Last week on Agents of SHIELD
, we watched the team come together as a family. And this week, they prove they're the good kind of family members who always looks out for each other, even if it means breaking the rules.
"The Hub" involves a mission that segments the team into three separate parts, which allows every agent to have everyone else's back in a number of different ways. At its heart, it's about the creation of Agent FitzWard.
But it's also about a couple of chicks who are worried about their men and feel helpless, so they jump into action and help save the day.
I don't know if the women's lib movement would be pissed about the stereotype or happy that the empowered and slightly devious women succeed, but that's a discussion for another day.
I'm certain that I'm over-thinking it, but I have to admit the resilient damsel-in-distress who makes things happen on her own is what crosses my mind as I watch Skye and Simmons fret over Ward's and Fitz's safety enough to team up and hack highly-classified documents after tranquilizing a ranking officer (without repercussion, I might add).
But before we go further, I have to say that if Agent Coulson is the father figure and glue that holds the team together, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons are what holds the show together. From the cart getting stuck in the door to his pining over the lost sandwich by saying it's a good day to be a rat, Fitz has me cracking up throughout the entire episode. And it caps off nicely with him and Simmons discussing how their days were a bit out of the ordinary.
The Mysterious Hub
"The Hub" feels a lot like what a standard episode will be once all the characters are established and further developed. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, but they need all the skills brought to the table and to function as a team in order to make it through all these missions alive.
Things fly a bit differently at the Hub than they do on the Bus (get it, cause the bus is a plane?), and it brings new meaning to the term "procedural" that is used to describe the structure of Agents of SHIELD. Everything is about levels of classification and people knowing only what they need to know, and if you question it, you're told to "trust the system."
In fact, we hear that phrase so many times, I'm pretty sure not trusting the system is a built-in part of trusting it. Though that might just be a convenience afforded to Agent Victoria Hand, another actual comic book character who makes her first appearance in "The Hub." But more on everything working out later.
Killing the Overkill Device
The main plot point revolves around a top-secret mission to stop separatists who plan to use a weapon that uses sonic vibrations to trigger all other weapons within a certain radius in order to declare their independence from Russia and Georgia. It must be carried out by a two-person team, one who has certain physical skills and the other who can disarm the weapon. Enter Agents Ward and Fitz.
If you're wondering how they get this intel, Coulson lets himself get abducted by some bad guys and is about to be tortured, but the guy brought in to bring the pain is actually Agent Shaw. And he's got the details in a tube shoved up his nose, so Simmons uses the metal grabby device from the original Total Recall to pull it out. Got it?
What Level Are You?
Coulson is Level 8, Ward and May are Level 7 and FitzSimmons is Level 5. Skye has no level, and thus has no idea what is going on throughout the mission. And this does not sit well with her.
After Coulson tells her that if SHIELD keeps a secret from you, it's for a reason, Skye decides to go off the book and track down details of the mission. And since Simmons is worried sick about Fitzy being in the field, Skye enlists her help.
Prove Your Worth
Ward begins the mission thinking he has to keep Fitz safe, but they wind up protecting each other. When Ward's friend in the Caucasus Mountains turns out to be dead and their lives are on the line, Fitz uses an EMP to blow the lights and the local soccer match, then fixes it all to gain their captors' trust and get them across the border.
Then when they get cornered, Ward blows up some beer kegs to get them out of the dicey situation and tosses the smelly sandwich so the tracking dogs won't find them hiding in a drain pipe.
And after they disarm the overkill device and all hell breaks loose, Fitz turns it into a single shooter that destroys the separatists' guns so Ward can stop them with his fists, his feet and a chain (like in Double Dragon). Fitz even gets a head shot of his own when one of the baddies turns the tables on Ward.
Likewise, back at the Hub, Simmons "talks" her way out of a confrontation with Agent Jasper Sitwell by shooting him in the chest with the night-night gun and installs the USB that allows the still-braceleted Skye to hack the system (choosing mission details over the redacted document regarding her parents) and determine that there's no extraction plan for Fitz and Ward.
Come Together, Right Now, Over the Caucasus Mountains
Now that all the agents have shown they're good at stuff, it's time to let Coulson into the mix. Even though he yells at Skye like she's his kid (and maybe she is?), it's still news to him that his guys are on a suicide mission.
It's doubly insulting because when Agent Hand talked about him getting back to "the big leagues" earlier, he had responded that he thought he was already there because his agents were carrying out the mission. Guess your boys aren't as important as you thought.
After he confronts Hand, who gives a number of completely understandable and plausible reasons why there's no extraction team, a pissed-off Coulson joins Skye, Simmons and May in an off-the-cuff rescue attempt, because four is better than three when it comes to an extraction team.
Turns out we really only needed one, though, because May flies the Bus above the crowd of armed men descending on FitzWard and blows them away with the plane's thrusters. After that, all she has to do is pick them up.
There was supposed to be a massive SHIELD assault on the compound, but I guess May got in and out before the rest of the strike team arrived.
All's Well That Ends Well
Here's where things get convenient for Agent Hand. When asked about there being no extraction plan and the fact that Simmons shot Sitwell with a tranquilizer gun, she simply replies that this was Coulson's group, so there was no need for an extraction team.
So was Coulson going against orders to save Ward and Fitz the plan all along? If so, wouldn't it have been easier to just actually have an extraction plan? And if not, shouldn't there be some sort of punishment for all those risky actions? Or is it okay because everyone survived and there wasn't any damage to expensive SHIELD equipment?
Something tells me Nick Fury wouldn't have been too happy repairing the Bus again.
But there's no need to worry about these questions, because everything ends up just fine. Mission compete. The mission's a success.
It turns out the redacted file wasn't about Skye's parents, only about who dropped her off at the orphanage, and it was a SHIELD agent. Could've been her mom, could've been someone who found her on a corner. Still, it's something, so she hugs Coulson and is super glad she chose the mission over her own personal desires. Because after all, she still wants to be a full-fledged agent.
Coulson tells Skye the truth about what the document said regarding who dropped her off, but he withholds the why and enlists May to help him uncover what really happened.
And Coulson is still trying to figure out the truth about "Tahiti" and his resurrection after being stabbed in the chest with Loki's sword. But it turns out he doesn't have security clearance to access the documents about his own recovery.
I guess he is right -- some secrets are meant to stay secret. More on all these topics in upcoming episodes, as well as a tie-in to the Thor sequel.
That's all for this week. What did you think of "The Hub"? And what do you think is the truth about all these characters' backstories? After another episode without any super powers, are you happy with the way the inaugural season is headed? Are you getting all that you bargained for? Let me know in the comments section below!
You can watch Agents of SHIELD every Tuesday at 8pm on ABC.