The Winter Soldier might have been. That's alright, I think; putting Bill Paxton center stage is not at all a bad thing. (And there may still be an out; see below.) Joining Garrett is a parade of adversaries from earlier in the season, including "Flowers," Quinn, and maybe even corrupt-scientist-trapped-inside-gravitonium-or-whatever-they-called-it.
But more than all that, we're supposed to walk away understanding: Ward is a villain. Some might question how he had too perfect an explanation for all his behavior throughout the season (and that the writers made a point of calling this out), but it seems to me that he's now shot and killed way too many people to be any kind of mole for the good guys. (Brainwashed? Maybe an outside possibility. But he seems a much higher-functioning thinker than brainwashed Bucky Barnes.) Nope, he's just a flat out double agent, with the episode even telling us to think of him as the male Black Widow.
With such a plot-driven agenda, there weren't a lot of moments for good character scenes. Still, we got a few. Skye acknowledged the "what are we agents of?" joke that everyone (myself included) was making last week, in a scene that also pointed out that she was losing something just when she finally belonged. And Clark Gregg again served up a great performance in Coulson's breakdown just before the secret bunker was revealed.
Guest stars! Fans of Heroes got a blink-and-you-missed-it appearance by Adrian Pasdar. He'll surely be back later in the season. And Patton Oswalt, fanboy-in-chief, debuted as the lone agent at the Providence facility.
But mostly, this episode was a bit of a deep breath after the big blowout of last week. There seems to be plenty of neat things in store, though. What's going on with the metal on Garrett's torso? Is he being controlled by someone else, Deathlok style? What fun tension will result from having Ward back with the team? I'm certainly looking forward to next week, though I'd give this episode only a B+.