Tuesday 10:00 PM on ABC (Returning September 20, 2016)

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S01E07: "The Hub"


For weeks I've been complaining about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s insistence on sticking with the same character pairings week in and week out. Since the premiere, it's essentially been May and Coulson, Skye and Handsome, and Fitz and Simmons. There's nothing inherently wrong with those match-ups, but keeping them so consistent doesn't allow for the character development that often comes with switching things up. Well, this week, all those fruit baskets I sent to Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen with little coded messages like "Pair up different characters or Snuffles gets it! XOXO" finally started to pay off (still no movement on the "What's Joss's garage door code? Pretty please, I promise I won't tell anyone else" front, but there are still plenty of episodes left this season, so I'm feeling pretty optimistic).

In "The Hub," Handsome went into the field with Fitz on a Level 8 (!) mission that involved disabling a device that produced sonic vibrations powerful enough to trigger weapons from a great distance. They didn't have specs on the thing, so they couldn't exactly teach Handsome or May how do to it—they'd need to send someone who could figure it out on-site. And that's the story of how Fitz was sent into the field, much to my delight. He's a by-the-book, follow-the-rules, science-makes-sense kind of guy, the type of character who's most comfortable staying put in his lab, because he can understand things in there. And so it made perfect sense to throw him into an unfamiliar situation. That's, like, Comedy 101 right there, and he far exceeded my expectations this week when he ventured out into the real world with his overpacked bag and Simmons' homemade sandwich. But if I had one complaint about the storyline, it's that it was very cliched—and, therefore, very predictable. 


Naturally, Handsome was not happy about being saddled with someone like Fitz, who'd struggled to win a fight against sliding glass doors earlier in the episode. But in the end, Fitz came through and saved the day several times by using his own special knowledge and skills, like being able to repair the generator in the bar. It feels silly to nitpick this sort of thing, because I enjoyed seeing Fitz and Handsome partnered up for a mission—Fitz's silliness played so well off Handsome's straight-man seriousness—but this type of plot has been done a million times on a million other series like this one, and despite there being no extraction team, I never really felt the urgency I should have. I knew Fitz would somehow become an asset in the field, and I knew Handsome would end up appreciating his presence, but I never felt like the two of them were in any real danger, which might be S.H.I.E.L.D.'s biggest problem at the moment. 

We know and expect our ragtag team to always win any fight they end up in, because otherwise there'd be no series. But in any case where you know that going in, you expect the show to find other ways to surprise you. That's exactly what S.H.I.E.L.D. did last week in "F.Z.Z.T.," and that's why it was so well done. Did I really think the show would write off Simmons in Episode 6? No, of course not. But the episode did a very good job of selling her helplessness and desperation. The writers created a dire situation, showed us how there was nothing anyone could do to prevent it, let us witness the same situation as it affected one of our beloved main characters, and then asked us to believe that they'd actually kill her. We know Simmons didn't die, but the show made us feel emotions and there were real stakes. With "The Hub," that wasn't the case.


While Handsome and Fitz were Odd Coupling it out in the dangerous wilderness, Skye's constant need to know what's going on had her teaming up with Simmons to break into the Hub's computer system. This was played for laughs quite well, and it mimicked the team in the field as Simmons was Fitz and Skye was the more experienced person like Handsome. Only instead of fists, Skye's talent was her quick thinking. Skye gives off the impression of being able to talk her way out of anything (and we saw her use that skill in "The Asset"), but Simmons is just plain terrible under pressure like that, which resulted in Simmons using the Night-Night Gun on an agent to get them out of a bad situation. But what Skye found once she was inside the system (after digging through the files relating to her parents, of course), was S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attempt at raising the stakes. Discovering that there was no extraction team still didn't feel all that dire, but it did provide the series with a way for Skye to confront Coulson about the importance of information and how much power it holds.

As it turned out, Coulson had been left in the dark regarding the fact there was no extraction planned for Handsome and Fitz. Which was a nice way of pointing out there's a lot of information that even Coulson doesn't know. For weeks, the series has been dropping hints that Coulson is becoming cognizant of the fact that there's something off about him. Between last week's physical and this week's attempt to retrieve his own death-and-recovery file, Coulson knows that something's up, and while I'm surprised that S.H.I.E.L.D. has already brought him this far (I didn't think this would happen until at least the mid-season break), I like that the series isn't just sitting on it. 


The main theme of "The Hub" was basically: Information Is Dangerous. And it was pounded into our heads again and again that S.H.I.E.L.D. is an organization built around different levels of knowledge and that not everyone is privy to everything. Fitz, Simmons, May, Handsome and Coulson have all bought into that. But Skye, our resident hacker, thinks it's total bullshit, and by episode's end, Coulson seemed to be be coming around to her way of thinking. Maybe he shouldn't be so trusting of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

Again, I am happy the series is moving forward on the Coulson front. And I'm also happy the series is moving forward on Skye's season-long arc, too. Coulson looked into the redacted files regarding Skye's parents and told her that she was dropped off on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s doorstep by an agent. But in another reminder that knowledge sometimes does more harm than good, he didn't tell her everything. Skye's thirst for the truth is probably going to be her undoing this season, and I have a feeling that at some point, she'll come to regret wanting to know it, just as Coulson might once he discovers more information about his own life. 

"The Hub" was a good—but not necessarily great— episode that acted mainly as a humorous standalone installment intended to switch up some character pairs. It was predictable,  but it also continued to develop a few of the season's longer narrative arcs, like the mystery of Skye's parents, Coulson's trip to Tahiti, and Simmons and Fitz's friendship. But next week I'd like a bit more of the emotional stakes we experienced in "F.Z.Z.T.," mmmk? Oh, and don't forget about Joss's garage code, too.



DECLASSIFIED CASE FILES


– First mention of the Triskelion this week, and Victoria Hand's first appearance. Was this Agent Sitwell's first appearance as well? I can't remember, but he's shown up in the Marvel Universe before, in both Thor and The Avengers. And he's going to be in the upcoming Captain America movie, too.

– Why did the show force Saffron Burrows to speak in an American accent? Wouldn't it have been easier to cast someone else who was actually American? Because ouch, it was baaaad.

– I love Fitz and Simmons so much. I think they're my favorite characters.

– "No need to get started on one of your socialist riffs." This line really only works when you remember Fitz's face as he said it to Skye, but I chuckled so hard.

– "There are dogs tracking us, and you brought a prosciutto sandwich?"

– "Which non-expression is this?" OH BURNNNNN.

thekaitling:list:marvels-agents-of-shield-what-did-you-think-of-the-hub/

 

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"It's a magical...place". Sounds like Coulson was really in Manchuria.
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I think that was the point he realized he was conditioned (brain-washed) to always reply the same thing. :)
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Like in The Manchurian Candidate. Whenever someone asks Frank Sinatra about Lawrence Harvey, who served with in in Korea, he always says what a great guy he is, but then he starts to realise he actually thinks he's a dick and what he thinks happened in Korea is nothing like what actually happened.
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Ah. Sorry, I didn't see that movie, and I completely missed the reference.

I was thinking "what is magic about Manchuria? Maybe something to do with the Mandarin?" lol
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One thing that I couldn't understand about the episode was the last segment when they briefly show some photos dealing with the drop-off of the baby girl....Did they reveal anthing specific?
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The show is getting better, but it still suffers a lot from being a procedural, from being too childish, from being too isolated from rest of SHIELD, from being too isolated from the rest of the Marvel universe, etc.

The biggest change they've made in the right direction is to finally turn the science nerds into actual characters. The male nerd is now my favorite character. If he keeps this up, I may have to learn his name. Now if they could only do the same for May and agent handsome.

I'm surprised that people are so positive about May. I find her really dull.
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Yeah. Keep watching a Joss Whedon show with the mindset "oh, they won't kill a character off." That usually works well. :)
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Do you mean that sarcastically or to indicate that you never know who might get killed off?
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Both. I meant that sarcastically because they will definitely kill someone off.

No character is safe with Whedon. First he makes us like them, then he kills them off.
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&No; character is safe with Whedon.

All characters are safe with Disney.
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That's one of the signs of a good writer....never knowing what's going to happen next and making the readers feel connected with even minor characters!....like Shakespeare!
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I never really felt the sense of urgency either, probably because all I could think of was that prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella sandwich, with just a hint of pesto aioli.
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Agent Sitwell is also featured in the Marvel One-Shots "Item 47" and "The Consultant". (You can probably watch those on Youtube.)

He is pretty awesome, which is why I had a slight nerdgasm seeing him being shot with the night-night gun by Simmons.

There seemed to be some fore-shadowing with Skye mentioning that Coulson seemed like "a robot". Life Model Decoy anyone?
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I was thrilled when I hear Simmons tell Fitz he was their superior officer, Sitwell has climbed a few ranks since Thor's hammer.
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So the episode starts, and withing 3 seconds I know Coulson isn't in any danger, and of course quickly a few 'agents' take down all the 'incompetent' Russians and make their getaway with the use of some terrible CGI.

After that opener I knew it would be another mediocre episode, of the highly disappointing show. I shouldn't have watcher Thor 2 (great movie btw). Sure, I always knew AoS wouldn't be a match for the Marvel cinematic universe, but right now it's pretty much the worst Joss Whedon show!!!

Agent May and maybe Coulson are the only characters that are remotely interesting. Without their awesome scenes together I would probably fall asleep during most episodes.

So what if we get to see more of SHIELD. It's stil underwhelming, and they make the agents look highly unprofessional and untrained yet again! Sure lets make Skye hack everything in 5 seconds with a calculator lol Also, were the scenes between Skye and Simmons supposed to be funny ?!?!?!!?

Fitz and Ward pointless discussions didn't work either! Fitz character development (or character jump lol) came from nowhere (Not buying the impact of the Simmons situation from last ep). Don't even get me started with the 'invissible' bag and other silly gadgets :/

And of course they had another pointless movie reference. Stop it, unless something from the movies will actually come into play!!

Also the bad fight scenes and lol worthy untrained enemies problem was not adressed at all!!!

The show has so many problems and plotholes that it's hard to enjoy it.

So yeah, I still don't know that much about the characters (Skye 'backstory' is another thing that came out of nowhere. That is not the way you do character development!!!!), so I don't care for them either way. The actors aren't that good either.

5/10

I'll give it 3 more episodes before I'm out!

Arrow is so much better!!
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It isn't fair to compare the show to the movies....what you have to compare it to is other TV shows, especially those on the same network. Of course the effects are going to be less spectacular when you consider they have to make them on one-thousandth of the budget in one-hundredth of the time! I think it's a well-written series in any case and will give you much more bang for your buck once you see how everything has been building over the entire season!
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I did not compare the two. I did write:

"Sure, I always knew AoS wouldn't be a match for the Marvel cinematic universe, but right now it's pretty much the worst Joss Whedon show!!!"

That is the main problem. Joss Whedon made better shows on a much smaller budget than Agents of SHIELD ;)
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I guess we have to agree to disagree....I think the show is laying lots of groundwork for the future....
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Simmons was positively delightful. I love smart girls, especially when they get all flustred.
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Great episode, this is what I want to see each week. They need some kind of pat on the back so they know this episode is exactly what they need to do.
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Totally agree!
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The Good=Comedy was tight
The Bland=Is this show in the Marvel Universe?? Sometimes i don't know.
The Bugged Me=Yet another light weight adventure that barely advances any issues. Side Bar (1) The Coulson thing intrigues me. (2) The Skye thing does not.Unless she was born a mutant or is Mays' love child,its just not that compelling.
The Hope=The events from Thor 2 spill over into the show!! I hope they BRING THE HEAT!!
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May's love child. That would be kind of hilarious. But far too soapy!
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The Agent that Simmons shot with the Night-Night-Gun inside the Hub? He's from the first Thor movie (you can see him talking to Coulson right before Hawkeye asks Coulson permission shot neat the hammer).

This is definitely in the Marvel Universe.
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We know that it IS the Marvel universe, but it still doesn't feel like it. The name-dropping and the occasional recognizable character isn't enough. (And this guy was only recognizable to a very small fraction of the audience).
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No matter how big, the superheroes are not the Marvel Universe, Agent sitwell, Eric Selving, Agent Hill, Dr. Banner, Barton & Romanoff are.

What makes it believable its the support that lends credibility to the superheroes that live within this universe. The people whose jobs are affected by their very existance like Coulson, the ones that are as thrilled by it as Pepper or Darcy, people like Fitz and Ward.
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I still feel this show needs to kick it up notch or three! I can't think of one episode so far that made me think.. I have got to watch NEXT WEEK! The show Scandal can give me shocking revelations and Cliffhangers in a fictional Washington DC.. But this show just slugs along in Comic Book World!!! C'mon Man!!
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I think the show is finding its feet. Coulson remains the best actor and my favorite character, but I'm falling more in love with Fitz and Simmons too. The two of them were legit funny this time around. I'm fascinated by Coulson's arc, although I agree with the commentator below that the "robot version of himself" line was kind of cringey. Way to awkwardly foreshadow a months-old, stale theory Skye! (Speaking of, anybody else think Skye is being set up to be Spider-Woman?)

I realize this isn't in the same league with a show like Person of Interest, but that show has such a "Dark Knight" vibe to it that I view AoS as like a palate cleanser---fun, minty and refreshing. Does anyone else feel the same way?
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I will forever have the image of Ward telling them to move, and Fitz yelling out "Already on it!" while taking off like hell. Laughed my ass off so hard.
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Oh man, I seriously don't understand how you guys can stand watching this show. I tried last night trying to keep up with the latest episode and God it was so damn boring. I watched it thoughg, i think, i mean for the most part i was mostly fighting to stay awake. Anyway, Given how the ratings keep climbing down each week, it seems it's only a matter of time before it gets pulled out of the air. I won't miss it, but the show did have a lot of potential. Mostly, they simply chose the wrong people to play those characters.
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I guess it must feel free to jump on the hater-bandwagon early, just in case the show fails as a result of low ratings....then you can spend the next few years complaining about there are no Marvel series on network television. Besides, it's so much eaxier to click LIKE for someone else's criticism than actually come up with things that you don't like about the series yourself!
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I'm not exactly a marvel person, so there won't be any complaining in my part. Believe it or not, i still haven't watched the avengers, neither the last iron man or that Thor movie that just came out. If we were talking about Spider-man though then we'd talk, then you'd hear me do a lot of complaining. In the meantime i'm just happy with Arrow from cw for my weekly dose of superheroes. And i've already explained why the show is bad so many times, but to summarize it for you: Bad characters, bad stories, looks something meant for kids, teenagers. All around a recipe for disaster basically.
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I'll agree with you that the series isn't in the same class as The Good Wife or Scandal....but I don't think it's meant to be. Just as those shows are adult soap operas, SHILED is a live action comic....If you don't understand the roots of the genre well ( and you admit to not haveing seen the movies or read many comics), then you can't criticize it for not being true to the genres you don't have much of a desire to watch. You have to tailor your expectations to the category you are commenting on.
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When Ward launched the sandwich, I felt horrible. I could not believe! I stood with my mouth open. And then, Fitz / Simmons, from the beginning, they were my favorite characters, and now more, the chemistry between them is amazing, and Simmons is very sweet. Those two I love.
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Great episode. It was fun and I loved the different pairings. The overall episode was predictable and nothing new but, I thought the characters really shined. Skye and Simmons together were great, some funny dialogue between the two of them. I love Fitz and Simmons together so much, they make episodes so much more enjoyable.
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God, Skye is a dose.
More Fitz Simmons, May and Coulson please, zero "Handsome" and Skye.
Cheers
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I was pretty underwhelmed by the sandwich throwing. Tossing it out in the open 30 feet away for the search teams to find would definitely make them safer. Better to conceal the sandwich inside their stomachs.
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I'm pretty sure he threw it into water in the episode. You kind of hear a splash when he tosses it.
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This one was, imho, a much more balanced review :) Pointed out the strength and didn't overemphesize the weaknesses. And I really agree with you on those points.

It feels like this show has been bashed enough. And it did get better with FZZT and The Hub. So Joss Wheadon does know how to do TV after all ;) and delivered what everybody has been argueing for a lot. Seems like switching it up has been the plan all along. But because he didn't do it bevore ep. 7 he got a lot of flack.


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I did like the remix of partners but I would like to see way more Melinda May. With a partner or solo. I just want more.
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Wow, no mention of why Skye was even allowed in the Hub much less why she wasn't at all punished for hacking into the Hub.

The stakes were fine. The reason the stakes were so great in 1.06 is because of the character interactions and development.

So, given there was good character development and interactions in 1.07, the stakes were great.

And the odds against Fitz and Simmons were bigger than the odds ever were in, say, Firefly. The only reason they made it out alive is because Fitz was able to rig a weapon out that the 'bomb'. And because Skye wanted to get the info on the mission, managed to get Simmons to help her, Simmons was successful, Skye successfully got the info, Skye told Coulson the info, May agreed to help Skye, and Coulson agreed to help. If their plane hadn't arrived, Fitz and Ward would likely be dead.

I like this show is expanding SHIELD beyond this one team. We get to see a Level 8 mission and I hope that eventually Maria Hill is on the show.
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Barton & Romanoff shoutout ftw!
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Barron and Romanoff shoutout ftw.
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Fitz and Simmons saved the episode from being a total failure IMHO.
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They save all the episodes for me...
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While I enjoyed the episode, I did think it fell short in a couple regards:

1) In Ward's "development". Yes, he came to recognize that Fitz was a worthy companion in the field, but I see that more as a realization of necessity rather than one he made out of good conscience. Maybe this was a way of trying to say that Ward is starting to be more of a team player, but Fitz really opened a door for some character development when he went off on Ward about always needing to save the day. Missed opportunity.

2) In Skye's discovery of the lack of an extraction team. I agree that it didn't raise the stakes nearly as high enough as I would have liked. What if on top of not having an extraction team, the device was discovered to have been of S.H.I.E.L.D. design? So not only were Fitz and Ward sent in on a suicide mission; it was a suicide mission to clean up a mess that wasn't theirs. This also would have increased the suspicion and distrust of the team with the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. Just a thought.
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Both plots were pretty bland for me in this episode, but like you said Kaitlin, the humour worked quite well throughout the episode, particularly with Skye and Simmons, so I preferred their scenes more so than Ward and Fitz's.

On the character front, I'm very pleased with the way Fitz and Simmons are going in their development, but everyone else is still troubling. If you thought the series' lack of mixing up the pairings was bad, wait until every week they try to force each new pair together one after the other in increasingly ridiculous ways in order for each to learn new things about themselves and each other. Coulson and Fitz, Skye and May, Ward and Simmons and so on and so forth. It just makes me sick thinking about it. I hope the show can still occasionally highlight a certain pairing, but overall I'd rather they just maintain a group dynamic sort of thing.

The serialised plots are basically what attract me to the show (other than Joss' involvement) and I have to say, I'm none too pleased with how they're being developed. At this stage it looks like we're just going to get one red herring after the other with both Coulson and Skye's story arcs. Coulson will probably be given or find out shocking information about his return, comes to grips with it in a couple of episodes, and then, out of nowhere another new piece of information surfaces that throws everything he knows about his return into question - for a second time. It looks like the same thing will happen with Skye and her parents. The snippets we're being given each week are too little and too boring to pique my interests, so I'm hoping the serialised stuff picks up soon.
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Fitz's speech about being a rat that ultimate comes full circle to his sandwich probably solidifies him as my favourite character.
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It also mirrors Fitz's whole day with Ward until he comes full circle back to Simmons
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It was good to see a different dynamic with Fitz and Handsome especially when Handsome tossed out the sandwich, in favor of odorless rations and when Fitz fixed the generator. Then there was the team of Simmons and Skye breaking into the level 8 station and Simmons stunning a superior officer after coming up with such lame excuses for being there. Of course we all knew the calvary would be there to rescue them Fitz and Handsome so they were in no real danger. Amazing how the Russians were all such bad shots not one of them came close to our intrepid heroes,.
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I liked it better than last weeks episode - they are finally developing the characters a bit.
This episode reminded me of the Firefly episode where Mal and Wash went on a mission
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Information out of context is dangerous. Lack of information can be deadly.
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I liked this episode but I wished Skye was more of a good girl instead of acting as a brat. There are things she doesn't need to know and she has to understand it.
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Spoken like a Level 8! :P
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excellent review :) I agree with all your points on the good and bad (don't listen to anyone telling you not to "nitpick", thinking should never be the enemy of entertainment)
Yeah Saffron Burrows, wow that was just the most disappointing part of this episode for me, because I've always enjoyed the actress in any role when she is not trying to sound American, and I was really looking forward to Victoria Hand's 1st appearance.
I think they should've just had her not put-on an accent, I just can't fathom why they felt it necessary to make her performance so stilted, when she is usually a very natural presence on screen, no matter the role.
PS other than in the films Sitwell appeared in the Marvel shorts: The Consultant and Item 47 [http://marvel-movies.wikia.com/wiki/Marvel_Movies]
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So I might be just reading too far in to this, but did anyone catch when Coulson was asked about Tahiti that he smiled and said it was Magic. As in Asgard as in Coulson thinks that he may have been brought back to life via magic. They are going to tie the series with Thor somehow.
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no no no... Fitz and Simmonds ARE your favourite characters ;) not think. Are.
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Why is Ward the only one to have a nickname? Anyway, I think Agent Stiff would be more appropriate.
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Staff
Good question. No one else had nicknames that jumped out at me like his did.
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I feel like a poll coming...
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I still really liked this episode, mostly because last week startled me with how emotional it was. It was nice to have a bit of a lighter episode (since I wasn't really worried for their safety, either), and it was quite funny at times. I'm pretty sure Simmons is my favorite character... she's hilarious.
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Good episode but I have to agree with Kaitlin I wasn't as worried about the characters lives as last weeks episode.
I did liked watching Simmons being funny and useful and Fitz trying to work her nonexistent spy skills.
I love May and her nonexpresions! gotta love a woman who doesn't smile much ... no? oh well maybe it's my personal taste.
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Cmon! not the sandwich!!!!!! and Fitz was pretty funny this episode
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omg what a wonderful episode. this show is so good lately, I love it! I laughed, I cried, I cheered, and I was fully entertained. ^
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Tim, you are probably the only person who cares about the "American" accent. You made such a big deal of it in your Dracula review as well. Seems like a personal thing to me.
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It's most of the TV.com staffers. Hearing an English person speak in an accent that's different from Dick Van Dyke's in Mary Poppins freaks them out for some reason.

All except Price Peterson. Even when his shows are populated with Brits, Aussies, and possibly a few Martians he doesn't bat an eye.
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Well, considering Tim didn't write the review and has never reviewed Agents of SHIELD ...
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I'm really happy to see that they're developing Fits-Simmons beyond the standard "comic relief", because they both have the potential to be so much more. Characters can be in depth and quirky too. I'd have to say this episode further established them as my favorite--I can't pick one over the other.

Coulson seems to have the most depth to him at the moment, and his arc seems right on track. Same with Skye's back story. As slow as the show seems to be unfolding, its actually rather fast when you think about it. We're only on episode 7. Of the entire series.

If this show can last a solid 3 - 5 seasons, then we're still in the very early stages of development. And when you look at it that way, just imagine how fleshed out these guys can be after a 100 episode run. This could be an awesome show.
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I can't pick between Fitz and Simmons either. Love them both!

Also, I agree that it could be an awesome show. It just needs to find the viewer backing to get there (and ABC needs to let it...)
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Finally, more focus on Fitz and Simmons, They've needed more development than anyone, if for no other reason than to show why they're even on the team. Skye may be absolutely gorgeous, but she is really getting way too much focus and attention for no reason. Ward could use a bit more backstory and development other than "I punch things so they can't punch other things". May and Caulson seem to be getting just the right amount of exposure and development for their characters respectively at this time. Also, it sure wouldn't hurt to have a few more guest appearances than 30 seconds of Hill one episode, and 30 seconds of Fury in another and almost nobody else at all.
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Please edit the recap to reflect that Simmons used the Night-Night gun, not Skye and that Skye was dropped off at an orphanage by a female SHIELD agent who may be the dead woman in the photo.

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Hello Kaitlin,

I'm really happy your fruit baskets worked out and they heard your suggestion! I'm not going to envy or be jealous your work was successful. After all with great work can and should come great rewards! Hmmm, isn't the saying something else, yeah, but this one sounds good, too.

In my case, I'd love to know (soon, please) what Coulson must never know and why he must not know it (along with all the other details associated with the topic). I think everyone agrees it is about his death, but beyond that everyone is assuming and guessing. It is time for the audience to find out, isn't it?
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Just remembering that Simmons used the Night-Night gun on Sitwell, not Skye and that Skye was dropped off at an orphanage (not at SHIELD) by a SHIELD agent.
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I enjoyed the episode.

I'm not saying the show is "the greatest" or anything, I'm not a blind-faith Whedonite, but I enjoy the show and am kind of surprised at the flack it gets from people that I thought would enjoy this kind of thing. It's not perfect and it's definitely not for everyone, but I think the show has too many people dumping on it.

Oh well, I can't wait to see where this Coulson thing is going :-)
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You aren't nitpicking there Kaitlin, it's a serious character development problem any series should have to face, but especially this one since its characters are pretty much the only thing it has solidly sitting in its foundation. Honestly, this is Joss Whedon, so I did think there was a chance Simmons would die at the end of FZZT, that would have been a genuine piece of storytelling and have real impact on the characters and audience, it'd make a name for itself right out the gate - sometimes the happy ending has a big cost. (Or you know, if you're making a movie extension of your show, then you kill off a third of your characters for no real reason, but whatever.) With Simmons safe though, this episode made it clear Fitz was coming back unharmed, so those emotional stakes really don't exist, the superheroes on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." are everybody in the main cast because nothing is ever going to really happen to them, they're going to get away with everything even as they screw up royally the way Ward did this episode by stepping into a bear trap on his first gambit of the mission. You aren't nitpicking there Kaitlin, it's a serious character development problem any series should have to face, but especially this one since its characters are pretty much the only thing it has solidly sitting in its foundation.

As for Comedy 101, not sure why there should be that much comedy, I feel like this show is tonally bipolar, swinging wildly from comedy to drama with no foot in either. Tony Stark makes quips because he earns them, he stands out as the guy who makes the quips in a world that can't quite keep up with how extreme he is, and how much weight he occasionally has to carry on his shoulders. This show hasn't earned that right at all with any of these characters.

I really hope the "Coulson's a robot" joke this week is bait-and-switching us and Coulson isn't going to end up being an LMD.

Triskelion did nothing for me, I'm not an Ultimate Marvel guy. This is Sitwell's first appearance that I can remember on the series.

Saffron Burrows' American accent is still horrible after her time on Law & Order Criminal Intent, and I feel like she's a decade too old to play Victoria Hand, whose youth is part of what drove her to lack the morality to see Norman Osborn's plot was wrong during Dark Avengers. So they cast her probably because they could get her.
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Yeh, the more they toy with us about rusty, high iron, and explicitly using "robot Coulson" in a sentence... the more I have to wonder if they're just messing with us.
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I'm quite hopeful that's the case, especially after Coulson's heart to heart with the near-death firefighter, that was a very human moment and far too important for a mere LMD bait-n-switch.
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Good episode, great review. Loved the prosciutto sandwich. Fitz & Simmons are really cute.
I feel that Coulson's "secret" though, is the Least Suspenseful Secret Ever. Skye even did some pretty heavy-handed foreshadowing this episode (by having a line that basically SAYS IT - really, show?). I'm ready for it to come out now because imo dealing with the fallout of the reveal will make for much better drama/suspense than all the build-up and the hints...
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This was my favorite episode so far. Up til now, Fitz has been really annoying to me. But I actually enjoyed him this week and now have a new appreciation for him. He's growing and I like it. Also liked the addition of Saffron Burrow's character and hope to see more of her in the future.
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I see a lot of your reviews Kaitlin, and i know it is your job to nit pick sometimes, but this was a good overall episode and picking at cliches, well come on, we watchers of tv shows try to enjoy the overall and nitpicking gets tiresome... and if you want true original situations, good luck... i can tell you there is nothing that i cannot find having been done somewhere else by someone else.... and come on.... we are talking wheldon.... let him work his magic, he will gives you the surprises when they are right.... i loved firefly and he loves throwing little things in along the way and shocking you, like what he did in serenity.... 7 episodes in and he is not letting you forget there is more going on than the story of the week....
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I loved this episode. I laughed more watching this than watching a sitcom.
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