And we’re back, after a multi-week cliffhanger where Agent Coulson was kidnapped by the Rising Tide in the final moments of Episode 10, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is finally back. The bad guys were looking for ways to stabilize Centipede, a variation of Extremis from Iron Man Three, but in their search, they found something juicier – a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who had come back from the dead! Can the team rescue Agent Coulson from the clutches of the Rising Tide, and how did Coulson come back from the dead? Find out, after the jump, in my review of “The Magical Place.”
The Death of Agent Coulson
When fan favorite Agent Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg, was killed by Loki with an Asgardian lance in the big screen blockbuster, Marvel’s The Avengers, there was much speculation as to what really happened. We know he died, and a spear through the torso is pretty final, but did he die with the expectation that he could be brought back?
His death at Loki’s hands, and bloody trading cards planted by the manipulative Nick Fury were the catharsis that kept the Avengers together, and bonded them as a team to fight the alien invasion force that tried to take New York City. But would even Nick Fury sacrifice one of his best men without a back-up plan? If the Samuel L. Jackson cinematic Fury is anything like his comics counterpart – the answer is no. Fury has plans within plans within plans. He always has a plan B, and C, and so on.
While Marvel’s The Avengers was still in the theaters, the hashtag #CoulsonLives was rampant on Twitter, sometimes even tagged by Clark Gregg himself. No news of the upcoming “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” TV series had even broken yet, and fans were convinced they’d not seen the last of the character. When rumors began to spread that the Avengers sequel would feature Ultron (since confirmed), a new Coulson rumor began to manifest – that he would return as the Vision.
The idea was that Coulson’s brain patterns would be put into a Life Model Decoy, an android, and that later Ultron would imbue him with super powers making him the Vision, one of the most popular of the Marvel Comics Avengers. Then the TV series was announced, and Coulson as Vision fell by the wayside.
But still, perhaps, Coulson still survives as an LMD. Life Model Decoys, or LMDs for short, are an old SHIELD standby, and used often in the comics. Even without the Vision add-on, it is still my pet theory for how Coulson survived. He is an LMD with Coulson’s brain patterns and memories. What Tahiti has to do with it, I don’t know. Tonight, we hopefully find out, or at least get more clues.
When remembering his death, Coulson has trouble knowing how long he was ‘out,’ and has memories of recuperating in Tahiti, which he refers to as a ‘magical place.’ The one thing that gnaws at me that he’s not an LMD is that his body bears a scar.
Po tries to torture Coulson in a bomb test town with lots of mannequins. Po says The Clairvoyant initiated his capture. This assumed telepath, because remember there is no telepathy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, could see Coulson up until his death when he went ‘cold.’
Without Coulson, the team solidifies to get him back. We open on May and Ward, along with Fitz, Simmons, and Skye taking down Vanchat – an alien arms dealer. Veronica Hand is in charge, and she doesn’t like Skye, to the point of throwing her off The Bus. On her own, she continues the fight.
Trying to find a way into Vanchat’s money trail, she cleverly tracks down one of his associates, and impersonates May, just to get even for her recent rough treatment if nothing else. If nothing else, Skye’s ‘solo’ operation proves she is learning. The girl is badass, and she finds Coulson.
The Not-So-Magical Place
The Clairvoyant has told Raina a lot about Coulson. She takes over the interrogation with her sugary ways after Po’s vinegar fails. To be exact, The Clairvoyant kills Po, almost as a reminder who the bad guy is. Raina convinces Coulson to get in the memory machine by invoking his past love and the lies SHIELD told her about his ‘death.’
Spoilers ahoy, folks, be warned. What Coulson had perceived as Tahiti was actually an operating room. Joss Whedon favorite Ron Glass returns as Dr. Streiten, and he’s there. What we see is Coulson with his brain exposed, getting operated on by a machine. Could it be Chitauri technology maybe?
The Wrap Up
The day is saved, the team rescues Coulson and apprehends Raina. Most of Centipede and assumedly the Rising Tide is cleaned up by Agent Hand and her forces. It was freaking awesome watching May turn The Bus around in midair, and Ward versus the Centipeded henchman, also cool.
Coulson visits Streiten later to get the facts on Tahiti. He was dead for days, not seconds, and his memories were tampered with, but still we get know real answers. But, I’m pretty sure he’s not an LMD… or is he?
In a closer that rivals an after-credits scene in a Marvel movie, we find Mike Peterson is not dead, but badly burned, less a leg, and with a Centipede implant in his eye. Am I the only one reminded of Deathlok?
Also, promised in the next episode more reveals about Coulson, Skye, and a super storm. See you then.