TV Review: “Agents of SHIELD” – “One of Us”

Written by Danielle Sing March 21, 2015

agents of shield

“Agents of SHIELD” is back this week with “One of Us”. Blair Underwood guests stars in this episode as Dr. Andrew Garner, Melinda May’s (Ming-Na Wen) ex-husband, but they are one of the many sources of cliché dialogue. Cal (Kyle MacLachlan) continues on his revenge mission. Despite those two downsides in “One of Us”, the skill in MacLachlan’s acting, the several nods to the comics, director Kevin Tancharoen’s cinematic eye, and the well-timed cliff-hangers make the issues seem minimal.

In this episode of “Agents of SHIELD”, Cal recruits Wendell Levi (Ric Sarabia), Francis Noche (Geo Corvera), Karla Faye Gideon (Drea de Matteo) and David Angar (Jeff Daniel Phillips) – who are all on SHIELD’s Gifted Index – to help him retrieve Skye (Chloe Bennet) from Coulson (Clark Gregg). Angar and Karla Faye Gideon were nice nod to the comic books, as he’s Angar the Screamer and she’s also from “Daredevil”. Cal includes them in his revenge plan so they can rise against SHIELD’s oppression of gifted people. While it could seem like he’s doing this for Skye’s benefit, MacLachlan’s acting suggests otherwise.

agents of shield

MacLachlan seems rather emotionless when talking about or to Skye. At first it seems like bad acting, but he consistently gets angrier when Coulson is involved. Though he talks about ‘losing a child’, whom he believes Coulson took from him, he becomes furious with Skye for choosing Coulson over him. Thus, Cal’s revenge plot is not fueled by his love for Skye, but rather his anger towards Coulson. With Whitehall dead, his hatred is focused on Coulson. MacLachlan’s Cal is a charismatic, calm, and egotistical psychopath; his talent in this episode is a reminder of MacLachlan’s acting in the “Twin Peaks” finale.

“You’re not one of us. You’re just a science experiment.”

Learning more about Skye’s powers is great, and seeing her determination in controlling them is a highlight of this “Agents of SHIELD” episode. But her quick progress in controlling them was too good to be true: she merely directed her power towards herself rather than externally, which leads Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) to create casts. These casts are the second nod to the comics as the look very similar to the casts that Daisy Johnson wears to control her powers. While Dr. Andrew Garner’s main purpose was to reveal how Skye is coping with  her powers and to develop May’s character, but other than that he only provides cliché dialogue. “You look good” is possibility the most common thing said between divorced couples, but he’s not the only offender. Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) states that “history repeats itself,” and Mack (Henry Simmons) says that the organization he and Bobbi work for “came from the wreckage” of Fury’s SHIELD. The writers need new dialogue, but director Kevin Tancharoen has fresh eyes.

agents of shield

Tancharoen also directed the episode “Face My Enemy” with the stunning May versus May fight sequence, which May and Bobbi’s fight sequences in “One of Us” live up to that. The audience is given the stunning visuals with Angar’s rotating scream shot, impressive lighting techniques, and the sharp focus during the reveal of Karla’s razor fingers. Tancharoan’s use of camera angles, lighting and well-choreographed fights made this episode beautiful to watch.

Cliffhangers Done Right

The two cliffhangers in this “Agents of SHIELD” episode are well-timed. Mack reveals that the organization he and Bobbi work for is the “real SHIELD” giving the audience a peak at the new logo. Gordon’s denies including Cal as one of them, and Cal trembles about this unexpected turn. By giving us that small advancement, the timing of the cliff-hangers give the audience something specific to hold on to til next week.

agents of shield

“One of Us” continues on last week’s trend of improved “Agents of SHIELD” episodes. The actors and directors start to mark their place in “Agents of SHIELD”, so cliché dialogue and a too-simple revenge plot are the only things standing in this episode’s way of achieving “Agent Carter” status. Along with the well-timed cliff-hangers, “One of Us” has us glued to the television waiting for next week’s episode.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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