Agents of SHIELD Season 2 Recap, Episode 13: ‘One Of Us’
Welcome back to the ComicsAlliance post-show analysis for Agents of SHIELD, the spy show set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is where we break down each episode using our unique S.H.L.E.I.D. recap system — recapping the show, looking at highlights and lowlights, and exploring the show’s relationship to both the comics and the wider Marvel movie world.
This week, Mister Hyde is collecting super-maniacs, Mack is acting rather maniacal himself, and Skye is visited by a handsome headshrinker. (Hello, special guest star Blair Underwood.) 'One Of Us' was directed by Kevin Tancharoen and written by Monica Owusu-Breen. We're running late, so I'll try to keep this brief!
Mister Hyde (Kyle MacLachlan) has assembled a little team of supervillains. They are 'unusually strong person', 'person with universal Bluetooth compatibility', and 'murderous Drea de Matteo with knives on her fingertips'. They're not exactly the Masters of Evil. They're the... Apprentices of Mean. Slightly scarier than the Interns of Rude.
Hyde uses these low-level baddies to break out a slightly bigger fish, one Angar the Screamer, from a psychiatric facility. (Asylums are for Batman.) The Apprentices then head to the home town of Hyde's current lifelong nemesis Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), to get revenge on him for brainwashing his daughter Skye/Daisy (Chloe Bennett) and killing his old nemesis, Daniel Whitehall.
Speaking of Skye, she's having trouble accepting that she's now an Inhuman (they're still not using that word), so May (Ming-Na Wen) calls in her therapist ex-husband Andrew (Blair Underwood) to help her with her process.
In a confrontation between Agents and Apprentices on a football field, Gordon (Jamie Harris) steps in to tele-abduct Hyde, the 'good' guys beat the badder guys, and Skye passes out from the stress of trying to suppress her quake powers.
Meanwhile, Mack (Henry Simmons) has locked Lance (Nick Blood) in a bathroom or something. It turns out Mack and Bobbi (Adrienne Palicki) are secretly working for... SHIELD?
Biggest highlight? Hyde describing Coulson as "a door-to-door salesman of a man." That is the sickest burn this show has ever delivered.
Also, the moment when Fitz (Iain DeCaestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) accidentally reconciled was surprisingly endearing. Surprising to me, anyway, given my low tolerance for TV's Second-Most Terrible Fitz. (Hi, Scandal fans.)
In fact, I actually really liked this episode in spite of some glaring flaws. It's a viable contender for "pilot I wish this show had opened with," which sounds absurd given how in media res most of its plotlines are, but look, there's a bad guy with superpowers collecting bad guys with superpowers, and SHIELD has to stop him. That's all I ever wanted, Agents of SHIELD! That and some fighting, and some generous scoops of world-building, and some spy stuff. This episode had all of those things!
This episode also had one of the silliest superpowers I've even seen played straight. Karla Faye Gideon (Drea de Matteo) has scalpel blades surgically attached to her fingers. Because of this, SHIELD put special gloves on her.
They didn't surgically remove the blades. They covered them up.
Even if, for some strange medical reason like her heart is wired to her fingernails, it was impossible to remove the blades, couldn't they have just pared them down and blunted the stumps? When Mister Hyde says she's an example of the crappy way SHIELD treats "people on the index," he has a point!
(Oh god, is all this reference to the index this episode leading us to an awkward construction of the phrase "inhuman" being short for "indexed human"?)
It's not just our pals over at The Flash who lock people up without due process — oh, those superheroes! — but also our friendly paramilitary knuckleheads at SHIELD. The difference on this show, of course, is that the agents don't just lock up villains, they also lock up their friends to avoid awkward conversations. (This is not OK.)
But at least we now know what Mack and Bobbi was hiding. And it's really confusing. Two SHIELDS? How does a spy operation not notice that it's been cloned?
Angar! Angar is here! Angar the Modok-frocking Screamer! David Angar was created by Steve Gerber, Gene Colan and John Tartaglione in Daredevil #100, and in the comics his scream could induce hallucinations. In the show, he makes people collapse, and he's traded his hippie outfit and philosophy for a dodgy make-up/CGI combo extended jaw.
Karla Faye Gideon is also a comics character, created by David Hine and Michael Gaydos for the story Daredevil: Redemption. In the comics she's a woman whose husband is abusive and whose son is murdered. This scalpel-finger thing is a very strange interpretation of that character.
Where's Screaming Mimi? Angar is great 'n all, but his sometime partner-in-crime Screaming Mimi is the more interesting character, not least because she ends up becoming the Thunderbolt Songbird. She's both a fairly minor character and a character with plenty of potential; exactly the sort of character this show could be mining.
Where's Lockjaw? It only occurred to me this week that, as the teleporting Inhuman, Gordon takes the place of a much more interesting character. Why does Gordon keep 'porting in to abduct people on his own when he could be teleporting in with a giant slobbering dog with a tuning fork on his head?
Wait, there's another SHIELD? So I could have been watching a different show this whole time?