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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S01 E18: Providence

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Battle lines have been drawn. SHIELD has fallen, and now pockets of the different sides of the good and evil coin, SHIELD and Hydra, are scrambling for what’s left. Agent Coulson’s crew are headed underground, but little do they know, one of their own – Agent Grant Ward – is a Hydra agent. Brace yourselves as things get even worse for our team, as they’re on the run, and Colonel Glenn Talbot is in pursuit… Meet me after the jump for my review of “Providence.”

The Ratings Problem

First things first, tonight’s episode was preceded by a rerun of last week’s “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Not only is it a good lead-in, but it’s also a last ditch effort to get folks to watch. Last week should have had amazing ratings considering that the show bookended the theatrical release of Captain America The Winter Soldier, but it did not.

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ABC expressed the thought that folks were afraid to watch in case there were spoilers for the movie, and that they had not seen the movie yet. Maybe in replaying the episode this week, the viewers may have caught up with the film and be ready to watch what happens next. I don’t know about that. I love this show, and even though it had a weak start, I am loving it more every week, but I think the folks who aren’t watching, and who quit watching, may be terribly prejudiced against it based on initial impressions. They’re not coming back. I think this might be it, folks. If you’re still on board, brace yourself for a cancellation of “Firefly” proportions. Sadly, too little, too late.

Agent Carter

As ratings talk simmer in the background, and a renewal of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” becoming a very iffy thing, there is also the possibility being bandied about of a spin-off called “Agent Carter.” This would not be a spin-off of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” mind you, but a spin-off of the two Captain America films, and a one-shot short film on the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray, believe it or not.

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Peggy Carter, as played by Hayley Atwill, is the title character, World War II romantic interest of Captain America, special agent, and one of the founders of SHIELD, along with Iron Man’s dad, Howard Stark, among others. This period piece would be sold to ABC as a 13-part limited series, and would skip over the pilot process. A female lead in an action series, albeit a period piece, might be more to ABC’s liking. Their claim to fame of late seems to be female fueled, with “Scandal,” “Revenge,” and “Once Upon a Time” being prime examples. Time will tell.

A Gift from The Clairvoyant

We opened on Raina, our Girl in the Flowered Dress, in prison making origami flowers. There’s shooting outside her cell, then Ward comes in with a gift-wrapped present. He says “It’s a gift from The Clairvoyant.” It’s a flowered dress. Now I have to wonder if she’s metahuman, or has powers that come from the dress?

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Next we move to Cuba where Ward introduces Raina to Garrett AKA The Clairvoyant. She’s not impressed, is disappointed Garrett isn’t psychic, and more than a bit scared of him. Welcome to Hydra. They meet in a barber shop – with a secret HQ beneath. I can’t think of it, but isn’t this a reference to some other spy bit? Bueller?

The Lay of the Land

We then move to The Hub where Coulson watches footage from Captain America The Winter Soldier, ahem, I mean news coverage of the end of SHIELD. It’s the helicarrier crashing into The Triskelion, and it’s brutal. As noted in the last episode, it seems as if Coulson and the late Victoria Hand are the highest ranking SHIELD Agents left.

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As Fitz, Simmons, and Triplett work on getting The Bus repaired, Skye reports on what SHIELD still has – four facilities including The Hub and The Cube (do we know what that is?). That’s when the Air Force in the person of Glenn Talbot calls. They’re coming to ask questions, and maybe knock on doors with bombs. Time to bail.

Glenn Talbot

Adrian Pasdar, former star of NBC’s “Heroes” and the voice of Iron Man both in the anime series, in “Avengers Assemble” on Disney X D, and other animated projects, is and will be playing Colonel Glenn Talbot in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Pasdar will be the second live action actor to play Talbot, after Josh Lucas in Ang Lee’s Hulk. Here in this series he’s much the same thing, the bad government military man, well meaning, but essentially bad news.

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Glenn Talbot has a long history in the Marvel Universe dating back to early Hulk stories in the comics. In the early days, Bruce Banner and Betty Ross were an almost item, but her dad, General Thunderbolt Ross, in command of hunting the Hulk, did not approve. Glenn Talbot worked under General Ross, and kept tabs on Banner, whom Ross suspected of being the Hulk – and he was also smitten with Betty. On what a tangled web we weave. You can imagine that all hell broke loose when folks found out Banner was the Hulk. And I’m giving you long story short, it was much much more complicated than that.

Patriot

With their new status as on the run, Coulson is taking no chances and has Skye erase their identities, including Ward, who they still think is one of them. Triplett also comes on board under Simmons’s responsibility. With Ward away, they need another specialist, so he’s in. It’s all good until Skye calls Ward to check in. Was I the only one screaming at the TV set at that point? Even the good Ward isn’t a good guy for her, the Hydra agent is definitely a no-no.

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Besides telling him all the dirt that the enemy shouldn’t know, they are still flirting and playing verbal footsie. Without an identity he tells her he’d like to be Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. I’m not sure what’s creepier – that, Ward’s bordering on more than friends relationship with Garrett, or how Raina sells out so quick. Garrett provides her with drugs stolen from T.A.H.I.T.I., hmmm… I wonder what she’ll do with Kree DNA?

Psychology

After receiving coordinates that may have come from Nick Fury, things heat up a bit on The Bus. Coulson and May confront each other on her mission. She thinks Hydra may have had a hand in the T.A.H.I.T.I. program, and that maybe Hydra sent those coordinates. In the end she stands down, which to me, seems a bit out of character. Is May losing her edge?

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On the other team as Hydra prepares to raid The Fridge, similar discussion is taking place between Ward and Raina. He spills the beans on his he could work Coulson’s team so well. What a bastard. I gotta give it to Brett Dalton. His expressions, voice, and gestures are chameleonic, making his betrayal believable. But now it seems this bad side might be the real one. He’s a good villain. Shame.

The Fridge

Garrett and Ward and the forces of Hydra break into The Fridge pretty easily, scary easy. There they raid what Garrett calls ‘the toy store.’ All those dangerous 0-8-4s and alien tech that SHIELD was supposed to be launching into space? Nope, didn’t happen. They kept it, and this us where they kept it. I really would have liked a better look at the stuff in this room.

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Garrett tells his people to help themselves. I’m guessing we’ll see a slew of Hydra super-villains soon. Rumor has it that Blackout is coming. Notably we see Ward looking closely at the Asgardian Berserker staff that took him over back in “The Well.” I wonder what other goodies are here. And then, before they leave… I think Ward finds the gravitonium, and possibly, do they also release… Graviton?

Providence

A former Nazi turned Howling Commando turned SHIELD Agent in the comics, Patton Oswalt plays Eric Koenig in the TV show, where it seems he is just a SHIELD Agent, and yes, a real one, as opposed to Hydra posing as SHIELD. He’s a bit of a geek in this environment, guarding a hidden base in the Canadian wilderness called Providence. That’s where Coulson’s coordinates led the team.

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Also, besides trusting no one, Koenig knows Fury is alive, but he won’t tell anyone other than Coulson. He may be a bit of a nut, having been cooped up in this base since the Chitauri attack on New York. Sadly, Skye immediately calls Ward who makes his way to Providence. Bad things are gonna happen. Either way, I’m looking forward to more of Patton Oswalt.

Deathlok Animated

On a side note, a major player in the “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” continuity got an animated highlight this past Sunday on the similarly titled “Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.” No relation, but this week’s episode featured Deathlok. If you read my review of Sunday’s “Avengers Assemble,” its companion series, you know that in the Marvel Animated Universe, SHIELD is still intact, and Hydra is a separate entity. Despite being based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they kept things simple there.

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This Deathlok is based more on the designs from the comics, but the episode, aptly titled “Deathlok,” has his motivation following more along Secret Invasion meets Terminator lines than anything else. It was a fairly entertaining episode in a series I’ve never been very fond of. And it was not the character’s first foray into animation, as an army of Deathloks attacked Wakanda in the excellent Black Panther animated series.  I’m sure we’ll see more of Deathlok soon on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Next

Betrayal, gravitonium, more Patton Oswalt, and maybe a super-villain or two…

 

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About Glenn Walker

Glenn Walker is a professional writer, and editor-in-chief and contributing writer at Biff Bam Pop!. A blogger, podcaster, and reviewer of pop culture in all its forms, he's done stints in radio, journalism and video retail. Ask him anything about movies, television, music, or especially comics or French fries, and you’ll be hard pressed to stump him or shut him up.

Posted on April 15, 2014, in agents of shield, Glenn Walker, Marvel, television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Both SHIELD and U.N.C.L.E. (as in “The Man from…” had headquarters under a barber shop ack in the 60s. UNCLE’s was caled “Del Florio’s”; don’t know if SHIELD’s had a name. See: http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix3/shieldbarbershop.htm

  2. Unfortunately, SHIELD is the victim of overly smug ABC executives thinking that their product was so amazing that they didn’t have to work to keep viewers. My wife and I hung in through the first few ‘uber’-slow episodes and have been rewarded for our patience as SHIELD is now one of our favorite shows. Unfortunately, half of America wasn’t that patient and abandoned the show during the its slow start. I keep hoping some of those viewers will return, but if ‘Cap’ can’t get them back, I don’t know what will…

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