Synopsis of 4×02: Daisy sets out to battle Ghost Rider, but at a terrible cost; the new director’s bold agenda shocks everyone.
Another week, another Agents of SHIELD. Now, there wasn’t really much wrong with this episode, but there didn’t seem to be much right either. As with SHIELD episode format, you have one big episode, where a lot of action and everything happens, and then you have another one that kind of just sets things up for the third episode. “Meet the New Boss” had a couple of big reveals, but nothing we didn’t see coming and has pretty much tee-d up the rest of the season once more.
Going super hard on the ghost theme this year, we find out those creepy ghost people are actually a part of some scientist group who utilized something called the Darkhold book. We don’t know much about this, other than a brief info dump with the scientists arguing about how to fix themselves from their ghost-zombie state, but we do know that it’s possibly connected to Robbie and how he became Ghost Rider.
What brief time we spend with Robbie is a treat, Gabriel Luna is genuinely enjoyable to watch, and he manages to breathe some life into a somewhat dull story for Daisy. Yes, she lost her boyfriend, but that’s the general plot for every season of SHIELD so it’s starting to feel a little stale for me. She’s angry and upset, but somehow that means she’s threatening Robbie’s disabled little brother? Is this the same Skye who saved Mike’s kid from season 1? Short answer is no, they erased that character along with any semblance of a plot two seasons ago.
The difference between her search for penance and Robbie’s search for vengeance is probably meant to be more prolific, but the episode doesn’t actually go into it too much. Their relationship jumps from chafing and volatile to a sudden partnership? It doesn’t make too much sense, but I’ve learned not to watch this show with my full brain turned on.
Meanwhile, at the headquarters, we finally get to meet the new director. He’s played by the sometimes-dreamy Jason O’Mara, who reveals that he’s an Inhuman halfway through the episode when May goes psycho and thinks everyone is against her. He fights her off with one hand without breaking a sweat and has an eerie calm to him. While there’s definitely a sense of “big brother” around SHIELD, the director’s message isn’t exactly faulty. A team that trusts is a team that triumphs. Yeah, it’s a little cheesy, and when coupled with the “if you see something, say something”-esque posters around it’s creepy too, but let’s be real SHIELD has been creepy since day 1.
Nothing about the new director seems to sit well with Coulson, but he does his part — grumbling the whole way — in leading some members of Congress on a tour around SHIELD. There’s a lot of mention of Sokovia Accords, which makes me think they’re afraid that we’ll forget they’re in the Marvel universe, and the fact that there’s no more massive funding for SHIELD.
Mack and Fitz go on a scouting mission to the lab where the zombie-ghosts are and find a nuclear reactor about to go off, because the melodrama wasn’t high enough this episode. They have to fight off the ghosts and disable the reactor, but thankfully Robbie comes stomping in and condemns another ghosts’ soul to hell before walking right out. Gotta applaud the guy for efficiency. Daisy, who followed Robbie to the location, comes busting in too and saves her SHIELD friends.
Unfortunately for Mack and Fitz, this doesn’t mean Daisy is back. Mack bandages up her fractured arm and realizes that Yo-yo has been stealing meds from SHIELD to give to Daisy and that Daisy doesn’t want to come back. He’s obviously hurt about this since he and Coulson are the ones sticking their necks out to go after her, but Fitz is the one who angrily proclaims that she’s turned her back on them.
Instead of resolving the problem like adults, Daisy leaves and joins up with Robbie, and the two seem to have formed a partnership with no commentary on how he basically knocked her out and hogtied her 24 hours ago. Meanwhile, May has been taken in and put in a straightjacket after having her breakdown over seeing the ghost faces. Although something much more nefarious is underfoot, the director is not wrong in telling Coulson that “when it comes to May and Dasiy, you can’t be objective.” After a whole season of Coulson doing whatever he wants, it’s kind of satisfying to see him have his arms tied behind his back.
Or is that just me?