Episode: The Magical Place
Original Airdate: 1-7-14
After a brief midseason hiatus, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back and continues to kick the latter half of the season off in high gear, continuing from last episode’s cliffhanger. There are quite a few interesting character developments from almost everyone except for Fitz Simmons, I’m even starting to get a feel for Ward here. There are some nice moments of kick ass action, some quieter dramatic moments, and still plenty of room for some comedy. And while I’m certain that the revelation of Coulson’s revival won’t please too many people, I’m glad it’s finally done with. And for my point of view, the situation surrounding the revival was always going to be more interesting than the payoff no matter what they would have come up with.
The episode jumps right into the story without wasting any time. They’ve got support from S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters who remains distrusting of Skye, and there’s a massive manhunt trying to find Coulson. We get a bit more insight into the Centipede organization; the head of the organization is someone referred to as the Clairvoyant who is never seen in person, only communicating through telephone. The Clairvoyant appears to have the ability to see into anyone’s dreams, or Theta waves, or however they want to explain it. Rayna, the woman in the flowered dress returns and takes over Coulson’s interrogation from the Seven-John-Doe-lite serial killer guy trying to find out what happened to Coulson after he died. She has quite a bit of information about Coulson, including the cello player he has referred to several times as well as some type of father/son relationship, though it’s unclear exactly how she got this information. I got the feeling that it was implicitly given by the Clairvoyant, but we see the first and likely only conversation between Rayna and the Clairvoyant which wasn’t enough time to include this info.
For the rest of the team, there’s a great moment of them working together smoothly as a team to capture someone dealing with Chitauri salvage as their only lead on Centipede. Skye still has her locking bracelet which gets her into trouble with S.H.I.E.L.D. brass so she gets kicked off the team with Melinda getting the final say. At this point I hope this is the last time they go for the bait and switch where the team thinks that Agent May is working against them when she’s actually working with them, only two steps ahead. Skye goes after the intel on Coulson in the only way she knows how, and it is some of the most amusing scenes in the episode, ending with the removal of the stupid bracelet, thankfully.
As far as how I thought they wrapped up the Coulson in Tahiti business? Basically it’s explained in the episode as merely highly advanced neuroscience where they had to rebuild the pathways in his brain, giving him some new memories, and likely some altered personality traits in the process as he had lost the will to live. There’s also a great post-credits teaser showing us a badly injured, but still living Michael Richardson. Complete with his shiny new instruction-giving ocular implant. Things are really ramping up for this show and I’m pumped for where it will go from here, even though I’m disappointed in the constant changing-of-the-guard with Centipede as Rayna is currently in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.