Monday, April 21, 2014

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 18: Providence

Yeah, I know, the review's late this week. Sometimes these things happen.

Another good episode of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.! There was a time earlier in the season in which I considered dropping this show, but I'm very glad I decided to stick with it. 


The Plot:

After the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson and the rest of the Team try to find a safe refuge from HYDRA as well as our own government. Meanwhile, Garrett and Ward free Raina, The Girl In The Flower Dress, from prison. They then infiltrate the Fridge, where they steal a hidden arsenal of advanced weaponry.

• At the beginning of the episode, Garrett and Ward break Raina out of a prison in an undisclosed location. I wonder why Coulson didn't incarcerate her in the Fridge? 

• This episode would seem to reinforce the notion that Ward really is working for HYDRA and not being mind controlled or some sort of triple agent. Good. Evil Ward is much, much more interesting than Good Ward.

Another clue that Ward may not be coming back: It looks like Agent Triplett may be taking his place on the Team (as well as coming between Fitz and Simmons).

• When Raina finally meets Garrett, aka "The Clairvoyant," she's disappointed to find out he doesn't actually have any actual psychic powers. I know how she feels.

Coulson and everyone around him have been saying for weeks that there's no such thing as psychic powers, despite the fact that they live in a world full of superheroes and alien gods. I was sure that this whole Clairvoyant storyline existed just to prove them wrong. I guess not. Too bad. 

• A while back when the Team discovered the GH-325 formula, I remarked that I thought it odd that Fitz only took one vial. Why take just one? What if that wasn't enough to heal Skye?

Now we see that Garrett apparently grabbed a whole handful of GH-325 vials while no one was looking, and wants Raina to figure out how the miracle drug works. Good thinking on Garrett's part. Why couldn't Fitz have thought of that?

• In the previous episode Skye downloaded all the Team's files to a hard drive, wiped the Bus' computers clean, and then gave the drive to Ward for safe keeping. Bad move!

But wait! This week we find out she encrypted the files so they'll erase themselves if anyone besides her tries to decrypt them. Smart move!

But then the first chance she gets she calls Evil Ward and tells him exactly where to find her. He then heads toward her location intent on forcing her to open the files. Bad move again!

• After the government brands all former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as terrorists, Coulson orders Skye to erase all traces of the Team's identities, even from the internet. Is that even possible? Erasing your records from a bank, maybe. But from the entire internet? Skye must have some awfully powerful passwords.

• Colonel Glenn Talbot of the Army contacts Coulson and says he's sending troops to the Hub to help keep order. Comic fans will recognize Talbot as a long running supporting character in The Incredible Hulk comics.

I guess his appearance here means that the first Hulk movie is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since Talbot died in that film. That's probably a good idea, as that movie was double plus ungood.

• As Garrett changes clothes, we get a glimpse of what appears to be his metal-plated torso.

In the comics, John Garrett is a cyborg. He was injured by an explosion during a mission and rebuilt with cybernetic parts. I'll admit I didn't know that, and had to look it up. Kudos I suppose for being true to the comics, but it came off as a bit confusing here. I thought maybe he was sporting some Deathlok technology like Mike Peterson.

Garrett tells another of his long-winded stories, about the time he transported a criminal named Johnny Horton to the Fridge. No, not the Johnny Horton who sang The Battle Of New Orleans. This one was from the comics and known as the Griffin and sported quite a bizarre appearance. The version in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is apparently a bit more tame, having had lion paws grafted onto his arms.

Black Widow gets a name drop this week. 

Hey Marvel, since you're apparently never going to make a solo Black Widow movie, how about a TV series? Of course it's unlikely they'd be able to get Scarlett Johanssen to star in it, so that wouldn't work. Forget I brought it up.

The Cube gets a shout-out. It's another secret SHIELD facility from the comics.

• This week we finally get to see the Fridge, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s top secret prison facility, which was apparently designed by the people who built the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

• Speaking of the Fridge, Garrett says it's a hundred stories high (!) and accessible only by the roof. Or, you know, any of the thousands of windows that appear to dot its sides.

By the way... how can a hundred storey building's location be classified? Seems like it would be pretty easy to spot on Google Maps.

• Garrett frees all the prisoners in the Fridge. Is he recruiting them for his HYDRA army, or just letting them loose? If he's just cutting them loose, where are they going to go? We're told the Fridge's location is classified, and it looks like it's in a pretty remote and desolate location.

• So SHIELD wasn't really flinging dangerous weapons and alien artifacts into the sun after all, but storing them in a big Raiders Of The Lost Ark warehouse inside the Fridge.

• The arctic wilderness set might have been a bit more convincing if they could've CGI-ed some frozen breath coming out of the mouths of the Team. I guess there wasn't money in the budget for that, so all the actors had to rub their arms and act like they were cold.

• The big news this week: Patton Oswalt appears, as Agent Koenig. I sensed a disturbance in the Force as millions of geek voices cried out in rapture, and were not silenced.

Oswalt is a self described uber-geek himself, so his appearance in a comic book based series is nothing short of perfect casting.

I'll say one thing for this show, they have some interesting guest stars.

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