The world’s best dressed bin men show up in Greenwich to hoover up the chaos left by Thor and his gang in this much-hyped crossover episode.
Spoilers inevitably follow.
So this week we’re in Greenwich, popping bits of alien metal into custom-made suitcases in a bid to clean up the havoc wreaked by Thor 2. It’s nice we get to see behind-the-scenes where the little people have to clear up (in the absence of a god-of-cleaning-up-after-yourself), although it inevitably leads to complaints from fans still convinced that we’re going to get more A-list cameos (and with a Captain America crossover in the works, we might just).
But just when you think the whole episode is going to be an study in floor-sweeping, the plot shifts to a some Norwegian ramblers. They’re in Trillemarka National Park using a tiny chainsaw to chop down a massive, ancient tree and free an Asgardian berserker staff. That old chestnut (actually, looked more like a pine. Sorry).
Turns out, the ramblers were actually leaders of a Norse pagan hate cult. Clearly the sewing circle or local book group didn’t involve quite enough hate for them. Luckily, they’ve got the perfect pastime for a hate cult – tracking down the pieces of the beserker staff that will make them all Hulk smashy.
Enter Professor Elliot Randolph, professor of Norse mythology, and AWOL Asgardian soldier, played with clear relish by Peter “Ally McBeal” MacNicol.
Thanks to him, Ward ends up touching a piece of the staff, which makes him even more grumpy and rude than usual. I really want to like Ward – he’s clearly the Angel character in Shield- but I’m still finding him hard to warm to. In fact, I kind of prefer him when he’s super-mean like this, slagging off the nerd herd while Skye looks at him with big cow eyes.
Luckily for everyone, Coulson’s on hand to make some giant leaps of imagination, figuring out that Randolph is an escapee Asgardian before Ward has the opportunity to make anyone cry. Off they go to Ireland in search of the final piece of the staff.
Despite only having the clue “close to god”, the entire gang of angry Norwegians have managed to locate the church and get a flight over, arriving shortly after the Bus. Ryanair clearly pulled out all the stops.
Well Well Well
Randolph is a bit rusty in his military training, getting shafted by a furious Norwegian almost instantly. So while Coulson gave him an intimate heart massage, Ward put on his biggest frown and kept the filming budget down by knocking nearly everyone out off camera. Hurray!
But it was left to Agent May to steal the show (as always), putting all that Tai Chi to good use with some zen-like calm in the face off all that berserker energy. I love Agent May. And it turns out Ward might have a bit of a thing for her too. Either they finished the episode with an alcohol-fuelled heart-to-heart about children down wells, or there was some angry, cathartic sex going on in that hotel room.
All’s well that ends well
So while it wasn’t as good as the last few, this was a fairly strong episode in a series that has really found its feet. Who knows how long they can stretch out some of the season story arcs. Whedon managed it in Buffy, but usually by having some silly episodes where Xander gets a penis disease. Somehow I can’t picture Ward falling in love with a giant insect or splitting into two people with hilarious consequences.
And final note – I enjoyed the little nod to Dollhouse in the pre-credits scene when Coulson asked “did I fall asleep”.
PPS. Maybe I’m just old, but does anyone else sometimes feel like they’re watching an episode of Treasure Hunt?