Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Season 1 Episode 8

The Well

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Nov 19, 2013 on ABC

Episode Recap

Coulson and his team head to England to clean up after Malekith's invasion of the planet and battle with Thor. As they go through the debris to take into custody anything too powerful for humans to get hold of, Jemma's parents call her. She ignores the call, telling her teammates that they want explanations to what happened that she can't give them. Meanwhile, Skye pesters Coulson with questions about what he knows about the Asgardians, and he tells her that they're actually aliens who were mistaken for gods.

In Norway at the Trillemarka National Park, two park rangers find a defaced guide sign. Meanwhile, paganists Jakob Nystrom and Petra Larsen are following directions on a piece of paper. They find a ring of stones and Jakob takes out a chainsaw and starts cutting open a nearby tree. Inside is a metal staff engraved with runes. He asks Petra if she's ready and, when she says she is, has her take it. It glows with red energy and Jakob tells her not to fight the feelings of rage. The woman screams just as the rangers arrive. When one of them comes over, Petra deals him a single blow that sends him flying over a hundred feet away.

When the team get word of the incident, they fly to Norway and check the scene. Grant helps Jemma scale the downed tree to analyze the cut marks, while Coulson interviews the second ranger. Jemma confirms that whatever was in the tree is of alien origins and sends the data back to Fitz at the plane. He recreates the staff in three dimensions from the imprint, while Skye monitors the news. She informs the team that a paganist hate group in Norway are rioting, and leaving a message: "We are gods."

The team reunites at the plane and Grant brings up the records on Jakob and Petra, wanted terrorists. Fitz recreates one side of the staff in three dimensions and explains that, judging from the break marks at the end, it's one-third of a larger staff. Skye suggests that they call Thor to see if he knows about it, but Coulson tells him that Thor is out of contact. Skye wonders if the paganists used magic to find the staff, but Coulson figures that there is a mundane answer and says that they're traveling to Seville to meet with Professor Elliot Randolph, an expert on Norse mythology.

In Seville, Elliot is meeting with an attractive student and makes sure that she remembers their dinner date. As she leaves, Coulson, and the scientists arrive and show Elliot the staff recreation. As they talk, Coulson compliments the professor on his expensive gold pen. Elliot informs them that it is a piece of the Berserker Staff, a 12th century relic. A powerful Asgardian soldier came to Earth as part of a berserker army and wielded the staff. However, he fell in love with Earth and humanity and stayed when his fellow Asgardians returned to their world. The soldier then broke the Staff into three pieces and hid them in three different locations. A priest in the 16th century learned of the hiding places and wrote them down in the form of three cryptic riddles. One of them relates to the tree in Norway. The other two talk about being buried with the bones of the dead, and being "close to God." They can't determine anything from the riddles and Elliot suggests that they travel to Baffin Island in Canada, where Norse artifacts have recently been found.

As the team returns to the plane, Coulson checks with a SHIELD team sent to Baffin Island, and they confirm that there's nothing significant there. Skye checks the historical records and learns that Vikings made their way to Seville twice on raids. There is a church built on the ruins of an 8th century crypt, and the team figures that's where the second staff is hidden, buried with the bones of the dead.

Skye and Grant split up to search the catacombs beneath the church while Coulson and Fitz wait outside. Grant picks up spectrographic readings from the staff and heads for the source. He discover that Elliot is in the catacombs, holding the second part of the staff. When Grant grabs it, the rage surges through him and he relives his memories of a boy trapped in a water-filled well, yelling for help. His scanner device goes dead and Skye runs to where he was. Grant is lying stunned on the ground, and he tells her that Elliot has the staff segment.

Elliot goes to his car with the segment, but Jakob and his group catch up to him. Jakob reveals the first segment of the staff.

As Coulson runs for the catacombs, he sees someone throw a car down the street. When he gets to Elliot's car, he finds the professor picking up his books. Elliot sheepishly admits that he screwed up.

Back aboard the plane, Jemma examines Grant, who complains that they're wasting time. He finally admits that he's been having memory flashback to his childhood, but doesn't want to talk about it. They then listen in on Coulson's interrogation of Elliot. The professor insists that he didn't want to use the staff segment and that he just went there to obtain it as evidence of his theory that berserkers really existed.

As Grant gets increasingly excited and angry, Jemma tries to calm him down. Skye wonders if he's remembering what happened to his brother, and Grant snaps at her for talking all the time and doing nothing. Jemma checks and confirms that he's suffering from an ongoing adrenaline surge and offers him a tranquilizer, but Grant refuses to restrict his ability to protect his teammates. When Fitz tries to argue with him, Grant snaps at him, saying that the scientist failed to save Jemma when she jumped out of the plane and that Grant will have to keep rescuing her, and then walks off.

Elliot tells Coulson that he just wanted to uncover evidence proving the existence of the gods. Coulson corrects him, saying that they're aliens, not gods. Undeterred, Elliot says he'd told them everything that he knows, and Coulson tells him to comfortable while he discusses the matter with his teammates.

Grant is in the cargo bay working out with a punching bag and remembers the well and the boy. Melinda comes in and tries to calm him down, and Grant insists that the best cure for him is to stop the paganists before they hurt someone else.

Jakob and Petra meet with their fellow paganists and tell them that it's time to take power for themselves. Two of the paganists grasp the two staff segments and gain the same rage as the others.

Grant goes to see Coulson in his office and admits that the staff is bringing back traumatic memories of his childhood. He warns Coulson that it won't go away and that he can't trust himself, but Coulson figures that Grant can be trusted if he is aware of what he's going through. Glancing at Elliot on the monitor, Coulson suggests that grant let out a little rage. A short time later, Grant goes into the interrogation cell and demands answers from the professor. Elliot insists that he doesn't know anything more and Grant takes out a knife and stabs at him... only for Elliot to catch the blade and twist it. Coulson comes in and says that Elliot has confirmed his suspicions that he's an actually an Asgardian. Elliot snaps his handcuffs and Coulson figures that he's the berserker from the legends. Watching on the monitor, Melinda locks down the room while Fitz-Simmons are eager to start taking samples.

Ion the cell, Elliot points out that they'll have to open the door eventually. Coulson wonders why he ever released the location of the staff fragments to the public, and Elliot admits that he dated the sister of the priest who wrote them down in 1546 and told her the story to impress her. The professor hated the staff because of its effect on him and figures that Grant feels the same way. Coulson asks for his help but Elliot insists that he's a pacifist now and the paganists can only do so much because eventually they'll age and die. However, when Coulson threatens to go to Thor, Elliot quickly caves and tells them that the third fragment is in the monastery in Ireland where the monks took him in after he stayed on Earth.

As the team flies to Ireland, grant asks Elliot if the staff's effects will wear off. The professor admits that they will in a few decades and Grant will have to wait it out until then. Meanwhile, Skye asks Coulson if Grant is okay for field work, and Coulson echoes his earlier comment that Grant is okay as long as he knows what the staff is doing to him.

When they arrive, Elliot takes the team to the monastery and the case where the staff fragment is hidden. However, the fragment is gone, and Jakob steps out to reveal that he got it first. He stabs Elliot with the fragment and Grant pulls it out and then charges at Jakob, knocking him off the balcony. Skye and Melinda go down after Grant, while Fitz-Simmons realize that Elliot's injury is a fatal wound. Coulson cuts open Elliot's chest and tells the scientists that the Asgardian's accelerated healing abilities should restore him if they can keep him alive long enough. With that, Coulson reaches into Elliot's chest and tries to hold his heart together.

As Grant fights Jakob, he suffers more memory flashes of the boy in the well. Overcome with rage, he knocks Jakob out.

Coulson gets his hands on Elliot's heart and Fitz-Simmons instruct him on what to do.

As Skye tries to calm Grant down, Petra and the other paganists run in. Grant grabs two of the staff fragments and attacks them. As he does, he remembers what happened...

Grant runs to the top of the well and sees his younger brother below, drowning. He gets a rope but when he starts to throw it down, his older brother arrives and tells him to wait and see what happens. The older brother threatens to throw Grant in with their other brother if Grant doesn't obey, but Grant lowers the rope anyway.

When Grant gets control of himself, he discovers that he's knocked out all of the paganists but two. Petra and the last man attack grant, and Melinda says that she'll take care of them. As Skye helps Grant away, Melinda knocks Petra down, and then picks up the three staff fragments. They merge into the one assembled piece and Melinda knocks Petra out with it. Once the battle is over, Melinda concentrates and then gently sets the staff down despite the rage consuming her. She looks up at Grant nods in satisfaction. Up above, Elliot's wound finally heals enough to stabilize his condition.

Later, Jemma is talking about Elliot and his healing ability when her parents call. She realizes that it's time to talk to them and takes the call. Meanwhile, Grant asks Melinda what she saw when she held the staff. She doesn't go into specific but admits that it was something troublesome. When Grant wonders how she overcame the influence of the combined staff, Melinda tells him that it showed her the same thing that she sees every day.

As Coulson looks at the staff, careful not to touch it, Elliot comes over and says that he recognizes that he look. He asks him what he wants to see, and Coulson explains about how he was killed and couldn't remember what happened for months afterward. However, he tells Elliot that he isn't haunted by his inability to remember, and the Asgardian wonders what the problem is. As they leave, Elliot figures that he'll have to move on to a new life and Coulson suggests Portland.

That night, the team stay over at a hotel in Ireland. Skye finds Grant drinking in the bar and he apologizes for snapping at her earlier. She says that she understands and says that she's there for him if he wants to talk about it. Grant considers and then says that he's going to bed, but offers to talk to her about it some other time. As he goes to his room, he sees Melinda going into her room down the hallway with a bottle of booze. She gestures to him briefly and goes in, leaving the door open. After a moment, Grant goes in after her.

Coulson is relaxing on a beach in Tahiti, receiving a massage. The masseuse tells him that Tahiti is a magical place... and Coulson wakes up from his dream in a cold sweat.

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