'Agents of SHIELD' episode 11 'The Magical Place' recap: Coulson's death mystery answered

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The resolution of the mystery of Agent Phil Coulson's death on "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" proved to be fairly straightforward -- if that resolution is in fact the real one. After the question stretched from "The Avengers" to the small screen, Coulson finally found out how he was brought back to life.

Coulson's faith in SHIELD continued to be called into question in "The Magical Place." His personal history played an important role in the episode as viewers learn that not only did Coulson's father die in front of him, but his mother also passed and thus his only family remaining is the SHIELD organization. Raina used Coulson's doubts against him so that he finally caved and chose to use Centipede's machine to discover what really happen in Tahiti.

So what did happen? Using the machine, it's revealed that "Tahiti" is actually an operating room where Dr. Streiten (guest star Ron Glass) was at work on him in a post-"Avengers" death time frame. In the flashback, Coulson begged to be let die as a robotic machine operated on his exposed brain. Before present day Coulson can see any more, Skye and Melinda May broke into the location where Centipede was holding Coulson and saved him from Raina, who was incarcerated.

Nick Fury was the one who ordered Coulson be brought back, while Streiten was against the operation. Streiten revealed to Coulson in the present day that Fury "moved heaven and earth" for Coulson to be brought back to life, but that days passed and six surgeries failed before Streiten managed to find success in the seventh. But by then Coulson had become someone who lost the will to live, and the brain surgery was to try to give him a better memory so his former, happier self would be restored. Is the answer as simple as that? Maybe, but more darkness is sure to be in Coulson's future.

While Coulson's team might have been a bit whiney in this episode, they also proved in "The Magical Place" that they are the capable agents Coulson always saw them as. Ward stepped into the leadership role with ease and proved a capable interrogator, while Fitz and Simmons found SHIELD's other agents more annoyances than help because the new field agents' intellects are far superior. Then there's Skye, who was set rogue by her team members because she has proven by now that she's a huge asset. And her impression of Melinda May? Killer.

At least May does see Skye the way everyone else does. Her initial betrayal of Skye was actually simply to get the hacker out into the field. The ploy worked, as Skye proved to be just fine acting solo to find Coulson.

The explanation of Hand's disinterest in finding Coulson proved an interesting twist. Whereas before in "The Hub" it seemed that she had some disdain and lack of respect for Coulson, it now just seems like she simply doesn't understand the dedication to him. As fans have come to know, Coulson is a special breed of hero, even if he has been seemingly irrevocably changed by his resurrection

Some big questions still remain on "Agents of SHIELD." Who or what is the Clairvoyant? Will SHIELD realize Mike Peterson is still alive and held captive by Centipede before it's too late? What is the deal with Skye's history? And is SHIELD actually a bit corrupt after all?

What did you think of the resolution to the mystery of Coulson's death?

Photo/Video credit: ABC