"Providence" is the eighteenth episode of the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Raina makes origami flowers within her cell, before an audible incursion brings Ward to her door, with the gift of a new flower dress from the Clairvoyant. Ward takes Raina to a barber shop in Cuba, introducing her to the real Clairvoyant, John Garrett, before he explains the deception of his abilities, and activates a lever that takes her to a secret chamber downstairs. Meanwhile, Coulson and Skye assess the remaining uncompromised S.H.I.E.L.D. bases, currently standing at a bleak three. While Fitz and Simmons attempt to repair the damage to the plane, Coulson learns of another S.H.I.E.L.D. base recovered, just before Air Force Major Glenn Talbot makes contact, announcing his intent to send a peacekeeping force to moderate the surviving S.H.I.E.L.D. staff. Coulson realizes from Talbot’s reputation that the Major will likely keep them all in captivity, tasking Skye to enact the “Odyssey” protocol as they prepare the jet for takeoff.
Reluctantly allowing Triplett to fly with them at Simmons’ behest, Coulson is confronted by bad news and worsening updates on their situation at every turn. Skye scrubs any record of their identities from the internet, including from S.H.I.E.L.D. databases, before calling Ward to check in. Ward fakes that Hand has them taking the long way to the Fridge, after which Garrett chides him for holding up the “Agent Ward” cover for so long. Ward protests that Shooting Skye hadn’t always been part of their plan, but Garrett counters that she’d been onto Centipede long before S.H.I.E.L.D. recruited her. Changing direction, Garrett shows Raina to her new assignment, investigating any drugs he could salvage from the G.H. base, while he and Ward lead a team to raid the Fridge.
Coulson places the team’s badges in safe keeping, before noting that his own badge has begun to glow with a set of coordinates, undoubtedly from Nick Fury himself. Coulson updates the skeptical team, though they remain unconvinced by his pleas. May asks Coulson for his weapon, given that his resurrection might have included subliminal HYDRA instructions, as Nick Fury assigned control of the project to an unknown second party. Meanwhile, Ward explains to Raina how he managed to blend in with the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, Coulson included, though his true allegiance remains to Garrett.
Ward leads Garrett to the top floor of the Fridge, though the guards deny him entry without the explicit presence of Victoria Hand. A staged chopper attack from HYDRA forces the guards to allow them inside, after which Ward quickly disposes of the men. Downstairs, Garrett reveals that the “slingshot” method for disposing of dangerous technologies is itself a ruse, and Fury keeps a story of 0-8-4’s within the base. Activating the HYDRA weapon recovered in Peru, Garrett sets free a number of S.H.I.E.L.D. prisoners, among them Marcus Daniels, while Ward examines the Berserker staff. Finally, Ward uses the weapon to uncover a secret storage locker beneath the floors, containing an item that Garrett marvels at.
Coulson and his team arrive to a snowy wilderness to track down the coordinates, during which Fitz and Simmons remain uneasy both in trust for Coulson, and Simmons’ continued affection for Triplett. Upon finding the empty coordinates, Coulson pleads with the team that Fury must still be alive, and that their status as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents fighting HYDRA must still carry wait, before a toss of his badge activates a nearby gun turret. Coulson steps out to identify himself, after which a nearby rock opens to reveal an entrance to a base. Meanwhile, Ward and the others find that Skye’s logs of the team’s work on the alien serum has been encoded, for which he’ll need to go back undercover.
Agent Eric Koenig steps out to greet Coulson and his team into the “Providence” base, admitting that Nick Fury is indeed dead, while Skye calls Ward to update him on the situation. Koenig pulls Coulson aside in private to explain that he can’t trust anyone outside of Coulson, per the still-living Nick Fury’s orders, something only a select few know, as part of “Eclipse Protocol.” Meanwhile, Garrett (bearing some apparent cybernetic enhancements of his own) instructs Ward on his mission to get the password from Skye, hitting the agent multiple times to sell his cover story. While Ward arrives at the Providence base to find Skye waiting, Garrett and Raina welcome a bitter Quinn back into their operation. Quinn protests his being kept in the dark, before Garrett presents a gift: Quinn’s confiscated Gravitonium.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
- Brett Dalton as Grant Ward
- Chloe Bennet as Skye
- Bill Paxton as John Garrett
- David Conrad as Ian Quinn
- Adrian Pasdar as Glenn Talbot
- Ruth Negga as Raina
- B.J. Britt as Antoine Triplett
- Patton Oswalt as Eric Koenig
- Patrick Brennan as Marcus Daniels
- Rich Paul as Agent #1
- Bayardo De Murguia as Agent #2
- Kylie Furneaux as Agent Shade
- Jeffrey Muller as Agent Kaminsky
- Alysha Del Valle as ABC reporter
- Ramon Hilario as Ernesto the barber
Continuity and References to the Marvel Cinematic Universe
- John Garrett returns.
- Antoine Triplett returns.
- Raina returns.
- Ian Quinn returns.
- Colonel Glenn Talbot is introduced.
- Marcus Daniels/Blackout makes cameo appearance.
- Agent Eric Koenig is introduced.
- The Helicarrier crashing from Captain America: The Winter Soldier is seen on S.H.I.E.L.D. screen.
- President Matthew Ellis is mentioned as The President.
- The Hub appears.
- Triskelion is mentioned and seen on S.H.I.E.L.D. screen.
- HYDRA soldiers appears.
- Coulson's death is mentioned.
- Centipede project is mentioned.
- Nick Fury and his death are mentioned.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Jump Jet appears.
- The Cube is mentioned.
- Victoria Hand is mentioned.
- The Fridge appears.
- Captain America is mentioned.
- Maria Hill is mentioned.
- GH.325 is mentioned.
- Barbershop Headquaters appear.
- Ward mentioned rescuing Simmons from a previous mission.
- Black Widow is mentioned.
- Project T.A.H.I.T.I. is mentioned.
- Johnny Horton is mentioned.
- Tesseract is mentioned.
- The Battle of New York is mentioned.
- The Plasma Particle Beam HYDRA weapon and the Berserker Staff appears.
- The Providence appears.
- Chitauri are mentioned.
- Metal scrap is seen under Garrett's clothes. In the comics Garrett was a cyborg hero named Aquarius.
- Gravitonium with Franklin Hall inside it returns.
- This episode is set after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Coulson learning about Fury being alive.
- The Barbershop Headquarters that HYDRA use is a reference to S.H.I.E.L.D. secret headquarters in the comics.
- Garret refers to locking up a "Johnny Horton" in the fridge. In the comics, Johnny Horton was the mutated supervillain "The Griffin", who, as Garret mentions, has lion paws for hands. In the comics, his mutation extended further, giving him wings among other things.
- The repeated phrase "Agents of Nothing" in dialogue is a reference to the "Secret Warriors Vol. 1: Nick Fury, Agent of Nothing" collected edition that contains the story arc written by Jonathan Hickman, originally published in six parts in 2009. In this story arc also, HYDRA is revealed to have infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. after World War 2.
- Adrian Pasdar, who plays Glenn Talbot, is no stranger to working on superhero-based projects. He is also known for playing Nathan Petrelli in Heroes, and has been the voice of Tony Stark/Iron Man on many projects such as Marvel's Avengers Assemble, Ultimate Spider-Man, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, and Phineas and Ferb's Marvel special.