Now this may not be the Agents of SHIELD that we remember as it now has a new timeslot at 10pm. This allows it several more liberties in terms of blood, violence, and sexual content, more akin to Netflix’s Marvel shows. How far will things actually go with this new darker direction? Only time will tell but this is a promising start.
Because of all the Ghost Rider hype leading up to this season, it’s only fitting that the episode start off with him. For those who don’t yet know, the show decided to not use the Johnny Blaze incarnation but rather Robbie Reyes version, played by Gabriel Luna. Who better to interrupt Daisy/Quake’s vigilantism than Reyes. Here we get our first glimpse of the show’s new direction. This will definitely take some getting used to after the lighter previous seasons.
We first got a glimpse of Daisy’s new life from a flash forward in last season’s finale and this continues here with Daisy taking a more proactive role to say the least. She is tailing a group of crazed militants when Reyes comes along and does his thing to most of them. It appeared that they shared the same goal in following them.
Of course SHIELD would be alerted to what had happened which brings Coulson and Mack back in from their current mission. From the flash forward, we learned that things have changed in SHIELD, most notably Coulson no longer being in charge. We begin to see the extent of this early on. He’s just a normal agent now, on a mission looking for powered people with Mack until they are called in by May.
There we learn that this mysterious new SHIELD director has broken up the dream team which has fractured their relationships with one another. They are so used to Coulson being the director, they still think of him that way even though he is no longer the director. We see this here with each member of the team but Coulson and Mack in the director’s special circle. He appears to trust them enough to bring them in but they do not trust him. This new director has put his mark on SHIELD, introducing a new way to do things which do take some getting used to.
Coulson and Mack have been forbidden to go after Daisy by the director as he doesn’t like how she has been able to slip through their fingers so many times. For old times sake, May gives them a head start and lets them go after her. To try and find her, they decide to follow her investigation to see if it would lead to her but it ultimately didn’t. What we did learn was that those crazed militants were members of the Aryan Brotherhood who were working for the Chinese. They manage to rack their mysterious cargo just in time to see them open it, releasing this sinister spirit which led all the bad guys to kill each other.
Wrapping up loose threads from last season’s finale, we now get to see, through Fitz, what Dr. Radcliffe was working on, his very own Life Model Decoy named AIDA (Mallory Jansen). This is a problem since in exchange for his pardon, Radcliffe is forbidden to work on any experiments not previously approved by SHIELD. Due to his scientific curiosity, he decides to hear Dr. Radcliffe out. We learn that AIDA’s purpose is to prevent the deaths of future agents by acting as “a decoy target, a safeguard, a shield”. She is apparently unable to kill and is meant to protect
which should avoid another Ultron situation. While not yet perfect, Fitz decides to keep this their secret until she is ready.
The rest of the episode involved Daisy trying to discover the identity of Ghost Rider (we already know this). She learns about all the legends and she is unfazed. She manages to track him through his car, leading her to a salvage yard. She confronts him about all the people he’s killed but it wasn’t him but the spirit within him that was responsible. They have a pretty cool superpower-y fight ending with him pin her down and her asking him to kill her. She still feels guilty for all the bad stuff she did during the last half of last season.
Overall, this was an exciting episode, marking the show’s pivot into a much darker direction with the great introduction of Ghost Rider. Sure the new direction takes a little getting used to but it’s a decent start.