Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Meet the New Boss”:

Last week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere had a tremendous amount of leg (skull?) work in establishing the series’ new 10:00 tone, picking up with various threads while simultaneously introducing a new Ghost Rider. This time around, “Meet the New Boss” still felt like it had a few too many items to tick off its Season 4; generally forgivable this early in the season, but darn it all if that opening scene didn’t feel straight out of bad Supernatural.

There’s going to be trial and error for a typically science-based series to figure out what works as far as “ghosts” and more horror-based imagery, and the design behind tonight’s specters definitely needed work. That said, I’m moderately curious about the choice to establish the Strange science behind Lucy and her team so quickly, rather than lean into a horror approach for a few episodes. It was at least wise to move the story along with the effects on May, given how frequently S.H.I.E.L.D. goes to the well of one agent working against the others, and Ming-Na is clearly having some fun playing May so off-balance.

Jesus, calm down, May.

As the title of “Meet the New Boss” would suggest, exposing May’s condition also revealed some surprising strength for our new S.H.I.E.L.D. director “Jeffrey”* (Jason O’Mara), who had up to that point been presented as a “fun boss” type with an at-best irritating insistence on bureaucracy. Now, we at least now part of the reason behind his picking up the Director mantle over Coulson, while his sinister quarantine of May definitely sharpens the conflict with the core team.

*Judging by the name Jeffrey, prior descriptions of the character having ties to 1940s Marvel, and a filling in for Steve Rogers reference, we’re likely looking at an Inhuman adaptation of Marvel’s Jeffrey Mace, better known as Patriot, and in some instances, Captain America. The hour’s “ghosts” also referenced a book called the “Darkhold” as responsible for their current predicament, leaving the hour full of hard-to-decipher Marvel lore.

Ten bucks, they resurrect him just to torture me.

On the other side of “Meet the New Boss,” Daisy continued playing with fire more literally than figuratively, re-introducing herself to Robbie Reyes after their climactic showdown last week, and prodding for insight into his vengeance streak. I’m not certain what to make of the pair’s dynamic just yet, as Daisy’s reckless flirtation with death (again, about as literal as figurative) feels like a non-start S.H.I.E.L.D. has attempted before, and we still don’t have much sense of any separation between Robbie and the Rider; moral compass, or any inroad of his personality. On the plus side, Mack and Fitz got a good look at Ghost Rider in attempting to track down the wayward “ghosts,” also reconnecting with Daisy in the process, so you can’t fault Season 4 for lingering on any one status quo too long.

Definitely more of a self-contained hour, designed mainly to introduce Jason O’Mara’s Jeffrey and peel back a few layers of Ghost Rider’s relationship to those bizarre apparitions. Nary a single mention of Dr. Radcliffe or his burgeoning LMD program, however, which already seemed on its own island against all of Season 4’s supernatural bent. I’m still waiting to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to get a better handle on its new direction, but hey, at least Daisy getting a handle on Ghost Rider’s wheels looked pretty cool, right?

AND ANOTHER THING …

  • Shouldn’t people at least recognize Robbie Reyes’ car as identical to Ghost Rider’s? There can’t be that many pristine Chargers in one area.
  • Presumably, that crystalline texture to the containment units is something Doctor Strange will address.
  • Yeah, Robbie? Just gonna open a car door in broad daylight, and star smashing a girl’s face with a tire iron?
  • “He doesn’t appear to be moving.”
  • Kudos for referencing Season 1’s Tobias Ford, though I doubt anyone else would make, or care about the connection.
  • Admit it, you got a little verklempt at Coulson’s tour referencing the Agent Carter stories “never recorded.”
  • Let’s come back to May’s subordinate Piper stumbling over “I can do May.”
  • Still a little rough on the Ghost Rider CGI, which looks just slightly too large for a human head.
  • Weekly prayer that Robbie and Daisy doesn’t turn into a love story. Not necessary!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 will continue Tuesday, October 11 with “Uprising,” airing at 10:00 P.M. on ABC.

Check Out 100 TV Facts You May Not Know!