It’s kind of a shame because there were some interesting pieces to the episode, but they didn’t all come together. If anything, “The Hub” suffered from a lack of focus.
When SHIELD intel reveals that a new weapon nicknamed the Overkill Device has been built and fallen into the wrong hands, agents Ward and Fitz are sent in to sabotage it. It’s a covert mission and one whose details are only known to agents with a level eight clearance or higher — a clearance level Coulson has when we start the episode, but one that he may not necessarily still have when the episode is over (looks like we’ll have to wait and see on that one).
Of course, being kept out of the loop doesn’t sit well with Skye, who immediately begins plotting to find a way into the top secret files to determine the truth of the mission. She’s helped out by Simmons, who proves to not be so deft on her feet in coming up with a convincing cover story. There’s probably a reason she’s not in the field that often. I will say that the scene with Simmons coming up with excuses for why she’s at a panel with a flash drive was one of the more amusing on the program. It also shows that Elizabeth Hendridge does well with humor and that she could be more capable of delivering Whedon-esque dialogue than I’d originally given her credit.
I also liked the continued plot threat of Skye’s growing loyalty to the team and her friends. Presented with the chance to try and find out more about the mystery surrounding her parents, Skye goes for the data on Ward and Fitz’s mission, only to uncover an uncomfortable truth — it’s actually a suicide mission since SHIELD has no extraction plan in place for the two.
On the one hand, I can see how Ward might be expendable, but it’s hard to believe that SHIELD would want or allow someone as technologically savvy as Fitz to be killed in the field or worse yet, captured and allowed/forced to develop tech for the enemy. Sure, it worked out that Tony Stark’s tech helped him to escape from his captors and eventually became an asset for the good guys, but we can’t forget that Starks initial mandate was to develop and replicate his work on weapons systems for terrorists.
The mantra of this episode was “Trust the system.” And it really felt like the series was trying to remind me that I needed to have faith that all these pieces would come together and that the series will eventually find its footing and become the show we’re all hoping it’s capable of being. And yet, it’s another week where I feel like the pieces were all there for a home run of an episode and instead we only got a run-it-out double.