The much anticipated return of Agents of SHIELD is here with a new time slot that definitely allows it to raise the stakes. This fourth season’s first episode is appropriately titled The Ghost, because we are introduced to Los Angeles’ own Ghost Rider. Be warned, spoilers lie ahead.
In the first few minutes, we get the reason the show’s time slot has been pushed to a later time. The first Spirit of Vengeance victim has a gory end and Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) now (finally) named Quake witnesses it. While we don’t get an immediate reveal of the Ghost, we do learn Quake is now an outlaw. In a very Robin Hood manner, Quake is taking the super powered issues into her own hands. One of the many things that she learns is “getting burned” has a whole new MCU meaning. Getting burned by the Rider means your death is imminent. What surprises me is that we get all this amazing set up without actually meeting Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna).
At the end of last season, we learned Coulson (Clark Gregg) is back to being Agent Coulson, partnering with Mack (Henry Simmons) and under a new S.H.I.E.L.D. director. We learn discover the repeatedly mentioned director is neither a trustworthy person nor a trusting man. He separates our AoS OGs. Coulson and Mack’s mission is no longer to catch the Inhuman previously known as Skye, yet the separated team members seem to still be (covertly) on the same side.
Yo-Yo Rodriguez, last season’s rising star, is back and she’s signed the Sokovia Accords. Yet, she seems to still be on Cap’s side of the Civil War, because she picked up some double-agent lessons. She is defying the accords by using her powers, or promising to use them, when she’s not sanctioned. That includes secretly helping Quake out.
The ghostly, occult introduction is definitely a novelty for the MCU. Personally, it’s not a something I favor in my entertainment, but from a comic book perspective the CGI, the action scenes, and all those powers made this an entertaining viewing. The show is straying away from it’s espionage stage, but did I mention the CGI? I was pleasantly surprised on what we saw and on a TV show budget! (The car looks great!) Speaking of comic book lore, let’s talk Life Model Decoys.
Felix Blake (Titus Welliver) has given a body to AIDA (Mallory Jensen), his own version of JARVIS, and it looks like she’s about to belt out a verse from Galavant. That is one pretty android. Blake’s character is annoyingly charismatic and charms genius counterpart Leo Fitz (Ian De Caestecker) into helping him finish the woman, er– robot? This is especially questionable since he’s dating the aforementioned director’s right-hand woman. Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) is now a woman in power that seems to be causing a lot of tension for her and Mulan (Ming-Na Wen). Melinda May now has a task force of her own, but is being kept in the dark which is opposite of Simmon’s new position. No cat fights, just questionable intentions and loyalties.
The vengeful Ghost Rider’s placement on this show was certainly a head scratcher when it was first announced, but the new darker tone surrounding the rider’s introduction melds appropriately. However, I’m most interested the exploration of the subplots. For example, how will Quake be dealing with her powers splintering her bones? What does the color coordinated clearances on this new SHIELD means for our roster’s hierarchy? What else can Coulson’s new hand do, and what’s May seeing.