A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… okay, so this isn’t Star Wars, but it sort of felt like it with the whole universe intro. However, in the S.H.I.E.L.D. world, things are a little less poetic and a lot more by-the-book, so here goes nothing: In ancient times, people believed in gods and such, which eventually evolved into myth and folklore. But as Coulson explained to Skye, these so-called gods were really just aliens. Example number one? The oh-so-dreamy (even May thinks so!) Thor and his Asgardian homies. But that’s enough history for now. Let’s get to the goods!
In the wake of destruction following the events of Thor: The Dark World, our favorite team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents was assigned clean-up duty. So as they dug through every rock they came across in London, they were missing out on all the fun over in Norway, where a couple cut down a tree and pulled an Asgardian staff from the middle of it. They clearly knew what they were doing. Minutes later, the woman touched the staff, filled with rage, and suddenly had a supernatural level of strength… which meant our guys had to quickly pack up and head on over to Norway, where riots were breaking out with people claiming, “We are gods.”
Turned out, it was less regular-people-claiming-to-be-gods and more members-of-a-Norse-Paganist-Hate-Group-claiming-to-be-gods. They had decided that gods were taking over their world, and in order to fight back, they too had to become gods. So, I don’t think they fully understood the functionality of the staff, but then again, they didn’t seem to be the most reasonable folks on the planet.
With Thor “off the grid” according to director Fury, Coulson and the team headed to Seville, Spain to visit with Elliot Randolph, a local professor of Norse mythology. The professor, whose pen quickly caught Coulson’s eye (something about mother of pearl), knew a freakish amount of information about the staff. It had belonged to a Berserker warrior — a.k.a. a super warrior with the strength of 20 regular warriors — who broke it into three pieces and hid it away (with its dark magic that brought about rage) when he fell in love with humanity and decided to stay on earth some 1,000 years ago. And thanks to some poetry, the team knew where to look next.
Hey, why don’t we look right here in Seville?! How nice and neat, right?! Well, ish. Ward and Skye went into a church in hopes of finding the staff, but what Ward found instead was Randolph trying to escape with the second piece of the staff. Brief pause: If you were going to steal the staff, wouldn’t you bring a duffel bag big enough to hold it? Just sayin’. In an attempt to grab the staff, Ward touched it, causing him to pass out. Meanwhile, before Randolph could make it to his car, he was attacked by the hate group, who were now in possession of two-thirds of the staff.
Back on the bus, a shirtless Ward was being awfully testy while Simmons tested his physical health. To quote Coulson, “See what I did there?” The staff was forcing him to relive his worst memory — the day his bully of an older brother stopped him from saving a young boy who was drowning in a well. Ward told Coulson that he didn’t trust himself, which only made Coulson trust him more. He told Ward to put his rage to use by interrogating Professor Randolph, and by interrogating he meant attempting to stab Randolph. And when Randolph stopped the knife with his bare hands, Coulson proved himself right: Randolph was the Berserker warrior who stayed behind all those years ago. Only it wasn’t because he loved humanity. It was because he was horny. Men never change, regardless of species, do they? And how did Coulson know? His fancy pen gave him away! See kids, no knowledge is useless knowledge.
Randolph revealed that the third piece of the staff was in a monastery in Ireland. So, do the effects ever wear off, Ward wanted to know. The strength? Yep. The deep hole inside of him caused by the rage? Give it a couple decades. Sounds like we might be stuck with the new angrier Ward for a bit… which was good news when the hate group showed up in Ireland and stabbed the professor. Ward grabbed the staff from his chest and went full-on Red Ross on the bad guys.
While Coulson stuck his hand in the professor’s chest and somehow saved him, Ward put all of his rage into the fight at hand, taking out at least a dozen of his fellow rageaholics, during the course of which we saw a bit more of his horrible memory. After Ward couldn’t take anymore, May picked up the staff, all three pieces intact, and finished the job. So why could she pick up the staff without a problem? Because she sees her worst memory every day. Well color me intrigued!
Instead of returning to the bus, the team booked a night at a nearby hotel. At the bar, Skye went to Ward and offered him a shoulder if he ever needed it. They had some hand-to-hand contact, as well as some eye contact that made my heart flutter. He asked for a rain check before going upstairs, where he spotted an equally (if not more so) damaged May heading into her room with a bottle of booze. She left the door open. He went in. I screamed, “NOOOO!!!” I sincerely hope we find out next week that they just drank the night away, but it’s a hotel, and I’m not naive. That being said, it all just feels wrong. Although, perhaps it will force Skye to act on her jealousy? I have to stop thinking about this now.
In the episode’s final moment, Coulson woke up in a sweat after a truly horrifying nightmare in which — prepare yourself — he was getting a massage in Tahiti! Oh, the horror! A little advice, Coulson: Don’t compare horrible memories with Ward. You will lose.
What did you all think of the hour? Was the Thor crossover everything you wanted it to be? Was anyone else as upset by the Ward-May potential hookup as I was? Sound off in the comments!