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November 13 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss tonight's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It's called "The Hub" and was written by Rafe Judkins and Lauren LeFranc.

Here we go kiddies.
It's stuff like that mold comment that makes Coulson fun to watch.
Ew, techno booger.
I fear for Fitz this week.
Ten minutes in, and I'm liking it already.

The lack of context (what size is SHIELD, how does the team fit in, what other threats are out there, etc.) was really keeping me from getting into the storytelling so far. I don't expect all the answers, but this is the right start.

Not to mention, we need more secondary characters with their own agenda. Not necessarily bad guys, but still sources of friction with our heroes.

[ edited by OneTeV on 2013-11-13 02:13 ]
Hey this is a plot from early in the Steranko run. Agent Sitwell, Overkill, etc.
Mama said; "Never let a lazer eye/ motion detechterr doer dafeet ye!"
Sorry mama.
Audibly "aww"ing at Fitz being adorable.
It's a magical . . . place.
The hesitation spoke volumes.
"It's a majical place." Pavlovian.
They're awfully tolerant of Skye's unprofessional snoopiness.
Sky wants to go Scooby a bit.
Fitz's best asset is his adorableness?
I'm not sure how I'll react if this episode tries to teach the moral that Coulson was right to blindly trust SHIELD.
I think you are pretty safe, PaperSpock.
"They're awfully tolerant of Skye's unprofessional snoopiness."
Squishy

Yeah, Coulson should Magna-leash her somewhere in the 'Bus".

"I'm not sure how I'll react if this episode tries to teach the moral that Coulson was right to blindly trust SHIELD."
PaperSpock

I'm betting Nnnnoooooo.
"Now you've destroyed the worlds most dangerous sandwich."
I love Skye but she so should have been fired and arrested and never hired in the first place. What kind of intelligence agency let's a proven national security risk to keep hanging around?
The thing with the guards was funny!
Oh! Ward! He's attacking the others!
Ahhhh....that makes sense now.
Well, she IS ruthless.
"Now you've destroyed the worlds most dangerous sandwich."

:)

Fitz IS adorable!
"The eyeroll!"
Sunfire

*swoons*
"I love Skye but she so should have been fired and arrested and never hired in the first place. What kind of intelligence agency let's a proven national security risk to keep hanging around?"
Squishy

And what kind of intelligence agency even needs said national security risk to help them? Don't they have, like, people trained to hack and stuff?
Yay team up episode. Fitz/Ward was neat. Sky/Simmonds was fun.
What was in the picture when she said "poor girl?"
LMD! LMD! LMD!
Wow.

I can't honestly say I liked anything about that episode at all.

Huh.
Just a thought that people might not want pointed out (a guess that's right is spoilery? I dunno could be...)



Coulson having a whole conversation with May without her responding was awesome...
I thought last week's episode was stronger but this week did show a new side to Fitz that I liked.Also enjoyed the Fitz/Ward teamup.

I thought Victoria Hand had a good introduction and carried the cold feel the character had in the comics.

Also I'm glad that this episode moved two of the mystery plots(Coulson's resurrection and Skye's parents) plot forward.
"And what kind of intelligence agency even needs said national security risk to help them? Don't they have, like, people trained to hack and stuff?"


She's central to a S.H.I.E.L.D. mystery that predates her birth. Either Coulson, May, or both may be related to her - or they know/knew who someone who is. It's doubtful that they would go out of their way like that for a random hacker.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2013-11-13 03:40 ]
You don't have to invisible the text if it's about the episode we're discussing.
That was quite a good episode with many hilarious moments. LOVED Sitwell and Simmons's...interaction. And yet still, some great developments with everyone's response to SHIELD. The one scene I'd like to have seen more of was May's decision to join Skye/Simmons. That brings me to another note. As much as I love May, and as much presence as Ming-Na Wen brings to the role, I'd really like to see her character fleshed out more, though I am under the impression that something along those lines will be coming in the near future.

The Fitz solving the lighting issue felt a bit by-the-numbers, but I'll forgive it since it was done in an amusing way, and I was a bit surprised that he triggered the outage from the start.

Overall, I'd say that this episode was a lot of fun, on par with last weeks episode. I'm honestly not sure which I liked better. If the episodes continue to be consistently of this quality, I'm officially excited.

Edit: Oh, and the "It's a magical place." from this episode? Haunting.

[ edited by PaperSpock on 2013-11-13 03:21 ]
"Oh, and the "It's a magical place." from this episode? Haunting."

Definitely.
"I love Skye but she so should have been fired and arrested and never hired in the first place. What kind of intelligence agency let's a proven national security risk to keep hanging around?"

I'm sure the same thing was said about a particular murderous terrorist.
But Clint Barton made a different call with the Black Widow.

A fun book series is The Stainless Steel Rat. Set in the future, the intelligence agency that recruits TSSR is composed *entirely* of reformed criminals. (Of course, the protagonist of the series has not entirely reformed...) The idea is that it sometimes takes a thief to catch a thief. In that sense, a successful hacker is potentially a better asset than regulation SHIELD IT people who may not have the same skills.
I assume in the final conversation between Coulson and May, they weren't just talking about Skye's background. When he asks if she will help him find out, they are talking about what happened to him, right? Certainly the final scene suggests that.
Maybe Melinda May is a LMD, and the body in the photo was the real MM.
I hate to be Mr. Humorless here, but... did I miss the part where Simmons and Skye got arrested for assaulting a senior agent while trying to pull a Bradley Manning on a top-secret server of a black ops agency?
Love this show!! Haters be damned. :)
AndrewCossett, maybe they recognize that some teams work better without the rules?
Mr. Humorless: It looks like Hand is letting Coulson take care of it internally, like he said. (She may be above Coulson in the hierarchy, but he probably has enough political pull in the agency that she didn't think it was worth it to push the issue by arresting his team.)
Considering Coulson's confrontation with Blake last episode, and the events of this episode, it almost seems like they're headed toward him taking his team rogue.

But it also seems like S.H.I.E.L.D. brass is letting him and his team get away with *way* more than you would expect for an ultra-serious agency like they are.

I hope they explain at some point why he and his team are being given such a long leash.
So Skye is totally the Kennedy of this show for me, in that she makes every scene she is in worse by being in it, even more so when it's the forced romance with her and Ward. This episode is a prime example, I really liked the stuff between Ward and Fitz along with the Coulson and May stuff, and of course I liked the Fitzsimmons stuff, but the Skye stuff just had me groaning the whole time, yes Skye it's classified for a reason, when it turned out, oh she was completely right in using Simmon's to try and find out about her parents, oh and also to find out about the mission, I was disappointing. If everyone else wasn't so great I would probably stop watching the show.
ETA: Oh never mind, sorry.

[ edited by Squishy on 2013-11-13 04:36 ]
Okay, am I the only one thinking that Coulson is definitely *not* an LMD? I mean, obviously something is up--and he knows it--but they actually had Skye say the line "he's like a robot version of himself." Which makes me think that whatever's going on, he's definitely not a robot version of himself.

Also, based on the picture, I'm guessing Skye's SHIELD mom was in danger, so she dropped Skye off at the orphanage to protect her ... and then she was murdered before she could go back to get Skye. And whoever murdered mom would probably be after Skye, if they knew she existed.
"I hate to be Mr. Humorless here, but... did I miss the part where Simmons and Skye got arrested for assaulting a senior agent while trying to pull a Bradley Manning on a top-secret server of a black ops agency?
AndrewCrossett"

Hilarious. Sitwell actually witnesses her breaking into a classified panel, but then feels compelled to make a lot of dumb conversation before reporting it. Then Simmons is all: "You have nice head" and tases the crap out of him. Then Skye's all, "you suck at this, Simmons! Why do I bother to enlist you in my repeated felonies?" And then Coulson's all, "no biggie, Victoria, this is only like the third or fourth time Skye's betrayed us, so I'll just handle it internally by comforting her about her parents." And then I was all, "did that just happen?"
Exactly, thank you Squishy totally what I thought, do you mind if I take you quote here and post it other places?
I suspect there's a reason for them getting off so easy. I'm certain Nick Fury or some other higher up knows everything that has happened, and that it is quite likely the bus is heavily monitored and reports are being sent off to them.
Yeah, the thing with Sitwell was a little on the ridiculous side. And not in a good way.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the episode. The characters are growing on me.
Best part: writing Fitz actually to be competent.
Hooray for more character growth with Fitz!

re the Sitwell situation. To paraphrase another Whedon movie, the protagonists have to transgress before they are punished. Between this scene and the tag scene from last week, Coulson's team is shown to push if not break the rules. Now that we've seen that, we may begin to see some backlash. Coulson is Nick Fury's buddy, and he would probably shelter them on some behavior. Eventually, there will be a backlash.
Agreed, TOTb!

erednis: I don't think he's a LMD. I think there is one among them, maybe Melinda May or Skye, but not Coulson. I think he has a Tony Stark special inside his chest cavity.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2013-11-13 06:20 ]
Good news for our field agents that the Hub was minutes away from the faux-Ukranian superweapon site, the Bus sure did get there quickly when the team decided to be the extraction team. I don't really like to take comic book material to task on things like this, but it did stick in my craw a bit. Fine episode, not as good as last week's, but they are doing some solid groundwork on the characters so I'm OK with that. My suspicion is that we could get some Level 9 episodes in the second half of this season.
Since I'm not a professional writer, I can only comment about the Skye issue as a viewer...but I'm choosing to be a tad more forgiving/patient about her than some, though I completely understand about why people are complaining about how her role is being handled.

For me, I keep asking myself "Why would Coulson keep Skye around if he's constantly having to act as a surrogate dad to her about understanding there's a system in place that's worked for a long time and things aren't always clear cut?" and "Why would Fury and Hill keep Skye with Coulson when she's too much of an apparent security risk to SHIELD, even if she can match or beat their in-house computer specialists when it comes to accessing hidden data?" I figure that, since the end of the season will coincide with the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that we'll be seeing clues that maybe the World Security Council remains far from thrilled with Fury and how he has handled matters - including the prevention of New York City's nuking in The Avengers/Avengers Assemble - and Fury is ensuring that Coulson has the resources to go underground or work off-books. Certainly, the amount of questionable behaviour of certain elements of SHIELD like Robert Redford's Alexander Pierce and Frank "Crossbones" Grillo, along with Fury being badly injured during the events of the film, could mean agents loyal to Fury and his ways like Coulson will need to be ready to go rogue at a moment's notice. And having someone on the fence like Skye being able to step in as their intel source? Could be why she's not in some SHIELD bunker or mindwiped and let free again...

I guess a big question is "In a 22-episode season, how fast should Skye have had her notions of 'free' information being the best thing dismantled?" since not all of SHIELD's paranoia needs to be wrong. Then again, Skye releasing info that ends up getting people hurt or killed would have led to the same or worse trust issues. That and how should a character presumably meant to be the audience's avatar into the world of SHIELD - Skye's the only non-agent and tasked with raising similar kinds of questions we would if in the same situation (allowing for a variance in the audience's collective skill sets to include those with military/law enforcement, science, engineering another backgrounds whose fields have been touched on) - should act when immersed in a world she's ill-equipped to initially handle.

Still, I definitely liked this episode quite a bit, between Fitz getting to be a badass himself - but still keeping his social awkwardness and his big brother-litter brother schtick with Ward - and Simmons getting to do some crazy Thema & Louise style bonding with Skye over ensuring Ward and Fitz stayed alive. Coulson's struggles to reign in Skye at the same time he's starting to show cracks about being a SHIELD disciple due to things adding up to equal "hinky" were decent but I am wiling to admit I would have expected Coulson, Ward or May (the latter being the unexpected best person for the task) sitting Skye down post-Girl in the Flower Dress and reading her the riot act about how she's had ample opportunity to back out since helping with Mike Peterson but she made her call and she chose a path that requires her to accept a few unpleasant truths. Then again...Agent Hand's scene with Agent Sitwell at the end makes me wonder if Hand is part of a special agenda that ties in to Centipede and Coulson's team got tested.
Wow.

I can't honestly say I liked anything about that episode at all.

Huh.

Seconded. This episode was horrible.
"The Hub" was directed by Bobby Roth (Lost), and written by Rafe Judkins (Chuck, Hemlock Grove) and Lauren LeFranc (Chuck, Hemlock Grove). And I'm telling you, this is the best structured episode of the show. LeFranc and Judkins are an awesome team! There are so many great moments from this episode. Roth did a, wait for it, PERFECT job with the script. How characters interact, how lines are delivered, and where to put the cameras; fucking PERFECT.

That last one's important, because I adored the cinematography. They played with the colors, yet managed to keep them darkly soothing. It set a good tone. You know, so far, this season's been a damn roller coaster. 'I really like it -> I hate it -> I warm up to it', and now... Now I'm ready to call this one of my favorite shows. If I gave ratings on these things, I'd give this one a 5/5.
Yeah, I have some plausibility issues with this episode, but overall I really liked it. Maybe I'm just finally buying what the show's selling, or maybe they're coasting on goodwill from last week (though I thought this episode was actually overall more consistent) but everyone tonight was on their game. Fun, funny, actiony in an interesting and not-bland way, a lovely little arc for Fitz, Coulson, and Skye... maybe the best episode so far. Really a fan.

That said, if Coulson is an LMD then Skye's "It's like the robot version of Coulson" might be the worst line ever written for a Whedon production.
Was there a talk to the hand gag?
Yay for character development. And my hope that Ward and Fitz bro bond sorta came true.

It's interesting to see the two sides to Coulson. He was a lot like what we knew him in the movie, coolly detached. Then there was Bus!Coulson. I think he's finally realizing this. His pause before "place" spoke volumes!

More Sitwell!!

May / Phil conversation was THE BEST. I wish I knew more about their history.

Hand wasn't upset Coulson went to save his boys - she even looked like she was expecting it (from "Coulson's team") and was pleased. Like a proud mommy.

Great episode. The ending proves Fury is hiding something from Coulson - even though he's his favorite.

Oh! And loved the inside comment about Hawkeye and Black Widow - suggesting that they worked under Coulson and never had extraction. Badass.

So I guess we now know Coulson is an eight (lol)- I wonder how many levels there are til Fury.
One of the more irritating things about that episode was the repeated mantra 'trust the system'. Who says that and means it? That's the way someone unsympathetic to the secret agency's requirements of secrecy (say, Skye) might put it, but it's never how Coulson or Victoria would themselves describe it. It's a minor point, but emblematic of how weak the dialogue in this show is.

I really did not enjoy anything about that episode. This show treats us like we're idiots, and I'm beginning to feel like an idiot for continuing to watch.
I enjoyed EVERYTHING about this episode. All characters had their moments, screen time was equally distributed (even May had her hilarious and so in-character Tai Chi silent conversation with Coulson), and we got to delve more inside any of them's feelings, fear, motivations. I loved the plot, I loved SHIELD's shadiness, I loved the humour (Fitz and his sliding door).

And we're finally at the meat of Coulson's mystery: he knows SHIELD lied, that Fury hid something from him and I bet we'll discover what in February. Also Skye's origin, the show took steps forward. Thoroughly satisfied.
Excellent again. There are what appear to me to be some dangling threads here. Things which seemingly make no sense now or which seem contradictory but will I expect clear up on down the road. I wonder if the the problem that some are having with the show is failing to recognize and to accept that.
I did not find this an interesting episode. Mostly, it bored me. It is not so much that there was anything to dislike; it was just obviously a set-piece for future developemnts, regarding Coulson and Skye. And that part of the episode accounted for a few minutes out of the rest of Ward and Fitz sitting here and there under fire. Plus I also have the same problem as others of SHIELD being such a secretive organization but allowing all sorts of transgressions to occur, like with Skye (who found the requisite files she needed in about 12 seconds, pretty good, I must say). Having said that, I was glad to see Fitz featured, even if I knew it was simply part of hightlighting each team member over a series of episodes.

Asuming Skye is in her mid-20s, that would make her mom likely in her mid 40s to 50. Just as means to figure out who she is.
Well I'm loving the show. And I really like ALL of the characters.
Especially liked the big feel of this weeks show in seeing more of the SHIELD from the movies. Y'know like a really big world organisation. Felt more connected as a result.
(And did anyone catch the mention of the Triskelion this episode?)

I agree with what folks have been saying about the team seeming to get a lot of latitude, and it is probably from Fury. I bet that'll change after the Cap movie. As in the trailer it looks like Fury could be injured. And even if he isn't I bet he goes underground after it.
I really enjoyed this episode and my favorite moment was May's silent Tai Chi conversation with Coulson topped with an epic eye roll. I would have liked to have seen Coulson's "take care of him" conversation with Fitz as they could have gone two ways with it.

I have to agree with pretty much everyone the "It's a magical… place" and Hand's side-eyeing bit was haunting to steal the word from PaperSpock. I like the slow unveiling of Coulson's death mystery and to a lesser extent Skye's parents mystery.

I'm really hoping for some more May screen time, and liked how she fried those mooks with the Bus's engines, it reminded me a bit visually of Wash swooping in to save the day after Mal and Zoe started that bar fight in Train Job

The Skye-Simmons-Sitwell and the Ward-Fitz scenes had me alternating between uproarious laughter and groans. I like how Fitz swayed the bartender by fixing the power - after he shorted it. And really Simmons you're going to talk about Sitwell's head and how you like men who are your height but weight more and then nite-nite gun him? Okay…

I'm not having the same issues with geographic and intra-SHEILD policy plausibility as some people, but then again I've become adroit at turning off part of my brain when listening to FitzSimmons' technobabble (especially Simmons' 'biochem'-babble).
The low point, for me, was the folder marked "Redacted Files." It's not quite as bad as a Big Red Button marked "DO NOT PUSH," but it's still a little too Monty Python for me.

I'm enjoying the show, but I feel as though I'm watching the same episode every week. Even when there are shocking revelations, they're the same shocking revelations we learned a week earlier. There's a tiny new twist that doesn't really mean anything: Coulson came back from the dead and Fury knew about it. S.H.I.E.L.D. was involved in the death of Skye's parents and one of the agents was female.

I like the episodes. I like them a lot. I just wish I could be surprised by them.
Again, I thought this episode was a great improvement over the previous episodes. THIS is pretty darned close to what I've been looking for all along. We got the Marvel Universe. We got the SHIELD mindset. We got Marvel Universe characters (yeah I effectively said it twice but I MEAN it!), We got character interaction and more importantly character GROWTH. Most importantly we got an episode where things were different at the end of the episode than they were at the beginning, something SHIELD has not been giving us so far.

As an added bonus we got Agent Sitwell, who should damned well be a series regular.

Again Wade is less irritating than he's been in the past, although I still don't know why he's supposed to be a super agent because he's kind of been a bit of a screw up all season.

We got characterization for Fitz, AND he showed emotion, AND he showed us his backbone, AND he didn't do the stupid pining, flirting, generally making an idiot over himself over Skye thing. Instead we got to see him react emotionally to something that happened in a previous episode! Hooray!

We got more development with Simmons as well. She made the cutest screw up field agent ever. Her shooting of Sitwell was priceless.

I still love May. She's been underused so far, but the Thai Chi scene was awesome.

We got more development on the slowest moving plot point of all time, but now *we* know that Coulson knows that there's something *wrong* with his knee jerk reaction to the word Tahiti.

Skye is still a total bust. I'm completely shocked, shocked I say, that it looks like her parents are somehow involved with SHIELD. Her hacker skills still seem a bit underwhelming for someone who is supposed to be good enough to warrant ignoring her crimes and recruiting her as an agent. She still seems like she's only there to be a pretty face.

I get the feeling that Coulson's predicament will actually break my heart when it comes to light. Which, coming from someone whose favorite episode of television of all time is The Body, is a good thing.

[ edited by ladypeyton on 2013-11-13 15:22 ]
I'm completely in love with Ming Na Wen and her tai-chi eyeroll. It should be canonize into an actual movement or something.
I suddenly have a mental image of an epic silent stare down between May and Zoe.
I really enjoyed the ep. Going in, I figured it'd be a redo of the Firefly "War Stories" episode (which never aired? so they would have gotten a pass if it'd been heavily ripped off?). Figured it'd all be about Ward and Fitz bonding over how hard Ward has it in the field, and they'd ultimately better understand each other. but their story definitely went in a different direction. I adored Fitz's repeatedly one-upping Ward. Especially that he macgyvered an anti-weapon weapon at the end.

Was also thrilled to see Skye and Simmons teaming up on their own parallel "in the field" run (er...in the office?), where Simm is hilariously incompetent. Kinda suggested that the office is just another field run for them? because the Bus is their home?

Since the start I've felt like the problem with a SHIELD show is that it is basically a "yay NSA!" show. it should probably just be about office drones. And I was repeatedly put off that the writers seemed to kinda know this, but weren't taking a clear stance for or against big gov. (a couple weeks ago they briefly referenced the idealism of snowden and assange, but then had their hacker stand-in to be naive and fall prey to greed? but that's not a commentary on snowmen or assange… right?)
So it was refreshing to finally understand what this Agents of SHIELD show is really about - I think this is clearly about insiders who lose their faith in the system. so our heroes will find themselves set against the people they're investigating, while also set against the institution that's backing them.
Give them a flying bus, and you seem to have the anti-Firefly gang! BlackSuits instead of BrownCoats? They started out fighting on the winning side, yet slowly realize they need to fight the system. Using all their subtle government spy skills to avoid being discovered. This is what I took from Coulson telling skye he needed to know if he could trust her with secrets one day.

+ I like the theory that Coulson is carrying some Chitauri tech in his chest (and if so, is kinda like tony stark?). But I think the core chilling part of his "it's a magical… place" moment is the revelation that however they fixed his body - they've clearly done some tinkering in his mind. For a super spy, relying on your wits, it must be horrifying to realize you've been deeply brainwashed by your superiors.

Anywho.
- For all the skeptics here wondering why a spy agency would hire Skye, or wouldn't' arrest Simmons for shooting a fellow agent - just go watch Avengers? That movie has Fury refusing his orders, and shooting down one of his own planes with a rocket launcher. And it has consultant Tony Stark hacking the SHIELD mainframe within minutes of coming aboard. (also, I think it's pretty well established in the real world that successful hackers are often given a choice of life in prison, or working for the man). thbbt.
(that is the thbbt of love).

[ edited by WarrenEBB on 2013-11-13 16:16 ]
"Eventually, there will be a backlash."
chrisobrien

And it being a Whedon show, it might just be a bloody backlash.
"I suddenly have a mental image of an epic silent stare down between May and Zoe."
Mirage

You've killed me. I'm dead now.
I guess it was an ok episode with some good, mainly humorous, even if sometimes slightly over the top moments (Fitz's torturing, Simmons act after being caught by Sitwell, Coulson's "coversation" with May). However, you can't take this show too seriously. The continued increased focus on the two science geeks is a good move and helps to flesh out their characters a bit more. I'm not much of a Harry Potter fan, but Simmons, apart from once again being adorkable, reminded me Hermione in this episode (more than in the past). Victoria Hand as a recurring character is a good addition to the show. And I'm glad, that my momentary fears, that May might be Skye's mother, were probably unfounded.

BTW, where can I get a sandwich from Simmons, because I would really want to taste one... :) And I also wonder, if the Avengers would like them more than shawarma. :)
The comparison between Fury's actions in The Avengers and Skye's (and Simmons') in this show doesn't really work for me. Fury did what he did to save 10 million innocent lives. Skye does what she does because somebody tells her "no," and that's not acceptable to her.

In an organization like S.H.I.E.L.D., orders aren't suggestions. You can hate them all you want, but there are consequences for disobeying them. We didn't see what the fallout was for Fury, but I'm sure there was some. In fact, if the Council hadn't called in that nuclear strike there would have been no nuke on hand for Iron Man to blow up the mothership with, and the world might very well be overrun with Chitauri by now.

And Skye isn't Nick Fury. She's a known security risk who Fury himself warned Coulson over, who's already proven herself untrustworthy to S.H.I.E.L.D., been disciplined for it, and then went right ahead and did it again, while dragging an agency employee in good standing along with her.

So... I hope to see either consequences, or the reasons why there aren't any. I don't hate Skye as a character, but let's face it... she's not S.H.I.E.L.D. agent material.

[ edited by AndrewCrossett on 2013-11-13 17:57 ]
I think this was my favorite episode so far. I enjoyed the Ward/Fitz Skye/Simmons pair-ups and I think I might have a little crush on Fitz now.

I'm glad they're moving the "Whatever happened to Agent Coulson" storyline along, after dropping hints in every show.
I see Skye as more of a Tony Stark (or really, any avenger) to Colson's Fury. Her value gives her some latitude. Simmons is a bit more inexplicable to me in her escape of any punishment. At the end of the day, I think that Coulson and his team are being treated lightly for some reason which will eventually come to light. My first guess is that it's an experiment of some sort in SHIELD. My second would be that its a way to help program Coulson for some purpose.
I loved the episode.

Some of the funny bits are landing with more ease than they did in the early episodes.
(that is the thbbt of love)

This is my new favorite thing.
My take on the episode was that Hand wanted Skye to disobey orders. S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't have the resources to provide a recovery team, so Hand arranged to send in the cavalry. She considers Skye's rebellious streak to be an asset, at least for now.

Of course, Hand could have just asked Coulson to rescue his team. But we can assume that there was a Very Good Reason the details of the operation had to remain classified. So rather than give away the location of Ward and Fitz, she claimed to be shocked, shocked that there was gambling taking place in the establishment.
I do like how the comments in here seem to go back and forth. First comment: "This show is totally meh." Next comment: "Best ep yet!"

I liked this one -- not as much as the last, but I liked the mysteries being pushed forward. I do feel, however, that it would have been rather better had they kept the original title.
@Danielm80: That was what I considered a weakness in last night's episode. While the rank-and-file of SHIELD need to trust the system (probably hammered into them during the introductory training videos), the audience needs a hint that there was a reason to avoid extraction. I didn't see one, other than to make an obstacle for the protagonists. If the only reason is because the plot required it, that annoys the beejeebers out of me.

I can imagine that Hand did that to test Coulson: see how he would react to the loss of members of his team, or if he would violate protocol (like he did in the episode). But again, the show needs to show at least a hint of the bigger picture. Instead, we see Hand being happy that Coulson's team arranged for their own extraction?

One of the reasons why people got into the Lord of the Rings films is that the people making it embraced the history and rules of that world, to make it feel lived in. For MAoS, the character arcs are definitely well planned, but to me the rest of the (SHIELD) world feels made-up-as-you-go-along, which is messing up my suspension of disbelief.

[ edited by OneTeV on 2013-11-13 22:28 ]
Just popping in here quickly to leave you with this:

Anyone who still isn't on board with Fitz and Simmons is now a crazy person in my book. I would gladly watch multiple episodes with just them dorking around the Bus or whatever.
Hand's reasoning was that she didn't have the manpower on the ground for an extraction, but secretly expected Coulson and his team to take care of it. And if they hadn't, she wouldn't have lost sleep over it. But it was also a test I think, for all team members, whether they would find out that there wasn't an extraction plan and what they would do with the information.
ManEnoughToAdmitIt, one of my favorite things about Whedonesque is the fact that people with differing opinions can peacefully coexist :)
Me too. Whenever people say "everyone" on Whedonesque loves or hates something, I know they haven't really read many threads about whatever it is. People are responding very differently to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Even people who loved or hated certain episodes will chime in later to say the opposite about some other one.
@sister_ray: Except that still doesn't make sense. It's bad enough that she didn't tell Fitz and Ward that there was no extraction (Coulson points out that other infiltration teams without extraction are told that), but why not tell Coulson a couple hours into the mission? Then he would have time to either plan an extraction, or to cut his losses.

Planning for Skye to get rebellious, that she would check the mission plans instead of using her limited time looking for the redacted files (like she almost did), and that Coulson find out with just enough time to fly in... this is too much like villain plans in movies where *everything* has to happen *just right* in order for it to work. There is no reason to make things that complicated, if we think of these characters as people instead of plot devices. We can imagine reasons for her actions, but that is pulling things out of Shaman's pouch, rather than something suggested by the show itself.
I would like to make webisodes of Fitz and Simmons dorking around on The Bus. Dorks of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I liked this ep. I want to see more of S.H.I.E.L.D. (the organisation) and why Coulson is Coulsoning the place up (why he cares about the organisation so much).
Feels kind of weird to have two episodes in a row focusing so heavily on Fitz and Simmons. I thought that after last week's episode gave them so much attention, it would have been okay to kind of have them in the background again for a while.

Sky was a bit borderline this episode. There were moments in this episode where I came so close to hating her for being kind of bratty and entitled, but her choice to help her team over finding out about her family, and her hugging Coulson at the end really redeemed her.

I hope the whole male rivalry over a girl thing with Ward and Fitz is over as that sort of juvenile behavior can really drag a show down. I had to deal with some of that on another Whedon related ABC genre show this week and it was a bit annoying. I just hate seeing grown men become little boys whenever a girl is involved and clearly Ward isn't after Simmons anyway

Otherwise though, I liked Ward and Fitz together and I thought Fitz's power outage plan was a brilliant piece of writing that immensely increased my respect for him, and it clearly had the same effect on Ward as well. Fitz is not just the tech/science wizard, he can apparently put a decent plan together too

We got some decent action at the end, but there is still something about the action on this show that feels a bit off to me, like maybe too much quick editing. I don't know

Good episode, though last week's is still the show's high point I think
Skye letting Simmons know how badly she did was priceless.
I want to watch gossi's Fitz/Simmons web series... Fitz is one of my favorite characters on TV right now.
"Hilarious. Sitwell actually witnesses her breaking into a classified panel, but then feels compelled to make a lot of dumb conversation before reporting it."

A news show did a story a couple years ago where they showed a black man trying saw through the lock on a bicycle in a park. They did it several times and repeatedly people called the police, no matter what excuse he gave about it being his bike and he just forgot the key.

Then they did the same thing with a white guy. People were suspicious, especially when he told them that it wasn't his bike, but they didn't call the police.

Last, they did it with a pretty blond woman. Men actually stopped, took the hacksaw, and helped her saw through the chain. They did this while she was blatantly saying that she was stealing the bike.

Yes, I totally believe that Simmons could perform an obvious crime and a man might just politely give her a ridiculous amount of benefit of the doubt.
D-E-F, I'm with you there. I've really enjoyed the focus on FitzSimmons in these last episodes, and now they're becoming more Fitz and Simmons - two distinct characters.
Although I was very against the two of them in a romantic relationship from the start, now I can see the potential for one of those awkward "we love one another but are too close to each other to see it" kind of things.

But this episode also made me start vaguely shipping Ward/Fitz, so...anyway, once again, good ep for me, but I need to watch it again. Too much distracting real life in my house last night and I missed the end!
Nice episode, not as good as last week's, but plenty of Fitz and Simmons so I'm happy. :) And Skye and Simmons are surprisingly fun together. I would have liked a bit more explanation of Agent Hand's (non)reaction to blatant insubordination, but maybe that'll come in the future.

For the record, I think Fitz and Skye are the pair to watch, in terms of shipping.
I re-watched the episode and disliked it less the second time. But the stuff with Skye and Simmons still makes me shake my head.

I have to think the team is being tested for badassery potential, but until I get more evidence of that, all I see is plot holes.

Also, I would cheerfully watch 41 minutes of Ming-Na Wen doing tai chi in those black tights.
After seeing the extended trailer for Captain America before seeing Thor, I think Shield is going to have an internal battle.

Since we know this show is going to tie into that movie, I am guessing The Bus crew is going to be on Captain's side against whatever went wrong with shield.

I doubt they will show up in the movie, but Coulson might, and anything is possible. I wasn't expecting to see a few surprise faces in Thor 2 either. Of course The Captain might just show up on shield. If they stick to a regular tv schedule, the season finale will air just about the time of the Captain America release. Since they will want to go out with a bang, Having Chris Evans on the show would plausible.
Still waiting for this series to get Whedony. So far it's predictable and fluffy, sort of Joss Lite, although the potential is there. Maybe it just needs to be a little less Marvel and a little more Joss...

Clark Gregg is well worth watching and that's what keeps me engaged, mainly. Fitz/Simmons are funnish. Ward was actually something other than a cardboard action hero last week with the sudden development of a sense of humor, a welcome development, and the writers worked a little more with that this week. Waiting for them to do something with Melinda- seeds are planted with the backstory between she and Coulson. And Skye.

Ratings (live, anyway) keep dropping although the show remains solidly in 2nd place behind a veritable ratings juggernaut. Hopefully the network will be satisfied enough to let it develop.
Another enjoyable episode. I share the puzzlement over the insubordination being overlooked, particularly as it involved shooting an agent, even if that was just knocking him out. It was pretty clear that they expected Coulson's team to take matters into their own hands, but it still doesn't make much sense.

Besides that, I enjoyed the pairs we had in this episode. Fitz/Ward had some enjoyable moments together and I particular liked that Fitz kept proving to be an asset on the mission. Skye/Simmons were funny, although it definitely dipped into silliness with the above plot hole (I like silly, but it should be logical.) Coulson/May were as intriguing as ever, but I do feel they lose my interest as soon as they aren't together. Coulson less so, but May just seems to be completely absent of a personality, far more so than Ward. At least with Coulson we have his Tahiti stuff going on (please don't make him robot, there have just been too many lines referencing it now.)

Not as strong as last weeks, but if they just keep remembering that character interaction is the key I think we are in for a solid show.
My favourite episode yet. But it's just not working as a procedural.
The show is finally starting to find its groove. I enjoyed the last 2 episodes more than the previous.
Well it seems to be following the Dollhouse model, with a questionable first 5 episodes, before finding its feet nicely. I agree the "trust the system" thing was a bit odd, hopefully there will be a pay off later that it's some kind of indoctrination or something!
I smell a herring, and detect just a hint of red. It's still possible that May may be Skye's mother. Provided there were two of them. It never even occurred to me before the end of this episode that May could be Skye's mother. Now I suspect it.

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