In “The Hub”, Agent Ward and Fitz are unknowingly on a suicide mission while the rest of the team discover secrets in one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s central headquarters.
Continue reading for a spoiler filled discussion of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 7.
Is anybody else craving a prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella sandwich with a hint of pesto aioli? This week’s serving of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. left me wanting more but it’ll hold me over until things hopefully pick up next episode. As always I’ll be happy to discuss the episode with you further, including the bits I didn’t recap, in the comments section.
A lot of these early episodes should be creatively fuelled by exploring the team dynamic and playing characters off of one another. In “The Hub”, paring a bunch of “odd couples” that haven’t interacted much on-screen has the potential for some memorable character moments. Of the mix-matched parings, the one who is out of their element in this episode had stronger character development.
Fitz may never be the guy that sky dives out of an airplane to rescue a fellow agent but he made significant strides in proving he’s more than a lab rat. Creating the blackout seconds before their execution and assembling the gizmo that zapped the enemies’ guns out of their hands is pretty impressive for a guy that couldn’t get through the sliding glass doors at the beginning of the episode.
Having Fitz look after Ward rather than the other way around should have made for a great bonding moment but it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. A part of it is due to the lacklustre chemistry between the characters. The writers didn’t give them great dialogue to work with and some promising scenes like sharing the mag pouch/sleeping bag could have been comedy gold instead it’s a slightly amusing sight gag.
Agent Ward didn’t fair as well as Fitz. I didn’t come away from the episode knowing something new about Ward or that he did anything endearing. Ward is most interesting when he’s out of his comfort zone or making fun of himself, neither of which happened in this episode.
It would have been more effective if the writers played up the protective big brother type of dynamic where Ward may be tough on Fitz but there’s an undertone of genuine care. Perhaps that’s the writers intent, but the actor wasn’t able to communicate that effectively on-screen. I was hoping for Ward to be more likeable after finally getting a meatier story line but the opportunity got thrown away.
The girls are up to hijinks of their own. I got a good laugh out of Simmons trying to talk her way out of a compromising situation only to use the night night gun on Agent Sitwell. Did anyone else find it funny? Although being nosy and defiant aren’t Skye’s finest traits at least her B plot directly effected the main story line. She put the needs of the team before her own for a change which puts her actions in the plus column.
I’m trying to wrap my head around what this episode is trying to say about the line between a person’s rights to freedom of information and how disclosure could be harmful to the individual or objective. Should we implicitly trust those in authority to keep classified information on a need to know basis and on whose best interest do they serve?
I believe several factors influence Coulson’s change in perspective. Firstly, the magical Tahiti place that Coulson talks about as if it’s a subliminal or preprogrammed response becomes troubling. And he can no longer accept the “trust the system” rhetoric when it’s repeated back to him after being kept in the dark about sending two of his agents on a suicide mission.
This motivates him to find out the truth about Skye’s mom and his own mysterious resurrection. I think it’s somewhat interesting that while S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ achieves its goals by keeping secrets, Coulson runs his team with very little bureaucracy or red tape. However, Coulson only tells Skye about what she needs to know about her origins which is not completely dissimilar to Fitz telling Simmons her sandwich is delicious (i.e. not the whole truth).
My first impression of Director Victoria Hand is that she can’t entirely be trusted and has a hidden agenda which is exactly how her character should come across. She smiles when Coulson extracts his agents because she knew all along the team would find a way to rescue themselves. She may also have her reasons for not punishing Skye and Simmons. Perhaps in her mind, under handed tactics and playing outside the rule books is an admirable quality in an agent.
“The Hub” is not a bad episode but it’s doesn’t carry forward the momentum created by the last couple of instalments. “F.Z.Z.T.” showed the potential and likeability of Fitz-Simmons so I’m a little disappointed that Ward didn’t get the same treatment in this episode.
Where does the “The Hub” rank in the season overall? Are you interested in finding out about Skye’s parents? Are you excited for next episode’s Thor Dark World tie-in?