Review: Agents of SHIELD 2x13: One of Us
Posted by Ian Grundy at 12:40 on 21 Mar 2015
"I've had it with these motherfucking quakes on this motherfucking plane!"
There's something deeply unsatisfying about the way the plot of Agents of Shield lurches onwards. Every episode, every scene, and every subplot seems like it was started with absolutely no idea where any of it is going. Plots are frequently resolved by different plots showing up without warning overriding the previous plot. It's like jangling keys at the audience to distract us from the previous jangling keys.
Hunter was knocked out at the end of the previous episode so that Mack and Bobbi's plan can move ahead. But instead of that happening they somehow manage to drag him from the cargo bay of the Bus and tie him up in some random bathroom presumably thousands of miles away from Shield HQ. This leaves them free to complete their plan, or not as I guess there's too much else going on at the moment. Then rather than dealing with either situation, they resolve it by taking him to a different realer Shield base. Dun dun dun! It's not so much A to B to C as it is A to Ѳ to 馬.
Skye's dad is still upset that his lil' kwisatz haderach is caught up with Shield, so he gathers together a group of sort of dangerous miscreants to draw them out. There's laptop-man, Mrs Razornails, The Fairly Strong Gentlemen, and Jigglypuff. Wait a minute, the lady has razor blades 'permanently attached' to her fingernails? Sure that sucks, but I really don't see the problem. The razor blades look pretty thin - you could probably get them removed with some garden secateurs. Hang on, I'll go get mine. Shouldn't take a minute. No need to craft some sort of elaborate un-removable metal gloves to go over them or anything.
Cal leaves vague clues about where Shield should come to rather than telling them directly, so they have to wait around in a diner for ages. This didn't make much sense. Maybe the script came in short. Anyway, after causing a ruckus at a Wisconsin sports field - Shield eventually arrive. With neither side really having any kind of plan other than pointless fighting, the eyeless teleporter guy from before arrives to save the day by teleporting Cal away from the plot thus resolving the situation in a satisfying and dare I say clever manner. Seriously, I never saw it coming. The writers didn't either.
Skye is being kept in honour-system lockup on The Bus. No-one is really sure what to do with her, maybe because they change their minds every alternate page of script. They decide to get outside help in the form of Agent May's....... DIVORCE!!! HA HA! GOTCHA! Wait no, I meant to say husband. Dammit. Usefully he's a psychologist and agrees to show up and fill out the episode with harmless Agent May backstory. At the end he just writes "I dunno, maybe she should leave Shield or something. What was the question again?" on his psyche report, which will clearly be ignored by everyone and never mentioned again.
I think it's plot structure like this that lead the show seeing record low ratings last week, and that episode had someone actually from the movies in. Also someone said "Thor" in that one, it's a shame everyone missed it really. Despite many dangling plot threads, there is no real momentum to anything. Skye is the same as before, eyeless guy is hanging out somewhere, Bobbi and Mack aren't displaying the slightest bit of urgency to their antics. Fortunately without the push of a plot, it really gives one time to reflect on all the incredibly dumb things that happen every week.
Coulson and Simmons decide that keeping pointless secrets has a proven track record of being a good idea and decide to start working on some sort of anti-Skye science. Simmons' anti-superpower agenda this week is demonstrated by numerous request to inject Skye full of drugs, and her trying to come up with a designation for Skye / Raina's sort of people. Unfortunately 'Others' has been taken by literally every single other TV show made since the first season of Lost.
I also don't think the writers know what an earthquake is. In this episode Skye shakes a plane causing sparks to appear from lights and not much else. Later she shakes the cameras on the football pitch. Please watch this scenes carefully: none of the actors even act like the ground is shaking - it's just the camera. On the plane, everyone even manages to run up a spiral staircase without any problems. I guess my point is that even for a show with no budget for effects, they could be doing a better job just with direction and writing.
Coming up next week - some sort of webisode quality fluff that will not ever be mentioned in any of the MCU films.