Television: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., "Providence"

When we last left S.H.I.E.L.D. it was in tatters after an attack from the inside out by Hydra. That "Clairvoyant" guy Coulson et al. had been chasing all season turned out to be Garrett. And Ward, it appears, is actually on Garrett's side. (Though of course this could always be one of those triple-cross type situations or something.)

Ward had ostensibly set out with Agent Hand to do something with Garrett, but of course then we learned his true colors and he shot Hand instead. So this episode has Garrett and Ward freeing Raina because they need her technical expertise. (She's the bad guy version of Fitz + Simmons, I guess?) She's pretty disappointed to learn The Clairvoyant isn't actually, you know, clairvoyant. I feel like this is going to work against Garrett and Hydra at some point.

Also, Garrett and Ward and some other Hydra friends of theirs go into S.H.I.E.L.D. storage and loot all the goodies. All that stuff that supposedly got shot into space because it was too dangerous to keep on Earth? Of course it wasn't. Of course S.H.I.E.L.D. kept it. And now Hydra has it.

Meanwhile, as S.H.I.E.L.D. has been publicly declared a terrorist organization, the military is rounding up remaining agents and interrogating them. But Coulson and his team escape in the plane bus. And when Coulson has Skye gather everyone's badges (because they aren't something anyone will want to have found on them), he notices his own badge has numbers lit up along the edge. Coordinates. Convinced Nick Fury is alive after all and is the one sending the location, Coulson orders the bus to fly to the indicated spot. Which is Middle-of-Nowhere, Canada.

Cue a big fight amongst team members as to (a) whether there is still a hierarchy and therefore whether Coulson can actually give orders and/or whether one is required to follow them, and (b) whether Coulson is fit for command. Fitz is all for following Coulson; Simmons, May, and Triplett have doubts. And Skye, as usual, is all like, "I dunno, maybe."

When they land, the team is besieged by automatic gunfire, making it seem like they've almost certainly strolled into a trap. But it turns out the guns merely protect a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base run by Patton Oswald. (Yeah, he had a name in the episode. Something like Eric Koenig? But let's face it, he's Patton Oswald.) The base is so secret it has no name, but [okay I'll call him Koenig, though it reminds me of Austin] calls it—tada!—Providence.

Back with Hydra, Raina is having trouble getting into a system Skye locked down. Time to send Ward back into the Coulson flock so he can pickpocket the password from Skye. Oh, and because of the Ward-Skye thing, Garrett and Hydra now know about Providence, too.

And in Providence, Koenig privately informs Coulson that Fury is still alive after all. But no one else is allowed to know.

The episode ends with Garrett also freeing Ian Quinn—also really angry to find out The Clairvoyant is a fraud and is the guy who locked him up in the first place—and giving him back the gravitonium. I guess we're supposed to be all, "Oooh. This can't end well." But really, it was kind of anticlimactic. And I sense the Good Ward/Bad Ward thing could get old really quickly, so I'm hoping it doesn't drag on too long one way or the other. (Based on next week's previews it may not. Let's hope.) It's a bit like the whole can we/can't we trust Skye schtick that went on at the beginning of the season.

I'd say the most interesting character here is actually Raina. She's in that grey area of at first having had a strong belief and now just having had that belief taken from her. I don't think she's inherently a bad person, and I feel like of everyone her character has the most potential and the greatest number of possibilities. I hope we explore her a bit more. (I'm sure she's in the comics or whatever, but I haven't read all those.)

One month(ish) until the finale. Let's see where this plane bus lands.

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