Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) Season 1, episode 7. The Hub
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) Season 1, episode 7. The Hub offers us a Level 8 Mission and you lot are only Level 7, so you’re out of the loop (i.e. the scriptwriters don’t have to tell you what’s going on). So when the team busts a mole out of an underground facility in Siberia (I mean where else would you keep a mole but in an underground tunnel or two), the need-to-know factor is compartmentalised and, if you ended up in a Chinese silo in Sichuan (where the hot pepper dishes, while tasty at first bite, are a torture in their own right), you could not betray any secrets. But, of course, that doesn’t apply to The Hub. It’s an open secret what that is (but not where it is). Naturally Skye (Chloe Bennet) is not allowed to know anything. She’s a Rising Tide spy and only there on sufferance. If you remember, she’s also tagged to ensure she can’t do anything that might be embarrassing. So the mission has Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) aka Woodentop and Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) infiltrating Georgia (not something that was ever on their minds). It seems this ex-Soviet group of scientists has invented a superweapon that does unto others what they were planning to do to them (or something). The mission needs someone bright enough to recognise the weapon when he sees it (a challenge to everyone with so many guards all looking in the same direction) and then dismantle it before it can do the doing thing. There’s a touching moment between the British Geeks and then this week’s tag team are off on the Level 8 mission.
Naturally Skye and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), the remaining Geek, are worried sick so decide to hack The Hub (pleasing alliteration). Interrupted, they paralyse one of the top Level 8 agents. Meanwhile, things are not going so well on the crossing into Georgia. The football match is on, then it’s off, and Woodentop kills a sandwich. Skye chooses not to hack the redacted documents to find out what happened to her parents and uses the time to discover the dynamic duo have been sent in to die. Fortunately, without being run over, they have a magnetic sleeping bag that attaches them to the underside of vehicles which pass over them. As if by magic, the random vehicle passing over them is not going to dig a latrine, but driving straight into the supersecret complex disguised as an abandoned steel mill in Detroit. Then even more remarkably, there are only two guards in with the weapon and they can easily be overpowered. Now our British geek snaps into high gear and not only dismantles it in ten seconds but then reassembles it to be portable. That means it can no longer blow up the nuclear warheads on missiles in silos thousands of miles away (allowing for the curvature of the Earth, of course) but it can cause the guns of newly arriving guards to start exploding. This is remarkably convenient. I’m relieved the British geek could make the modification and defend Woodentop into the bargain. However, if the Georgians could build this thing once, why does destroying this example of the technology solve anything? They must have duplicate copies of the designs. They could just build thousands of the damn things. After all, Fitz has given them proof-of-concept on the portable version for close-quarters fighting.
So this was an episode about secrets. No-one told Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) it was a suicide mission because he didn’t need to know two members of his team where being sent off to die. Skye was dropped off at the orphanage by a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent but she can’t be told the context. Fitz has been keeping it a secret that he’s actually quite competent. And Coulson doesn’t have a high enough security clearance to find out if he died for more than eight seconds. That said, the team-building is going from strength to strength with Skye and Woodentop looking at each other with more appraising eyes and the two geeks doing whatever they do when offscreen. Even Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) gets in on the act as the only one who can talk with Coulson and not give away his secrets. So despite being immensely silly and with no penalties against the team for assaulting a Level 8 agent and using the Bus to rescue the missing two team members (I wish I knew how far the Bus had to fly to arrive just at the right time in Georgia), this was a slightly more entertaining episode.
For a review of other episodes, see:
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) Season 1, episode 1. Pilot
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) Season 1, episode 2. 0-8-4
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) Season 1, episode 3. The Asset
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) Season 1, episode 4. Eye-Spy
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) Season 1, episode 5. Girl in the Flower Dress
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) Season 1, episode 6. FZZT.