Saturday, March 28, 2015

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.13: "One of Us"

“They’re a bizarre pair. He listens for a living, and she doesn’t speak.”

This was a kind of forgettable episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D. that primarily continued the plots that began in the previous episode. Skye is still trying to figure out what her powers mean, and that becomes even more important when May and Coulson put her on the Gifted Index. The good thing about this plot, in spite of the fact that it centers around Skye, and I am still not a fan of Skye, is that we learn more of May’s backstory. Hunter is also being held by Mack following the choking incident at the end of the previous episode, and we get a tiny hint about who Mack and Bobbi might actually be working for. On top of all this, we get a sort of obnoxious plot of the week about Cal, Skye’s dad, rounding up a bunch of gifted folks to wreak havoc and cause trouble for Coulson and the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. We’re slowly inching towards learning more about the Inhumans, but I’m quickly losing interest and would rather go back to watching “Agent Carter.” Sorry, Team Whedon.

The episode opens on Coney Island, where a woman named Karla is trying to eat dinner while wearing some very uncomfortable-looking metal gloves. Her dinner is interrupted by a knock on the door from Cal. He’s accompanied by two other Gifteds, and he wants Karla to join them. He promises he can free her of the gloves and let her use her abilities again. After a brief hesitation, Karla agrees. It turns out that under the gloves, she has razors grafted to her fingers. Ouch. Cal gathers his merry band and makes a big speech about how he is going to unlock their full potential. Their first stop is a maximum security psychiatric facility in Ohio, presumably to gather up another recruit. Because that will end well.

Meanwhile, back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Skye and Coulson have some grilled cheese while talking about Skye’s status. Coulson tells her that she is going to be placed on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Gifted Index, and Skye seems surprisingly okay with this. She shows Coulson how hard she has been working to control her emotions and her powers, and she’s really hopeful that she will be able to get back in the field sooner rather than later. A later conversation between Coulson and May, however, reveals that this might not be the case. They are still very wary of Skye and what she is capable of. Because she’s going on the Index, Skye needs a full psychological evaluation. Coulson and May decide that a man named Andrew, who just happens to be May’s ex-husband, is the best man for the job. May visits Andrew at the university where he teaches to recruit him. He is clearly wary of S.H.I.E.L.D. involvement, but May promises him that under Coulson’s leadership, it’s a very different organization.

Finally, there’s relationship drama a-plenty among Team Coulson. Bobbi and Simmons are chatting about Skye’s DNA when they are interrupted by Fitz looking for a tool in the lab. When he leaves, the women talk about how betrayed Simmons feels by Fitz lying about Skye’s test results. Bobbi says she thinks it’s kind of sweet that Fitz was trying to protect a friend, but Simmons is understandably upset that Fitz thought Skye needed protecting from her. Bobbi might just be projecting, though, as we see her take a phone call from Mack, who has Hunter locked up in a safe house. When he hears Mack talking to Bobbi, Hunter starts screaming about how much he hates Bobbi now. Bobbi promises Mack that she’s going to arrange for an extraction as soon as possible. Meanwhile, though, she thinks Mack should get Hunter a beer to calm him down.

Andrew arrives at the Bus, where he gets a very enthusiastic briefing on Skye from Simmons. Simmons, of course, wonders right away if Skye should be put on psychiatric medication. Andrew wisely says he’d like to talk to Skye first. Skye is not happy at all about the idea of the psych eval until May says that the psychiatrist is her ex-husband. Skye enthusiastically wants to know all about the wedding. Andrew strategically saves those details at rewards for Skye revealing information about her emotional state. Bottom line is that she’s terrified of hurting her team. Meanwhile, Bobbi and Coulson storm the psychiatric facility in Ohio. S.H.I.E.L.D. used a small block of cells in a subbasement to house two especially dangerous men on the Gifted Index. One is extremely violent, and they encounter him first. Bobbi quickly dispatches him. The more dangerous of the two men has escaped with Cal and his merry band, however. He has the power to render people catatonic using only his voice. Speaking of Cal and his merry band, they have arrived in a small town in Wisconsin for reasons still unknown at this point in the episode.

Despite the tension between them, FitzSimmons actually manage to have a rather light moment in the middle of the episode. Fitz sees May and Andrew joking about May’s cooking, and he quickly leaves to heat up his coffee in the lab instead. FitzSimmons then bond over how May and Andrew are kind of adorable together. The bonding, however, is interrupted by Skye inadvertently making the Bus quake in her sleep. When she wakes up, she gets herself under control, but all is clearly not well. Later in session, Andrew tries to convince Skye that the only way she is truly going to be able to function is if she confronts the horrible thing that happened to her instead of avoiding it with her trademark sarcasm. This is going to be much easier said than done for Skye, and as we’ll see in a bit, the stakes are high.

Coulson and Bobbi talk about Hunter, because Coulson is understandably wondering where the heck Hunter is. Bobbi admits that she and Hunter had been rekindling their relationship, but when the idea of permanency arose, Hunter left. She tells Coulson that Mack is currently looking for him. The conversation doesn’t go further because they manage to figure out where Cal and his Gifted have gone. He realizes that the words “fight on” spray painted at the psychiatric facility referred to his high school, and Bobbi confirms with a license plate photo that the gang is indeed in Coulson’s home town in Wisconsin. Coulson calls May for backup, and May fires up the Bus immediately, to Andrew’s chagrin (his session with Skye is interrupted). Meanwhile, Cal, who convinces everyone that he’s “one of them” because he experimented on himself with chemicals, has the whole gang at the high school football stadium. He releases the guy with the powerful voice on to the football field. He screams, and everybody becomes catatonic, including the birds that had been flying above the stadium.

When Skye finds out about what’s going on, she insists on joining May on the rescue mission. While I hate how she’s still acting like an over-eager puppy when it comes to S.H.I.E.L.D., she does have a really good idea to throw Cal off balance – tell him that she has been put on the Index. In Wisconsin, Cal is muttering over the stadium PA system and engaging in theatrics. Coulson puts his hands up and walks out on to the field, thinking he can calm Cal. Maye and Skye arrive, and all Hell breaks loose. Cal is indeed pissed off to find out that Skye is on the index, but before he can do anything about it, the Inhuman leader from the last episode appears in his blue cloud and teleports Cal away. Cal’s band of gifted continue the battle, though. May, Coulson, and Bobbi end up fighting them off, but Skye starts quaking in the middle of all the chaos. She has to put so much effort into stopping the quake that she breaks bones in her arms. By the end of the episode, she is wearing microfiber casts which, while they aren’t meant to restrain her powers, look an awful lot like the restraints S.H.I.E.L.D. uses on other gifted.

The final minutes of the episode are devoted to the “shocking” reveals of the week. Coulson and Simmons talk about how she thinks they should have two categories for gifted – people who are “enhanced” artificially and people like Skye who have natural abilities. They talk about how they are going to have to figure out a way to contain Skye’s powers. Next, Mack delivers Hunter to his final destination and reveals who he and Bobbi have been working for. Apparently there is a “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. separate and apart from what Coulson and his team have been up to. And I presume they still don’t trust Coulson. Finally, we see that Cal has been captured and imprisoned by the Inhumans. The leader says that Cal has been too noisy, and it appears that he is going to have to face a trial of some sort.

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