America’s favorite live action cartoon, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, kicked off this week with Agent Coulson being dragged down a dark hallway. He’s thrown in a chair, and his unknown captives call for their interrogator to work him over. There are shots of scary torture implements, but this is the 8pm hour. If you want torture stay up later. Turns our Coulson is there to alert the interrogator, who’s actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, that his cover is blown.
That is bad news for the group holding them as Agents Ward and May appear out of nowhere to help the Coulson and the exposed agent fight their way out of there. They pop a hatch and exit onto a snow filled landscape. Dogsleds attached to the plane are used for a grand exit. We then wind up with Agent Simmons pulling a capsule out of the guy they saved through his nose. Everyone offers their help with the intel, but Coulson informs the team this is a “Level 8″ problem.
The team then heads to the Hub. Turns out the Hub is a giant S.H.I.E.L.D. facility that feels like an upgraded Pentagon. “The Hub” is restricted by access, and Skye being level one is locked out of the groups meeting with Agent Hand. Hand seems to be the leader of “The Hub”. A terrorist group has created something called a overkill device. This mcguffin can explode the world’s nuclear missiles in their silos, and the only two people who can save the world are Agents Ward and Fitz. It’s like their version of “Bad Boys 3″.
Their adventure kicks off in a shady bar with Agent Ward trying to make contact with someone named Uri. That doesn’t go well as Uri is dead, and the people in the bar all own guns. Back at the Hub Skye is still bitching about her “Level 1″ clearance. She tries to complain to Coulson about the situation and he asks her to “trust the system”. Meanwhile Fitz and Ward are just about to be shot by an angry woman’s goons when the power dies in the bar killing the lights.
Thankfully Fitz is able to fix their electrical problem, and earns the trust of the bar owners. He even gets a shot of salty vodka to celebrate. Now they’re able to pay their way across the border on the way to disarming the overkill device. Their truck gets ten feet across the border before being stopped. Shots ring out, and Ward and Fitz are trapped inside the back of the vehicle. They throw kegs out of the back which seemed to explode on contact. That distraction allows them to escape capture.
Skye and Simmons are now working together to find out the secret “Level 8″ information on the overkill mission. Simmons tries to access the mainframe while Skye talks her through the steps needed to access the intel. The secret about this mission must be important because Coulson is having trouble with the responsibility of being “Level 8″. Simmons is interrupted while working on the panel, but begins to fall apart under questioning. She knocks out the agent asking questions with a stun gun, and flees the scene.
Back on the mission Fitz tries to share part of his special sandwich packed by Simmons for him with Ward. Ward responds by throwing it into the darkness, and claiming that dogs tracking them will be drawn to the food. Fitz blames him for overreacting before hearing the sound of braying dogs in the distance. Ward tries to make up with Fitz by giving him some odorless rations. Ward promises that he will keep Fitz safe.
Skye now has enough date to expose the situation back on the Hub. It turns out that the mission has no extraction plan in place. That would mean that S.H.I.E.L.D. plans for both men to die. Skye is found by Coulson, and yelled at for not “trusting the system”. Coulson informs her that she never was supposed to know that due to clearance. Her context on the mission isn’t complete. Coulson won’t even comment if he knew about the lack of exit plan for Ward and Fitz.
Ward and Coulson then use a secret invisible pouch to attach themselves to the underside of a truck. The truck drops them inside the terrorist facility, and off they go on their impossible mission. Ward tries to signal S.H.I.E.L.D. for extraction, and realizes there isn’t a plan in place for them. After Ward dispatches two men while Fitz does play by play commentary they arrive at the overkill device. The device looks like a giant flux capacitor, and Fitz goes to work trying to shut it down.
Coulson confronts Agent Hand about not being told about the lack of extraction plan. He’s “Level 8″ and entitled to know about these things. Hand talks down to him, and infers that Skye being on his team creates a unsafe environment. They yell back and forth, but nothing is done to change the mission.
Fitz is about to finish his disarm job when Ward reveals the difficulty of their situation. Once he cuts the final cord they are on their own. Fitz declares himself a genuine agent, and pulls the plug on the overkill device. Alarms ring around them, and off they run. At the exact same time in the Hub Agent Hand launches another secret part of the plan.
At this point in the episode the main drive is saving the lives of Ward and Fitz. The show is doing a great job of visually spelling out the problem, but don’t we know better. There is zero chance either of them will even show a scratch on them by the start of next week’s episode. Like “G.I. Joe”, there are tons of bullets and lasers spent, but no one ever dies.
As the terrorists come to kill them Fitz modifies the overkill to destroy their guns. Without weapons the men are easy pickings for Agent Ward’s super soldier abilities. They work together and clear the room of danger before running outside. There they are confronted by a squadron of men with guns drawn. All seems lost when the cavalry arrives behind them in the form of a S.H.I.E.L.D. plane. The down force of the plane engines repels the terrorists and the agents are saved.
Shocked that both of them survived this near death experience. Fitz spends his time back flirting with Simmons about her lost sandwich. Coulson visits Skye with a file on her unknown past. Turns out the person who dropped her off at the orphanage was a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent. Could this mean Skye’s Mom works for the agency? She’s overjoyed with any bit of info about her lost history. Coulson though isn’t telling her the whole truth, and Agent May knows it. They decide to work together to uncover the truth behind the mysterious agent.
The episode ends with Agent Coulson attempting to unlock the file about his recovery in “Tahiti”. He’s told that he doesn’t have access to that particular file. Coulson objects based on his “Level 8″ status, but event that doesn’t work. The only way he gets that file is by going through Commander Fury.
Next week “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is incorporating the action from the film “Thor: The Dark World” into the show with the agents asked to clean up the mess Thor has left on earth. Could next week be the first time we get a cameo from one of the Avengers? Want even more geeky excitement for next week? The episode’s directed by Jonathan Frakes, also know as Commander William T. Riker from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.