8   +   2   =  

IAIN DE CAESTECKER, BRETT DALTON‘The Hub’

After last week’s heart stopping offering, it felt as if there was a lot riding on episode seven of Agents of SHIELD. Would it continue the Fitz/Simmons magic that we were treated to last week? Would Ward’s personality stick around for another day? Would we finally get any answers about Coulson’s mysterious after-life encounter or Skye’s parents? So many questions, so many outcomes, and thankfully the lasting impression of The Hub was a largely positive one.

Given an assignment by the SHIELD hub director Agent Victoria Hand, the most unlikely team of Ward and Fitz was sent to South Ossetia to disable a device called ‘Overkill’. Nice ominous name there, just in case we were confused about its weapon status. Partnered up for Ward’s experience in Ossetia and Fitz’s tech no-how, the men found themselves in more than a little hot water, as the ladies back at the hub tried to get details about the level 8 mission that they weren’t classified to know anything about.

As Ward and Fitz broke into the compound that held the Overkill device, Skye and Simmons were doing a little breaking in of their own, with a hilarious Simmons attempting to distract, and eventually knock out, an agent who caught her hacking into level 8 files at Skye’s insistence. Skye discovered that there was no extraction plan for Ward and Fitz and she gave Coulson all hell for knowing that they were going on a suicide mission – which he didn’t actually know, thanks to Victoria Hand withholding information from him. The ladies, with Coulson as honorary girl, decided to take it upon themselves to rescue Ward and Fitz after they’d managed to disable Overkill. In the most surprising happening of the series, Fitz was just as handy as Ward in the field, only with less broody staring and more bumbling jokes. The rescue mission was a little too easily resolved but then it always is with SHIELD and I’ve come to accept that.

Ward and Fitz made a surprisingly good team, Fitz the brains and Ward the brawn, proving once again that mixing these characters up and taking them out of their comfort zones is always a good thing. Ward’s new personality wavered but probably due to the fact that he was so baffled by Fitz actually being helpful in action that he didn’t know what to do with himself. May on the other hand continued to fade into the background as the dullest character of the series; her point in the team seems to solely reside as pilot and occasional trapeze artist. She rarely speaks, unless she’s giving Coulson some ‘sage advice’, and her all-of-one expression has really started to grate. Just like they did with Ward last week, the writers need to do something with May that shows us she’s human and not just some super-fighting automaton.

Hilarity continued to ensue in this episode mainly with Coulson and Fitz/Ward. Coulson’s one sided conversation with May as she exercised was priceless and Fitz’s flabbergasted reaction to Ward throwing away his cherished sandwich was a joy to watch. Is it just me or was that scene a little reminiscent of the Ross Gellar MY SANDWICH moment? These small touches of humour are what make SHIELD so watchable – there’s always a little lightness amidst the drama, a little sarcasm to make the situation less intense. The banter also helps to make the team seem more like a family unit rather than co-workers.

The questions surrounding Coulson and Skye are still very much hanging in the air though. Coulson’s no closer to knowing what happened to him in Tahiti, thanks to his access to certain level 8 files being denied, even though he’s supposed to have clearance. And whilst Skye now knows that it was a SHIELD agent who dropped her off at the orphanage when she was a child, she doesn’t know who it was…Coulson on the other hand isn’t quite as clueless on this subject as he’s pretending to be. One thing’s for sure, this isn’t going to be the happy ending Skye wants it to be.

Not quite as strong as last week in terms of drama but still perfectly entertaining, Agents of SHIELD continues to up its game as it builds in mystery and secrets. Hurry up episode eight!

★★★★

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