Yes, Skye and her dump truck of chips on her shoulder strike again as the team heads to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hub, where Skye doesn't get to throw tantrums and do whatever she wants. In fact, Skye's outrage at being shut out of Level 8 classified information prompted my one of my favorite moments of the episode. "No need to get started on one of your socialist riffs," Fitz says, Simmons following up with a supportive, "Yeah."
Lone Wolf accompanies Fitz on the ultra top secret mission, and the development of mutual respect is great to watch and all, as are the haphazard attempts of Skye and Simmons trying to find out information, but the real meat of this episode lies in S.H.I.E.L.D. itself. Finally, we have an episode that explores the larger organization from a daily business point of view. May tells Skye at the beginning of the episode that Coulson does things differently on the plane, and any viewer familiar with S.H.I.E.L.D. from the comics knows that's the truth. While we've had glimpses of the larger picture, we haven't seen the ruthlessness of S.H.I.E.L.D.
More than anything, S.H.I.E.L.D. loves to control information, a major issue for Skye in this episode. When everyone replies to her outrage with a simple "trust the system," Skye takes matters into her own hands. Yes, she does discover that Fitz and Lone Wolf don't have an exit strategy, but Coulson doesn't let her get away with it. He reprimands her--hard. Even though her intentions were good, she did sorta hack a top secret government database without permission, and she's just lucky that Coulson was the one who discovered it. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s interrogation methods . . . vary.
When Coulson brings Syke's revelation his commanding officer, she gives him an almost puzzled look. This is what S.H.I.E.L.D. does, remember, Coulson? People are expendable to the mission, a fact that Fitz and Lone Wolf know and accept once they realize there is no retrieval team. S.H.I.E.L.D. is ruthless, people, and everyone who signs up knows it, especially as they rise through the ranks to get any kind of high clearance. I hope this S.H.I.E.L.D.--the real S.H.I.E.L.D.--continues to assert its dominance.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on a roll. Two great episodes down. Let's hope and pray that they keep the momentum going with next week's Thor 2 crossover.
(Yes, I realize that it's technically last night's, but I haven't watched it yet.)