Easing back a little bit from the doom and gloom that our Agents have been dealing with lately, “One of Us” introduces us to Cal’s (Kyle MacLachlan) supervillain recruits as well as May’s (Ming-Na Wen) ex-husband, Dr. Andrew Garner (Blair Underwood) as he is brought in to do a psych-evaluation of Skye (Chloe Bennet). The episode title applies to both of these storylines, as well as the surprise twist we get at the end – but more on that later. There’s no doubt that this episode upped the fun-quotient, and in the context of the rest of the series, it stands up as a pretty entertaining one. Entertaining, but not all that good. And while I appreciate Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s pacing — particularly this season, where storylines are introduced and wrapped up in record time without losing any of the drama or tension — I really think we could have used an episode or two of Cal recruiting his team, if only to get to know them better. As it is, we’ve got tech guy, muscle guy, and knife-fingers, along with Angar the Screamer (fanboy squee!). The fact that it’s Angar the Screamer that gets a squee there is kind of sad in itself, given that this is Angar from the comics: Yeah, he was a screaming hippie. Now don’t get me wrong, he’s a Steve Gerber creation, so there’s more going on with him than that. But it’s hard to move past the fashion choices of the man. Luckily, TV’s Angar the Screamer (Jeff Daniel Phillips) looks nothing like that. Well, he looks like he hasn’t had a bath in ages, so I guess that’s our stylistic touchpoint. In fact, none of the villains this week look like they were very interested in personal hygiene, and that’s part of the problem I had with this episode. There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance going on with regards to the visual style and the narrative choices. I appreciate the realism that we got when Knife-fingers had her gloves removed, or when Angar had his mask removed. Both scenes were disgusting, bordering on body horror, with their skin being seriously damaged from being contained under restrains for so long. And did you not grimace when Angar screamed and his jaw became distended and freakish? Ugh! But is there a reason that Tech Guy and Muscle Guy couldn’t take a shower? Is there a reason that there was no color or personality in any of their clothes? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really started to miss The Flash‘s approach to super villains. They’re over the top, but stylized. These guys (and gal) were just gross. And was Cal’s plan really just to lure Coulson (Clark Gregg) to his home town to kill him on the high school football field (at a school he didn’t even attend)? And was he really broadcasting it over the radio to the town? Who the hell would be listening to that? And where were the police when the entire football team and the cheerleading squad never came home from practice? It was all just monumentally stupid. Goofy fun, sure. But stupid. Sure we got to see Agent May and Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) kick some ass again, but against these losers? Who cares? And then, having the Inhuman Gordon (Jamie Harris) pop up and steal Cal away, leaving his useless henchmen to be mopped up and returned to prison, was an interesting choice. I found myself asking the same question Cal did: Why did they grab him and not Skye? The whole “You’re making too much noise” or whatever reasoning was not really satisfying and played more as a way to just shift the pieces around on the board without providing a lot of real narrative movement. The same sort of thing happened with Dr. Garner showing up to evaluate Skye. That he was previously married to May really didn’t add a whole lot to the story, unless he’s going to be a recurring character. Dropping in for a one-and-done gave us a few chuckles but didn’t add anything of substance to anything about the characters. Blair Underwood is in the IMDB credits for the next two episodes, so hopefully this means he’ll get more interesting over the next couple of weeks. It was nice, though, to see West Virginia represented by the beautiful college campus of Culver University (which featured in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk) with a top-of-his-field black professor in residence. Usually my home state doesn’t get this kind of positive attention in either fiction or in the news, so props to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for that, anyway. So basically this episode didn’t really do a whole lot beside shuffle people around and display a discouraging lack of inventiveness when it came to the villains. I mean really, one guy had super muscles, but the tech guy seemed to just be a tech guy, and the surprisingly cast Drea de Matteo — she’s a name actress and this seems a bit beneath her — was just a lady who surgically attached knifes to her fingertips — no superpowers for either of them. Although her character, Karla Faye Gideon, is from the Daredevil comics, so perhaps she’ll be showing up over on Netflix? Regardless, it would have been nice to have Cal traveling around recruiting villains we’ve already seen over the first season and a half, creating a nice Flash-esque Rogues Gallery for our heroes. However, the final moments of the episode almost redeem the wasted previous forty minutes. I didn’t mention it, but Mack (Henry Simmons) had Hunter (Nick Blood) locked up at a safehouse for most of the episode and as the show concludes we are let in on the secret that he and Bobbi have been keeping: There’s another S.H.I.E.L.D. And according to the previews, Edward James Olmos is the Director, Robert Gonzales. Mic drop. Agents of SHIELD 2.13 “One of Us”Paul's Rating2.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Shawn EH The “Real” SHIELD, in fact? I’m very curious about that. Where does Adrian Pasdar fit in? But mostly I just want to see more of Kyle Mclachlan’s hammy Hyde.