Review: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Gets Season 4 in Gear With Ghost Rider Origins
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “The Good Samaritan”:
Well, that was certainly an eventful hour. You wouldn’t normally expect an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode dedicated to fleshing out past information like Robbie’s Ghost Rider transformation or Eli’s relationship with Momentum Labs to bring as much … well, momentum to the present, but there was a lot going on in tonight’s “The Good Samaritan” even before introducing what appears to be the MCU take on Johnny Blaze.
Inarguably, the weakest element of Season 4 has proven to be Lucy and the terrible effects behind her “ghost” compatriots, and it wasn’t terribly surprising that we’d pivot into Eli having a more nefarious role than previously suspected, given the character’s comic history. Eli may not have directly caused the hit that crippled Gabe and killed Robbie, but it’s clear his own transformation from the Darkhold will become a more centralized threat for Season 4 going forward, and neatly tying into some of Agent Carter Season 2’s history at that.
It’s still a bit unclear where Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wants us to draw lines with Ghost Rider himself, as “The Good Samaritan” makes clear that it wasn’t necessarily Robbie’s actions* that led to the attack on the Charger, though the violent murders since are another matter. Gabe is naturally disgusted with the actions taken in his name, while both Coulson and Jeffrey Mace agree Robbie should answer for his crimes, though Robbie himself insists that the Rider does the killing, not him. As cool as it was to have Ghost Rider facing off with Jeffrey Mace in the Zephyr cargo hold, that morality wasn’t necessarily made any clearer, as Robbie clearly had some control over whether he or “the other guy” attacked Mace.
*Daisy had an oddly muted role this week, between awkwardly needling Robbie to continue the story he was already in the middle of telling, and sitting out the power plant raid over the lack of a digital network. At the very least, no explicit (or unnecessary) romance yet!
“The Good Samaritan” also seemed to position itself a bit better with regard to coming episodes; not quite revealing what happened to Coulson, Mack or Fitz in the wake of Eli’s transformation, and casting just a hint suspicion on May’s handling of the Darkhold. We didn’t really see what became of Simmons after her top-secret mission for Mace either, though I’d presume something to do with whatever Parminder Nagra’s character wanted last week.
I’m still a bit on the fence as to whether Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the clearest sense of where Season 4 is going (still no movement on the AIDA front, despite being positioned as the major thread last year), and it isn’t as if the move to 10:00 P.M. has wrought much more change than those gratuitous shots from the premiere. Still, this was easily Season 4’s strongest hour to date, peppering in a lot of Marvel-ous surprises for a brisk pace.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- Hooray, Kerr Smith got more to do than an awkward death scene, and rummaging around a basement!
- So they were trying to make a … replicator? And now Eli has the ability to create matter himself? If there’s an immediate Marvel reference there, I’m missing it.
- Probably goes without saying that Coulson and Mace’s Star Wars conversation was pretty great, but put me down for Gabe and Mack’s dueling Ironsides / Kojak
- You can check out a closer look at the other Ghost Rider in the link above. They didn’t want to say “Johnny Blaze,” but what other options do we have?
- Still banking on Season 4 bringing Hayley Atwell in for Agent Carter flashbacks, especially now that we’re referencing Season 2.
- “Sounds a little Fox News to me.”
- Would have thought they’d manage to de-ghost at least one of Lucy’s team, but whoops! Maybe Coulson and the others will need that treatment.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 will continue November 29 (Vote next Tuesday!), airing at 10:00 P.M. on ABC.
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