Published on January 9th, 2014 | by Sharp-O6
S.H.I.E.L.D. Exposed – “The Magical Place”
It wasn’t a Magical Place! It wasn’t a Magical Place! *screams*
We’re back with Doom’s coverage of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and I must address something right at the top. I’m reviewing this based on the American broadcast because Channel 4, the UK channel that shows AoS three days after the States, have made the BIGGEST bone-head mistake they could have. As reported by Den of Geek, unlike the Americans (and myself) who only had to endure a couple weeks, Channel 4 has decided not to air the rest of the season til March. You fucked up, Channel 4. You’re fucking clown shoes.
Okay, okay, okay, calming down. As I’m still going to be covering the show week-to-week, some UK viewers who haven’t seen the show (or are going to wait til March, like chumps) may want to avoid these articles because I am going into deep SPOILERS. The SPOILERiest SPOILERS that ever SPOILERed your SPOILS. Right, on with the episode!
The team, still reeling from the events of The Bridge, find themselves with a contingent of SHIELD personnel lead by Victoria Hand, as they hunt down Centipede. Hand is a harsh taskmistress and she’s not really in on the whole “Coulson is awesome, let’s go save him” plan but she’s still a welcome addition to the episode.
Skye is thrown off the Bus by Hand and the team give what little support they can to her as she goes rogue and finds Coulson herself, utilising her own skills (despite the nanny bracelet handicap) and the skills she’s learnt from Ward (and even May). All of the scenes with the team working their asses off trying to find Coulson are great. There’s little hints of character development (Fitz’s bloodlust when it comes to getting Coulson back, May’s compassion and trust in Skye) that really carry the episode, even if they’re not the focus.
The villains return in a big bad way as Poe is trying to break Coulson using what appears to be a tiny MRI machine in an old Nuclear Testing site. Poe isn’t, and hasn’t, been a very intimidating villain. He’s far too confident and believes himself the better that of course he ends up dead by the hands (or phone) of his employer, the Clairvoyant. The device used kind of reminds me of the sonic emitter that Obadiah Stane used in the first Iron Man movie. If it’s the same tech, that a nice little callback. Raina (The Girl in the Flower Dress) meanwhile, is promoted to Clairvoyant’s favourite with the death of Poe and she really is the better villain. She’s cunning, manipulative but plays up her humility and even arousal at the idea of this Clairvoyant character. It makes her more a interesting villain, especially the revelation that she was once subject to the machine Coulson has been suffering in. What’s her long game? Why is she so enamoured with someone she’s never met? When’s she coming back? We’ll just have to see as the show goes on.
Now we come to the crux of the episode and what most of the season thus far has been building to. COULSON WATCH 2014!
Oh man, oh geez, oh man! What the actual hell!? I don’t even know where to start.
Coulson is being physically tortured by Poe to reveal what happened to him after he died. The mind reading device brings up subconcious memories using SCIENCE but Coulson’s resistance is killing him, much to Poe’s annoyance. Raina has better luck as she manipulates Coulson’s emotions and regrets, bringing up the death of his parents, his cellist girlfriend and eventually he relents when he repeats “It’s a magical place” at the mention of Tahiti. His confusion, grief and horror are all conveyed brilliantly by Clark Gregg, allowing him to show all his acting chops other than smiling adorably and being funny. Hell, he escapes while on Poe’s watch and slaps an impressive sleeper hold on a soldier. I’m pushing Coulson for Summer Slam!
And when we finally see what his Tahiti experience has been hiding, as his memory fractures and we see him under the knives of some robotic surgeon as his brain is dissected/reassembled and screaming for death. It’s actually a surprisingly graphic sequence for something that’s shown on prime time tv and shocked me. It brings to mind the Project Lazarus sequence from Mass Effect 2, as Dr. Streiten (Ron Glass, reprising his role from the Pilot) explains things to Coulson. We only saw the 7th surgery Coulson underwent to be resurrected, god only knows what else they did to him. Dr. Streiten uses words like “ungodly” and suggests that whatever Coulson is now, is far from human.
And the shit keeps coming as after the SHIELD logo fades in and out, the stinger reveals Mike.
The Magical Place gets a stamp of MUST-SEE, this is what the show has been building to and its what we’ve been asking for since Day One! It’s got action, tension and some of the answers we’ve been waiting for. I cannot wait to see how the rest of the season goes and what you guys think so be sure to leave a comment below!