Again following the aftermath of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, "Providence" continues to prove that Agents of SHIELD is a worthy addition to the Marvel canon.
*Warning massive spoilers are ahead*
After the massively unexpected reveal that Ward is a HYDRA agent, Coulson and SHIELD are trying to pickup the pieces in wake of the HYDRA insurgency. For starters, Grant turning all BA as he frees Raina and gives her the flower dress she is so fond of. Seeing the character return now knowing that Garrett is technically the Clairvoyant (more on that later), and that she has been working for HYDRA all along, was a great tie-in. If she can get these enhanced soldiers working, maybe they will make a brief appearance as enhanced HYDRA soldiers in Age of Ultron or Captain America 3 as cannon fodder for the heroes to fight.
One of the biggest parts of the these last two episodes is that the identity of the Clairvoyant has been revealed, kind of. Basically, Garrett is technically the Clairvoyant since he coordinated all of the plans but he is ultimately working for HYDRA. *Winter Soldier Spoilers* After watching the movie, it is clear that Zola and his algorithm is behinding predicting the future and the actions of the team, thus making him the true Clairvoyant. *End Spoiler*
One of my favorite parts of the episode is when Coulson tells Skye, who is a lot more likable of late, to erase all of the data about them that is on the web. *Winter Soldier Spoiler* If you watched The Winter Soldier, you know that Natasha released all of SHIELD's information for the world to see, which includes all of the information about the team that Skye deleted. Also, this somewhat explains how Cap would still not know that Coulson lives. *End Spoiler* After Coulson told Skye to deleted everything, she said "What are? Agents of Nothing?" and that is exactly what I was wondering after watching The Winter Soldier. "Providence" was a lot about Coulson convincing the team that they are still SHIELD agents, even if SHIELD has fallen. His speech in the middle of the episode was especially great. That is exactly the type of thing that Coulson would say. SHIELD is the world's shield and now it is broken. Also getting to know that Coulson was recruited by Fury when he was young is a nice look into his character and how much he owes Fury.
In terms of quality, Providence is yet another one of the series' best. Clark Gregg was particularly excellent with his performance as he starts to fall apart along with SHIELD. But possibly my favorite part of the entire episode has to be Patton Oswalt. While I have only seen him in a few minor roles, in the geek community, he is well known for hilariously detailing his plan for Star Wars: Episode 7 and the Marvel crossover (video below) in Parks and Recreation (haven't seen the series). He is also a geek, and he was hilarious in the episode. His interaction with Coulson was a lot of fun. Jacob, in particular, liked the Call of Duty reference and that Coulson actually plays Call of Duty.
*The Winter Soldier Spoilers* Thankfully, Coulson was not kept in the dark too long with Oswalt's character informing him that Fury is, in fact, not dead, which was hilarious thanks to Oswalt's delivery. As expected, Coulson is not too keen on not letting the team know that Fury is still alive, and I can definitely see a problem arise if Ward managed to discover the truth and report back to HYDRA. *End Spoilers*
The scenes with Garrett and Ward working for HYDRA and "raiding the Fridge" was a lot of fun in an evil kind of way. Also, the scenes with the over zealous HYDRA agent was funny. Ward betting Garrett that something else was under the floor was also great, and now HYDRA has the Gravitonium and Ian Quinn is back. Going back to Ward specifically, this episode answered one of my biggest questions about why Ward acted so selflessly with the team if he is a HYDRA. Like he said to Raina, "I am everyone's type." According to him, he planned out all of his selfless actions to further develop trust with the and he "strategically" decided to have a "relationship" with May to keep her from being suspicious. This explains why he killed the fake Clairvoyant as well. Another aspect of Ward being an undercover agent of HYDRA is that it explains why he is kind of a "boy scout" in terms of personality, which is a problem a lot of critics had, myself not included. I really hope the series goes the darker route instead of the cliched route with Ward's character. Hopefully he will not just return to the team in the next couple of episodes, but instead sacrifice himself to save Skye, which would be a much more Whedon type move, or Coulson or Skye will have to kill him. Now that Triplett is unofficially apart of the team, with Simmons vouching for him to stay on the bus, I can see him replacing Ward as the "Specialist" of the team. Thus far, he is a very likable character that now reminds me of the Falcon from the Winter Soldier.
Early in the episode, Coulson is seen talking to a military colonel (or was it general?) named Glenn Talbot. If you are familiar with the Hulk comics, you know that Talbot is General Ross' right-hand man, who often tries to take down the Hulk. He is also known as a tough military commander that is a pain to deal with, which is a notion that Coulson implies with the team's hasty retreat. Seeing yet another comic book character make their debut in the cannon is great!
Overall: 9.6/10- "Providence" is yet another top notch episode from the series that continues to build upon the events of the Winter Soldier.
For another opinion, you can check out Tegan's review by clicking here.
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