Welcome back to my coverage on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Be sure to catch up on previous reviews here.
Apologies for my absence last week. I’ve been bombarded with assignment after assignment for the last little while, but I am back, albeit on a time crunch so lets get into it.
Highlights from Episode 4:
- The dynamic between Radcliffe and May was quite the humorous one to see for one week. Her hardened demeanor allowed Radcliffe’s sarcasm to fly with free abandon with May’s trademark facial responses highlighting it all.
- Fitz reaction to Radcliffe having Aida out and helping May recover was quite erratic and brought a few chuckles as well, but I felt that Iain de Caestecker just wasn’t committed to this type of reaction which resulted in him overacting the scene. All is forgiven though with that final scene with him and Simmons.
- Major kudos to the show for not having the Aida secret hang in between Fitz and Simmons. It was a wrench in Fitz’s life that brought some quick and light tension to my viewing that I appreciate at the end of an episode, especially telling us that Simmons was going to have to lie about it in Episode 5 which I will touch on a bit later.
- Ghost Rider’s inclusion into a major SHIELD operation was a nice touch this early in the season. I’m really excited to see him and Mack go back and forth in the field. His skull effects look just as fresh as the first episode which I’m really happy about. ABC is not afraid to throw money at this show regardless of ratings.
- Daisy’s ploy to get Simmons in the same room was pretty clever and also sweet as she was able to involve herself in Fitz and Simmons apartment search. Despite Daisy’s distancing from any emotional attachments it is acts like this that prove how much she cares.
- It was a nice touch to see Axle Whitehead come back to the show for a brief appearance. He was one of my favorite performers from the end of last season and gave a cool counter to Daisy’s thought processes. It will be interesting to see how much the character of James will be involved this season after getting burned by Ghost Rider.
- Last, but most definitely not last, GHOST RIDER USED THE CHAIN!! I shot up out of my chair cheering for this moment. This is the character’s true weapon and it was a great moment when Robbie took the chain from James. Let’s hope this becomes a regular part of his weapon arsenal because it looked incredibly bad ass.
Episode 5 gave a bit of a more familiar format for our show by dividing our team and giving us two separate sub-plots rather than three or even four. This is the effect of having Daisy work with SHIELD and more specifically Coulson. Quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of her, “I’m a lone renegade” routine. It used to be a distinguishing trait, now it just makes her pathetically stubborn and naive. I hope the show doesn’t let her escape the confines of SHIELD’s influence, and based on the teaser scene at the end, it looks like they won’t.
Simmons’ lie detector test became a focal point this week naturally and it played out in unexpected ways. Director Jeffery Mace requested her help in order to prepare him for a debate with Inhuman detractor Senator Rota Nadeer. This debate led to Jeffery Mace revealing to the masses that he is in fact an Inhuman. Nadeer clearly has ulterior motives, what with colluding with the Watchdogs, and even confronting Jeffery Mace about Daisy’s involvement in an active SHIELD operation. I thought Mace was going to agree to arrest Daisy and give her over to the government control, but quite surprisingly he seemed inclined to the make a deal as the episode closed. It appears he likes what Daisy brings to the SHIELD table and I’m interested to see what will happen when they finally come face to face.
The big thing to come out of Mace’s story this week was Simmons. She took a major stand against her boss by confronting him about the necessity of the lie detector tests and even going so far as blackmailing him. I am very impressed with the strength and confidence that Simmons has demonstrated as her responsibilities increase. This comes across so well because Elizabeth Henstridge is able to portray these qualities in Simmons with elements of grace.
The dominant story this week was of the raid on a prison to get Robbie Reyes’ uncle out in order to use his expertise to help find the secret book that those ghosts are after. Yes, they showed up again this week, even giving us a flashback to how all this got started with the original discovery of that book. It appears to have driven this lead ghost insane with the power at her hands. Luckily when she found the book as a ghost, the invisible text would not reveal itself to her because it could not sense a presence. With both Daisy and Robbie Reyes still in Coulson’s proximity, they enlist their help to get Eli Morrow out of prison.
I mentioned the Ghost Rider and Mack relationship up top and well it was used to great effect here. We knew that Robbie was never actually going to listen to Mack and not kill that inmate, but it was fun to see Mack try and gain some kind of upper hand or moral authority over Robbie. When Robbie got to talk to that inmate about what really went down in the attack against him and his brother and my prediction is that it was their uncle Eli Morrow that called for the hit. That is solely based on my knowledge of the comics and what Eli Morrow is. Once his presence was confirmed on the show, it seemed pretty obvious to me that Ghost Rider’s arc is going to involve him binding with the ghost of his uncle who is in fact pretty much a spirit of vengeance. I’ve been right lately on my predictions, but I could wrong at any time so we’ll see what happens on this one right?
- May digging into Daisy about her actions both over the past few months and at the prison was great to see. I’m glad to see May sticking up for Phil too, especially when he is reluctant to do it himself.
- Again, the use of the CHAIN! Robbie destroyed a ghost with a chain infused with fire at the prison and it was another standout moment. Reyes could be a really cool in the field partner for Mack as they go on other assignments.
- PHIL HAS A SHIELD IN HIS TECH HAND!!! It was a little on the nose with it projecting the logo of the SHIELD organization, but it was amazing to it in action and come out of the blue. Normally the show would go to promote such an ability, but I’m really happy to keep it as a surprise.