Agents of Nothing. After the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., where does this leave our favorite agents? For Phil Coulson this is not the end, he has not spent his life dedicated to something to have it fall out underneath him so easily, this is what makes this episode so special. For the entire season Coulson has been a big part of the show, from assembling the team to investigating his resurrection and more. But last night’s episode was THE Phil Coulson show and that is why Providence was probably the best episode of the season so far. Why? Because the show is now starting to challenge its characters.
Let’s start with our villains. All week I kept thinking to myself “did Ward really kill Agent Hand?!”. I thought maybe it was a setup with fake bullets and that he was maybe just secretly infiltrating HYDRA per Coulson. After this week I am even less convinced of all of this, and I like it. Bill Paxton is a great villain and I am ok with him being the Clairvoyant. Yes I wanted the character to be more than a “regular” human, and I was just as disappointed as Reina was when his identity is revealed to her this week, but Paxton gives us a ruthless and humorous villain that the show really needed. Ward, who has become a cold-blooded killer who, as he explains in the episode, owes Garrett everything. The two of them with their witty quips make quite the evil duo. Ward’s turn is reinforced even more when he shoots more S.H.I.E.L.D. agents while helping HYDRA break into the super-secure S.H.I.E.L.D. base, The Fridge. Why are they there? To steal all of the great “toys” that S.H.I.E.L.D. has accumulated over the season and release the super-powered villains that they locked up, of course! The Fridge break-in sequence is pretty amazing, and the whole episode felt “big” and cinematic to me. Looks like we are headed for a major showdown by the end of the season.
Back to Agent Coulson and friends. No one trusts each other, everyone knows that Garrett is a bad guy but no one knows about Ward. This let’s Ward infiltrate the team, especially Skye. The team is on the run from the government, specifically General Glenn Talbot (played by Adrian Pasdar) who has been tasked with collecting everything that S.H.I.E.L.D. was and shutting it down. Coulson decides that this is not what Fury would have wanted, so he and the team take to the sky with little resources and even worse, not enough fuel. There are some good scenes with all of the team members, especially Fitz-Simmons. With their new team member Agent Tripp in tow, Fitz is having a hard time seeing his relationship with Simmons change but even more so trusting Tripp not to be a HYDRA agents. Coulson agrees on this especially with as much time he spent with Garrett, but Simmons convinces him that Tripp is a good guy. But as Ward reminds us of the episode where he jumped off The Bus to save Simmons, there are ways of convincing people that you are “good”. For now Tripp is part of the team.
In a rather emotional scene Skye and Coulson are in his office and Coulson decides to collect everyones’ badges, Agents of Nothing. Skye is upset because she just got the badge and was becoming a part of something but then she realizes what this all means to Coulson, years wasted. But he doesn’t believe this could be the end of everything, and as he’s locking up the badges in his safe his begins to glow! On it are coordinates, which Coulson is convinced are from Fury. The rest of the team, mostly May, have their reservations on the whole deal. May is skeptical because she was tasked by Fury to watch Coulson, who’s resurrection could have been granted by HYDRA. Remember that the group that was responsible for Coulson, the blue alien, and the GH-325 are not affiliated with S.H.I.E.L.D. (or HYDRA) and I am really intrigued to find out who they are!
Coulson really takes charge this week, reminiscent to the badass agent he was in the movies. No one disobeys his orders, but they question his motives and that’s what makes this week’s episode so special and exciting. In the end, Coulson is right about the coordinates and the team arrives at a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base called Providence. Providence is being manned by one single agent, Agent Koenig, played by Patton Oswald. After welcoming everyone, Koenig requests to meet with Coulson alone. Koenig reveals to him that Fury is alive but tells Couslon that he can’t tell his team. This is something that Coulson is not comfortable with, but realizes is the correction action with all of the HYDRA agents out there. Speaking of HYDRA agents, Skye tells Ward where they are and he shows up at the end of the episode. Can’t wait to see where this goes, and from the looks of next week’s episode, things don’t go so well.
This show has made a complete 180 degree shift, and as it has been recently revealed, was retooled to coincide with the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. With defined villains and the team on the run, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actually has me anxiously looking forward to the next week’s episode, something it had failed to do for most of this season. Ward has gone from a kind of boring character to one of my favorites. As evil as he is now, I hope it sticks and they don’t try and redeem him. Finally, I can’t wait to see what happens now that HYDRA has their hands on the Gravitonium…
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode 19 “The Only Light in the Darkness”
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 8pmEST on ABC