Saturday, 16 November 2013

S1x7 - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Hub

Aired 12/11/13 on ABC

Last week I wrote about how I could finally admit that I wasn’t really into this show because I didn’t like the characters. This week’s episode was almost as if they had read my review and decided to try and prove me wrong, because I’m glad to say that ‘The Hub’ wasn’t actually terrible. It was pretty decent in fact. I think what really worked in its favour is that we saw different pairings, meaning we saw new sides to the characters, continuing the growth of Fitz as he was paired with Ward.

The group had extracted an agent who had classified information that they needed to take back to The Hub, the base of operations. The information was Level Eight access only, and of course Skye threw her toys out of the pram when she wasn’t told anything. Considering the fact that Skye is one of the worst culprits when it comes to whiny characters, I found it very satisfying to see her be reminded that she’s not even close to becoming a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent yet, especially when her tracker bracelet attached itself to the access pad and she couldn’t go anywhere. Small little extras like that make me happy.

Coulson, Ward and May met up with Agent Hand who used the information they had retrieved to construct a mission for Coulson’s team. It was only a two man mission and it was assumed that Ward and May were going, but as part of it was to deactivate a bomb which can trigger any weapons within a large distance, Fitz was the one sent alongside Ward.

So far, all we’ve seen of Fitz is that he is socially awkward; he is so into his work it means that sometimes he can’t see why others don’t understand it. He’s also been shown as a bit of a man-child who whines about everything and is just generally annoying. All of that was true but it somehow worked in this episode. Ward was the superior agent in most ways; he was the one who could fight and had the necessary connections. But it was actually Fitz who got them out of some scrapes. This situation put him as the underdog, and all of his annoying traits suddenly become good things as they were played opposite Jock Ward. Everybody loves rooting for the underdog, especially when they prove that they aren’t as hopeless as they seem and best the ‘superior’.

The scene in the bar where he fixed the electricity and their captors ended up loving him was lovely, made even better when Fitz revealed he took it out with an EMP pulse. When he refused to leave despite the numerous outs Ward gave him, he showed that he wasn’t just the whiny man-child we’ve seen, but that he has potential to be an interesting character. As good as the friendship between him and Simmons has been, something which has been focused on more in recent episodes, Fitz is better when he is not paired up with her, as she is the one who brings out the childishness.

Simmons was paired up with Skye in a scenario that was very much like the wild child at school who convinces the nerdy girl to do something that could get her into trouble, except it was set in a top secret government facility. Skye was not happy about being kept in the dark and managed to convince Simmons to plant a USB that would override Skye’s tracking bracelet and make it think she was surfing Facebook, when she was actually hacking into their files to find out where Ward and Fitz were. Despite the temptation to look at the files regarding her parents, she discovered that their mission didn’t have an extraction plan like they were originally told. She confronted Coulson who basically told her to grow up, but he then went to Agent Hand angry about the fact that they didn’t know.

It was sweet how much he cared about his team, especially when they all gathered together to go get Ward and Fitz themselves. Why that wasn’t the original plan I don’t know, but the recognition of the team as a unit made me feel slightly warm and fuzzy inside.

Coulson also came through on his promise to Skye that he would find out more about the redacted adoption papers. He told her that she was dropped off at the orphanage by a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent but they don’t know if it was her mother or just someone who found her. She hugged him, grateful that she finally had some context about her start in life, even if it was only a tiny bit of information. But he then asked May to look into it more, because the file contained pictures of a dead woman who had been shot in the head. I think it was Skye’s mother, especially when Coulson said he couldn’t tell her the whole truth as some secrets should remain secrets and he didn’t want to cause her pain.

His secret of what happened when he ‘died’ was hinted at yet again when he tried to call and access his files, only to be denied clearance. These little hints we keep getting will hopefully lead to a big reveal later on but at the moment they’re hardly worth mentioning. What is worth mentioning though is how incredibly awesome May is. The scene where she had the conversation with Coulson by only giving him looks while she continued doing Ti-Chi, just highlighted how badass she is. Hopefully the episodes will continue getting better along with the characters so I don’t have to completely dismiss this show, but in case it doesn’t, just focus on May. More May in the future please.