While I enjoyed parts of this episode, I think I'm moving towards being truly on the fence, and from a long time Marvel fan-boy (Avengers specifically) and a Whedonite, I can't believe I'm saying that.
AND come to think of it. If there was no extraction plan, there was no point in dismantling the weapon. Once they figured it out, the mission parameters would have changed:
Ward: Hang on, if they don't expect us to get out of here, they don't expect to get the device back to the Hub.
Simmons: Good point. Let me unplug a couple wires then chuck a block of C4 in here. No point wasting all this time.
Ward: Yeah, they're gonna strafe the shit out of this place anyways whether we make it out or not.
Coulson reported to Victoria Hand (Don't follow the link to Wikipedia if you don't want her back story - it may play into the Winter Soldier storyline based on the trailer, or into what Whedon has in store for us.)
One thing also bugged me. So Coulson finds out that a SHIELD agent dropped Skye off at an orphanage when she was a baby, but Coulson keeps that to himself. While normally I'd say that makes sense, it seems like the WHOLE MORAL OF THIS EPISODE was "Share information with your friends and teammates".
Somehow Joss found a balance between tension and moments of comedy throughout the Avengers. The battle of NY was intense, but the moments of levity never took me out of the moment, even on re-watches on the small screen. I don't get the same feeling of balance with AoS.
Here's the thing: am I going to keep watching? Yes, for now. Knowing next week is the Thor tie-in actually made me go out and see Thor earlier than I was going to, so that's something. But I can't help but thinking that if this was the Coulson + Ward & May (as second string Barton & Romanov) show, and they checked into Q-division (Fitz-Simmons) to gear-up, I'd be way more into it.
iO9 has a pretty brutal view on why AoS seems to be failing HERE. While it's only one writer's perspective, they do have a point.