Plot: An Asgardian is loose on Midgard. After taking control of a newlywed husband, Lorelei (Elena Satine) seeks to make her own army and take over the world. Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) of the Warriors Three is hot on her tail though. Joining forces with Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team, Sif will do everything she can to bring this rouge Asgardian back to prison where she belongs.
Way back in November, when this series was doing its best to find an audience, an episode was thrown in as a tie-in to the recently released Thor: The Dark World. “The Well” was promoted as a direct follow-up to the Dark Elf invasion of Asgard and Midgard. What we ended up getting was far from that though. Very little about the episode actually connected to the film’s story. Like many fans, I was hugely disappointed by the “tie-in.” It especially left me wondering what a good movie tie-in could actually look like for a show of this much potential. In an incredibly surprising move, last night’s episode “Yes Men” gave us a concrete example of what a movie tie-in has to be. And you know what? It wasn’t even billed as one! Yet, the main backbone of the story was directly connected to what happened in the latest Thor adventure, giving viewers the connection they wanted four months ago, and it was outstanding.
Seeing as Thor: The Dark World is on DVD now I’m assuming that anyone who wanted to see it already has so I’m going to freely discuss the plot right here. Midway through the film, Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston) and his Dark Elves lay absolute siege to Asgard. This causes a bunch of ruthless prisoners to run amok through the kingdom. Seeing as there were plenty of enemies locked up in those cells, it’s perfectly believable for Lorelai to have been one of them. Her arrival on Midgard is definitely not something to take lightly so bringing Sif down for one kickass guest appearance was excellent. Her direct history with Lorelai made Sif the right person for the job, giving a story fueled by both revenge and a firm sense of duty. Jaimie Alexander obviously loves playing Sif, she practically relishes every scene she’s in, so it’s easy to imagine her jumping on the opportunity to reprise the role. If anything, this is a perfect example of how much bringing in the occasional supporting movie hero can elevate the show.
The overall plot was really enjoyable too despite having some typical predictability. It’s hammered in early on that Lorelei wants the biggest and strongest men under her wing. Who better to take than Grant Ward (Brett Dalton)? This is Ward’s second time as a brainwashed antagonist and it was still nice to see him break away from the mold of a hero. The fact that all the promos for the episode blatantly showed Ward fighting his team did take a little bit of that away though. We knew it was going to happen, just as much as we knew he was going to get better at the very last minute. There was no way Lorelei was going to last more than one episode. I will say that Ward’s personal development was a nice touch however. It wouldn’t have worked if him and Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) maintained their hookups without any speed bumps. I mean, we all know that Ward actually wants Skye (Chloe Bennet) right? It’s good that he’s on that track now.
For the obvious benefit of the episode, “Yes Men” was suitably action packed. There was a ton of exciting ass kicking going on. The opening shootout was fun but it easily pales in comparison to the multiple fights that ended the episode. Sif versus Lorelei was the natural outcome and its dual airtime with May versus Ward made those scenes one big adrenaline rush. It was also fun to have Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) take his turn on the bad side too. While he didn’t get an appropriate fist fight of his own, it did give a good reason for Coulson to punch him in the face and have Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) deliver an amazing one liner: “Oh poor thing. Always getting knocked out.” Simmons is easily becoming my favorite character for quippy quotes.
Of course, this episode couldn’t go by without some discussion about the blue creature Coulson found last week. There are a ton of theories out there about who it was but one got some validity last night through a casual mention by Sif. Coulson asks the obviously well-traveled warrior if she has ever seen a blue alien, and this leads to her listing off several. One race she quickly mentions is the Kree, Marvel comics staples who are set to appear in Guardian’s of the Galaxy later this year. Was this the show giving us an subtle confirmation? Take all of this at face value until someone actually says, “Hey. That’s a Kree.” As for Skye’s survival, it was welcomed to have Coulson open up with her so soon about the blue alien. Most of the episode had Coulson blue-balling (get it?!) anyone’s attempts to find some answers, but he’s finally convinced to talk about what he saw near the end. Skye appropriately responded with complete shock, which was the natural reaction. What I didn’t see coming was how Coulson is all set to say “Fuck the rules” to get the answers he wants. Does this mean that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is going to pop back again? Man I hope so.
The big reveal in the end involving May needs to be addressed though. I get that the writers want her to be the “mysterious” team member, but there has to be a limit to what she knows. She can fly the Bus with ease, is an expert at hand to hand and weapons combat, AND knows all of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s secrets? She’s like an entire team’s worth of members in one character. What gives? When it was revealed at the end that she has known about the blue creature this entire time, I almost screamed “Of course she did! May apparently knows everything!” Where will the writers finally draw the line? Or better yet, why can’t anyone else have cool twists like this?
Next week a Marvel documentary is airing instead of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and that actually upsets me. Yes I’m obviously going to watch the documentary and absolutely lose my shit when I get the tiniest glimpse of Avengers: Age of Ultron. That’s a guarantee. What upsets me is how we’re getting another break from this show. Sure you could make the case that this extra time is giving the producers what they need to make these episodes great but it feels like this back half is ridiculously prolonged. There have been five episodes now since the show came back on January 7th. Without any breaks, we would have been where we are on February 4th. Instead it’s March 12th and there are 6 episodes left until the season ends. At this rate we’ll be done at the end of April. While now I don’t want the show to end, since it’s getting so good, these long gaps are just damn painful.