'Agents of SHIELD' episode 18 'Providence' recap: Ward is a traitor, and all hell breaks loose

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Leo Fitz might think that the former SHIELD team might need to trust that Phil Coulson knows what he's doing, but  "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" has done everything to convince the audience that the fan-favorite Marvel character is not the most well-equipped leader. He's misjudged just about everyone who he had join his team, and Ward made a point of showing just how easy it is to play Nick Fury's man.

When Melinda May explains that HYDRA could actually be in control of Coulson, it's surprisingly easy to believe. Apparently Fury didn't order the TAHITI project, and he's the only person who knows who did. Could Coulson actually be as unreliable as the show makes the audience feel he is? At least viewers who have seen "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" know Coulson's gut instinct that Fury is alive is correct, but the HYDRA theory is definitely plausible.

It's nice that the audience didn't need to wait very long for a payoff of Fury's future plans after "The Winter Soldier." The former director of SHIELD led Coulson and his team right where he needed them to be: Providence, a SHIELD secret base. The character of Agent Eric Koenig is a fantastic addition to the cast, as Patton Oswalt doesn't have to do anything to be hilarious. But he is the smartest character Coulson has met yet, as he doesn't outright trust those with Coulson just because he does, meaning Coulson is the only one who knows Fury is actually alive..

As the audience learns how unreliable Coulson is, they're also learning what a liar Ward is. It was already revealed that Ward had a twisted history, but it turns out it's John Garrett he credits for saving him. That means he's Garrett's man through and through after all, and he's been posing as whatever character he needs to be to get close to the SHIELD team. Everything from saving Fitz to falling for Skye has been an act -- but come on, no one's buying that, right? 

It would be a huge surprise if Ward actually did feel nothing for Coulson's team, and has to be put down as a result. The irony, of course, is that Coulson suspects Agent Triplett of potentially being Garrett's man, but doesn't bring up the fact the same could be said for Ward. Hopefully Ward doesn't get off without questioning next episode.

While Coulson was finding Providence, Ward and Garrett were stealing from the Fridge. Pretty much every cool object Coulson & co. found in the first third of Season 1 was taken back by Garrett, including the Gravitonium (aka Marvel supervillain Graviton). They also let loose everyone held prisoner in the Fridge, which could be a nice set up for the clean up Coulson has to do in Season 2.

Raina has a purpose in this new HYDRA world order: To figure out what brought Coulson back from the dead. She has seemingly everything she needs, including a hard drive of info Ward took from Skye, but of course Skye encrypted it to only be opened by her. Cue Ward getting a new mission: To mess with Skye's head a bit more.

Ward arrives at Providence with the sole goal of manipulating the password out of Skye -- probably pretty easy, considering their romance has finally been consummated with a kiss. Meanwhile, there's still the threat of General Talbot out there. He says he's ordered by the U.S. Air Force to come vet SHIELD, but everyone calls that out on being a lie. There are plenty of enemies closing in on SHIELD, and it's as yet unclear if they can get out of the dire situation they find themselves in unscathed.

What did you think of "Providence"?
Photo/Video credit: ABC