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Agents of SHIELD: The Magical Place

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#1 G-man

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 09:45 AM

OK, it came back, Coulson’s back, Rayna’s in custody (yay!), Centipede is on the run (maybe), Skye is redeemed in the eyes of her team-mates (about time) and the team is back together … status quo ante finale.

The “we need to get Skye away from these people to work her magic” bit actually made sense, as the team itself seems concerned over Hand’s priorities.  I liked how Skye picked out a jacket that looked to emulate one that May has … and how she managed to work around her bracelet.

The reveal … OK, macabre is a good term for it.  I’m not really sure what the heck was going on, the procedure seemed in appropriate given the nature of Coulson’s wound.  And it does beg the question, just who is Coulson that SHIELD and Fury would push so hard to save/recover/retain him.  Is Coulson the proverbial “honest man” that SHIELD simply cannot do without?

What concerned me was the tag scene.  It appears as if Peterson was recovered by the others, as opposed to SHIELD, thus putting him back to where he was in the beginning … is he to become the first Deathlok?  From this I can only surmise that when things went south in the mid-season finale, it was the team that recovered a shot Ward and bugged out, and apparently failing to secure the scene of that debacle.  Consequently, if SHIELD did later send in their clean-up squad, it was only after someone (the Clairvoyant?) had already gone through and recovered what was to be recovered.

So, did any one else catch this episode?

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 08 January 2014 - 10:52 AM.

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#2 Tricia

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 10:39 AM

The episode title for this one was "The Magical Place" but we got to see that it was definitely not 'magical'

I really loved that Skye picked that jacket out and even used May's name  when introducing herself.  I did get a chuckle out of the fact that Lloyd really didn't know about computers because he had people to do that stuff for him so Skye just tied him up and got one of the guards to hack into Vanchat's Swiss bank account

I'm still not sure of why SHIELD went to such extreme measures to 'save' Coulson but I was more than a little creeped out by that scene.

Edited by Tricia, 08 January 2014 - 10:39 AM.

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#3 G-man

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 10:53 AM

^^^ Thank you for the episode title, Tricia.  I somehow missed it.

But, yes, I am completely with you about being creeped out by that scene.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#4 Christopher

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 12:11 PM

I thought this was a very effective episode. A lot of big things happening, a lot of very effective scenes, good showings for most of the characters (in particular we got to see just what a badass Skye can be when she's cut loose), and some real answers coming out. If the show can maintain this level, I think opinions of it will improve.

I like it that the "secret" SHIELD was keeping was merely Coulson's suffering during the resurrection. It wasn't something dark and sinister, it was an attempt at an act of kindness. Okay, maybe there's more to find out about how and why he was resurrected, but for the moment I'm satisfied. At least we can finally put the damn Life Model Decoy theory to rest.

So what makes Coulson so special? Maybe nothing. Maybe Fury just didn't have the means to resurrect someone until after the Chitauri invasion, and Coulson was his first test case.

I had a thought. It's been reported that Stan Lee has a "big role" in an upcoming episode -- please let it be the Clairvoyant!

Although I noted that Po and Raina both carefully avoided using gender-specific pronouns in discussing the Clairvoyant. It might be a woman. (Maybe Victoria Hand?)
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#5 BklnScott

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 01:02 PM

The surgery reveal was very creepy - presumably the machine was repairing degraded neural pathways?

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#6 Cardie

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 01:11 PM

I guess Coulson was brain dead and after they gave him a new heart they had to rebuild his brain and restore its knowledge. Still, if it was only this, why did Dr. Ron Glass keep screaming that this was wrong?
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#7 Tricia

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 01:29 PM

Well, if Dr Streiten is to be believed Coulson was dead for days, not minutes or hours.

Nick Fury ordered the doctors to use unethical procedures to bring Coulson back to life and Dr Streiten wasn't even brought in until the seventh procedure.  Coulson himself was in pain and asking/yelling why they wouldn't let him die.

I'd guess that Streiten objected to the methods as well as the fact that they were ignoring Coulson's wishes.  

Of course, we still don't know what all those 'unethical procedures' were or what Coulson's personal wishes were but I'm doubting that any of the things they did to Coulson were included in his Advanced Directive.

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#8 Christopher

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 01:36 PM

View PostCardie, on 08 January 2014 - 01:11 PM, said:

I guess Coulson was brain dead and after they gave him a new heart they had to rebuild his brain and restore its knowledge. Still, if it was only this, why did Dr. Ron Glass keep screaming that this was wrong?

Because Coulson was conscious and in horrific agony. There are many medical professionals who believe that it isn't worth prolonging life artificially if the quality of that life is unbearable. Especially if it's against the patient's will.

Although I'm not sure the agony would've been physical; the brain has no pain receptors within it, and brain surgery is routinely performed with the patient conscious so that the surgeon can tell whether or how the patient's mental state is affected. Presumably the neural reconstruction, or whatever, was causing some other, more psychological form of distress.
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#9 BklnScott

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 02:34 PM

Wasn't there a detail in a recent episode that suggested other SHIELD agents have gone to Tahiti?  Or am I imagining that?

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#10 Tricia

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 03:08 PM

I only remember Coulson saying anything about Tahiti but not absolutely sure about that

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#11 Avalon

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 03:41 PM

Poor Zombie!Coulson! His brain surgery scene was horrifying, and then it just got worse. Dead for days? I can't even imagine the type of freaked-out soul-searching I'd be doing after hearing just that, much less the rest of what happened.

(Was the tentacled surgery machine a reference to something in the comic books? It looked familiar but I couldn't place it.)

Much as I despise Raina, they certainly highlighted her talent for persuasion here. And she was especially effective when she tormented Coulson over how his cellist girlfriend suffered after his death. It was the most horrible thing she could have done to him, and I was hoping someone would make her pay for that. I literally cheered when Skye laid her out with a Batman-esque one-punch to the face.

Speaking of Skye, I was so tickled that she finally got a chance to really shine here. (And I wasn't fooled for a second by May's terse "No" -- I knew she wanted her off the plane so she could do her thing.) I've liked the character from the beginning and I hope that this episode might get a few viewers to soften up a little more in regards to Skye.

And then there's Mike...Oh, man. Poor Mike...

I thought this was a pretty decent episode, and I hope it gets people more interested in watching the rest of the season. Looking forward to the next episode.

#12 Christopher

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 03:46 PM

View PostBklnScott, on 08 January 2014 - 02:34 PM, said:

Wasn't there a detail in a recent episode that suggested other SHIELD agents have gone to Tahiti?  Or am I imagining that?

There was a bit where May said she knows what Coulson has gone through, in the general sense of understanding recovery from a severe trauma, but some literal-minded viewers have jumped to the conclusion that it meant she'd been through exactly the same experience. That may be what you're thinking of. I can't recall anything else that fits.
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#13 Avalon

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 03:54 PM

View PostChristopher, on 08 January 2014 - 12:11 PM, said:

At least we can finally put the damn Life Model Decoy theory to rest.



Oh, I forgot to mention this...I thought it was hilarious how, in the last few episodes or so, the writers have been teasing us with lots of heavy-handed things like "I feel rusty", "there's too much iron in my blood", "you're like a robot", and some other things I noted at the time but can't remember now. I knew at that point it wasn't going to have anything to do with LMDs -- they were having way too much fun with us.

#14 Cardie

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 04:02 PM

But this resurrection protocol has to include some lasting changes. Others notice something off about Coulson and if the procedures, as horrific and unsought as they were, left him good as new at the end, I doubt the writers would be making such a big deal out of it.
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#15 BklnScott

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 04:26 PM

View PostChristopher, on 08 January 2014 - 03:46 PM, said:

View PostBklnScott, on 08 January 2014 - 02:34 PM, said:

Wasn't there a detail in a recent episode that suggested other SHIELD agents have gone to Tahiti?  Or am I imagining that?

There was a bit where May said she knows what Coulson has gone through, in the general sense of understanding recovery from a severe trauma, but some literal-minded viewers have jumped to the conclusion that it meant she'd been through exactly the same experience. That may be what you're thinking of. I can't recall anything else that fits.

I was thinking of something Titus Welliver said at the end of his ep...?  I confess I find it difficult to follow the show closely.  :(.

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#16 RJDiogenes

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 07:26 PM

I never thought of Mike Peterson becoming Deathlok. That would certainly be interesting.  I guess I got my wish that he survive, but maybe I should be careful what I wish for.

I thought it was another great episode.  Poor Coulson.  Now we know why he was given false memories-- to spare him the trauma and restore his will to live-- but we still don't know exactly how Fury "moved Heaven and Earth" to save him.  I wonder if that's a reference to using Asgardian technology.  And we still don't know why.  I like the idea that it's because he's that proverbial honest man.  It would be a nice twist, especially in this day and age, that he is valuable because of his character and not because of any fantasy gimmick.

Skye certainly did get to show her stuff.  I cracked up at her impersonating May.  I'm glad that wrist band thing is finally resolved.

And I kind of hope we haven't seen the last of Raina.  As creepy as she is, she's strangely appealing.  And she seemed to be flirting with Coulson.  Of course, she also seemed to be flirting with Po and the unseen Clairvoyant.  :lol:
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#17 Avalon

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 08:12 PM

View PostBklnScott, on 08 January 2014 - 04:26 PM, said:

View PostBklnScott, on 08 January 2014 - 02:34 PM, said:

Wasn't there a detail in a recent episode that suggested other SHIELD agents have gone to Tahiti?  Or am I imagining that?

I was thinking of something Titus Welliver said at the end of his ep...?  I confess I find it difficult to follow the show closely.  :(.

Yup -- I remember hearing him say something that I thought sounded like "you're not the only agent" and "Tahiti". It made me sit forward and go, "Wait, what did he just say?!?" But no one else ever mentioned it and I haven't been able to find transcripts for the show. (I should probably just watch it again, if it's still on the ABC website...)

View PostRJDiogenes, on 08 January 2014 - 07:26 PM, said:

And she seemed to be flirting with Coulson.  Of course, she also seemed to be flirting with Po and the unseen Clairvoyant.  :lol:

That's what she does. Don't you remember what she did to "Scorch"? He just thought she was hitting on him -- until the people came in to kidnap him. She flatters people and makes them think they have the upper hand with her. They think she's just a pretty woman in a flowered dress.

#18 BklnScott

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 08:44 PM

It's in the stinger at the end of the FZZT episode but when I watched it again the line is Welliver questioning the explanation level 7's are given by shield upon learning that Coulson lives.  

That said, if this is what makes Coulson so special - what he "must never know" - it's not particularly satisfying.  I think there's another shoe.

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#19 Avalon

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 08:50 PM

^^^ Oh, okay. Huh. :think:

#20 Christopher

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 09:43 PM

I find it very satisfying, because it moved it away from being just some plot-twist gimmick ("You're really a Life Model Decoy!") and made it about something far more interesting -- human feelings. ("You went through unbearable trauma and we thought erasing your memories of it and hiding it from you would be a kindness.")

Let's face it, the mechanics of how Coulson was brought back are irrelevant. Comic-book and sci-fi characters are brought back from the dead all the time. The only thing that makes it meaningful is its emotional impact on the characters. What they've done here is moved the Big Secret away from being about plot gimmicks and made it a character story, a story about well-intentioned people hurting and lying to their friend because they thought it would help him, and that friend discovering that emotionally complicated truth they didn't think he could bear to live with and now having to learn to live with it. That's genuinely interesting, a thousand times more interesting than finding out if the McGuffin they used was Asgardian or Chitauri.
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