Season 4 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is off to a good start! Post Sokovia Accords, S.H.I.E.L.D. has a new director, the team is broken, and new foes lurk in the shadows. How will the team band together and face the challenges ahead? Answers are certainly not going to come all at once, but episode 1 gives us a nice update as to where the characters are at in their own individual journeys, as well as, build-up plenty of side stories to branch off of as the season goes on.
The episode starts off by instantly introducing to the fan favorite Daisy or “Quake” (Chloe Bennet) hunting down the terrorist group – The Watchdogs. We know from the previous season that Daisy has taken it upon herself to work alone and remain under the radar. Her decision to go lone ranger as also earned her the label of dangerous fugitive. Amongst her quarrel with the Watchdogs, the much anticipated Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) appears! Ghost Rider hits the scene riding a sweet all black flaming muscle car, instead of the classic motorcycle. It is clear the Ghost Rider is more intent on exacting revenge, other than asking questions. He kills the small band of terrorists with ease and certainly no remorse. Daisy is left in awe as she watches the horror unfold.
I can imagine it is very difficult to bring a character like Ghost Rider to life due to the massive amount of visual and special effects; but with that being said, I think both the actor and producers did a good job. The stunts and fight scenes were very comic book-like, but the transition from Robbie Reyes to Ghost Rider seemed painful and genuine. Ghost Rider’s flames surface from deep within Robbie, and then start to singe and blacken his skin until all that remains is the classic flaming skull.
The rest of the episode is not very fluid, but that is expected due to the fact that they need to reintroduce all the characters; as well as, new villains and plot lines. Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Mack (Henry Simmons) seem to be handling business as usual flying around on the Quinjet and chasing down Daisy and other enhanced individuals. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) are back at home-base doing some science stuff, while May (Ming-Na Wen) trains a team of new recruits. Each member of the old team eventually gets word of Daisy’s activities and are eager investigate. When a two dead bodies are found in a truck under mysterious circumstances, Coulson, Mack, May and her team deploy to look into the matter in hopes of running into Daisy. Their investigation leads them to a warehouse where a group of Asian men stand around a strange looking crate. Upon opening the crate a strange gaseous substance arises and seems to enter each of the men. Then a mysterious ghost-like figure appears and the men begin to hallucinate and kill anything in sight, including each other. I assume this storyline will continue and offer some interesting challenges later on.
Meanwhile, we get a little taste of science fiction as Fitz’s friend Dr. Radcliffe (John Hannah) experiments with new robotic technology that mimics human behavior. Dr. Radcliffe designs a nude robot woman, but makes it clear that this is not the same as artificial intelligence when Fitz reminds him what happened with Ultron. With regret, Fitz agrees to help Dr. Radcliffe with his experiment without informing the rest of the team. This scene had a very similar vibe to the movie Ex-Machina, but with worse acting. To me, the robot woman was not very believable but I am interested to see where things go from here.
This is a good start to what will hopefully be an entertaining season. Will the team come back together to face another mysterious foe? What is the Ghost Rider’s role in all this? Looks like we will just have to watch and find out. Thankfully, this show has mastered storytelling and will always keep us coming back for more.
I give Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 1: 8/10
What did you think of episode 1? Let us know! For more information on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. + episode recaps/review keep it here at Second Union!