‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’: Was the ‘Thor: The Dark World’ Tie-in a Success?

Published 1 year ago by , Updated November 20th, 2013 at 3:57 am,

agents of shield episode 8 the well team 570x294 ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’: Was the Thor: The Dark World Tie in a Success?

It’s the Thor: The Dark World tie-in that fans have been waiting for; though perhaps it’s not the one everyone had hoped for. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made good on its promise of film-linked episode and, believe it or not, delivered a respectable tale of another Asgardian who happened to choose love on Earth over life in the higher realm. Even so, there’s still some growing to do for ABC’s fledgling show – and perhaps moving away from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the way to go.

A ticket to Thor: The Dark World not only bought you a fun, portal jumping adventure with the God of Thunder, it also allowed you to become guinea pigs for Marvel’s first attempt at turning the synergy dials up to “11,” or perhaps “2,” as this episode unfortunately revealed. But hey, it was a fun 3 minutes, right?

In this week’s episode, ‘The Well,’ written by Fringe and Revolution producer and writer Monica Breen, Norse pagan cults get bit of free advertising, as an ancient and powerful Asgardian staff, trisected and hidden away for centuries, is pieced together by three would-be gods. Only the Norwegians forgot one thing: Coulson has a Ward – and they won’t like Ward when he’s raging, primal growl and all.

agents of shield episode 8 the well ward 570x294 ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’: Was the Thor: The Dark World Tie in a Success?

‘The Well’ is not so much a tie-in to Thor: The Dark World as it is a proverbial hallway pass for Marvel’s little sister series to get close to part of the hallowed mythology that fuels Marvel’s billion-dollar box office – which is encouraging to see with a mythology so vast and rich with lore. But such a pass also comes with a cost – one that minutes of lip-service to Thor doesn’t completely justify. Still, an encouraging tale does eventually reveal itself, thanks to Peter MacNicol (praise Odin) and Clark Gregg; unfortunately, the series itself still appears to be fighting against the parts that make it so the entire way.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is able to recover from the fumble that turned out to be the short-lived tie-in to Thor: The Dark World, but the actual implementation of the related tale, no matter how encouraging and successful, is still caught under weight of the series’ large and often misused cast – and this episode is no different, unfortunately. What it is, in a sense, is a step backwards for the struggling series which just began to find its footing two week ago, as the series has already shown fans that the team can actually work in harmony with all the comic-based devices. Throw one more being, human or Asgardian, in the mix, however, and, well, things begin to get a bit clunky.

agents of shield episode 8 the well may skye 570x294 ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’: Was the Thor: The Dark World Tie in a Success?

Thankfully, the core tale of this week’s episode does allow Coulson to stretch his legs and become more comfortable with his television confines, and the dialogue has been elevated to include the familiar Coulson wit, as well as the sense of leadership, that he brought to all of Marvel’s Phase I films. Grant Ward, too, bless his heart, strapped on big boy shoes and made an earnest attempt at selling a poorly realized backstory for everyone’s favorite Boy Scout. But at the end of the day, is all the added trouble worth it?

Even with Ming-Na Wen finally being able to bring Melinda May out of the shadows, there’s still a sense of mediocrity that surrounds the heart of the series. At its best, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a fun look into the inner-workings of Marvel’s secret agency, good and bad; at its worst, it’s a generic procedural with no real purpose; and when it’s attempting to tie-in to the Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, it’s a mixture of both, with the latter slowly eating away at the former.

But there’s still hope for ABC’s experiment, as the next scheduled tie-in, for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is many months away – so any attempt at juggling that act of synergy will come well after the series will have had to prove itself to the network. In the meantime, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can now take a deep breath, put the tie-in behind them, celebrate the attempt at delivering a genuinely enjoyable episode, and once again return to building its own foundation outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course, Tahiti is always an option – Coulson seemed to have enjoyed it, even if it did mess up his accuracy.


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns next Tuesday with ‘Repairs’ @8pm on ABC.

Follow Anthony Ocasio on Twitter @anthonyocasio
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  1. I absolutely loved this episode and appreciate how the series is evolving.

  2. I wasn’t expecting much of a tie-in to the film, so I wasn’t disappointed. I thought the episode did a fine job of telling the tale of another Asgardian while developing the Ward character. If you pay attention, the last four episodes have picked one character and focused on them. Skye, Fitz, Simmons, and now Ward. Still waiting for that Melinda May episode.

    • Next week’s episode “Repairs” is looking to be Agent May-centric.

  3. The biggest problem with this show is that is boring.

  4. REPOST:
    Tahiti is a magical place, it’s where SHIELD has a facility for the creation of genetically identical copies of individuals, or REPLACEMENT CLONING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    if you ever watched “Ultimate Spiderman”, Thor calls Coulson “Son of Coul” … and Spiderman is really confused by this..

    • The ‘Son of Coul’ thing is a reference to the norse way of naming your son. If i had a son he would be called *first name, Alexson* like Thor is called *Thor, Odinson*

      Thor was confused by Coulson’s name, so he calls him ‘Son of Coul’.

      • Yup, conversly, if you had a daughter she would be called Alexdottir (dottir = daughter). At least by the old ways.

        • Interesting.

  5. The thing that would lift this show out of mediocrity is if the writers/producers/studio would make this show more mature more grown-up a bit harder like Arrow.
    I am a big fan of the comics be it DC or Marvel but when watching this show its like they are shooting for a certain demographic but missed it by about 5-10 years.
    For some reason I always felt that Marvel comics were more direct (adult) then DC comics and its funny but with the 2 tv shows for me its the other way round.

    • The fact that ABC & Marvel slotted this show at 8 pm tells you everything you need to know about its target audience. They aren’t going for “more mature more grown-up a bit harder like Arrow,” as you stated.

    • Aint gonna happen.

      Don’t confuse the comic universe with the MCU, although one is the source material for the other, they’re completely different beasts.

      Isn’t ABC owned by Disney? and I’m sure it’s regarded as the “family channel” i.e. nothing showing that’ll scare the kiddies.

      Also another thing to remember is that the MCU films are all PG-13 so you can have elevated levels of violence and a darker more mature (although the MCU films are still pretty cartoony) content and still get the little whippersnappers in to watch as it’s down to parental discretion.

      Can’t get away with the same content on TV so it’s kiddie-fied so it can have a nice family friendly time slot (I assume, it’s on a 8pm here in the UK) so the short pants can watch before bed.

      Your correct though, DC does seem to be aiming for the teen/young adult market, where as Disney / Marvel is going for the family group, including the pre-teens. But then at least their consistent as the movies have the same tone, Marvel a bit bouncey, colourful and cartoony whereas DC is all a bit serious and grim, lots of gravitas and stern chins.

      If your older you’ll most likely prefer the DC tone (not necessary movies/shows) where as the young ‘uns just get a kick out seeing superheroes on the screen and aren’t looking for some deeper meaning and angst.

  6. So, did this episode make a love triangle involving Skye, Ward, and Agent May. May and Ward hooking up, that weird, she’s like twice his age.

    • I don’t think it’ll be a love triangle. It’s like Bond, field agents bang and there are no consequences or “feelings” involved. Them hooking up will probably only affect Skye who has her little crush on Ward. So it’s a love dot?

    • Yeah, I mean, it’s going to be the most emotionless love triangle since Twilight, I really hope that’s not the direction they take it.

    • So what? May is a hot chick…. and if you use the half your age plus 7 rule it works…….. on the other hand he is almost twice Skyes age but I don’t see you having a problem with that.. she is too immature anyway.. it all comes down to this…..May left the door open for him and he went in… any men would have done the same in that situation.. I would…

      • Grant Ward is 30.

        The age of the character “Melinda May” is unknown however the actress playing the character is 50.

        Skye’s age is unknown but the actress is 21.

        • Exactly…you don’t think I looked all this up before posting earlier? Half your age plus 7 rule. May is 50/2+7= 32 and considering that Ward is listed as “early 30′s” not specific, this is close nuff.

          although I will admit, the same rule would apply to Ward and Skye .. 31/2+7 =22 1/2

          but given a choice in that moment .. and under the residual feelings of the staff.. I think everyone would have walked through that door…..

          • FYI: In the pilot episode, Agent Ward’s date of birth was listed on screen for a split second roughly eight minutes into the episode as: January 7, 1983

            • so taking a year off we still close enough right… anyway May is hot ….. although I like them younger like skye……:) what would you do?

              • What is this, high school? Age has nothing to do with it!

                • Yeah… I don’t get it either. In a time where gay marriage is becoming legal in more and more countries (rightly so, I think) people still get hung up on age differences? What does it matter? As long as it’s legal and the chemistry works out any age differences are completely irrelevant, especially when you consider that there are 40 year olds that aren’t any more mature than teens and the other way around.

    • I totally agree, Skye and Ward all the way!

  7. I think it did.

  8. How quickly everybody forgets that the first season of Arrow was pretty bad, the last two episodes saved the series imo. But the rest of the season was pretty crapy, much, much worse then AoS is at the moment.

    Also people need to understand that what happened in New York changed the world so it’s not really so strange that they keep mentioning it. If they didn’t mention it as often, that would be strange! Aliens attackt the world and where stopped by freaking superheroes! If that happend in real life people would s*** themself for years to come.
    So let them name drop the Avengers and the battle of New York, it is and was a game changer for the world. That’s not something you just glance over and forget.

    • Also the whole hook up thing was pretty logical actually.
      They are both battle hardend SHIELD agents who needed to unwind after they both had their mind raped by a Asgardian Bezerker staff. So not a huge surprise imo.

      • The issue isn’t that it doesn’t make sense, the issue is that there wasn’t much development between those two characters, but there has been some (little) between Ward and Skye. They ended the episode that way in an almost cliffhanger fashion. It’s just not a plot thread I care to see explored, but now it’s this awkward loose end that exists. just weird.

        • Actually it makes perfect sense.
          As said both were just mindraped by a alien staff that pulled up their worst memories of their lives. Memories they burried and tried to forget, Ward did atleast.

          Nobody could understand what that feels like but them. So they go to each other and comfort each other and help each other cope. Best way to do that is some booze and some casual coping sex. I don’t think it’s going to big love story between them. Just dealing with what happend.

          • I mean, I didn’t say it doesn’t make sense… It would just be nice if the script would actually explain it instead of leaving up to you.

            • They probally will in future episodes. Plus making your own conections isn’t a bad thing. They don’t have to serve you up every little detail. The fact they keep you thinking is a good thing imo.

              After last night I think Coulson probally is a Life Model Decoy or he is or will be The Vision. Plus the whole ‘Tahiti is a MAGICAL place’ could be used as a lead up to the Scartlet Witch for Avengers 2.

              For a first season AoS is doing pretty well imo, season 2 will be better. Look at Arrow, that first season was horrible and look at it now. I have great faith in AoS.

              • @ Morbidmack, I was thinking the same thing about the staff. All that rage built them up and messed with their minds too. They need release and did so with each other.

                Also, I think it will definately come back as Skye is obviously developing feelings for ward and was trying to get him to open up. She will find out Grant opened up to someone else and will get jealous. Serve up the drama!

                • The last thing I want to see in this show is Skye trying to act hurt because Ward and May are having casual sex. That is the absolute most boring melodramatic plot point this show could use, which is saying a lot.

                  • I think it’s a nice twist. We all know how obsessive about finding the truth Skye is. Yes, Ward and May’s ‘connection’ will make her jealous, but considering Ward completely gave Skye the facepalm when she opened herself up to him and went with May instead, she’s going to be the one who makes it her goal to find out everything she can about May and how SHE was able to do something SHE couldn’t.

                    Her digging will lead her closer to the mystery of her parents than she could have possibly imagined..!

    • That is your opinion….I loved Arrow since episode 1 and it just keeps getting better… so yeah. “How quickly everybody forgets that the first season of Arrow was pretty bad” no.. not in my book or a lot of people I know as well.

      • …but indeed in the book of a lot of other people.

  9. I’ve enjoyed almost every episode, but I hated this one.

    No other reason than that I just thought it wasn’t fun or intriguing. Just kinda lame.

  10. so i guess i didn’t miss anything…

  11. While this episode was one of the better ones so far,I feel more and more every week that the main hook of the show to keep you watching is only to find out what happened to Coulson.Along with that,this show is getting to be more and more soap opera-ish.Are Fitz and Simmons ever going to hook up? Will Sky and Ward ever hook up? These are all soap opera plots that really don’t need to be,or at least feel like one of the main focuses of the show.

    I did like the nod to Dollhouse at the end of the episode though.

  12. Really, really hope they get this train back on the rails in the second half of the season. They need to take a drascte turn, whatever that turn may be. Most people are saying it is too kiddy, and trying appeal to a massive audience, which isn’t working out it seems but I disagree. The show is just bad. Nothing is grabbing my attention if I was a kid or adult for that matter, they are having very suggestive scenes that imply “Adult Playtime”, and the Freak/Creature of the week stories are bad. Who cares about this Rage Staff, really?

    The show runners and ABC brass need to realize and adopt Kevin Feige’s approach to the films, “Respect the source material.” Agents of Shield hasn’t been doing that, and they’ve been making new lore (Which I don’t mind) to the universe but it’s absolutely dreadful. People still say you can’t be having people running around in costumes, and really out of this world events happening because people won’t relate to it or will find it cheesy. . . Every thing Marvel Studios has done thus far, has proven that audiences do response and enjoy the content if it is unrealistic and crazy.The Avengers proved that will a billion plus take-in.

    I understand the budgets are much lower on the television side, but that is where you need VERY talented show-runners, and people that know what they are doing and have a plan. They could have easily had a story about Dark Elves that were running amok in London or anywhere for that matter, and bring in the Agents to hunt them down. Keeps the cost down, you could add more background to the Dark Elves and who they are. I would have much rather seen that than last night’s staff infection (<— See what I did there?).

  13. i loved this episode. i think they’ve done a great job of making the characters who were initially either boring or annoying (skye, fitzsimmons and ward) much more interesting with the last three episodes. ward was always too clean cut, like captain america without being in any way awesome. this episode with him throwing his weight around, bullying fitz and shooting down skye, it added a bit of the darkness the shows been missing. also i kind of liked that him and may hooked up, the way the skye/ward thing had been developing was pretty cliched so far. it was nice to be blindsided by the show for a change.
    i think they need to get to the coulson thing pretty quick, its dragging on.
    really what the show needs now is a compelling big bad, something to drive the whole show forward and give the team purpose. centipede isn’t doing it for me.
    also, final note, how cool would it be for james spader to be introduced even just briefly as a minor side character. an ultron origin link in would have me glued to this show.

  14. Ward totally gave it to May…Or maybe May Gave it to Ward..? Either way… They totally gave it to each other!

    • That’s just the most awkward sex ever.

      • not as awkward as Fitz and Simmons if they ever hook up

        • Fitz and Simmons would be awkward sex. Just like how they have awkward conversations. May and Ward would be awkward because it would be the most disinterested sex ever. Like, ward will be reading a mission brief on her back and she’ll be cleaning a gun level of disinterested.

          • or maybe they have sex like the fight..HARD… which is what makes more sense to me in my head.

  15. Ward and May hooking up was so weird and it just felt wrong. I feel bad for Skye cause she basically opened up for Ward and told him that she was there for him then of course he goes straight for May instead. Hopefully with this new plot twist it will push Skye to look further into her feelings for Ward.

  16. This episode felt like a step back from the previous 2, could have done a better Thor 2 tie-in even without including any of the cast from that film – as tiso suggested, something about leftover dark elves doing stuff would have been better

    Also just two cents about the show (and screen rants slightly negative reviews)
    First on the reviews, I’m glad that they don’t shy away from pointing out the problems with the show – cos there are a lot of problems with it – and i think its fair to say that screen rant doesn’t ‘want’ the show to bad

    Secondly – while it is nice for some to be able to be alright with the show as is, there seems to be 2 things said as defence of it
    There’s the – this was not going to be like the avengers very week – argument for its low quality which suggest that everyone else was expecting a massive budget show with regular appearances of the movie cast, which very few people were expecting

    Then there is the – arrow sucked at first argument – now while arrow was not fantastic in the first half of the season, in my personal opinion it was even at that early stage a massive step up from what AoS is putting out – personally this time last year I was looking forward to each episode of arrow as I thought it showed promise and progress each week, AoS on the other hand feels more like a chore to watch each week
    I’m giving it until Coulsons secret is revealed to improve or a full season which ever happens first

    The point I’m trying to make is that – if you like the show great, that’s nice for you, but don’t act like the show is flawless as the show has earned all the negativity that it has received thus far

    To go with the arrow comparison, I recommended the show to friends early on and did always point out the melodramatic element saying that if the person could get past that element that the show was good, and fortunately the melodrama has progressively taken more and more of a back seat
    With AoS I can’t in good conscience recommend it to anyone as the things that are wrong are so numerous that if you are looking past the flawed elements then there is almost nothing left worth watching

    • Yeah, the only reason I watch it is because it is technically a part of the MCU. If it were standalone, then I wouldn’t have gone more than a few episodes. I can see the show being better suited for a binge watch on netflix though. The week to week format is not very gripping, though.

  17. I really loved the Dollhouse “mental lock and key”-thingy in the after credit scene. Turns out, Coulson 2.0 is a real doll.

  18. I just wished they dealt with the creature that got left behind from the cold planet at the end of Thor 2.

  19. I found the episode to be a step backward after two of its strongest episodes. Admittedly, I haven’t seen Thor 2 but I can’t imagine it being on par with the quality of that episode. Casting the most obnoxious character from Alphas as the VOW didn’t help matters. I was more impressed to see Ming-Na Wen turned 50 this week. Pretty incredible, as she certainly does not look or move like it!

    If nothing else, this was the one episode that could have capitalized on Agent Coulson’s numerous Avengers’ death references. It felt like they tiptoed around it a bit instead.

  20. Just read something on Comicbook.com’s review that is kind of interesting: Has Coulson actually used or mentioned Loki by name?

  21. Okay, I posted a pretty irritated rant against what seemed to me a DC bais on this site a few weeks ago, so I’ve got no problem with calling that out. But these past few reviews haven’t been bashing or baised; they’ve been legitimate reviews addressing legitimate issues with the show. Even if you like the show like I do, you probably agree that it is nowhere as good as it could be. It’s not the plots that bug me, the budget, the acting, the references… It’s the fact that this cast hasn’t developed any chemistry at all. ABC, send them all to the real Tahiti for a few weeks, let them bond. The show feels very pieced-together. Everything works well enough on its own, but it’s just not gelling quite right.

  22. This episode, like the rest of the AOS series was a major disappointment!……..like the previous posts have indicated, the show just isn’t hard-edged enough, like Arrow and doesn’t have the same intensity like the new show Almost Human……also, they need to kill off Fitz and Simmons, they are totally useless and annoying on the show!

  23. I liked this episode. one of the best.

  24. Haha, Whedon fanboys getting mad because Screenrant are basically giving a s**t show s**t reviews.

    Seriously, the show is plain awful. I wanted to love it and have been giving it a chance but it’s so bad, writing, acting, dialogue etc. How can a TV series set in the Marvel Universe be so so BORING and not have (apart from Coulson) any interesting characters.

    • It’s not being about a Whedon “fanboy” (He’s only written the first episode), it’s about poorly written reviews, whether they’re good or bad. Look at YOUR review for instance: “It’s awful! The writing, acting, dialogue, are bad! It’s boring! Not interesting! Etc!!” “Ex cetera?” Really??

      Fine if that’s how you feel, but it’s lazy and non-descriptive from a critical writing standpoint. Those are just a list of juvenile adjectives a teen-age mall kid could string together with no examples or specific evidence to back up their claims. If I typed what you typed for a book report to describe a book I read, the teacher or professor would fail me and rightfully so.

      • John you seem to be trolling everyone here who speaks negatively about your precious. Book reports?!? Get real, pal. You’re just making yourself seem small. This is for people to discuss AoS, good or bad. Your post is just looking to bait people, you got me earlier, I suppose.

        You seem like you need everything spoon fed to you in “book report” form as you put it. Some things do not require a description.


        “Heads up!”


        “JohnL is a troll”

        “AoS is garbage”

        People hear it, get it, and then move on.

        • Like I said, none of those are specific criticisms of the show, just the name of the show with an adjective in front of it. A kid can do that. How is that ME baiting people if you’re opinions are incoherent to me?

          You think the show is ‘garbage’. Good for you. I disagree, and you haven’t made any arguments against that opinion that are coherent to me. No need to make personal attacks.

          • I agree. Seriously, @MovieB, what’s up with your comments….?

            Anyway, what do you have to say about this week’s episode? CRAZY about Simmons, right?

  25. Why does everyone assume that Ward and May “banged”? Because he is a man and she is a woman? That’s deep. I saw it more of a “I’ll tell you my story if you tell me yours.” Then alcohol did it’s thing and it was never spoken of again.

    • If you couldn’t tell that, that was an invitation to booty you’ve let a lot of it pass you by.

    • Who wouldn’t bang May? She be hotz and kick some serious ass.
      No but I get your point, maybe they just finished the bottle and that’s it.
      But I do believe there was some lovin.

  26. Great episode.

  27. I hope May gets that Hate Staff as her personal weapon.

  28. I thought this was the best episode yet. It was the first time that I didn’t check my watch since the beginning of the show. I really liked the story and Coulson felt more like the Coulson that we know from the movies than ever before. Sure, the Thor: The Dark World connection was flimsy at best, but I didn’t expect any more from this show anyway, so that was fine. Just a couple of forced name drops as usual and then off to a different story. At least that story had an Asgardian connection, which was definitely good.

    Does anyone else think that a Captain America cameo is an absolute must? I mean, it’s SHIELD after all, with Cap Superfan Coulson at the helm no less. That would go a long way connecting the movies and the show. That, and a return of Maria Hill and Nick Fury here and there.

  29. So based on a good portion of the comments on this thread:

    If you like this show, you’re a fanboy
    If you dislike this show, you were expecting Avengers weekly.

    What about people like me? I came into the show with high expectations. I wanted a show with S.H.I.E.L.D. acting like 24′s CTU. I hated the first 3 or 4 episodes. Then, I reevaluated what I’m watching. It’s ABC family programing with superhero overtones. And based on that assessment, it’s getting a lot better.

    And those of us complaining about SR’s review being biased or overly negative…listen to the podcast. They clearly state that it is improving, but it has room for improvement.

    • I was expecting a combination of stories like “24″, “X-Files” from the Men in Black side of things instead of their opponents, “Fringe”, “Alias”, “Covert Affairs”, “Regenesis”