VOD TV review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 7 (The Hub)
Neil Brazier | On 20, Nov 2013
Photo: Walt Disney, All rights reserved.
After the excellent Episode 6, The Hub has a lot to live up to and while it tries, it can’t encapsulate the same level of emotion. After escaping with intelligence data, the team is called to The Hub – location classified. Here, they are all told to trust the system, learn that S.H.I.E.L.D. is rather protective of its activities, and strict when it comes to security clearance. Fitz and Ward are drafted in to deactivate a weapon of mass destruction, but Skye – with the help of Simmons – learns that there is no extraction plan for them: they’ve been sent to die.
The relationship between Ward and Fitz doesn’t warm the cockles as much as the bond between Fitz and Simmons, although a running gag about a prosciutto sandwich does raise a smile. Ward needs to come out of his shell a little more and perhaps Simmons would be the best one to help. Coulson, meanwhile, is still struggling with his inner feelings. He tries to believe in what he says by trusting the system, but also feels his Agents can go off book for one another.
As the turmoil that Coulson is going through grows, speculation continues as to what exactly happened in Tahiti. Even he, a Level 8 agent, is restricted to not knowing what happened in that magical place. Could he be a life model decoy? It’s referenced outright in this episode so it could be possible – although it could also be the writers throwing a bone to the viewer.
But continuing to dangle this one slither of a hook in front of the audience isn’t enough. Once again, we have no mention of Centipede or the Rising Tide, no Girl in the Flower Dress or The Clairvoyan. These elements of the Marvel universe can’t just be swept under the carpet and forgotten about; we need something to give us a reason to watch every week.
The rest of the team take a bit of a back seat while Skye – who wants to learn about her parents – is caught at The Hub. Coulson promised her answers and tells her that the woman who dropped her off at the orphanage was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. The events are described as “tragic” and we see a photo of a woman sprawled on the ground: perhaps the show is using the age old adage of making a superhero by having them seek revenge for their murdered parents?
Despite the uncertainty, though, The Hub is still a fairly strong episode, focusing away from the super again and looking internally at shadowy S.H.I.E.L.D. This is something that should be the focus of the show, but fear of losing viewers by not throwing the Avengers out of their screen is holding the writers back.