Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Putting the Ghost in Ghost Rider

Agents-of-SHIELD-Season-4-Ghost-Rider-Vengeance

‘Meet the New Boss’ Plot Summary:

Having investigated Ghost Rider’s (Gabriel Luna) past, Daisy confronts him at his job in hopes of getting answers, while at S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson (Clark Gregg) butts head with the new director (Jason O’Mara). Elsewhere, a mysterious and malevolent force awakens.

I guess I should start off by saying that there are light spoilers in this review for Captain America: Civil War, though I’d be surprised if anyone reading this has not seen that movie; Cap and S.H.I.E.L.D. go way back.

Meet the New Boss
Photo Credit: ABC/Jennifer Clasen

Okay? Good.

This season has so far done a good job of reminding us of the state of the Cinematic Universe in the aftermath of Civil War. S.H.I.E.L.D. is still underground but it’s rebuilt quite a bit since purging HYDRA from its ranks. However, with the Sokovia Accords in place and Steve Rogers and his allies as fugitives, the world needs stability. Enter Jeffrey Mace and his plan to reintroduce the reformed S.H.I.E.L.D to the world. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s collapse and HYDRA’s reemergence have somehow been a relatively small part of the movies. I guess because the universe is firing on all cylinders to the epic fight against the Mad Titan, Thanos. While the chances of real integration with the films are slim to none, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at least provides some consistency and weight to past events. It’s appreciated.

It makes sense then that a trustworthy Inhuman like Jeffrey would succeed Coulson as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’m not sure we still have all the answers why Coulson resigned his position but it’s a start. Give it a few more weeks before you question or complain that this is all there is. For now it seems that Lincoln’s death had a bigger impact on Coulson than you would expect; he didn’t like Lincoln all that much.

Photo Credit: ABC/Jennifer Clasen
Photo Credit: ABC/Jennifer Clasen

If Lincoln’s death definitely affected anyone, it’s Daisy. That’s old speculation, but we finally get a little confirmation when she talks to Robbie this episode. We just don’t how it fits into the big picture. Quake is on a crusade for more than Lincoln. Of course, Ghost Rider is on a crusade too, and while I still feel that he’s a forced element, Gabriel Luna and Chloe Bennet have established a good back and forth with each other. His supernatural origin clashes a bit with the more sci-fi tone of the show and how the MCU has handled Thor and Asgard, but I think it will find harmony in ambiguity as the show goes on.

Ghost Rider is only one of the supernatural parts this week though, as we found out more about the box of ghosts. Not much, but it’s a major improvement from what we saw in the premiere. It’s clear that these apparitions are quite real and they have an agenda, likely revenge against Ghost Rider. This could all fizzle out in future installments, but for now I’m intrigued. It’s definitely gotten me excited to see more Ghost Rider. May’s (Ming-Na Wen) psychotic breakdown is whatever and is out of character, unless the contact with the phantoms really affects a person’s thinking that much. It does give a chance to Wen to demonstrate her range though. And the near misses by Mack (Henry Simmons) and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) to be infected too are thrilling while they last.

Photo Credit: ABC/Jennifer Clasen
Photo Credit: ABC/Jennifer Clasen

Overall, this is another solid installment for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s typically started pretty slow coming out of season and mid-season breaks, but hopefully it can work its magic like it did last season in regards to both of those. Ghost Rider and the new director can still prove to be great additions, though we know Coulson will become director again, at some point.

Until then, let’s enjoy the ride.

RATING: 7 OUT OF 10 (GOOD)

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Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in television and film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky