Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Last night on AoS

Last night's episode, The Well, was a pretty decent show, especially compared to the clunker they aired last week. That particular episode seemed badly rushed, like they needed some filler or something...pretty cruddy. But last night's was kind of fun.

As in previous installments, they tied it in to something MARVEL, this time Thor 2. It opens as the gang are doing some clean-up after the carnage from the movie. Coulson makes a nice quip about wondering why Asgaard doesn't send down "the God of Cleaning Things Up" to help with the mess they keep creating on Earth.  heh

But the premise of last night's show was that a group of anarchist types were searching for, and finding, some remnants of something called a Berserker staff, that we learn was carried by a Berserker warrior from Asgaard who came to Earth ages ago to fight battles . . . etc. He decides to eschew battle to live the good life here, and breaks the staff into three pieces and hides them around the world. The staff, and even its pieces, bestow superhuman strength on any who touch it and also reaches deep into the dark places of the holder to gin up uncontrollable rage . . . hence the name.

Now I'm no super geek, but I used to collect comic books, and MARVEL is big on the word "berserk" and various permutations thereof. I was sure I had seen the name of a villian with that name and thought it might be from an issue of Thor. I was both right and wrong:

Not exactly the character the tv show is going on about, but then they've butchered the Asgaardian mythology anyway, so . . .

The show becomes mostly about the team finding the pieces and stopping the baddies. Agent Ward touches a part of the staff and becomes a really nasty person. We learn that his hidden trauma is something from his childhood where he was bullied (the current outrage de jour) and his brother dies in the process. But Ward channels the anger using the staff's induced power to fight off the bad guys.

We also see Agent May using the staff without the same side effects as Ward because, as she tells Ward, she lives with her demons/trauma every day. We also get some cute implied post battle bonding sex as May subtly invites Ward into her hotel room at the episode's end.

All around a nice fleshing out of the characters. Skye trying desperately to get inside Ward's personal defenses, but he instead trusts his fellow warrior (May), a nice touch.

Also more work trying to develop the snappy banter. When Coulson talks about searching for the second piece of the staff, which is hidden under a church amid a burial ground, he tells the team to head to the church and "...see what you can dig up." Then follows quickly with "See what I did there?" as he exits the room.  cute

A few grumbles -- they seem to be producing this show on a budget. They've dropped some coin on the plane, but everything else looks pretty inexpensive, especially compared to some of the effects-laden shows that are on commercial tv now. The fight scenes aren't particularly fabulous either. The guy who plays Agent Ward is certainly buff, we saw that last night in his shirtless scene, but he doesn't look authentic fighting. Same with Agent May. She's supposed to be some otherworldly killer, but her few fight scenes have been pretty bland. Don't know who the fight choreographer is, but he needs to up his game a bit. I mean there was a part where Ward is wielding two portions of the staff that screamed for some Kenpo action. Ever see The Perfect Weapon with Jeff Speakman? It can be totally awesome if you have someone who knows how to swing those sticks.

Also, a casting bitch -- Peter McNichol as the former Asgaardian Berserker?! Doughy, pudgy, tiny Peter McNichol?!?! Yeah, just not seeing that one. Now my choice would have been Mads Mikkelson. He's got the whole Nordic thing going on, plus he can do the world weary, old warrior just trying to life a quiet life thing. That would have rocked!

We also got another tease with Coulson and his resurrection. This time we see him on a table getting a massage, beach in the background, obvious island girl working him over, when she tells him "it's a magical place" he bolts awake in his bed on the plane, dripping in sweat. So we're still wondering.

The show's chugging along. It's not going to win any Emmy's, but it's decent commercial tv fare. I'm enjoying it.

And recently, new cutie Chloe Bennett (Skye) was at some function looking adorable:

chloe bennett cute

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