Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 7: “The Hub” Recap

IAIN DE CAESTECKER, BRETT DALTON

In “The Hub”, Agent Ward and Fitz are unknowingly on a suicide mission while the rest of the team discover secrets in one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s central headquarters.

Continue reading for a spoiler filled discussion of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 7.

Is anybody else craving a prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella sandwich with a hint of pesto aioli? This week’s serving of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. left me wanting more but it’ll hold me over until things hopefully pick up next episode. As always I’ll be happy to discuss the episode with you further, including the bits I didn’t recap, in the comments section.

A lot of these early episodes should be creatively fuelled by exploring the team dynamic and playing characters off of one another. In “The Hub”, paring a bunch of “odd couples” that haven’t interacted much on-screen has the potential for some memorable character moments. Of the mix-matched parings, the one who is out of their element in this episode had stronger character development.

Fitz may never be the guy that sky dives out of an airplane to rescue a fellow agent but he made significant strides in proving he’s more than a lab rat. Creating the blackout seconds before their execution and assembling the gizmo that zapped the enemies’ guns out of their hands is pretty impressive for a guy that couldn’t get through the sliding glass doors at the beginning of the episode.

Having Fitz look after Ward rather than the other way around should have made for a great bonding moment but it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. A part of it is due to the lacklustre chemistry between the characters. The writers didn’t give them great dialogue to work with and some promising scenes like sharing the mag pouch/sleeping bag could have been comedy gold instead it’s a slightly amusing sight gag.

Agent Ward didn’t fair as well as Fitz. I didn’t come away from the episode knowing something new about Ward or that he did anything endearing. Ward is most interesting when he’s out of his comfort zone or making fun of himself, neither of which happened in this episode.

It would have been more effective if the writers played up the protective big brother type of dynamic where Ward may be tough on Fitz but there’s an undertone of genuine care. Perhaps that’s the writers intent, but the actor wasn’t able to communicate that effectively on-screen. I was hoping for Ward to be more likeable after finally getting a meatier story line but the opportunity got thrown away.

marvels_agents_of_shield_the_hub_fitz

The girls are up to hijinks of their own. I got a good laugh out of Simmons trying to talk her way out of a compromising situation only to use the night night gun on Agent Sitwell. Did anyone else find it funny? Although being nosy and defiant aren’t Skye’s finest traits at least her B plot directly effected the main story line. She put the needs of the team before her own for a change which puts her actions in the plus column.

I’m trying to wrap my head around what this episode is trying to say about the line between a person’s rights to freedom of information and how disclosure could be harmful to the individual or objective. Should we implicitly trust those in authority to keep classified information on a need to know basis and on whose best interest do they serve?

I believe several factors influence Coulson’s change in perspective. Firstly, the magical Tahiti place that Coulson talks about as if it’s a subliminal or preprogrammed response becomes troubling. And he can no longer accept the “trust the system” rhetoric when it’s repeated back to him after being kept in the dark about sending two of his agents on a suicide mission.

This motivates him to find out the truth about Skye’s mom and his own mysterious resurrection. I think it’s somewhat interesting that while S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ achieves its goals by keeping secrets, Coulson runs his team with very little bureaucracy or red tape. However, Coulson only tells Skye about what she needs to know about her origins which is not completely dissimilar to Fitz telling Simmons her sandwich is delicious (i.e. not the whole truth).

agents of shield victoria hand saffron burrows

My first impression of Director Victoria Hand is that she can’t entirely be trusted and has a hidden agenda which is exactly how her character should come across. She smiles when Coulson extracts his agents because she knew all along the team would find a way to rescue themselves. She may also have her reasons for not punishing Skye and Simmons. Perhaps in her mind, under handed tactics and playing outside the rule books is an admirable quality in an agent.

“The Hub” is not a bad episode but it’s doesn’t carry forward the momentum created by the last couple of instalments. “F.Z.Z.T.” showed the potential and likeability of Fitz-Simmons so I’m a little disappointed that Ward didn’t get the same treatment in this episode.

Where does the “The Hub” rank in the season overall? Are you interested in finding out about Skye’s parents? Are you excited for next episode’s Thor Dark World tie-in?

More Posts You Might Like:

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Episode 6 “F.Z.Z.T.” Recap

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Episode 5 “Girl In A Flower Dress” Recap

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Episode 4 “Eye-Spy” Recap

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on November 13, 2013, in Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Television and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Ward is the one character I haven’t been won over by. I’ve just about come around to liking the others. F.Z.Z.T did a much better job however.

  2. I actually thought this was one of the stronger episodes. The show has gotten better to me once they stopped making it the Skye show and giving the other team members a chance to shine.

    I like Ward as the emotionally distant member still trying to keep his distance from the team albeit not as effective as Melinda May.

    I hope the Coulson secret is worth the buildup. At this point, I’m starting to have some doubts.

    • I’m all for giving the other team members a chance to shine. I’d be excited for a Mays centric episode.

      I think Ward has made some progress but the writers are still figuring out how to make him compelling.

      I’m liking the Coulson secret build-up. Since they are building it up, hopefully the reveal will be worthy of the wait and have a huge impact on the show.

  3. Fitz-Simmons are now my favourite two in the show. Ward and Skye are the worst! So dull 😦

    I also thought using the night night gun on that agent was funny 😀

    • Haha, the way Simmons panicked and shot the agent was funny. Depending on the viewer, the humor on this show can be hit and miss.

      I’m hoping Coulson and Mays can be the foundation of the show. 🙂

      • Well I think the humour is in general hit and miss. Just need to really sort out their characters and humour runs much smoother. I like Fitz and Simmons as characters and so their comedic scenes work.

        This shit really should have been sorted a long time ago! Shouldn’t take seven episodes for a shows to establish 2 characters and Coulson was fully established.

        You have six characters. That’s it! Its just that half of the time it feels like there is no plan with this show. Its getting better but moving forward like a crippled snail (which I crippled).

        I am vastly happier about Fitz-Simmons though 😀

        • I like Fitz and Simmons a lot more now than a few episodes ago. Still plenty of room for improvement. I generally like the humour as long as it doesn’t feel too forced or cheesy.

          That’s why I thought FZZT should have been episode 3 to develop Fitz-Simmons early on instead of people wondering why they are in the show.

          There’s no urgency to the show. I would like to have the feeling that the writers have an amazing story arc to tell. If they are holding back on the mythology types stories then each episode should be focussed on making the characters compelling like The Tomorrow People where each character has gotten some back story after 6 episodes.

  4. Hello there, sorry I’m late to commenting section but I’ve had one crazy weekend that I could not even begin to tell about lol.

    Anyways let’s talk the last episode of AoS.

    Firstly good call on the sandwich, it sounded like such a bloody tasty sandwich! And then Ward had to be an asshole and throw it away, I understand his reasoning behind it but that killed me (especially as a lover of food). I really want someone to make me a sandwich like that.

    Secondly the odd pairings was an interesting experiment. In the end it was Fitz and Simmons who benefited from these change-ups the most as they were allowed to shine and do things that showed that they were not only capable of doing stuff outside of the lab, but that they can be pretty funny and unexpected. I swear I’m in love with Simmons, she is just a delight to watch, such an innocent soul and so easily corruptible by Skye. That moment with Agent Sitwell was great, loved it, great humour there.

    And speaking of humour I really liked that small moment when Coulson went to talk to May while she was doing her exercises (Tai Chi me thinks), and that whole one-sided conversation which just ended with him saying thanks and walking off, that was awesome.

    Thirdly the whole secrets, lies and the whole “trust the system” stuff was some of my favourite stuff in this episode. With this episode I finally got a feeling for what a SHIELD TV show should feel like, the Hub, Victoria Hand, going behind people’s backs, this is the kind of thriller/spy stuff I like and it needs to have more prominence in addition to the humour.

    As for my negatives, you know them already but to follow on from what you said, I can also agree that Ward and Fitz could have had better chemistry together. It could have been a great connection but it headed up feeling okay rather than awesome. Also what the hell is up with S.H.I.E.L.D. and their ideas with punishment? Skye and Simmons broke the rules, stunned Agent Sitwell, checked out secret information and they don’t get burned by the director or Coulson? What the hell man? Where’s the consistency? Unless there’s something I missed I feel like that is a major thing that needed to be handled yo.

    • Hey there, always great to hear from you whenever you find the time in your busy schedule! 🙂

      I did not like that Ward threw away the sandwich haha 🙂 Whenever I watch a cooking show it bugs me when the chef doesn’t taste the food haha. I wanted Fitz to enjoy that sandwich! Simmons is so sweet about making the sandwich in order to please Fitz.

      I’m all for more odd pairings in the future. There was some decent moments between Fitz and Ward but like you said it wasn’t as awesome as it could have been.

      Simmon reminds me a little of Willow in the early seasons and Kaylee from Firefly in that they are all innocent and kind hearted. I’ll continue warming up to Simmons as long as they give her something to do.

      What I liked about the Tai Chi scene is that Coulson knew the answers he was looking for all along. The actor is pretty versatile; he can do a comical scene then convincingly play an “in-charge” leader in another scene. I’m still waiting for a Mays centric episode.

      I like that we got a peek into the Hub and introduced to Victoria Hand. I hope these elements are introduced for a reason and that the show will revisit these some time again. I like spy thrillers too, this show could really benefit from incorporating more of that. I don’t know if you ever watched J.J. Abrams’ spy thriller Alias but the first and second seasons were really good.

      It’s weird that Skye supposedly has the bracelet that monitors her every move but she was able to hack into the SHIELD’s database. I was also thinking shouldn’t there be repercussions for knocking out Agent Sitwell and hacking level 8 files? What’s the point in keeping secrets when your own agents can steal them? Maybe they should give her a collar? Haha 😉

  5. “Ward is most interesting when he’s out of his comfort zone or making fun of himself, neither of which happened in this episode” — I completely agree with this statement! I think his character is the best when he’s put in situations he doesn’t know how to handle, and I wish the show had more of those moments. I like what they’re doing with Fitz-Simmons. I really like them a lot now, and I think they seem less like caricatures.

    • One of my favorite Ward moments so far is him seducing a security guard. That was so funny and so not Ward haha :). I hope the writers continue to find ways to show off his potential especially in awkward situations. I don’t mind that’s he’s a bit of hard-ass because that can be funny too. Yeah, Fitz-Simmons started off as caricatures but that FZZT episode did wonders in fleshing them out!

  6. The most interesting thing in this episode for me is that Coulson didn’t realise it was a suicide mission for Fitz and Agent Ward, as to me he represents the entire authority to his team. For him to be kept in the dark about something as serious as that is a big thing, and I hope will lead to some very interesting character developments for him in the future, where he might go against his superiors perhaps to complete a mission.

    I agree that Victoria Hand might had known all along Fitz and Agent Ward would be rescued by their colleagues anyway. Maybe she engineered the whole thing as some kind of test; that might explain why Skye and Simmons were ‘allowed’ to steal data and knock out a fellow agent. But if that was the case, it would had nice to have it worked into the episode, because as it stands, Simmons doing what she did to that agent without repercussions is a weird and sloppy loose end, haha!

    • Hi Halim, that’s a good observation about Coulson. Even though he’s a high level agent it goes to show that anyone can be left in the dark. I also think it’s interesting how government information is controlled and to see Coulson questioning “trust the system”. I’d like to see these agents become a renegade team and do things against the orders of their superiors from time to time.

      I like the idea that Victoria Hand could be testing them. I think she mentioned that the best SHIELD agents like Hawkeye and Black Widow don’t need an exit strategy for their missions. Maybe she believed or wanted to see if Team Coulson is at that level. It also could be that she has further plans for the team after passing the test. Yeah, it would have been better to have consequences for Simmons actions or somehow address that loose end. Cheers!

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