Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 18: “Providence” Review


In “Providence”, the agents follow coordinates to a secret base in Northern Canada. Meanwhile, Hydra breaks into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most secure base named the Fridge.

Continue reading for a spoiler filled review of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 18.

Let’s Discuss What Happened!

Turning and Turning:  While it was expected that the decimation of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier would have major ramifications on AOS, little did most fans know that the cross over episode “Turn, Turn, Turn” had its own game-changing reveal in store.  Executive producers planned Ward’s betrayal from the beginning, making it all the more intriguing to go back to the early episodes to spot clues to his allegiance to Hydra. The shift in dynamic is not so much a reset button but one of many twists and turns in the ongoing narrative of the show.

Agents Of SHIELD S1X18

Agents Of Nothing:  The chitauri invasion of New York made it impossible to cover up the existence of otherworldly beings but for some reason when the series began I thought S.H.I.E.L.D. would function as a highly covert spy and law enforcement agency working mainly in the shadows. Instead S.H.I.E.L.D. is a publicly known entity with fully operational academies to train new recruits. Now that S.H.I.E.L.D. is a shell of its former self, the agency is more of what I initially had in my mind. Post-Hydra reveal, the remaining agents are identity-less “ghosts” as Skye put it, with limited resources, working around government organizations all the while fighting a shadow war with Hydra.

Providence: After “Turn, Turn, Turn”, an episode all about distrust and betrayal, Providence explores the opposing notion of faith.  From May’s point of view Coulson’s blind faith is dangerously irrational.  In poker terms, Coulson is on a tilt after loosing everything he’s worked for yet it’s the belief that everything that has happened is leading to something meaningful that drives him to go all in by flying to the middle of nowhere with no fuel for a return flight and walking in front of the automated sentry gun.

There are also certain parallels in how belief in one’s mentor becomes a motivational factor.  Similar to how Coulson believes in Nick Fury who recruited him out of high-school and gave him the badge, Ward puts his trust in Garrett, the man who saved him from his abusive childhood. On the flip side, Raina and Ian Quinn believed the Clairvoyant to be gifted only to learn that the man behind the curtain is a con artist. The Clairvoyant is said to not like being touched so when Garrett reaches out to shakes hands with Raina does that mean the personality trait is a lie or Garrett is not who he says he is?


The Wrap Up

In terms of the story, “Providence” puts all the pieces back onto the board. Back in play is Raina, Ian Quinn and Graviton from episode 3. The escaped prisoners from the Fridge set up some potential roadblocks for the agents that’ll likely be explored over the next few episodes. And who would have thought Ward would be an interesting character as we’ll get to see him rejoin the team as a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Though it didn’t have the breakneck pace of the previous episode, the breathing space to let the aftermath of the big reveal to play out is welcomed.

What do you like or dislike about this episode? What do you think about Ward?

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Posted on April 16, 2014, in Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. I like it. Joss and his team have never steered us wrong. I trusted them from the start and only slightly lost faith in the lead up to Winter Soldier (It took too long). Ward makes sense now. His performance and his actions, which seemed always awkward and emotionless, now seem calculated and cold. From sleeping with May to sometimes killing and sometimes not killing fellow agents. I loved the agent in Canada. I hate that actor (Comedian) but I like the character. “Lanyards will be handed out on a case by case basis.” was very cool. And when he tells Coulson that he will kill him if he tells anyone that Fury is alive. Great stuff. Now we have a team on both sides. The Clairvoyant vs Coulson. Flower Dress vs Simmons. Quinn vs Fitz. Ward vs May. Deathlok vs Skye. I don’t see why everyone is hating on Skye. She has become my favorite character. Her evolution has been the most fun to watch. I also like the place the series is at right now. HYDRA has everything. SHIELD has nothing.

    • I like this one too. What I also like about the twist is getting to see another side to the actor. He’s seems more at ease playing Hydra Ward than Agent Ward. I read that the actor wasn’t told about the twist until a couple of episodes before. But I still think the twist helps to explain a bit the way he behaved before. Everything he’s done is just part of the plan to get close to the team. It looks like he got too close, or more than he expected to. I really like the new agent character too; he delivered that line perfectly.

      I like that when we switch to Hydra’s scenes we already know the characters. The teams are set up nicely, it’s going to get really interesting now. Fans never took to Skye, she just rubs some people the wrong way. I don’t mind her at all, the one thing that I’ve noticed is that the writers are trying hard, maybe too hard to make me sympathize with her. Thanks for the comments!

  2. I was surprised to read that the writers had planned the Ward betrayal from the beginning. It felt like they decided to adjust it in the middle and changed him during the recent episodes. Still, I’m guessing there are more hints in the earlier episodes than I realized.

    I think the show is really rolling, and I’m glad that I didn’t abandon it. i do have a few concerns that the escaped prisoners (a genre staple) will become villains of the week, it does open up the world and allow them to bring back a lot of different one-off enemies in the future. This could really be good.

    • Hi Dan, I’m surprised too as I haven’t picked up on any subtle clues to his hydra connection in previous episodes, other than killing the fake clairvoyant. I guess Ward trying to get close to his team mates was a part of his plan.

      I agree it’s a conventional plot device about the escaped prisoners. I’m most interested in what happens with Graviton as he’s the agent’s biggest physical threat. Thanks so much for commenting.

  3. Howdy friend, as usual I always seem to swing by your blog on the later side of the week after you’ve reviewed the episode. I mean I even saw this episode on time, but I had to go see Amzing Spider-Man 2 on that day, after that film I was working on both the video and written review four HOURS. So I had to re-watch the episode again to review it today, but enough about me, let’s talk about this episode.

    To keep it short, I loved this episode. What we got here was the continuing threat of Hydra from the previous episode, but also got several characters and items from previous episodes and brought it to the forefront. I also liked what you said about trust and faith, that was a key factor that stuck out to me. I felt so much for Coulson, I wanted to believe that his blind faith in Nick Fury was real, but with everyone questioning his judgement and that one moment where he was out in the snow in that key position but couldn’t find anything. He looked crazy, but he pretty much broke down and I loved Gregg’s acting.

    I did a pretty meaty review, so I again would love to see you drop a comment since you’re the only one who does these days lol.

    • Hey buddy, thanks as always for checking out these reviews and commenting. Nice to know there are other fans out there that are still interested in the show. You’re so lucky to get to see Amazing Spider-man 2 already, it doesn’t come out here until May 2nd. I’ll check out your review after I watch it, I hope to go into the movie with an open mind.

      Any time the show brings back items from previous episodes like the 0-8-4 from episode 2 and graviton from ep 3, it adds to the fun, especially for faithful viewers. Coulson was loosing it, luckily his faith was rewarded big time. I wonder if Nick Fury will make another appearance this season, I’m so curious what he’s up to. Thanks again!

  4. I thought this was another solid episode. I really liked the more espionage flavor of the past couple episodes. I’m really glad I stuck with the show, and now I’m really excited about watching it every week to find out what happens. 🙂 I’m also not certain if they’ve completely solved the mystery of the Clairvoyant, and I think the show’s continuing feel of mystery. It will be really interesting to see how long Agent Ward can maintain his cover.

    • I feel the same way about the mystery of the Clairvoyant. I read an interview with the show’s producers who said this episode would confirm the Clairvoyant’s identity but that statement could be misdirection or is open to interpretation. I wonder if Agent Ward might switch sides (again), it’ll hard to redeem him since he murdered Hand and other agents but it’ll be interesting. Thanks as always for commenting!

  5. I stopped watching this after our DVR accidently stopped recording it! And with all the shows I have I just didn’t rerecord but hey now I can just read your blog and know what happened! Nice!

  6. Coulson has always been such a compelling character, and it was easy to sympathise with him as he seemed to almost have a nervous breakdown, looking for the place or some sign at the coordinates Fury had given him. I was glad he turned out to be correct. It’s also painful to watch how coldly he treats May. They make such great partners in their work.

    In previous episodes, I had thought Raina was a dangerous psycho even though she had treated Coulson gently, after what she did to Mike. But seeing how confused and disappointed she was in the Clairvoyant, she’s more like a brainwashed cult member. I hope she’ll wake up fully and leave him, but somehow I don’t think she’ll have a happy ending.

    I’m a bit more curious about Ward too by this episode, to see how his character will further develop. So I agree, he’s more interesting now as a baddie, albeit one perhaps not fully all-out bad. Hopefully there will be an interesting background story about his actions.

    • It was a bit unsettling watching Coulson’s nervous breakdown while everyone is second guessing him or think he’s lost his mind. Kind of interesting his reaction to the destruction of SHIELD compared to the other agents and also later when they discover the truth about Ward.

      Raina is a bit of a psycho, she left that scientist lady to burn to death early in the season. She was also put in that memory device, the same one that she put Coulson in … maybe that played with her mind. In a later episode, we get a little hint about why she’s interested in people with super powers, which the Clairvoyant didn’t turn out to be … at least not in the way she was expecting.

      The one thing I’m curious about is what are the future plans for Ward. Is he sticking around for next season or will they kill him off? Because he has a history with our Agents it’ll be interesting to see him as on-going nemesis.

  1. Pingback: TV Review: Agents of SHIELD, “Providence” (S1/EP18) – Pausing to Take a Breath | We Minored In Film

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