Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mavel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 13: One Of Us

This week's review is a few days late, due to the fact that I've been busy this week doing my quintannual (is that what you call something that happens every five years?) spring cleaning at Casa de Canada.

On this week's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Cal returns with his very own super villain team (which turns out to be a discount Masters Of Evil), we finally meet May's ex, and we get to see who Mockingbird and Mack have really been working for all season.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Despite the fact that Skye seems to have her quake powers under control, Coulson wants her to undergo a psych evaluation as standard procedure. Who they gonna call? Why May's ex-husband of course, former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Dr. Andrew Garner (played by Blair Underwood). He has a few sessions with Skye, who assures him she's fine. She's proved wrong though when she begins quaking out in her sleep. Oh, and despite the fact that May was the one who divorced Andrew, she begins having feelings for him again. Or does she? It's hard to tell what— if anything— May is feeling.

Meanwhile, we see that Mack is keeping hunter captive in a S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house until he and Mockingbird can figure out what to do with him.

And even more meanwhile, Skye's dad Cal, aka Mr. Hyde, assembles his very own super villain team and heads to Coulson's hometown in Wisconsin, ir order to call out S.H.I.E.L.D. and reveal them for the "monsters" they are. Just as Cal is about to give the signal to attack, Gordon the eyeless Inhuman appears and teleports him away. Coulson and the rest of the Team then make short work of the rest of the "super" villains.

During the scrap with Cal's team, Skye begins quaking out, but this time turns her power inward rather than outward. This causes her to suffer over seventy five hairline fractures throughout her body. Simmons whips up some kind of hi-tech gauntlets to somehow help her control her power. Andrew suggests Coulson remove her from the team, for the good of everyone. Coulson and May respectfully tell him thanks but no thanks, no doubt leaving Andrew wondering why the hell they called him in the first place if they weren't going to listen to his recommendation.,

Mockingbird and Mack finally decide to let Hunter in on their secret. They bring him to an unknown location and reveal they're working for the real S.H.I.E.L.D.. Whaa...?

Thoughts:
• I don't know if it was by design or necessity, but Cal's super villain team was definitely a low budget affair. Half of them looked like normal, everyday people even! They're definitely not going to keep the Avengers up all night worrying.

For the record, the team consisted of:
Calvin Zabo of course.

Wendall Levi, a computer genius who was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. and had an anti-tech chip embedded in his arm (said chip was crudely removed by Cal).

Francis Noche, an ex-mob enforcer who gains super strength from experimental steroids (Captain America he ain't).

Karla Faye Gideon, an abused wife who bolted razor sharp blades to her fingertips.

David A. Angar, aka Angar the Screamer, who can knock people out with his voice.

• Angar is the only member of Cal's team with anything even close to a superpower. 

Believe it or not he's actually a character from the comics! He first appeared in Daredevil #100 in 1973. There his sonic scream didn't just knock people out, it caused them to have vivid acid trip hallucinations. Ah, 1970s. I miss you.

It was a nice touch to have the birds plummeting to the ground when Angar used his power.

• Karla Faye Gideon's "power" comes from the claws bolted to her fingers. When we first see her, she's living in some S.H.I.E.L.D. halfway house for naughty super villains, and is trying to eat with what appear to be milking machine sheaths stuck on her fingers.

Karla's power doesn't come from within though. She doesn't have retractable claws like Wolverine. She's not a mutan, er, I mean Inhuman. Her claws are bolted on. So why not just take a screwdriver to her fingers and remove them? Why go to the trouble of covering them with metal sheaths?

• Both Angar and Karla are minor Daredevil characters (very minor, in the case of Karla). I wonder... is that just a coincidence, or did they dredge them up because Marvel's new Daredevil series is starting up soon?

• Of course Coulson would come from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. It seems like the perfect nondescript place for someone like him.

• Cal has two main beefs with S.H.I.E.L.D. One is that his daughter Skye chose them over him. Fair enough. How sharper than a serpent's tooth and all that. 

Cal's second problem with S.H.I.E.L.D. is that Coulson killed Daniel Whitehall before he could. Wha? OK, I know the guy's certifiably nuts, but that seems like a pretty thin motivation. He wanted to see Whitehall dead, and he is. What's it matter who made him stop breathing?

• Blair Underwood looks amazingly well preserved for someone who's 50. Just like Ming-Na Wen, who's 52. I'm starting to think these two are really immortal Inhumans!

• As Skye tries to gain control of her powers, she inadvertently turns them inward, fracturing her arms in 170 places. Simmons places special hi-tech casts on her forearms, which are very similar to the gauntlets worn by Quake, her comic book counterpart.

• Last week when Hunter got nosy and Mack put him in a sleeper hold, I wondered if he'd just keep knocking him out from now on whenever he woke up. Welp, I wasn't far off! Mack's got him chained up (rather unsecurely, I might add) in the bathroom of a S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house!

• So the big reveal to the "Who's Mockingbird And Mack Working For?" storyline is-- S.H.I.E.L.D.! I have no idea what this means, but I'm sure Edward James Olmos will explain it to us next week. I guess maybe there was a double secret division of S.H.I.E.L.D. that HYDRA didn't destroy?

• Possible bad news for Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans. AMC just announced that Ruth Negga, our own Girl In The Flower Dress, has been cast as Tulip O'Hare in their upcoming Preacher series. 

Does that mean she'll be leaving the show soon? I hope not, as her Inhumans storyline was just getting interesting. If Preacher follows The Walking Dead template, then there'll probably only be ten episodes per season. Surely that would give her time to make the occasional S.H.I.E.L.D. guest appearance?

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