously]

We get a glimpse of what happened to Coulson after his death, and I have to say, I was not expecting seeing a man seemingly conscious on an operating table getting open brain surgery even as he pleads form them to just let him die.

Jesus, no one should have to go through that. I think Coulson could use a hug or two now...

(Also, I like that one of the surgeons who worked on him is the same guy who played Shepherd Book on Firefly. I wonder if Joss Whedon likes getting people from his previous works to appear in his current ones.)

There's also the matter of WHY Fury wanted Coulson back, though it might be due to some as-of-unknown plan. Also, it looks like the "Coulson as The Vision" theory might be just a red herring. Damn, and I liked that theory too...

And hey, Mike's alive! He doesn't look too good, but it's nothing a few skin grafts and a prosthetic won't fix... wait, what's that... oh no...

So yeah, now I'm interested in what happens next... now I have to wait another week. Ffffffffff...

I don't really see Raina as the clairvoyant. Her fanboyish attitude towards him seems to genuine to be ruse. That said I do think that she was caught on purpose. Maybe the clairvoyant can use a close adviser as a proxy like a mentally controlled doll or maybe even just a boosting antenna.

Here's an interesting thought. What if when Coleson was brought back he came back with knowledge from the other side. Given Thanos's appearance in the end of the first movie and Coleson's nihilistic state after it could be The Anti-Life equation. Or at least part of it. Maybe that ties into that other equation centipede was after. I wonder if Thanos would be behind everything although the approach seems more subtle and unnecessary given his power. At any rate my guess is that Coleson wasn't just suicidal after he came back but driven to a very dark and dangerous place for all around him as well.

Watching the show and reading Bob's reviews is consistently confusing the crap out of me. When i watch the show i find myself loving nearly every minute of it and thinking its good and all making sense, then i read his breakdown/review and he seems to constantly imply that he's enjoying it and then blowing the notion that he is away with the next sentence and then still appearing some how to have an overall positive opinion of each episode and or the one to follow. As for me personally i enjoyed the episode overall and felt that it flowed consistently and without any hang ups and that the answers and dropped plot points were given were sufficiently satisfying and surprising

I think we can categorically rule out the clairvoyant being M.O.D.O.K now. In a weird way. The new Lego "Captain America" set, while not movie based, features a MODOK minifig. In the classic big head, purple pants look. Marvel has absolute veto on the Lego sets. I don't think they would have allowed the character to be used in a set if they were on the table for an MCU reveal.

Now Peterson? Sigh! In the more and more unlikely chance that they do actually choose to use some small tokens from the Marvel Universe in this supposed Marvel Universe show? Maybe Deathlok?

Coulson, as a character, shouldn't be shouldering the majority of the arc based story progression. It detracts from the ability of that character to be the wildcard element that could pull victory out of a hat, which is part of what made him an interesting character to begin with. I don't dislike the show but it has just enough glaring flaws to be, for me at least, a pain to watch. I'll still watch it as I am interested to see if it can pull out of the nose dive that I see it in at the moment.

Most of the characters seem to be trying to do double duty in terms of what their archetypes are, this is causing conflict. One of the most obvious places you can see this is in the Fitz-Simmons character interplay. Even totally discounting how desperate the writers seem to be to get some kind of fandom shipping going between those two characters there is a glaring problem in the way that, thus far, they've been scripted for me. Fitz is far more potentially interesting without Simmons, whereas Simmons is entirely reliant on other characters (not including Fitz) to be of any interest. I've said it before, if Simmons had died/been presumed dead it'd be a much more interesting show right now. Fitz is a character trapped between who the world expects him to be and who he really is. He is desperately trying to be the former, the helpful and highly intelligent support officer, but the few glimpses we've seen of the latter, the vaguely authoritarian genius with no time for other peoples mistakes, has been interesting to say the least.

Other examples of the double duty are Ward, spending equal time in grizzled bad-ass and earnest recruit, and Skye, who can't seem to decide whether she'll believe in herself and become the princess she really was all the time or simply focus on actually achieving her personal goals.

I saw the pilot of this series and then decided to not watch anymore. The whole, is the dude a clone or what is going mystery just seemed so uninteresting.

Someone on a different site pointed out "Let Me Die = LMD" though to me it feels more like a red herring than a clue, assuming it's not just a coincidence in the first place.

Wow the explanation for Coulson's return from the dead SUCKS. I bet they also explained they can't do it anymore, just to keep the stakes high, right? Lest this become as gripping as Dragon Ball, where heaven and hell had turnstiles at the entrance.

CrazyGirl17:

(Also, I like that one of the surgeons who worked on him is the same guy who played Shepherd Book on Firefly. I wonder if Joss Whedon likes getting people from his previous works to appear in his current ones.)

he does, J. August Richards (Peterson) played Gunn in Angel, Nathan Fillion, has played parts in multiple Joss Whedon productions such as Firefly, Buffy, and Dr. Horrible's Sing along Blog, and Gina Torres has at least been in Firefly and Angel

jab136:

CrazyGirl17:

(Also, I like that one of the surgeons who worked on him is the same guy who played Shepherd Book on Firefly. I wonder if Joss Whedon likes getting people from his previous works to appear in his current ones.)

he does, J. August Richards (Peterson) played Gunn in Angel, Nathan Fillion, has played parts in multiple Joss Whedon productions such as Firefly, Buffy, and Dr. Horrible's Sing along Blog, and Gina Torres has at least been in Firefly and Angel

also I am in the group that is really hoping for the show to get better, it definitely has potential but it just isn't shining yet.

Edit: d'oh clicked the wrong button meant to edit the last post not quote it

Edit 2: also forgot that Eliza Dushku (Faith in Buffy) was the main character in his short lived series dollhouse

CrazyGirl17:
And hey, Mike's alive! He doesn't look too good, but it's nothing a few skin grafts and a prosthetic won't fix... wait, what's that... oh no...

Oh yes! It's Cyborg's new origin story!! (LOL)

OT: Almost forgot the show got back from their mid-season break... Luckily, my DVR remembers that I did season pass this show...

Anyway, not a bad episode... The brain surgery was the best part of the episode... Now, we got more mystery upon another mystery... probably shrouded in a more mysterious mystery that they might not have mentioned yet... (There better be some good payoff by the end of "this" season...)

Gah i just found out it won't be back until march in the uk. Fuck that noise!

CrazyGirl17:
There's also the matter of WHY Fury wanted Coulson back, though it might be due to some as-of-unknown plan. Also, it looks like the "Coulson as The Vision" theory might be just a red herring.

I think he wanted him back because he's the main character and only half as many people would watch the show if Coulson hadn't been billed in it.

Few things:

1) I was not expecting an answer to Coulson's survival at this point, much less the open brain surgery that was shown. And the fact that they did put him back together does bring up the inevitable "why?" (and the less important "how?" as we kind of only saw a small part of the reconstruction process).

2) Skye's backstory probably does not cross paths with May, at least substantively. As cute as it would be, there's very little to substantiate more of a connection between the two other than "May knows the truth." Her actions with Coulson do not suggest an emotional connection between the two akin to blood relation (and while she's regarded as "Ms. Badass," the complete lack of emotional connection between the two goes beyond that). Plus, she let her off The Bus rather than keep her on. That signals "team member" more than "family member."

3) Alternative Crazy theory: The team was being created to effectively take over SHIELD's various divisions and Coulson's abduction pokes them towards "the dark side." The running theory behind Winter Soldier is that SHIELD goes off the reservation and becomes the evil agency rather than what it stood for. Well, what a better way of relaying that then essentially have the various characters shift to well-intentioned evil geniuses. In this episode, the drones are now weaponized, Ward and Fitzsimmons almost gleefully torture a guy, which is outside even SHIELD's protocols, Skye steals multiple vehicles and effectively holds three people at gunpoint, Coulson stalks and interrogates the surgeon, etc. Ward and May would be operations, Fitzsimmons would be R&D, Skye would be intelegence, and Coulson would be the big bad in charge of it all. Who knows, this might be taking place years before the events of Winter Soldier when they're effectively being groomed to head SHIELD operations and they're getting the ugly scars that make them more aggressive in the end.


This might be setting the foundation for a Civil War by the time there is an Avengers 4 movie (when they may be able to get the outstanding licences for the X-Men and Spiderman): Those willing to take the extra step to stop the battles before they begin (Ala Secret War) versus those who feel it is going to far and break away (giving a good justification for the Superhuman-Registration Act that began the Civil War proper).

Loki_The_Good:
Here's an interesting thought. What if when Coleson was brought back he came back with knowledge from the other side. Given Thanos's appearance in the end of the first movie and Coleson's nihilistic state after it could be The Anti-Life equation. Or at least part of it. Maybe that ties into that other equation centipede was after.

Without knowing too much about how death is generally handled in the Marvel universe, that makes sense to me in a way. While Bob described the Coulsons brief vison as the typical near-death-experience known as "going into the light", it reminded me kind of what Gandalf went through on his transition from the Grey into the White. Falling through space as a metaphor for gaining knowledge. Granted, they both really had a death-experience, but still... Maybe Coulson too came back a little different.

Loki_The_Good:
Here's an interesting thought. What if when Coleson was brought back he came back with knowledge from the other side. Given Thanos's appearance in the end of the first movie and Coleson's nihilistic state after it could be The Anti-Life equation. Or at least part of it. Maybe that ties into that other equation centipede was after.

Interesting theory, but the Anti-Life Equation was Darkseid's pet project, over in the DC universe. Thanos is more the grim reaper's creepy stalker.

DataSnake:

Loki_The_Good:
Here's an interesting thought. What if when Coleson was brought back he came back with knowledge from the other side. Given Thanos's appearance in the end of the first movie and Coleson's nihilistic state after it could be The Anti-Life equation. Or at least part of it. Maybe that ties into that other equation centipede was after.

Interesting theory, but the Anti-Life Equation was Darkseid's pet project, over in the DC universe. Thanos is more the grim reaper's creepy stalker.

Crap baskets yeah why do I get those two mixed up. My brain is a bunch of crossed wires I swear. Still I think theirs more to Coleson's resurrection then just science if the clairvoyant can't see past it. Since the method is more since I'm betting some cosmic entity or factor got jostled in the act.

As for the whole "Why Coulson?" question...

Well, maybe this isn't the first time he's been brought back to life like this. Maybe he's been around a hell of a lot longer than anyone's allowed him to remember, and his history is tied intricately to this whole resurrection process. This wasn't a special occasion for a trusted agent who died during Avengers, it was a crucial reconstruction and recommissioning of an asset that only Nick Fury knows how truly special it is. That might explain the nostalgia -- it's phantom memories of lives Coulson's lived before, rather than a disconnected longing for the purer, simpler times of the past. I mean, if they can implant false memories that seem totally real, maybe this isn't the first time they've done it to him. Maybe the life he thinks he's living as Phil Coulson now is only just the most recent update.

I don't know. That's a pretty crazy fan theory, I guess.

--Morology!

PS: And he could still be a Life Model Decoy. I mean, if Jarvis can be an AI instead of a butler, maybe LMDs in Marvel's cinematic continuity are autonomous biotech platforms holding a human (or humanlike) consciousness instead of robots.

Loki_The_Good:
I don't really see Raina as the clairvoyant. Her fanboyish attitude towards him seems to genuine to be ruse. That said I do think that she was caught on purpose. Maybe the clairvoyant can use a close adviser as a proxy like a mentally controlled doll or maybe even just a boosting antenna.

Here's an interesting thought. What if when Coleson was brought back he came back with knowledge from the other side. Given Thanos's appearance in the end of the first movie and Coleson's nihilistic state after it could be The Anti-Life equation. Or at least part of it. Maybe that ties into that other equation centipede was after. I wonder if Thanos would be behind everything although the approach seems more subtle and unnecessary given his power. At any rate my guess is that Coleson wasn't just suicidal after he came back but driven to a very dark and dangerous place for all around him as well.

the anti-life equation is what Darkseid wants in DC.

On topic, this episode was on par with the others so far. it irks me that this show is so bland. the operation though made me cringe, Fury must have a good reason for doing this to Coulson

josemlopes:
Bob, I am amazed at how much effort you are putting into this in hoping that it does get better. Marvel does some cool stuff, this show isnt one of them so treat it for what it is now and not for what you hope it becomes.

You put so much effort into ripping apart any non-Marvel superhero stuff that it comes out very poorly when every review for this show ends up like "It seems like the next episode will really start the good stuff"

It does seem that he does that quite often. I think part of the reason he tears DC stuff apart is because he really likes silver/golden age stuff and DC isn't really doing silver age comic book stuff in their live action versions. Still even if this season is lukewarm it seems that for TV season 2 is where the show finds a groove and is often the best season of a series. I always withhold judgement on how good a series is if it gets a second season. Of course I wasn't able to do that with Terra Nova....Fox you bastards. Funny note though you think someone at Fox lost their job for shutting down two of Joss's shows after he went and made one of the major touchstones of modern cinema? Seriously only now are we seeing what The Avengers has done. Their is rumors of an Avengers style movie...with the Universal monsters. Seriously how awesome is that if that's true?

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