‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap: Where in the World is ‘The Hub’?

by Joshua Kaye

Where we left off: Agent Simmons is infected with a deadly alien virus and comes up with a cure with Agent Fitz; Coulson goes against the orders of S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters to sacrifice the life of Simmons; Coulson ordered a physical on himself, feeling like he has changed after his “near-death” experience in the Battle of New York.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.┬áhas been an insanely inconsistent ride which is so unfortunate due to the hype that the show has built up with Comic Con and being associated with the House of Ideas. Last week’s episode may have been the best of this season so far, so let’s see if The Hub can be just as good.

The episode begins with Agent Coulson being taken hostage by what seems to be a Serbian terrorist group. Of course, things aren’t always what they seem. The interrogator happens to be another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and he and Coulson break loose with the help of Agent Ward and Melinda May. Back at the base, Simmons extracts information from the…uh…nose…?…of Agent Shaw. Unfortunately for the rest of the crew, the information is “Level 8”, and with the rest of the crew being Level 7, they aren’t granted access.

The crew is then at The Hub…which is a classified S.H.I.E.L.D. facility so we have absolutely no idea where we are. Agent Sitwell (same one from the films) greets Agent Coulson and the two, along with Ward and May head to a classified area. Skye tries to walk with them but her wristband of shame prevents her from entering, leaving her stuck at the door. The group of four walk to greet Agent Victoria Hand and she debriefs the group on the upcoming mission: a separatist group has built a weapon labeled as “The Overkill Device (such a Whedon name).” They plan to use the weapon soon to declare their independence from Russia and Georgia…and the weapon has the power to trigger weapons from a great distance — a helicopter missile…a nuclear weapon. Yikes.

Agent Hand requires a team of two on the next mission — one in which needs to have the technical expertise to be able to dismantle the weapon on sight. Which means Agent Fitz, for as clumsy as he may be, must be the one to head on the mission with Agent Ward. Everyone in the group feels just how desperate of a situation this is and it doesn’t really seem that the faith is there in Fitz. Ward and Fitz drive out to the Caucasus Mountains with Fitz talking non-stop and Ward clearly not having it. Ward walks into a Russian bar to meet his contact…only to find out his contact is dead leaving Ward and Fitz in what can be described as a bit of a pickle.

At The Hub, Hand brings up Coulson’s recovery and how he looks good. As if he’s programmed to say it, he says Tahiti is a magical place…it just seems like he doesn’t quite believe it anymore. Back to Fitz and Ward, the two are tied up as they wait for the boss of the Siberian group in the bar. The two share some witty banter with Ward trying to come up with an escape plan for the two of them, asking if Fitz is close with his pinky. The boss comes in and asks Fitz and Ward are separatists, but she’s having none of it and orders to have them killed. At that moment, the lights go out in the bar.

Skye catches up with Coulson at the Hub and she tries to convince Coulson to let her know what exactly is going on. Coulson stonewalls her, leaving her and Simmons on their own to figure out what exactly is going on. Skye is trying to make Simmons open her eyes about everything going on…and Simmons seems to be getting the picture. Skye does say something pretty interesting though…that Coulson is acting like a robot version of himself…another vague hint that Coulson may be a life model decoy or even the Vision.

Back at the bar, Fitz tries to help out with the power situation which gives him and Ward the trust of the boss. Fitz proves himself extremely capable, getting stern when he has to and negotiating Ward and himself a trip over the Siberian border. Fitz reveals he shorted the fuse box with his “localized EMP.” The truck they’re hitching a ride on makes it over the border and all seems smooth until the truck stops and gunshots are heard. The two are stuck in a tricky situation as the border patrol guards approach the truck. Ward, thinking quickly, destroys a couple of canisters distracting them as Ward and Simmons make a run for it.

On the S.H.I.E.L.D. plane, Coulson walks in on Melinda doing some yoga and he begins to express doubts about S.H.I.E.L.D. and it almost seems as if he’s cracking a bit. Simmons and Skye begin to do some black ops work themselves to figure out what S.H.I.E.L.D. is up to exactly. Fitz and Ward are still running for their lives, hiding from the border patrol. Agent Sitwell catches Simmons in the act of breaking into S.H.I.E.L.D. information, and when he tries to bring security into the picture Simmons uses the “night-time” gun and it knocks Sitwell unconscious, allowing Simmons to get only a small bit of information and allowing us to see just how terrible she is at being in the field.

With Skye’s flash drive in place, she has three minutes to figure out what is going on with Fitz and Ward. Instead, she chooses to look at redacted documents with the hope of finding information about her parents. With only :30 seconds to go, she makes the choice get the information regarding the mission and she finds out that S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn’t planning on extracting Ward and Fitz from the mission. Agent Coulson catches Skye in the act and he reprimands her for trying to find her parents, yet she reveals she knows the truth. Skye matches up against Coulson, but Coulson tries to justify the actions of S.H.I.E.L.D., and he almost makes you believe it.

Ward and Fitz are able to hitch onto another truck heading into the secret compound and we see them in action. Ward fights his way into the room with “The Overkill Device” while Fitz doesn’t even realize what’s going on. At the device, it’s now time for Fitz to rise to the occasion and disable the device. Coulson confronts Agent Hand since even he didn’t know about the plan to not extract Ward and Fitz, and Hand says to Coulson what Coulson says to Skye, “You need to trust the system.” Ward tells Fitz about there being no extraction team and Ward tells him to go letting, leaving Ward to finish the job. Fitz, in one of the stronger moments in the season, shuts him down — claiming he’s just as strong as Ward.

Coulson, May, Simmons, and Skye decide to go against S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol and decide to go and extract Fitz and Ward from the compound. When Fitz fully disables the device, an alarm goes off and the two have to fend for themselves. Ward signals a beacon, allowing S.H.I.E.L.D. the chance to bomb the compound but with the two of them trapped inside. Fitz, using a part of “The Overkill Device,” is able to overheat the guns and help with escaping the compound while Ward continues to just punch and kick everyone in sight. They make it out of the building only to be greeted by what seems like hundreds of guards. Lucky for them, the “extraction team” of Coulson and crew comes in time to save them.

With everyone safely on the plane, Fitz and Simmons share their experiences about going black ops for the first time with Simmons completely stealing the scene. Coulson walks to Skye’s room to let her know he found the unredacted file of her past, and let’s her know it wasn’t about her directly but just about the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who dropped her off at the orphanage. Coulson doesn’t tell Skye the whole thing, and for that he confides in May. The episode ends on an interesting note…Coulson, who is Level 8, doesn’t have the clearance to find out the truth about his own recovery.

All in all, this was a pretty satisfying episode of Agents of SHIELD (I’m done putting in the periods they’re just tiresome). For the second week in a row we were given the chance to ride along with a character who didn’t get that much screen time previously. With last weeks episode allowing Simmons to shine, this time it was Fitz and he didn’t disappoint. The acting continues to be top notch and the mystery of SHIELD remains high. They’re a gigantic moral gray area that not even the people working in the organization can trust. Next week’s episode, The Well, ties in to Thor: The Dark World, so it’s gonna be an episode you’ll want to see. Until next week!

 

Joshua Kaye (@JKaye57) is a recent college grad with a BA in Cinema Studies. A Queens, NY native, Josh hopes to one day rule all of New York, then the United States, then the world. But after he writes an Oscar winning screenplay.

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