Television: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., "The Hub"

At first I was worried we were going to get the S.H.I.E.L.D. version of a Star Trek shore leave episode. Thankfully, we did not.

What we did get was a visit to The Hub and a look at S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy. A Level 8 task means only Coulson and May have the clearance to know what's going on, leaving the rest in the dark. And while Ward, Fitz, and Simmons are trained to take that in good faith, it leaves Skye gnashing her teeth.

The assignment involves sending Ward and Fitz off to stop some Eastern European separatists. What no one knows—not even Coulson, and presumably also not May—is that there is no extraction plan for Ward and Fitz at the conclusion of the mission, leaving them on their own in dealing with how to get away/out of the country.

Skye preys on Simmons's concerns about Fitz being in the field, thereby prompting Simmons to agree to "bad-girl shenanigans" as they attempt to find out more about the mission. This is, of course, how they discover the lack of extraction plans. Skye confronts Coulson, who quite obviously pretends he's known this all along before going off to yell at some of his S.H.I.E.L.D. peers. Then he, May, Skye and Simmons take the bus and go save Ward and Fitz. (This sort of thing has become pretty standard for the show.)

This was probably one of the best episodes thus far for a couple reasons. (1) The fingerprints of Whedon were all over it in terms of tone and dialogue. Even if he didn't write it, someone was doing a spot-on imitation. (2) Pairing Skye with Simmons was far more interesting than seeing Skye with Ward or Coulson. It's a bit fun to see Skye trying to urge Simmons out of her shell. Even more fun to see Simmons outside her comfort zone. (And Fitz, too, for that matter.)

Less great was the fact that Skye's obnoxious need to meddle and snoop is rewarded here. I'd really like to see her get some kind of kick in the nose for once.

The episode also gave a few more reveals regarding Skye's ongoing desire to find out about her parents. Coulson tells her she was brought to the orphanage by a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. A woman, but (he says) no one knows who. He'll have to dig a little deeper. Skye is satisfied with even this little bit more than she knew before, but (of course—and again, it's just so predictable how these things are handled) we discover Coulson knows far more than he's telling. He enlists May to help him continue searching out the secrets. A file photo suggests Skye's parents were murdered . . . But were they S.H.I.E.L.D. or just collateral damage? Unclear.

Meanwhile, the episode concluded with Coulson trying to clear up his own mystery: Tahiti. He calls for the file but is told he isn't cleared to view it. Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say.

White rabbit object.

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