Although there’s an obvious tie-in to the events of the most recent Marvel blockbuster (and an excuse for the producers to run footage from a film with an effects budget they can only dream about), this story stands alone without any real need to have seen the film.
It’s a pretty standard run-of-the-mill possession plotline (there are various artefacts which should never be put together, and have assorted annoying abilities; there’s someone hiding in plain sight who’s not what he seems to be), but it’s given a bit more depth by the characterisation of the team which it brings out. Ward is the first of our heroes to be affected, and we start to get more insight into the backstory that was hinted at a few weeks ago; May also has to use the artefact, which is the cue for some ominous lines about her own past.
Director Jonathan Frakes, no stranger to trying to bring out something from a generic script, adds some intriguing touches which give an uneasy feel to the whole episode. The final scenes – with Coulson having a nightmare about his time in “Tahiti” – also promise further unsettling revelations.
Verdict: We’re finally starting to get reasons to care about these characters, but hopefully these are part of a grand plan, rather than being thought up on the fly. 7/10