The latest episode of Agents of SHIELD introduces a whole slew of new characters, some known and some unknown within the Marvel Universe. But more important than the events of “One of Us,” because at the end of the day not much actually happens, is the groundwork it lays for how the rest of season 2 will go.
Mr. Skye’s quest for vengeance against Coulson for taking out Whitehall ia the main focus, with Cal assembling a team of SHIELD-contained supervillains in an effort to expose the good guys’ dark side. And is it purely coincidental that two of them come directly from the pages of the Daredevil comic books, not three weeks before the newest Marvel mini-series debuts on Netflix? Methinks not.
But the larger implications involve storylines that will be flushed out over the remaining 10 or so episode, including Skye’s struggle to control her powers/continued alienation from the team, the rift between Inhumans and those whose have man-made powers (don’t say mutant), and a schism in SHIELD itself, with a faction that apparently doesn’t recognize the alien-infused Coulson as its leader.
And let’s not forget that former Agent Grant Ward is still on the run with Agent 33.
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Fried Chicken with Two Sides
Before we get to the meat of the plot, let’s deal with the corn and mashed potatoes.
“Who You Really Are” ended with Hunter in a sleeper hold after asking Mack what he was up to with Bobbi, which picks up with the two of them at a safehouse and Hunter handcuffed in the bathroom. Agent Morse agrees to set up an extraction, and she tells Coulson that Hunter reverted to his old regressive ways when she broke off their rekindled sexual relationship.
Mack ends up taking Hunter to a headquarters of sorts, which he describes as an outlier organization that arose from the wreckage that Fury left behind. It’s SHIELD, he says, the real SHIELD.
Elsewhere, Skye remains self-quarantined in the Bus’ cell while Simmons conducts tests on her. But she’s officially on the “gifted registry” now, which means she needs an evaluation and threat assessment from an outside source. Enter Dr. Andrew Garner, Agent Melinda May’s ex-husband. He gets all psychoanalytical on Skye, who is no stranger to shrinks after bouncing around the foster care system.
Calling All Freaks
In addition to the fact that Coulson killed the man Cal was plotting against for nearly three decades, he also holds a grudge for that whole “turning Daisy against him” thing. So he embarks on a journey to gather those whom SHIELD had previously dubbed too dangerous to be allowed to handle their powers.
It started with Wendell Levi, a genius who can fry electrical units but lacks a moral compass (who is not known in the comic book world), and Francis Noche, who is exceptionally strong but stupid (and may or may not be Ajax from Deadpool). The three of them then collect Karla Faye Gideon (Drea de Matteo), who has razor blades on the tips of her fingers and was shacked in giant metal finger gloves that made if very difficult to eat steak.
In the Daredevil comic books, Karla is a battered wife who stands by her husband but is simply human without any powers.
The three of them then break into a maximum security mental institution where SHIELD houses two dangerous folks on the gifted registry. They are John Bruno, a unknown dude who experiments with various ways to kill people and who is left behind to deal with Coulson and Co. (Morse kicks his ass), and David Angar, aka Angar the Screamer (or just Scream), also from Daredevil.
During an experiment to give him super powers, his vocal cords were bombarded with hypersound, which now allows him to scream very loudly and causes people to hallucinate, fall unconscious or probably even die. The five of them travel to the high school in Coulson’s Wisconsin hometown, where they use Angar to knock out all the football players and cheerleaders practicing on the field.
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Calling for Backup
After fighting off Bruno, Coulson pieces together Cal’s plan, and he and Morse head for Manitowac, first calling the Bus for backup. May interrupts a Skye-Garner therapy session to fly them out, and despite the obvious fact that it’s a terrible idea, Skye convinces the others to let her go along on the mission, promising that she can control her powers and use Cal’s affection for her against him.
Cal confronts Coulson on the football field, saying he wants SHIELD revealed for what they do to special people with their registry and containment. Then May walks out with a gun to Skye’s head, but Cal calls their bluff and knows they won’t kill her. He hands Angar a microphone, but before the scream comes, Inhuman Gordon appears in his blue force field and carries Cal off like he did Raina.
May melees the strongman while Bobbi battles Adriana Scissorhands, and Couslon takes out both Angar and Levi before Skye starts quaking again. She sucks it inside, notices fast-forming bruising on her arms and faints.
Skye wakes up in her bed, and it turns out the bruising is from thousands of capillary ruptures. Dr. Garner points out that she hasn’t been stopping her powers, only directing them inward on herself. So now no one knows what to do.
Simmons recommends to Coulson that they have two classifications of superpowers to include with this new kind that isn’t man-made and exists inside the person before it is activated. If the others are “gifted” or “enhanced,” these folks are just “other.” He tells her it’s also a priority to determine how to stop such people, but to keep it on the DL.
May walks Garner off the Bus, and he refuses to be a consultant on Skye’s case, going so far as to say she should leave SHIELD altogether. And despite the chemistry between the ex-couple, he’s moved on, from her and from the organization, even though he’ll always care.
The epilogue is Gordon returning to a room that Cal has clearly just destroyed, telling him that the Inhumans have grabbed him because he’s making too much noise. Cal responds that he’s rallying troops for battle, but Gordon shoots him down, saying that he is a science experiment and not one of them. As for what will happen to him next, that’s not for Gordon to decide.
There are a ton of different directions the series can go at this point, not to mention the tie-ins across the TV, feature film and Netflix landscapes. How do you see it all playing out?
Were you happy with the events of “One of Us,” and do you think we’ll be seeing these other supervillains again? Is SHIELD getting too big for its own britches, or can all these questions be answered in time and plot points dating back to season 1 be explained?
Big changes could be coming with Avengers: Age of Ultron and Daredevil right around the corner, so buckle up for what looks to be a bumpy and exciting ride.
You can watch Agents of SHIELD every Tuesday at 9pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)