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SPOILER ALERT: Read no further if you haven’t seen tonight’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (“The Magical Place”).
Yeah, that magical place? Not so magical. More like horrible. Tonight’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gave us some answers about Tahiti. But not all the answers. At least I don’t think we got all the answers. I’m still not entirely clear on Coulson’s last question. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
From the start, Coulson’s been referring to Tahiti as “The Magical Place” almost involuntarily. And we’ve seen the flashbacks of the picturesque bit of paradise that sets the scene for his flashback of this magical place. Tonight, after Raina put a stop to Coulson being tortured — with the support of the mysterious “Clairvoyant” and the help of what I’m pretty sure was some version of that sonic brain-zapper Obadiah used on Tony in Iron Man — she managed to use a bit of emotional manipulation to gain Coulson’s cooperation, bringing up his true love, the cellist whose heart was shattered when she found out Coulson died. Coulson talked a bit about her to Ward when they were cruising in Lola.
Wanting answers, Coulson willingly submitted to Raina’s flashback MRI machine and finally managed to tap into the missing memories, which will likely haunt him for the rest of his life, as would anyone who remembered the nightmarish image of laying on a table in excruciating pain, begging to die, while a big machine with scissorhands picked through their brain. Horrible, horrible! So what’s the deal?
Coulson tracked down Dr. Streiten (Yay, Ron Glass!) to get some answers. From what Streiten said, Coulson was dead for days after he was initially killed. Fury “moved heaven and earth” to get him back, tasking a team of scientists to work around the clock doing questionable procedures on Coulson. Streiten was brought in during the seventh operation, and if Coulson’s memory is accurate, he was clearly very against the whole situation.
The procedures had catastrophic neurological effects on Coulson and he endured “ungodly” trauma. They gave him the memory of Tahiti to help restore him to the man he’d once been instead of “that thing.” What thing? That’s what I’m not clear on, and maybe we’re not supposed to be. Coulson seemed to have his fill of answers at that point in the conversation and he took off.
So, anyone who theorized that S.H.I.E.L.D. used all sorts of ultra-modern, experimental and questionable medical procedures on Coulson to bring him back to life appears to have been right.
The other cliffhanger in the episode was the reveal that Mike Peterson is alive! I was right! Ok, I wasn’t right almost at all. I did think he was alive, but I theorized that he staged his own death and was secretly working with Centipede, partially because I didn't trust him and partially because running across that bridge and right into an explosion just seemed too bizarre to be real. But all signs point to that being a legitimate bad choice on his part, as tonight’s episode ended with him waking up in bed, covered in burn scars, missing the lower half of one of his legs and apparently fitted with one of those special kill-switch eyes. Not good.
The rest of the episode centered on Coulson’s rescue, which involved the team putting some trust in Skye to do what apparently a huge portion of the S.H.I.E.L.D. people searching for Coulson weren’t willing or able to do: Follow the money. Genius! The money led her to one of the episode’s guest stars, Childrens Hospitals’ Rob Heubel. Just to emphasize that he’s a rich guy, one of his first lines was, “I love truffles, but not on that. What an idiot,” which I believe is a quote taken straight out of, “Stuff Rich People Talk About” (See the chapter on truffles and other fancy food).
Skye pulled of her very own Melinda May act, managing to convince Huebel’s Lloyd Rathman to do what she needed him to do. She messed up once in turning her back on the guy just long enough to hit the silent alarm, but she took care of the cops when they arrived, so points for that. Skye earned some major stripes for resourcefulness (including using roadside assistance to get her to her destination) and pulling off the operation right to the end. It seems like she's been brought on board and de-cuffed.
Did anyone else think “The Town that the bomb forgot” where Coulson was being held was like something out of the Twilight Zone? Nearly as horrible as the scissorhands machine. I bet someone is held captive or stranded there about once a month. Part of me wants them to burn that whole place down. Another part of me kind of wants to see that location return in a future episode.
“Is that a Roomba?”