“The Hub” is probably the second best episode of the season. It brings together the chemistry of the team with the question asked at the beginning of the show as well as teasers about Skye and Coulson and their enigmatic pasts. There was a very funny running gag involving a sandwich (or lack thereof), and I found the episode to be cohesive without being too smoothly polished.
Marvel’s agents are finally beginning to ask questions about the upper echelons and to wonder just how justified their trust in the organization is without fully committing to acts of treason against S.H.I.E.L.D. Skye remains the voice of doubt as she navigates between being outright rebellious and trying to find a way to save her teammates from a suicide mission. She ends up dragging Agent Coulson, May, and Simmons into her line of thinking when she uncovers the lack of an evacuation plan for Fitz and Ward who are on the ground attempting to prevent an explosion of epic proportions.
I’m not sure where the love story is going (or who it revolves around, exactly – do Fitz and Simmons have more of a brother-sister relationship with Fitz caring for Skye and Simmons having a crush on Ward, or do Ward and Skye have a thing for each other while Fitz and Simmons go through a cute and nerdy couple phase?), but right now it’s interesting to see the team interact as just people, individuals without an agenda who just want to get their job done and keep people safe.
I thought it was a great idea for “The Hub” to expose the theme that has been the centerpiece of the show since day one: Trust. Does Skye trust anyone? Should the agents trust S.H.I.E.L.D.? Should they trust each other? Does S.H.I.E.L.D. trust them to get the job done? What happens when you realize that an institution may not be worthy of your complete trust any longer?
We see Coulson struggle with this throughout the episode. Before New York and the Avengers, Coulson did things by the book. He always obeyed, always implicitly trusted, like a dog. He was faithful and he did what he was told without question. He had to make tough calls. But when he learns that there was no evacuation plan for his teammates (a lie from the higher ups) he starts questioning a lot of what he knows.
“The Hub” also dove into Skye’s past a bit and gave us the barest hint about her past. There is also a mysterious conversation near the end where Coulson reveals that he’s aware of more of Skye’s past than he let on, but the truth is so terrible he has to shield her from it, at least for now. What could that possibly mean? It gives me all sorts of ideas. What if she’s part alien/god?
I also really loved that while Ward and Fitz went on a mission, Skye and Simmons had one of their own, and the girls ended up “rescuing” the guys after Coulson gives the go ahead. It speaks volumes to me when the decision to rescue someone isn’t based on gender. These men and women are a team and they protect each other. They have each other’s backs. They trust each other.
While not a mind-blowing episode, “The Hub” is a good story with some important plot points which will require careful unraveling as the season progresses. I am anxious to see how they handle Coulson and Skye’s pasts.