Synopsis of 4×06: The shocking origin story of Robbie’s transition into Ghost Rider is revealed as the lives of Coulson and the team hang in the balance.
There are a couple of things that I learned this week about how I feel about this show. As many of you may know, I’ve had mixed feelings about this show for a while, but given my knowledge of the show I’ve always felt it a duty to recap Agents of SHIELD and use what I know. What I learned this week is how much I’ve grown tired and bored of the characters of this show. Every one of them has been played out and lacks the character development that we saw so often in the early seasons.One of the reasons why I enjoy Robbie Reyes so much is that he is like a breath of fresh air. Gabriel Luna rarely falters in playing up the tortured Ghost Rider, struggling to balance between who he is and the spirit of vengeance that lives within him. I think this first half of the season should be considered a test run for the character to get his own spin-off —
`One of the reasons why I enjoy Robbie Reyes so much is that he is like a breath of fresh air. Gabriel Luna rarely falters in playing up the tortured Ghost Rider, struggling to balance between who he is and the spirit of vengeance that lives within him. I think this first half of the season should be considered a test run for the character to get his own spin-off — preferable on Netflix.
Unable to embrace the full nitty gritty freedom offered by Netflix, and struggling from the puritanical requirements of ABC and network television, Agents of SHIELD tends to be melodramatic. Action sequences are a bunch of kicks and punches with little consequences. People die but the deaths have no impact. There’s an invisible cause and a mild effect.
The episode — and really the season as a whole so far — has toyed with a simmering theological debate, one that comes to a head in this episode. It’s about fate and gods and devils. Robbie has long thought that the deal he made to become the spirit of vengeance was with the devil, and we learn that the incident at Momentum Labs was at the hands of Eli Morrow, Robbie’s uncle, a man bent on power and the desire to be a god. There is a definite religious road that this show could travel down, one that Daredevil hasn’t shied away from, but instead, there are hints here and there, and a lot of people throwing around words like god and devil and comparing Gabriel to an angel. Everything is hinted at, but it’s hardly subtle.
I wish that there was some more to this. I wish we didn’t have to suffer through an awkward Darkhold plot, one that has barely managed to hold my attention this season, and I wish we could just get Ghost Rider in the flesh on his own. Subplots like Simmons’ secret mission get mentioned and forgotten, Mace and Coulson banter but it’s at an awkward pace and tone with the rest of the episode, Robbie reveals his past and his origin but it is overshadowed by his uncle’s reveal. It’s an unbalanced episode.
We get a couple callbacks to Agent Carter with Isodyne and Roxxon, some Star Wars back and forth between Mace and Coulson, and Robbie breaking out of the module and fighting Mace head on. Those were just a few gems in an odd episode. On one hand, I enjoyed Robbie’s backstory, on the other I’m sick and tired of a Darkhold plot that took too long to play out. The ghosts are barely interesting to people who know next to nothing about Darkhold and they create a stagnant environment for the plot.
Even Robbie’s plot get a little lost in the Darkhold plot. As he is faced with his uncle’s betrayal, he isn’t even surprised. He doesn’t spare a moment of being furious that his uncle is the one who has been behind this the whole time. Eli is the reason that Joe sent the Locos after Robbie and Gabe, his power hungry nature and his obsession is why Robbie is Ghost Rider and Gabe is in a wheelchair. But that scene takes a minute to resolve. When Lucy tells Robbie that, “You’re just like your uncle, you have the same fire,” in fear, his response shouldn’t be, “No, mine’s worse.” This is a guy who pulled his punches only when Gabe told him to. Would being compared to the guy who basically caused Gabe’s accident make him want to embrace that darkness? He’s never confused or shocked or betrayed, he’s just angry and it makes no sense.
In the end, it seems like Fitz is right. “Too much punching, not enough hacking.” There’s been a severe lack of actual character development. We’ve seen glimpses, but it’s all been plot so far. The story isn’t interesting if the characters are boring, this is a fact. Maybe with the disappearance of Robbie, Coulson, and Fitz, we’ll see a little more development like the Jemma-centric episode from season 3. They are the characters that stand the best chance of further development.
It doesn’t help that Agents of SHIELD is taking a three-week break from the show, returning November 29th. It’s a horrible place to pick up given the fact that they are finally gaining some momentum towards a conclusion to a plot. You have to ask the question, is ABC dooming the show? With the late night slot and three weeks on the bench, it doesn’t look good.
Also, this is completely unrelated to my general disappointment in the show, but I am also disappointed that the Ghost Rider we see speak to Robbie isn’t Nicholas Cage. I realize that’s a 100% ridiculous request, but I’m also sad.