In the opening episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” much was made of Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson welcoming his team to Level 7, but now Ward and Fitz are sent on a Level 8 mission where they may be expendable. Who can they trust? Can they trust the management at S.H.I.E.L.D.? Can Coulson and his team save them? Let’s find out together in my recap and review of “The Hub,” after the jump.
We start off with what looks like an overconfident and cool Agent Coulson being interrogated. In true Joss Whedon fashion, nothing is as it seems. Things are well in hand as we go from a nasal extraction of spy secrets to a lesson in SHIELD hierarchy. The info has to go to the big bosses at The Hub.
The Hub is a major SHIELD headquarters, though not as big as The (nice Ultimates shout out) Triskelion. In a story that seems to draw more from SHIELD’s espionage roots than its Marvel Universe roots, we are reintroduced to Silver Age Agent Jasper Sitwell (Asian in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Modern Age Agent Victoria Hand. Hand, played by Saffron Burrows, looks very much like her comics counterpart, Baroness clone with red streak in her hair and everything. Coolness, even her personality is much the same.
The intel received in the intro points to a sonic super weapon in the hands of Russian separatists. Hand and Sitwell want send in two from Coulson’s team – Bond clone Ward and weapons diffuser Fitz, neither of them Level 8 agents, but going on a Level 8 mission. Their job is to disarm the weapon, the cheerfully named Overkill Device, and get out.
Skye, as usual, is distrustful of Big Brother and decides to poke around where she doesn’t belong. She hates the level system of only knowing what needs to know, the hacker rubbing up against the outdated spy mantra is played well here, if overplayed a bit. Skye finds out there is no extraction plan for her less than Level 8 companions. Essentially, Ward and Fitz are expendable.
Much like the last episode, there is a lot of character stuff here. We get more of a spotlight on both Fitz and Simmons, again separately. Ward trying make nice with Fitz, and Skye getting Simmons to help her like they are both girl detectives – are nice moments, especially when Simmons starts finishing Skye’s sentences. The Hardy Boys and the Hardy girls are fun in this episode.
Then there’s Coulson and Skye. He has to reprimand her like a parent and mentor, but in the same manner he needs her trust and loyalty. This is a very thin tightrope. One can see the agent Coulson used to be at odds with who he has become post-death by Asgardian lance. He is almost the same parent to Skye, as May has been to him. Curiouser and curiouser…
The Fun Stuff
Besides the comic-friendly Victoria Hand, and the Triskelion name drop, we also had Hand mention that Barton (Hawkeye) and Romanoff (the Black Widow) never needed an extraction plan. It made me wonder what level those two are. I also like the simple codenaming of various SHIELD thingies – The Bus, The Hub, The Sandbox, etc. We also get another nugget about Skye’s past, and Coulson’s death – and even more secrets.
Next week, if you haven’t seen Thor The Dark World yet, there’s your homework. The next episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” picks up from the events of the film. All those wanting more connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this might be what you’ve been waiting for. See you there!