(This Examiner apologizes for not writing a review of the seminal episode 14).
A renegade Asgardian comes to Earth to form an army of titular yes men in the latest episode of “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.” Not only that, but she paves the way for a future appearance by a key villainess from the Thor comics.
With Skye recovering from her almost-fatal injuries, Coulson’s team joins forces with Lady Sif to capture an Asgardian sorceress who controls men with magic.
Just when fans thought the show could not top featuring Stan “The Man” Lee and Deathlok in the same episode, Joss Whedon’s comic book spy series ups the ante. For the first time since Samuel L. Jackson’s cameo as Nick Fury in the second episode, a major character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe appears in the show: Sif from the Thor films, played by Jaimie Alexander. However, unlike Nick Fury, she plays a major role in the episode and assists Coulson’s team on their mission. It is great seeing Sif again, especially since the overhyped “tie-in” episode to Thor: The Dark World barely had any connections to the film. Alexander’s performance here, though, seems different than in the films. Her voice and manner are more subdued, and her language sounds slightly more elevated, though she still does not say “thee” and “thou” like the Asgardians do in the Marvel comic books. This is off-putting at first, but one does get used to it.
This week’s villain only amps up the awesome factor. Lorelei, who appeared briefly at the end of the previous episode, is a power-hungry Asgardian sorceress who escaped from prison and now plans to take over the world (of course!). She first appeared in The Mighty Thor #337 in January 1984 and has been a frequent ally of both Loki and Pluto. Her translation to screen is near-perfect, including costume, personality and powers. Elena Satine plays her as a femme fatale who takes sadistic delight in controlling men and stealing them from their lovers. Not only is she a worthy foe for Sif and the agents, her appearance hints at a possible villain for the third Thor film. Her sister is Amora the Enchantress, one of the Thunder God’s most notable foes.
Several subplots are developed throughout the episode, most notably Ward and May’s secret trysts and the revelation about the miracle drug that saved Coulson and Skye. Lorelei seduces Ward with her magic, intending to make him part of her army. He reveals to her that May means nothing to him since he now serves her, something that Lorelei mentions to her during the climax. Once he is freed from her control, it forces Ward to consider how, as May puts it, he is more honest with her than he is with himself. By the end of the episode, Coulson tells Skye about everything he saw at the Guest House—the blue alien corpse having its body fluids syphoned to make the resurrection drug—and they vow to find the truth no matter the cost. But the final scene reveals that May is listening in and she reports to an unknown authority that “he knows.” Is it SHIELD? The Clairvoyant? Or one of the many evil organizations populating the MCU? This rabbit hole only gets deeper and deeper.
While this ranks as the show’s best episode so far, it did have some head-scratching moments. A biker enslaved by Lorelei refers to Benjamin Franklin as a past president of the United States. Hopefully, it was a mistake by an ignorant character and not a blunder by the screenwriters. When Sif is sucked out of the Bus’ airlock, Coulson says not to worry because “she’s Asgardian” but does not elaborate (the next shot shows Sif crawling on the plane’s hull). It seems like a little leap in logic on his part. Having both Lorelei and Sif arrive in the desert seems like a rehash of the first Thor film. Finally, the episode does have a slight anti-male vibe in saying men are easily seduced fools, at least when an evil Asgardian sorceress is around.
Regardless, after this episode, even the show’s naysayers should be shouting, “Excelsior!”