By far and away, the best thing about the episode “One of Us” is the introduction of May’s ex-husband, psychiatrist Dr. Andrew Garner (Blaire Underwood). Apparently an ex-employee or ex-consultant for S.H.I.E.L.D – it’s not really clear which – he is brought in to help evaluate Skye’s mental state in the wake of her transformation. Predictably she is resistant, but acquiesces when she discovers he and May were once married. Indeed, the entire team is understandably intrigued by their former relationship, and it results in some excellent moments between a number of characters, including Fitz and Simmons, who have their first real ‘make-up’ while gossiping about Agent May’s former spouse.
It is clear there is still a spark between them, and that circumstances are what drove them apart – namely the demands of May’s job. The actors have fantastic chemistry and while I am a Coulson/May shipper in the long haul, I would not be at all opposed to the good doctor sticking around. Although they already have quite an ensemble cast, he adds something worthwhile and engaging to the mix.
Meanwhile, Cal is back to his old crazy, out liberating various “exceptional humans” S.H.I.E.LD. had under some form of constraint. He lures Coulson back to his hometown for a stand-off that ultimately does not go his way. Honestly, this aspect of the episode was relatively uninteresting to me. Although it may seem as if the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D always need some external fight to make the plot move forward, I am not entirely sure that is the case. This episode could have been entirely composed of the psychological evaluation of Skye and the mystery of Hunter’s disappearance and it would have been perfectly entertaining in its own right.
Speaking of which, Hunter and Mack have it out while the former is chained to a sink. Coulson confronts Bobbi about what happened between them, assuming his disappearance is about their personal relationship. When Bobbi asks Coulson why he is talking to her about their love/sex life, he replies that when stuck on a problem, it helps to engage yourself elsewhere: “Listen to music, twirl a baton, talk about something else.” I quote this line primarily because the mental image of Coulson twirling a baton makes me smile and it simply needs to be repeated as often as possible.
The episode concludes the reveal that Bobbi and Mack work for the “real S.H.I.E.L.D.” which, presumably, we will get some serious insight into next week. Edward James Olmos, of Battlestar Gallactica fame, has been tapped to fill the role of the Coulson to Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D, and the conflict between the two ‘branches,’ shall we say, looks to provide an interesting dynamic as the season presses on. This episode on the whole had its weak moments, but it also had some very solid one-liners and some great scenes, particularly with Dr. Garner. I sincerely hope to see a lot more of him as the series progresses.
“You can’t be too mad at him for lying. We’re spies, we lie for a living” – Bobbi (to Simmons)
“Congrats on the promotion. Or should I offer my condolences?” – Dr. Garner (to Coulson)
“Did you guys have actual conversations, like pillow talk? Or was it just pillow stern looks” – Skye (to Dr. Garner)
“They’re an odd pair. He listens for a living and she doesn’t speak.” – Fitz