**WARNING: The following recap contains spoilers from the episode “Providence” of ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Read at your own risk.
Well, it was good while it lasted.
To be fair, it’s unrealistic to expect any TV show, let alone a freshman series, to keep raising the bar as high and as continuously as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did during the “Uprising” story arc, but it’s ironic that the first episode in months not a part of “Uprising” was certainly underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, “Providence” is definitely in the, for lack of a better term, upper echelon of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes (making it better than the seemingly unimportant early episodes in 2013), but it was definitely a step down, and almost a let down, as a follow up to last week’s game-changing thriller “Turn, turn, turn.”
Executive producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancheron addressed the potential theory, one I pondered in last week’s recap, that Ward (Brett Dalton) was not actually an agent of Hydra and he was just doing something for Coulson (Clark Gregg), as a part of the team. That theory is almost immediately shot down. After Ward broke Raina (Ruth Negga), or “the Girl in the Flower Dress,” out of prison to meet the Clairvoyant/Agent John Garrett (Bill Paxton), he and Garrett briefly went over the details of their mission, with Ward revealing he has been Hydra all along, and Garrett realizing that Ward is not OK with Ian Quinn (David Conrad) shooting Skye (Chloe Bennet) back in “T.R.A.C.K.S.”
After securing The Hub, Coulson and Co. (minus Ward) head out when Col. Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) [a Hulk villain], of the U.S. Air Force decides to show up at The Hub to “check on the progress.” After having Skye collect everyone’s S.H.I.E.L.D. badges and they are now dark, with SHIELD labeled a terrorist organization after Hydra’s successful infiltration, Coulson notices coordinates glowing on his badge, a sign that Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is still alive. After a motivational monologue, during which Coulson proclaims “We are notAgents of Nothing, we are Agents of SHIELD!” they find one of Fury’s secret SHIELD bases, occupied by Agent Eric Koenig (guest star Patton Oswalt).
Meanwhile, Ward, Garrett, and Hydra have raided “The Fridge” (SHIELD’s jail/collection room for confiscated items), and have stolen multiple items, including the 0-8-4 the team found from Peru in episode 2, and the gravitonium they originally stole from Ian Quinn in the third episode. After another motivational speech, this time from Garrett to Ward, Ward rejoins the team at the base (with the help of Skye) to steal information from her, whilst taking advantage of their now blossoming connection.
“Providence” still is one of the better episodes of the season. It’s down a notch from the last several, but at least the show seems to have moved away from the villain-of-the-week procedure that it had been following earlier (although next week features a notorious Marvel villain ‘Blackout’). Be sure to tune in this Tuesday for an all new episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!
Episode Rating: 8 of 10
Written by: Brian Leary