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

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Mania Grade: C-

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  • Episode: The Hub (Season 1, Episode 7)
  • Starring: Clark Gregg. Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge
  • Written By: Rafe Judkins & Lauren LeFranc
  • Directed By: Bobby Roth
  • Network: ABC
  • Studio: ABC Studios, Marvel Television, and Mutant Enemy
  • Series:

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

Not a lot of activity at The Hub

By Tim Janson     November 14, 2013

It’s a damn good thing there isn’t an actual S.H.I.E.L.D. in real life because the ease of which Skye has repeatedly been able to hack into their systems would spell certain doom.  So can someone explain to me why Skye needs Coulson to dig into her mysterious past when she’s able to hack mission files that require clearance level 8?  

Coulson and his team are summoned to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s HQ better known as The Hub for a briefing on a mission that requires level 8 clearance…as if that actually meant something other than to entice everyone who isn’t level 8 to get in on the action.  A group of separatists from a small Eastern European nation have built a weapon called the Overkill Device that can emit a sonic pulse capable of triggering nuclear devices or knocking airplanes out of the sky.  A team is assigned to slip over the border undetected to deactivate the device before it can be used.  Because of the technology involved, Fitz is assigned to accompany Agent Ward even though he doesn’t have the necessary clearance level or field experience.

Coulson is mum about the mission when questioned by Skye and Simmons, falling back on the “It’s classified” and more annoying, “Trust the System” retorts.  Naturally the women are none too happy about being left out of the loop and decide to hack into the S.H.I.E.L.D. systems to find out what’s going on.  I mean, it’s not like Skye is on any sort of double secret probation ALREADY for proving that she isn’t trustworthy.  Skye learns that even Coulson has been deceived and that there is no plan to extract the two agents after they’ve completed the mission, essentially leaving them to fend for themselves.  Since no one who works for S.H.I.E.L.D. seems remotely capable of following orders or the chain of command, Coulson of course dashes off with Agent May to rescue their imperiled teammates.  

Seven episodes into its first season Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is definitely not trending in the right direction.  Sure, it’s a TV show based upon a comic book but S.H.I.E.L.D comes off as an organization run by people who couldn’t run a McDonalds.   Skye hacks their system, Simmons knocks out agent Sitwell when he catches her trying to access a computer panel, and Coulson throws diplomacy out of the window, threatening the peace in the region when he takes the S.H.I.E.L.D. plane and invades a sovereign nation’s airspace to rescue Ward and Fitz.  I want this show to succeed as much as any die hard Marvel fan but it’s becoming hard to take the show serious when the writers don’t seem to be taking it serious themselves.  The scenes with Fitz and Ward felt forced and formulaic.

Then there were the ridiculously cheesy special effects when Fitz disabled the weapon and then quickly adapted into a portable firearm, turning it on the soldiers and disabling their guns.  I gave the episode a slightly better grade than last week for two reasons:  First there were some funny moments between Skye and Simmons as the latter clumsily tried to talk her way out of getting caught red-handed by Sitwell.  Secondly, two developments continued to forward the show’s mysteries as Coulson discovers that it was a female S.H.I.E.L.D. who dropped Skye at an orphanage when she was a baby.  The other was Coulson being unable to access a file about his past at the end of the episode.  Who is denying him access and why?  Unfortunately, these last second plot twists were not enough to turn the tide this week.  


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marcd30319 11/14/2013 7:18:06 AM

 Yeah, the trending for the series is not looking encouraging, and the only reason it isn't devolving into early cancellation is due solely to the synergy from Marvel's cinematic universe.

tjanson 11/14/2013 7:19:45 AM

well...that and the fact that Disney owns both ABC and Marvel Comics

Roqueja 11/14/2013 7:55:51 AM

I am so far underwhelmed (is that a word?) by the series, but am holding out hope once the ball really gets rolling and we get some decent villans.  It could be as soon as next week by the looks of the next episode.

CalamityJohnson 11/14/2013 8:21:46 AM

I debated whether I'd yet again voice my dissatisfaction with this show as it's begun to be cliche... and well, I guess I'm here to heap yet more dung upon the crapheap cliche pile. This show just blows. If not for fanboys (who apparently can't let go "it's Marvel!!") it would have been canceled after three episodes. Boo. 

dnbritt 11/14/2013 8:31:39 AM

You can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you just be whelmed?  Thanks, Larisa Oleynik.

Wiseguy 11/14/2013 8:57:00 AM

Ah yes, yes you can

dojen1 11/14/2013 8:58:37 AM

I enjoyed the scene where Coulson goes to May for advice, she says nothing whatsoever, and he thanks her for her help. Seriously guys, this show is based on a comic book. It's a romp. Try not to be so critical. Does everything have to be Breaking Bad? To quote Heath Ledger, "WHY SSO SSERIOUSSSS?"...and "Let's put a smile on that face"

redvector 11/14/2013 9:23:36 AM

Yeah if this show was on Fox or CBS it would have been canceled. I've about given up on it unless they make some major changes. I believe it's the espionage aspects of the show that are it's weakest. I would get rid of that aspect. The show's focus should be to find, develop, and or police superhumans and recover or contain potentially dangerous alien artifacts. Or occasionally the potentially dangerous alien. 

Another problem is the cast. I would get rid of Ward. The character just isn't working, and it's due to the actor playing him. He's stiff, bland and boring. The character would work if the actor didn't suck.


ElBaz13 11/14/2013 9:58:03 AM

Wow! People are just overthinking this way too much.

I enjoyed last night's episode quite a bit. I'm more than happy to not have a super powered being of the week story a la Smallville. There was some more character development and best of all, Victoria Hand. I swear she came straight out of the comicbook pages. Happy to see Saffron Burrows again. She is hot and loved her in Deep Blue Sea. Also glad to see Agent Sitwell again.

To continue the Avengers drinking game, I took one shooter when Barton and Romannoff were mentionned. :)

This show is slowly building it's own mythology/back story and sticking more to an episodic formula like the mention of Simmons' plane jump, the ongoing mystery of Skye's parents (her mother a SHIELD agent? Will they use someone in the Marvel U?) and of course Tahiti.

Just looked at EW ratings and this show is not a flop like people think. It sits in 23rd place. Not bad considering NCIS (which is the number 1 show)  is aired at the same time.

CaptAmerica04 11/14/2013 10:00:28 AM

Yeah, this wasn't the best episode.  I do think that Joss needs to step in here to save his baby.  The show is tending to be more silly and outlandish than any Marvel film... and that's NOT something to be aim for.  I'm not saying that it needs to be uber-serious like some Law & Order procedural, but all the weak points that you brought up, Tim, are completely valid.

And while I was excited to see a character out of the comics show up in the form of Victoria Hand, she a) isn't well known enough to even rate being counted as a C-list character (no layperson will EVER know who she is); and b) that isn't NEARLY enough to counter the crappy, Lucas-esque writing and the RIDICULOUS plot holes.  Such sloppy writing isn't forgiveable in your average, non-sitcom show; it DEFINITELY isn't forgiveable for a show bearing Joss Whedon's name and support.

I will stick with this show come hell or high water (if I can survive 10 seasons of Smallville, I can certainly handle this level of dreck from S.H.I.E.L.D.), but I really want to see this show hit its stride and pull itself out of the mire it seems to be in.


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