Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review – “The Magical Place”


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. always seems to leave more to be desired with the end of every episode than it does…you know…answering questions and discussing superheroes and things you would expect from a show about an agency dealing with superheroes.

While this episode felt lackluster overall, I actually found myself enjoying this episode more than any others.

Quick Summary: Everyone in Coulson’s team is bent on trying to find him (it’s been 36 hours since Centipede took him) while the rest of the tactical team from S.H.I.E.L.D. is focused on following protocol and shutting down Centipede. Victoria Hand is now in Coulson’s place and is mostly there to give Coulson’s team someone to rebel against. She kicks Skye off the bus, thanks to Agent May telling Hand that Skye gives nothing to the crew in the sky (pun intended!), which is just a ploy to get Skye to do something useful on the ground away from all the people who would be watching her.

I will admit that despite the incompetency of the towing company apparently not asking Skye for proof that it’s her Escalade she crashes (it’s Lloyd Rathman’s, a man who deals in alien material and sells the majority of it to Centipede) and also her house they take her to, Skye’s plotline is actually entertaining. The fact that she poses as May is laughable, but when the house alarm guys show up and she actually uses her combat training to prove she’s actually with the agency, that shows that she’s at least growing as a character.

She ends up tracking down Coulson’s location by using Rathman’s bank account transfers and meeting up with the rest of her party in the nuclear testing town where Coulson is being held. Man, that town gave me some serious LOST vibes, reminiscent of where the Others had their town set up on the other side of the Island.

They end up saving Coulson, but not before Raina unlocks a bit of his brain…

What we get is a glimpse of some of the things that happened to Coulson after he died. We’re told by the operating doctor that he wasn’t dead for eight seconds or forty seconds, but days. Nick Fury did some very vague things phrased as “moving heaven and earth” even though everyone else in S.H.I.E.L.D. says that one single agent isn’t worth it.

And what’s revealed is that Tahiti is nothing more than an altered memory so Coulson does not remember the excruciating pain they put his mind and body (and soul) through and would gain back his will to live.

It’s a little heart-wrenching, especially with a great actor like Clark Gregg, but it still feels a little disappointing, and I’m hoping it’s because we don’t have the entire picture of what happened. Honestly, I was rooting for the life model decoy theory that’s been floating around the internet (especially since I just re-watched The Avengers the other evening and Tony Stark comments to Coulson when he calls that he has reached the life model decoy of Tony Stark).

Because seriously, having the Coulson that’s been walking around actually be a LMD while his actual body is being rehabilitated at a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility somewhere in the middle of nowhere would feel more superhero-y than whatever they’re probably going to give us. Then again, that could still be part of the story. Maybe the Tahiti memories were initially given because they couldn’t get Coulson to want to live again with the current state of his body (you know, having Loki’s spear decimate his heart); the memories were a way to transfer his mind to a LMD while they work on repairing his real body.

We can only hope. By the preview ABC gave us, it looks as though this is going to be a recurring plot point while Coulson tries to find the pieces to the whole picture.

The episode ends with the reveal that Mike Petersen didn’t die in the explosion from the last episode, but is alive, missing half a leg, and has one of those fun cameras in his eye that’s controlled by Centipede and will kill him if he doesn’t follow the commands. I’m interested in seeing what they’ll be doing with him. And also, who the heck is the Clairvoyant? I’m intrigued by that reveal as well.

I’m still clinging to the hope that this show will start taking some risks. Name-drop some superheroes! Introduce minor comic book villains! It needs to stop feeling like a run-of-the-mill cop show and start giving it some of that Marvel flair.