Episode Summary from en.wikipedia.org:
The team assists in the clean-up in the aftermath of the events of Thor: The Dark World and look into a plot to find and assemble three parts of an Asgardian Berserker Staff, which imbues the holder with super strength and an uncontrollable rage. They are opposed by a paganist hate group in Norway led by Jakob Nystrom (Michael Graziadei) and Petra Larsen (Erin Way) and assisted by a professor in Spain named Dr. Elliot Randolph (Peter MacNicol). Touching the staff, Ward relives a traumatic childhood memory involving his brother in a well. He becomes irritable and aggressive and possesses increased strength. Following the clues to the staff parts, the team discovers that Randolph is actually an Asgardian who has lived on Earth for centuries. The team recovers the Asgardian artifact in a battle with the Paganist group. The staff repairs itself, and Randolph is convinced to relocate to Portland, where Coulson offers to introduce him to Thor when next he is in town. Later, Coulson has a nightmare about his recuperation in Tahiti.
Episode Recap from abc.go.com:
The team is in England at Greenwich University. They are looking for alien spectrographic signatures amongst debris left after Thor’s latest visit. Simmons has her work interrupted by a call from her parents. They would like some answers for topics such as aliens invading our planet from Asgard. Ward reminds the team that they are there to keep everything under control as he locks away a piece of the alien ship that was left behind.
In a national park in Norway, two hikers find an area where rocks form a circle. It’s the spot they’ve been searching for. The male hiker, Jakob Nystrom, breaks out a chainsaw. He cuts through a tree to find a metal rod inside. His female companion, Petra Larsen, grabs hold of it. She is affected immediately. Jakob instructs her to not fight the rage she’s feeling inside. Petra turns to two approaching park rangers. She has a wild look in her eye as she thrusts her hand forward to launch one of the men into the distance killing him. Whatever the metal rod is, it has given Petra remarkable power.
When the S.H.I.E.L.D. team arrives at the park, Simmons overcomes her fear of heights to climb the fallen tree. Fitz says whatever was inside was Asgardian. It was a metal staff with engravings. News reports come in about a disturbance in Oslo. A violent uprising is led by the two hikers, Jakob and Petra. A fiery message is left on the streets. It reads: We are gods. The team learns that Jakob and Petra are leaders of a group obsessed with anything derived from Norse mythology. There are more pieces to the staff they stole. If only Thor had a cell phone, they could give him a ring to help hammer all this out.
Coulson looks up an expert in Norse mythology, Dr. Elliot Randolph of Seville, Spain. The guy says they are looking for the staff of a soldier of the fierce army. The staff contains a powerful magic that sends the person holding it into a violent rage. The warrior who once owned it fell in love with life on Earth. He remained behind when his fellow soldiers returned to Asgard. He didn’t want his staff falling into the wrong hands, so he broke it into three pieces and hid them in different locations. The search is on for the remaining two pieces.
The team searches for a second staff piece right there in Seville. Dr. Randolph does as well. Ward sees that he’s found part of the staff. He tries to grab it, but its power absorb into his skin. Skye finds her supervising officer out of sorts. There’s no sign of the doctor. That’s because Randolph is already outside. He runs into Jakob and Peta. They swipe the staff. Now they have two pieces. As for Ward, he’s extremely agitated as he goes through a checkup. He reveals that after he touched the staff he recalled a memory of something he hadn’t thought about in a very long time.
Ward goes 15 rounds with a punching bag as he tries to work out all the rage flowing through him. He has flashbacks of the memory he mentioned earlier. It’s of a young boy struggling to stay above water in a well. Touching the staff unlocked his worst memory. It was the first time he felt hate. Coulson suggests he let out his pent up rage on the professor to get him to talk. Ward tries to stab Randolph, but the prof crushes the knife with his bare hand. That’s because he’s Asgardian. Coulson had a feeling this was the case. Randolph is the warrior who stayed behind.
Randolph says he was a mason who broke rocks for thousands of years. He didn’t like the power that came with the staff. It shines an unpleasant light into dark places to all who touch it. That’s what’s happening now, as Jakob and Petra use the staff to give power to more recruits. Randolph reveals that the last piece of the staff is in Ireland. He also lets Ward know that what he’s feeling will not wear off anytime soon. When they arrive in Ireland, someone has beaten them to the staff. This individual stabs Randolph in the chest. Ward knows what he has to do. He grabs the staff to unleash more rage inside him.
Ward battles the bad guys while flashing back to his worst memory. It was when he was a young boy and let another kid stop him from saving his brother’s life. Ward unleashes his rage on his attackers until they are immobilized and he is exhausted, both physically and emotionally. Jakob and Petra storm into the area. A completely drained Ward reaches for the staff once again. This time, however, May stops him. She convinces him to let her help. May grabs the staff. She takes down Jakob and Petra. The staff is fully assembled now as May sets it on the ground before her.
May lets Ward know that she was able to handle the visions she saw while holding the staff because they are what she sees every day. Coulson considers grabbing the staff just before a fully recovered Randolph approaches him. He recalls how he died once, but admits that he’s not haunted by it. As for Randolph, he’s considering a change of scenery. Coulson says he’ll introduce him to fellow Asgardian Thor next time he’s in town.
Ward admits to Skye that the memory he recalled was about his brother. He passes on her offer to talk it out. He sees May stepping into her hotel room with a bottle of liquor. She leaves the door open. Ward closes it after stepping inside. In other news, Coulson is getting a massage on the beaches of Tahiti. It’s a magical place. Only he’s not really there. Coulson awakens in a cold sweat. He’s in his own bed nowhere near Tahiti.
Please use this thread to discuss the series' eighth overall and first season eighth episode The Well. Rule: Please keep spoilers limited to those revealed during the series up to this episode only.