‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Transforms Ward & Becomes a ‘Must-Watch’ Show

Published 1 year ago by

agents of shield season 1 episode 17 coulson oswalt Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Transforms Ward & Becomes a Must Watch Show

[This is a REVIEW of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 17. There WILL be SPOILERS.]


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took audiences by surprise with its Captain America: The Winter Soldier tie-in, delivering an episode which truly reinvigorated the series, as well as giving a real sense of purpose to Coulson’s rag-tag team of secret agent misfits. However, this week’s adventure is more than enough proof that a clear vision, not some super-powered fluke, is now what’s driving the heart of the series.

In this week’s episode, “Providence,” written by Brent Fletcher (Spartacus: War of the Damned), Agent Grant Ward (Brent Dalton) takes center stage in this post-HYDRA world, overtaking S.H.I.E.L.D. at every corner, while at the same time keeping his allegiances a secret from those who, unfortunately, still trust him. As Coulson (Clark Gregg) and co. erase their identities and leave the Hub, mysterious coordinates lead them to a hidden S.H.I.E.L.D. base in the Canadian wilderness. When Ward and Garrett (Bill Paxton) – the Clairvoyant – free prisoners, as well as alien artifacts, from the Fridge, and Ian Quinn (David Conrad) reclaims his Gravitonium, Skye inadvertently becomes HYDRA’s most important asset.

Make no mistake, Grant Ward is now a real, honest-to-goodness secret agent, and this week’s episode shows off all his abilities to manipulate those around him, maneuver effortlessly, and confidently through enemy territory – and, of course, shooting whomever deserves it in the face.

agents of shield season 1 episode 17 ward garrett Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Transforms Ward & Becomes a Must Watch Show

Whatever plans were made for this series, it’s clear that Brent Dalton, through his character, has been held back by these late-stage developments, as his transformation into the series’ most formidable villain is something that cannot simply be turned on and off. Thanks to Ward’s destruction and deceit, audiences now see how easy it is to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. from within – something Captain America: The Winter Solider never really touched upon, only presented the consequences of.

S.H.I.E.L.D., at its core, is secure; however, with all the many agents which make the whole, S.H.I.E.L.D. falls victim to the earnest respect for the life of their (presumed) brethren, which allows Ward and Garrett to gain access to areas which a true security lockdown would prevent. At this point, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is no longer simply piggybacking off of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe; it’s now giving back to this wide and expansive world, allowing audiences to truly see the the smaller, everyday impact of these larger events.

agents of shield season 1 episode 17 coulson skye Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Transforms Ward & Becomes a Must Watch Show

For pure entertainment value alone, audiences should all hail HYDRA – except that Garrett is already self-aware of the slogan, mocking its continuous use, which leads one to ask, without answer: How did Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. becomes so good, so fast, and remain so consistent? This is, for sure, a different series, through and through, and it’s finally earned the respect of the many dedicated Marvel fans which stuck with it through all the many hours it took for the series to find itself.

Patton Oswalt as the Howling Commandos’ Eric Koenig, too, is a terrific sign that a clear vision is driving the series. Oswalt’s love of comics is well-known, and his appearances on other shows are always hilarious and memorable. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a different beast, however, and past episodes have shown that comedic lines can fall flat when paired with a weak plot.

agents of shield season 1 episode 17 raina Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Transforms Ward & Becomes a Must Watch Show

Fortunately, Oswalt’s effervescent personality in this setting reveals that, not only was he given a clear direction on how to balance humor with story, but his execution of Koenig shows that he trusted the environment he was in enough to trust the producers – not his learned skills as comedian – to make the most of his appearance. Additionally, it allowed them to slip in the “Nick Fury is not dead” plot point to Coulson without making the entire team aware, which essentially separates Coulson from his team, again, returning him to place of control within his assembled team.

Yes, Captain America: The Winter Soldier helped turn Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D around, and last week’s episode was an enjoyable return to the world established in theaters. This episode, however, is much more than that, and such a continuation of quality, though feasible, isn’t easy to pull off without a clear direction in mind. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. now has that.

Wherever the final episodes of season 1 take us, there’s no doubt that fans will be tuning in with the same enthusiasm they had when they first tuned in to the pilot. This whole thing is an experiment and, as such, deserves all the criticisms that it received. Still, if experimentation has taught us anything, it’s that success and failure never truly reveals itself until it’s all over.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns next Tuesday with “The Only Light in the Darkness” @9pm on ABC. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below:

Follow Anthony Ocasio on Twitter @anthonyocasio
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  1. I really wanted to like the show but things like silly teenagers performing intricate eye surgery while freaking out about it at the same time meant the show was aimed at 7 year olds. It felt as real as a bunch of school kids sitting around deciding they would all be secret agents.

    Now you’re saying it’s a decent show but I see a pic of a doctor performing major surgery with no assistance and someone in civilian garb just hanging around for a conversation.

    Maybe that is the only really silly moment in the show but i’m suspecting not much has changed.

    • @Chris Fawkes:

      I think you’re expecting too much, this is about a covert government agency in a superhero universe, it’s not ER.

      What are your favorite TV shows right now? I’m thinking I can find some 7-year old moments in them. :)

    • What? That’s clearly an autopsy. And how can you judge a show on one screencap? Sounds like something a 7 year old would do.

    • I’m just wondering what he has against 7 year-olds.

  2. It ashamed that SR has spent all season bashing a show that we all know now had to hold back until Cap TWS came out. Now they want to proclaim it as a great show. If I remember correctly Arrow had a rough first Season and even Star Trek:TNG had a rough first two seasons. Allow a tv show to grow ijs.

  3. When they landed in the snow and tramped 10 miles to the secret destination why didn’t they just fire up Lola and fly there?
    Even if they had to make it in 3 trips it would have been faster and had less risk of being detected by satellite.

    • Because Lola was a stupid idea and they have thankfully left it where it belongs…ignored and forgotten.

      • Another point to mention Lola would be shot down while hovering around because the gun would detect fast moving metal just like AC’s badge

        • ‘hovering’ is not a ‘fast moving metal object’.
          Also, Lola is based on a hover car Fury had in the comics using Stark tech presented in Cap1 and the tech of the base would probably recognize it and there not shoot at it.

      • I wouldn’t say it was a stupid idea i would just say it was depicted poorly.
        ***SPOILERS for Winter Soldier***
        Fury had the same tech in Cap2 in his SUV.

    • I briefly asked myself that question. But, having grown up in the Canadian wilderness (or on the edge of it, anyways) I can safetly tell you that it’s rare to find large areas through the forest wide enough to drive a car through, even a hovering car. I’d hazard that Lola’s flight ceiling for continued use did not exceed the general forest height. So where Coulson could have the car go a couple stories up for brief bursts, I’d imagine he couldn’t keep her up there for extended periods of time, which is what you’d need when trying to make it through the forest.

    • Still better than Arrow…

  4. Great episode, but why do most of the action scenes look so terrible? It’s like watching a Marvel movie that cuts to a SYFY movie for the action.

    • This ep for me fell back to the same issues like that, which the show suffered from previously. Last week’s episode was stronger in all fronts, but this week’s… nahh

  5. “which leads one to ask, without answer: How did Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. becomes so good, so fast, and remain so consistent?”

    That’s not the question. The question is, with the creative talent involved why was it so bad to begin with.

    The Answer Captain America 2.

    As awesome as Cap2 is and where it’s taking the MCU it would be interesting to watch the parallel universe AoS the one where the creative team got to produce the show they originally planned not a load of filler waiting for the Hydra shoe to drop.

  6. For what it’s worth, at least the show is getting better as it goes(could it have really been any more boring at the start?). It is actually turning into a decent show, for the most part, instead of episodes building up on my dvr, I at least watch them shortly after they air. The CGI is still terribly obvious though.

  7. At first, I believed Ward could have been a Coulson/Hand plant into Hydra, and Hand would still be alive. Now, after this episode, I was obviously incorrect. Ward is certainly not a good guy, having murdered many times over, nor can he have any redemption or be brought back into Shield, having murdered many times over.

    Unfortunate, as I really liked Hand and wanted to see her back. Ward is more interesting as an evil double agent, though.

    • Ward was my favorite character on this series, and I am distressed to see him turn evil. At first I was thinking he was running his own secret investigation into Hydra to infiltrate them, but was keeping his cards close to his chest, even possibly from Coulson, not knowing who to trust. It now is starting to look like he has truly joined the Dark Side, though. I’m bummed about that. I hope the story will eventually prove he was being controlled by someone else, and at the end will rejoin Coulson’s Shield team as a good guy (maybe caring for Skye will help him shake off the evil influence. Wonder what made him turn anyways? He seemed so good and pure and dedicated…!). Hope this series becomes available on DVD, as I will certainly buy the whole thing!

      • It was apparent from the dialogue in this episode that he did not “turn”, but has always been a Hydra agent. Thus, there is no coming back. Even if he did turn, after killing so many Shield agents, there can be no redemption. How could they, or he, overlook so much blood on his hands?

        I actually liked him, too, since along with Coulson, he was one of the more grownup characters on the show. Too bad. I personally would have had May been the double agent. I also would have kept Agent Hand on the show and not killed her off.

        • Then again, they seemed to overlook Black Widow’s blood on her hands. Case in point: the discussion that she had with Loki on The Avengers (“Red on her ledger”).

          But that’s different, I suppose. He betrayed SHIELD directly, which means he can’t be trusted ever again.

          • Yes, but we literally have know idea about the blood on Black Widow’s hands, whereas we have now seen Ward kill numerous innocent people fighting the good fight.

            It’s over for him as a Shield agent. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to see him come back, because if he did, then that would mean there is no real consequence to his evil actions.

            The only possible way I can see that happening now is if Bill Paxton’s character is drugged up, and they are making him imagine all of this.

        • “Turn Turn Turn” is a song. They used a song title as a title to their stupid show. The writers are just trying to be clever.

          • OMFG Yes, how could we not see this.

        • I don’t know about you guys but Ward is imitating a mindless, controlled Agent on a rampage. You know, like the guy that shoots Arrows in the Avengers :) That’s how I took it seeing his blank face and empty eyes at the end of the last episode.

  8. I’m glad to see Trip on the Bus. I like the character and as someone who hasn’t been part of the “family” from the beginning he brings an outsider’s perspective to the “new” AoS. Ward suddenly got cool and interesting. Making him HYDRA is something Brett Dalton should thank TPTB for endlessly, because I actually care for his character now. Garrett still gives off “henchman” vibes. There has got to be a higher-up HYDRA agent who is the real clairvoyant. Small nitpick, I agree with the previous poster who pointed out the fairly obvious

    “It’s a seven mile hike and we only have eight hours until the next SAT-pass, so let’s just ignore the flying car that I’m standing right next to and go freeze our butts off!”

    Still, great episode, and I agree, AoS has become a must-watch.

    • I was awed with this: AC doesn’t trust Trip because he’s been fooled by Garret all these years even though he was right next to him.

      That makes sense except that Ward fooled AC in exactly the same way except AC doesn’t know it yet.

      “This is why I have trust issues”. NF

    • The car might have been damaged after the violent cargo bay door drop in the previous episode. But if that’s why they didn’t use it they could have said so in a small line of dialog.

  9. All of the people who dedicate so much time to whine on this article which is a glowing review of the episode remind me of Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.

  10. It was a good episode, and the show has been getting better, but I would not say that it has become “must-watch”.

  11. yes!!! Ward is full on hydra!!!

  12. Everyone is still complaining about the first few episodes. They did seem bad at the time they were aired. But they can be viewed in a different light from what we now know.

    Why was such an oddball group picked by Coulson? Answer: He was manipulated into it by Fury and May. They were picked because they might be able to help Coulson if he started acting strangely or take him out if he became dangerous and in a more cynical vein if Coulson killed them all it wouldn’t be such a major loss.

    Finally we see that Ward Didn’t fit in well for two reasons. He wasn’t there to help save Coulson. He was there to take him out. And also he didn’t fit in because he was a double agent.

    I don’t know if they had all of that planned from the very beginning but if they did that was brilliant if a bit chancy.

    It makes me want to go back and see if there are other things forshadowed in those early episodes that haven’t taken place yet.

  13. I’m wondering now if Coulson didn’t have some sort of subconscious feeling that something wasn’t right from the beginning and that’s why he illogically brought an outsider like Skye into the group. just to shake things up a bit.

  14. The reason Agents of SHIELD let everyone down is that they were somehow expecting the big-budget awesomeness to happen on the small screen. So, the expectations were too high. You have to enjoy the mundane aspects that Agents covers…the backstories, the filler, whatever you want to call it… these are the things that make the Marvel Universe something we can all relate to. It also helps boost the abilities of Hawkeye and Black Widow – the Avengers that do not have super powers. Seeing the average agents kick butt on a daily basis is thrilling. SO – if you need superheroes to make your day, then go watch the movies once every 3-4 months. I’ll keep watching the average Joes duke it out weekly in between – without griping about piddly stuff.

    My only request is that Agent Garrett somehow include the line “You’re stewed, buttwad!” somewhere in his dialogue before the season ends, because my world of “fandom” extends beyond comic books.

    • I have read a lot trying to explain his arc. I like this one.

  15. Does anyone besides me think that Hawkeye has super powers. How else do you explain his extreme accuracy. It may not be that flashy, but I think he’s a mutant.

  16. It’s quite possible that Ward is looking for the real Clairvoyant and not knowing who to trust has gone off on his own. Best to attack a Hydra’s body and kill it than to just cut off a head or two. It’s also possible that he is using the Night-night gun developed by Fitz and Simmons, a gun that Garret wouldn’t know anything about. That would explain Ward’s odd expression as he watched the blood on Agent Hand’s fingers. Let’s just hope Garret doesn’t go checking any of those other bodies that Ward’s been shooting if he is indeed using that prototype gun.

    • Garret knows about the night night gun! in episode 13 we saw that hydra not only knows about it but as devolped it’s own version

  17. The first Anthony review of this show that I’ve read in a long time…and it’s most definitely the only positive one I’ve ever seen. Sounds like someone drank the Kool-Aid. Welcome aboard the bandwagon Mr. Ocasio.

    Hail HYDRA! (They’ve turned Anthony Ocasio into a believer…they can do anything!!!)

  18. Arrow tied its series low! Uh Oh, does this mean it should be cancelled? No story about it?

    AoS gets a lot of bashing and a lot of times, when it does, its from people who compare it to how great Arrow is and how good of ratings Arrow gets…

    I’m not knocking Arrow cause I haven’t seen it but just something to throw out there.

    • Arrow was renewed a couple of months ago. CW is elated with Arrow ratings because of the 18-24 rating. Plus, the productions are relatively low compared to AOS. The creator said their budget this year was lower than last year.

  19. Cool. Cool,cool,cool.

  20. did they kill of Skye yet?

  21. I don’t know how much of this was planned from the start and how much was DEFCON 1 emergency course correction, but it’s working. I gave up on this show somewhere around episode 8 or 9 but have caught up & seen major improvements starting with the train episode. Even seemingly stupid and pointless plot threads like Ward & May having sex have suddenly been given a very real purpose. It was a great line when Ward smirked and told Raina, “I’m everyone’s type.” That and mocking his ultra-cheesy line from the pilot about “I work alone” = great stuff. We thought he was a generic secret agent guy and the “real” Ward has been fooling us right along with his teammates the whole time.

    Still a few questions about how well this will play out. If Ward’s deep, abiding, uh, love (?) for Skye make him have a change of heart and Coulson forgives him with a, “Oh, c’mere you” *hugggz* this will all turn deeply unsatisfying. Seems a little silly that Ward would have developed some sort of real feelings for Skye when he is cold enough to shoot people like Hand. I’m guessing he has to die at some point and Trip is going to replace him as the male agent.

    Anyway, this is the best the show has been and I’m truly hopeful it’s going somewhere good now. Coulson has developed from a cipher into a real character I like, something I was skeptical about from the beginning. The other ones still have a ways to go but are coming along, as well.

  22. Agents of Shield has now improved greatly, thus it will become a key part of the Marvel Universe since I think they will be Nick Fury’s eyes and ears against Hydra!

  23. I have to say, I am one of the few that liked the Ward charecter from early on. I am actually dissapointed in him being a villian, but completely and whole-heartedly argee that his turn has made AoS much more interesting. Loved his fight scene with all those agents when Skye was in the janitor’s closet. Good action/fight scene on par with movies.
    On Ward, I think at this point he has to remain the villian, and I’d like to see them continue down this path in terms of his development into a leadership type bad guy. Loved his lines explaining how he infiltrated Coulson’s merry band.
    I’m luke warm on Triplet. Felt more vested in Ward.
    Love the rift between Coulson and May. May actually feels like a real person now.

    Question: What was Garret referring to when ho said (para-phrasing here) “pleasent dreams” to one of the escaped prisoners?

    Can’t wait for next week! Prediction: Garret dies, Ward becomes the “real” clairvoyent’s number 2. Ward forms team to take on Coulson’s team in season 2. Feel like Season 2 could have Hulk tie-in with Talbot in the mix, also feel like we may have a sub-plot about aliens that extends from the Blue Guest House alien.

  24. Guys, Ward is a triple agent, he is working for “Ten Rings” nuff said! or possibly the taskmaster

  25. Im sad that Grant is a bad guy