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TV Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Episode 18

04.15.2014

NOTE: Join us every WEDNESDAY as we review the latest episode...

EPISODE 18: "Providence"

SYNOPSIS:  With Colonel Glenn Talbot now on their trail, Coulson and his team seek refuge in the last place anyone would look, where they begin to uncover S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most dangerous secrets—secrets that could destroy them...

BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).

Now that the HYDRA within S.H.I.E.L.D. threat is out of the bag, we get to see the remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D. operate in the format many of us expected this series to take from the very beginning.  But, does it make for a better show?  The short answer is yes.  The longer answer is we will need to wait and see, but "Providence" is a good starting point.

We were left last week with Agent John Garrett (Bill Paxton) being revealed as The Clairvoyant and a HYDRA sleeper, Coulson and his team forced to go off the grid to defend their hobbled agency, and Ward may or may not be a member of HYDRA himself as he shot Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows) and gave Garrett a knowing nod.  Tonight picks up with Ward, now obviously a bad guy based on his black t-shirt, leather jacket, and stubble, as he breaks Reina out of prison and gifts her a new flower dress courtesy of The Clairvoyant.

At The Hub, Coulson watches the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER's concluding battle as Skye informs him that three secure S.H.I.E.L.D. bases remain operational.  Coulson vows to use his team to fight HYDRA, which seems like the direction the series will go in from now on.  Meanwhile, Ward and Reina arrive in Havana where she finally gets to meet The Clairvoyant.  Garrett is also now in full bad guy mode as evidenced by his black turtleneck.  I get that this is inspired by Marvel Comics, but these costumes are a bit on the nose, people.

Coulson and his crew are greeted via video-message from Colonel Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) who informs him that an Air Force peace-keeping force will be coming to take over S.H.I.E.L.D. operations in light of the fact that the spy agency is now considered a terrorist threat.  Coulson and the team decide to get the hell out of there and Agent Triplett asks to join the crew.  The plane is in disrepair, fuel line busted, no cloaking technology, limited food rations, and the only informational technology accessible is the Internet.

Ward receives a call from Skye checking up on his delivery of Garrett to The Fridge and he plays along.  After the call, Garrett teases Ward about his cover with the team and it is revealed that Ward's mission was to infiltrate Coulson's team from the very beginning.  Ward expresses his anger at Skye being shot, indicating his feelings for her were not fake.  Garrett and Ward then provide Reina with all of the resources she needs to investigate the serum that resurrected Coulson while they go to raid The Fridge for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s resources.

As Coulson gathers everyone's badges, Skye notices his is glowing.  There are coordinates leading to the Canadian wilderness and Coulson believes they came directly from the presumed dead Nick Fury.  Ward and Reina have a moment where she asks about how he tricked the team.  Brett Dalton does a good job of selling this as Ward.  I was skeptical that he may have been a double agent for S.H.I.E.L.D., but now I am not so sure.  I would rather him be a straight bad guy as it makes the dynamic much more interesting.

Back on the plane, May requests Coulson's sidearm and the two have an argument.  Coulson thinks Fury is alive and May thinks HYDRA may have implanted false information during The T.A.H.I.T.I. Project, to which she also reveals Nick Fury was not in charge.  Arriving in Canada, the team sets out to find the source of the coordinates which turns out to be a secret base, code named Providence by the agent in charge, Eric Koenig (Patton Oswalt).  Koenig reveals Fury is in fact dead and that The Fridge has fallen to HYDRA.  In secret, Koenig tells Coulson that Fury is alive but only he can know on Fury's orders.

At The Fridge, Garrett and Ward find multiple items include a plasma cannon found in Peru, the Asgardian staff from earlier this season, and a secret hidden beneath the lowest floor.  Garrett also releases all the prisoners housed at the facility saying they "should keep Coulson busy for a while".  Reina also reveals that the hard drive they needed has been encoded by Skye which means Ward will need to go back undercover.  Garrett, while changing his shirt, also reveals some sort of metallic implant on his lower back.  Ward then arrives at Providence, prepared to get Skye's password by any means necessary.

The closing episode features Ian Quinn ripping apart Garrett for imprisoning him.  Garrett then reveals the Gravitonium from earlier this season.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES:

More references to the closing events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER.  Adrian Pasdar's portrayal of Glenn Talbot marks the second appearance of the character, the first being in Ang Lee's HULK where the character was played by Josh Lucas.  Garrett references Black Widow in reference to Ward's undercover skills.  The Chitauri invasion in THE AVENGERS is name-checked.

BEST LINE:

"Nick Fury gave me this badge.  When he did, I swore an oath.  We all did.  To serve when everything else fails.  To be humanity's last line of defense.  To be The Shield.  These coordinates mean something, I am sure of it.  Fury also gave me this Planet.  If anyone wants off, chutes are in the bay.  Help yourself." - Phil Coulson to the team.

COOLEST SCENE:

A very solid episode, but Garrett and Ward infiltrating The Fridge, including Ward coldly shooting two guards in the face, has got to be the best scene.

DO WE (REALLY) KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO COULSON YET?  OR WHAT SKYE'S POWER IS?  OR WHO THE CLAIRVOYANT IS?

May revealed that Fury was not in charge of the project that resurrected Coulson, but does not know who was.

EPISODE CLEARANCE LEVEL: 10/10

Another very solid episode that proved that not only was last week not a fluke but that this series has squandered it's potential for the first dozen episodes this season.  Bill Paxton is even better as a bad guy on this show, as is Brett Dalton as Ward.  Patton Oswalt added some much needed comic relief that wasn't painful to listen to while Clark Gregg knocked it out of the park this week.  The subplots from earlier this season are all coming together which is a nice pay-off for those who have stuck with the series from day one, but if there was a time to start watching the show, it is now.  I cannot wait to see how the final four episodes shake out.

NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:

Episode 20 "The Only Light in the Darkness" airs April 22th - With their world turned upside down, Coulson races to save the life of his one true love as the mystery of 'The Cellist,' which began in Marvel's THE AVENGERS is finally revealed.

TELL US WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THIS EPISODE BELOW!

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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5:42PM on 04/16/2014
Ever since T.R.A.C.K.S., this show has picked up some serious steam. I'm hoping for a 2nd season
Ever since T.R.A.C.K.S., this show has picked up some serious steam. I'm hoping for a 2nd season
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2:29PM on 04/16/2014

Question

It was said that Garrett put Ward undercover on Coulson's team. How? No one knew Coulson was alive except for a very select few. None of Coulson's team members knew until he recruited him, including Ward. So how did Garrett find out in order to send in Ward?
It was said that Garrett put Ward undercover on Coulson's team. How? No one knew Coulson was alive except for a very select few. None of Coulson's team members knew until he recruited him, including Ward. So how did Garrett find out in order to send in Ward?
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11:48AM on 04/16/2014

Spoilers

No mention of Alexander Pierce, Arim Zola, Insight or the Algorithm, although we were told that Furry was still alive. They have created a story that crosses over with the movie without completely spoiling the movie.
No mention of Alexander Pierce, Arim Zola, Insight or the Algorithm, although we were told that Furry was still alive. They have created a story that crosses over with the movie without completely spoiling the movie.
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+2
9:04AM on 04/16/2014
I hope we find out what happened to the gravitonium scientist since we saw his hand try to push it's way out after he was supposedly killed. A super villain for the finale would be amazing!
As on a side note, the person (or arrow fan) taking the time to vote all the positive comments down that far needs to get a life.
I hope we find out what happened to the gravitonium scientist since we saw his hand try to push it's way out after he was supposedly killed. A super villain for the finale would be amazing!
As on a side note, the person (or arrow fan) taking the time to vote all the positive comments down that far needs to get a life.
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11:50AM on 04/16/2014
He'd have to get out of his mom's basement first.....
He'd have to get out of his mom's basement first.....
3:04PM on 04/16/2014
I believe the idea is that it's not just gravitonium inside the box at the end, that actually is Graviton (although no one knows it yet).
I believe the idea is that it's not just gravitonium inside the box at the end, that actually is Graviton (although no one knows it yet).
4:20AM on 04/16/2014
What's with all the down votes!

anyway yeah definitely a vast improvement and hopefully it continues.

What's with all the down votes!

anyway yeah definitely a vast improvement and hopefully it continues.

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3:04AM on 04/16/2014
enjoying these newer episodes hope they keep it goin like this but ward i just want to punch right in his suck hole
enjoying these newer episodes hope they keep it goin like this but ward i just want to punch right in his suck hole
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1:32AM on 04/16/2014
Yay Patton Oswalt! Given how much Patton Oswalt talks about comics and geek culture at large, is this a case of "celebrity paradox"?
Yay Patton Oswalt! Given how much Patton Oswalt talks about comics and geek culture at large, is this a case of "celebrity paradox"?
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-34
11:52PM on 04/15/2014

Almost perfect

The biggest problem I have with tonight's episode is the fact that the whole of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised and the ALMOST agent, Skye, jumped on her cell phone as soon as they got down into the secret base and heard that The Fridge had been taken by Hydra.

First, who is her wireless carrier? She's in Canada's Great White North in the middle of NOWHERE, and she's either inside of a mountain or an underground base. No signal. Not even by SATCOM. I call BS.

Also, in military and
The biggest problem I have with tonight's episode is the fact that the whole of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised and the ALMOST agent, Skye, jumped on her cell phone as soon as they got down into the secret base and heard that The Fridge had been taken by Hydra.

First, who is her wireless carrier? She's in Canada's Great White North in the middle of NOWHERE, and she's either inside of a mountain or an underground base. No signal. Not even by SATCOM. I call BS.

Also, in military and government facilities containing classified information, cell phones aren't allowed in the buildings, and back, back, back when I was enlisted, there was a grey area with regards to removing the battery while on premises. I'm assuming that those rules have been tightened since I got out. I have a hard time believing that an agency like S.H.I.E.L.D. would have lax policies about that, especially in instances of espionage.

Lastly, if Agent Ward had run into trouble on that mission to deliver Garrett to The Fridge, I would have expected that he would have initiated contact with his team leader at his point of deployment, regardless of the fact that Agent Hand was on the flight.

In an otherwise great episode, Joss and Co. lose me with the whole Agent Ward element.
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3:10PM on 04/16/2014
1) I think it's safe to assume a high-tech facility like Providence has it's own communications network she can tap into. Otherwise what would be the point of having a SHIELD base that can't communicate with SHIELD headquarters? As to whether she'd be allowed to use her cell phone inside, well, chalk it up to "comic book fiat".

2) Now that Ward is back with the team, he can basically make up any story he likes to explain why he didn't check in. No one on the team would have any reason to
1) I think it's safe to assume a high-tech facility like Providence has it's own communications network she can tap into. Otherwise what would be the point of having a SHIELD base that can't communicate with SHIELD headquarters? As to whether she'd be allowed to use her cell phone inside, well, chalk it up to "comic book fiat".

2) Now that Ward is back with the team, he can basically make up any story he likes to explain why he didn't check in. No one on the team would have any reason to doubt him, I think.
2:57AM on 04/17/2014
Keep in mind this is a supposedly ultra-secret spy agency that puts their logo on everything. Needless to say, they ain't the sharpest 007s on the roster.
Keep in mind this is a supposedly ultra-secret spy agency that puts their logo on everything. Needless to say, they ain't the sharpest 007s on the roster.
-31
11:28PM on 04/15/2014

Solid....

I liked it, although the stuff with Ward is a little painful. The guy is "The Clairvoyant's" protege and Coulsen already suspected him, but now that his prisoner has escaped, the agent above him on the mission is dead, and the place he knew the most about has been overtaken, suddenly nobody is going to question him?

Come on.....it's so obvious that ANYONE in such an organization would immediately have a dozen red flags up, but they're going to give him the keys to one of the last secret
I liked it, although the stuff with Ward is a little painful. The guy is "The Clairvoyant's" protege and Coulsen already suspected him, but now that his prisoner has escaped, the agent above him on the mission is dead, and the place he knew the most about has been overtaken, suddenly nobody is going to question him?

Come on.....it's so obvious that ANYONE in such an organization would immediately have a dozen red flags up, but they're going to give him the keys to one of the last secret bases and update him on everything they've learned (I wouldn't be surprised if Coulsen violated orders and told him Fury was alive). Seriously, that makes them sound amateurish and gullible. Leroy "Jethro" Gibbs would have already figured out he's not to be trusted (at least until everything shakes out). They've made Coulsen much less than he was in the movies. The series is much better now, but I'm sad for making him just another agent who seems to have risen based on seniority, not on his superior ability.
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