Sunday, November 17, 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.07: "The Hub"

“I am every bit the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that you are.”
- Fitz

This week continues the trend of focusing on other characters than Skye and Ward. Yes, the plot does focus somewhat on them but we get some lovely character development for other characters, specifically Fitz. We begin with Coulson being hauled in for questioning in a Siberian prison. The supposed interrogator is actually an undercover agent who has Intel. May and Ward bust in and they manage to get out of there safely. Back on the Bus, Simmons extracts the file from the agent’s nose. She won’t get a chance to analyze it because they are heading to the Hub to drop it off. Skye wants to know what the Hub is and why Coulson has said that the Intel is classified level 8. She’s confused by the fact that the rest of the team just accepts his brush off. They get to the Hub and it’s pretty impressive. Coulson, May and Ward go in for a briefing on the Intel while FitzSimmons heads off to take a gander at the tech corridor. This leaves Skye to stand around aimlessly because she can’t get into anything thanks to her jammer bracelet.

In the briefing, we learn that a separatist group has a giant weapon that could emit sonic pulses and trigger weaponry anywhere. Definitely not a good thing. And we’ve got a 24-hour window before they use it. So they need two agents to go in and disable it before then. At first May and Ward think they’re the ones needed but it turns out that they need someone who can ID the tech and dismantle on sight. Given that Fitz is engineering that means he’s the second agent. We get a bit of comedy to show how inexperienced he is in the field before he starts packing. There is a sweet moment between he and Simmons where she gives him his favorite sandwich. Unfortunately, it’s quite clear that he’s pretty green as he and Ward head out. Phase one of their plan is to get across the border. Ward thinks he can accomplish this but it turns out his contact is dead and the new boss is not a fan. Just as the boss is threatening our guys, the power goes out.

Back at the Hub, Skye voices her displeasure with the fact that May and Simmons seem so okay with not knowing any details about the mission. She’s going to pump Coulson for some details about the mission. She catches him outside of the Situation Room (after he and Agent Hand put some extra military measures in place) to ask for information about what’s going on with the guys. I like that she’s concerned about them and it seems that the rest of the team left behind will start to worry, too. Coulson tells her to just trust the system and then goes and has a one-sided conversation with agent May while she’s doing yoga. It seems he’s trying to talk himself into trusting the system. Meanwhile, Skye convinces Simmons to help her break into the S.H.I.E.L.D. mainframe so they can get information on the op. Simmons’ job is to plug in a USB to spoof Skye’s browsing history, giving the hactivist a shot at getting the information. Things go terribly wrong when one of the other agents spots Simmons trying to access a wall panel. Simmons ends up shooting him with the Night Night Gun. Skye sends her off to recruit May for their shenanigans while she hunts for information. Skye sees files in the redacted section on her parents but she leaves that to hunt for the boys’ location. She’s horrified to learn that there is no extraction plan. Coulson finds her in the room and she berates him for not sharing the information. He puts her in her place a bit by saying that she could have compromised things by hacking the server. This doesn’t stop Coulson from going back to Agent Hand and bitching about not being told about the no extraction plan. Hand namedrops Black Widow and Hawkeye, saying they never need extraction plans and that since Fitz is unproven in the field, telling him would have jeopardized the mission. Coulson is not happy and thinks it should have been his and his team’s decision to make, not HQ.

Back at the border, Fitz makes the bar happy by restoring power. He gets them over the border after poorly negotiating things. I was quite impressed that Fitz had a plan and it worked while Ward failed miserably. They’re in a truck driving over the border when the truck is stopped and patrol shows up. The guys take off running and manage to hide in a storm drain. Night falls and Fitz pulls out his sandwich. Ward chucks it because they’re being tracked by dogs. This leads to Fitz going on a bit of a tirade about how Ward thinks he has to be the hero all the time and that he can be the one to save the day. Fitz has a point. The next morning, they’re lying in the road with a big camouflage pouch thing and Fitz continues to bitch about the sandwich. But they catch the underside of a truck and get themselves into the facility. As Fitz is setting up a window device to see how many guards they are dealing with, Ward signals the nonexistent extraction team. He gets in and takes out the guards and hustles Fitz in. Fitz manages to disable the device but he and Ward end up arguing again. Fitz takes charge a bit and says that he is every bit the agent that Ward is and Coulson tasked him with looking after Ward. And they are going to stick together.

At this point, the rest of the team is going to head off to rescue out boys. Fitz and Ward use the device core to take out the guys that show up to take out the facility and the Bus comes in and uses one of the engines to blow some people off. It seems that Agent Hand, back at the Hub was expecting Coulson and his team to extract their people the whole time. I have to say that the whole thing pissed me off. It was kind of ridiculous that they hoped that Coulson would go off book to keep his people safe.

Once the op is over and everyone is home safe, Coulson gives Skye some information. He says that a female agent dropped her off at the orphanage and that he’s trying to declassify more of the file. But he goes to May who has been reading the file and it seems some woman was dead which was linked to the operation. I am kind of intrigued now to find out what happened. Oh and Coulson tries to get some additional information on his recovery (he sort of hesitated with his rote response of “it’s a magical place” when agent Hand mentioned Tahiti). But apparently Coulson doesn’t have clearance to get the information on his recovery. I have to say, that is far more interesting than Skye’s history but we’ll probably get some more information as the season goes on.

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