Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Providence Review (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Source: Mania.com

***WARNING SPOILERS***

Any questions about whether Agent Ward had really turned and was working with HYDRA were quickly tossed out the window in “Providence”.  Displaying more personality and depth than he has all season Ward relates with cool but brazen cockiness how he gained the trust of his fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, notably by his heroic act of jumping out of a plane to save Agent Simmons earlier in the year.  His unapologetically monster ego catapulted him from a wooden “meh” kind of character to, “I really hate this guy now!”  

Ward Arrives with Garrett at the “Fridge” seemingly to turn Garrett over but quickly shoots and kills the guards.  Before long, War, Garrett, and several other implanted HYDRA agents have overwhelmed and gained control the base.  The Fridge is a special facility as it is used to store many of the powerful items that S.H.I.E.L.D. has confiscated over the years such as HYDRA weapon found in episode two “0-8-4” and the Asgardian Berserker Staff.  The facility also houses inmates who have special abilities.  Garrett mentions a guy named Johnny Horton who gave himself claws of a lion, a reference to the minor villain in the Marvel universe known as The Griffin.

Garrett and Ward also free Raina…the Girl in the Flower Dress…who cannot even pretend to hide her disappointment in learning that Garrett is the Clairvoyant and is not, in fact, a Clairvoyant.  Her disappointment is assuaged somewhat by being given access to all of those alien drugs and told to re-start the Centipede program.

With S.H.I.E.L.D. in complete disarray, Coulson receives a video communication from renowned Hulk Hunter Colonel Glenn Talbot (Pasdar) who informs Coulson to expect a military team to arrive at the Hub shortly.  Pasdar’s scene was too brief but quickly established Talbot as the hard ass character we know from the comics.  Realizing this is bad news, Coulson and his team (along with Agent Triplett) make a getaway aboard their plane.  Coulson has Syke erase their identities but then receives coordinates through his badge which he concludes must have come from Nick Fury.  

The team makes their way to the remote Canadian wilderness.  While Coulson’s faith is unwavering and he goes on a long rant about it, the rest of the group begins to question his stability.  May reveals to Skye that this was the reason that Fury wanted her to keep an eye on him.  We also learn that Fury did not oversee the T.A.H.I.T.I. project which brought Coulson back to life and gave him the false memories, injecting another mystery into the series.  

Just as it looks like he coordinates are a wild goose chase, a hidden door opens up leading to an underground facility overseen by a single agent, Eric Koenig (Oswalt) who has been stationed there since the Chitauri attack in the Avengers.  In the comics, Koenig was one of Fury’s Howling Commandos but here, Oswalt is…Patton Oswalt an irreverent nerd who spends his time reading books and playing Call of Duty.  Koenig relates to Coulson only that Fury IS still alive.  Meanwhile, Skye gives their location to Ward and episode concludes with her welcoming him inside the secret base.

So yes…Hand is dead, a fact confirmed by Producers Jeph Loeb and Jeffrey Bell,   Any thought that she may have been a LMD or somehow survived can be discarded.  Any idea that Ward is still working for S.H.I.E.L.D. can be tossed aside.  While he doesn’t seem overly committed to HYDRA he’s certainly committed to Garrett.  I do take issue though with Ward’s continued affection for Skye.  Here’s a guy so cold-blooded that he turned not only on his team but his country, and yet he can’t seem to get over a school boy crush, even if he intends to use that bond to finish the team off.  Skye is still needed as only she can decrypt the hard drive containing all of the data about her and Coulson.  And you had to look fast or you missed it but while Garrett is mentioning how “we all have our weaknesses” he is pulling down his shirt and we see a quick glimpse of his left side which has a metal plate around it.  This indicates that Garrett has some cybernetic components, just as he does in the comics.

After the break Garrett reveals to Ian Quinn another toy they uncovered in the Fridge…the Gravitonium which was secured by S.H.I.E.L.D. back in episode three.  I actually liked this episode more than last week’s.  I love the writer’s commitment to Ward and making him a true villain and Brett Dalton gave his best performance of the year by far.  Adrian Pasdar and Patton Oswalt are inspired bits of casting. I am still a little puzzled at how easy HYDRA gained control of The Fridge, though.  That was glossed over far too quickly. The episode was filled with Easter eggs and while some of them such as Johnny Horton were throwaway there were others that look like they will have important roles moving forward.  Let’s hope that the ratings begin to reflect the shows upturn in quality these past several weeks.  This is where the show should have been all along.


Mania Grade: A-
Episode: Providence (Season 1, Episode 18)
Starring: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Bill Paxton, Adrian Pasdar, Patton Oswalt
Written By: Maurissa Tancharoen
Directed By: Milan Cheylov
Network: ABC
Studio: Mutant Enemy, Marvel Television, ABC Studios See
Series: