Monday, October 3, 2016

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4 Episode 2: Meet the New Boss Review and *SPOILERS*

Under New Management

Directed By: Vincent Misiano
Written By: Drew Z. Greenberg
Starring: Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Clark Gregg, Elizabeth Henstridge, Gabriel Luna, Jason O’Mara, Henry Simmons, Ming-Na Wen, and many more.
Channel: ABC

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

So Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has really come out the gate swinging with its first episode. Not only was there clever storytelling, but we also got a look at Ghost Rider who seems will be the focus of this show (at least for the first half of the season). However, this presents us fans of the show with a new worry. Considering how awesome the first episode was and we got that awesome Ghost Rider transformation, how will the rest of the show move forward with that momentum? There are plenty of shows on television that start out with an amazing episode to attract new audiences but will fall flat when the show continues. In addition, with the special effects that Ghost Rider requires, will this show avoid his transformations in an effort to save money? Then there are of course comic book readers like me who are wondering what they are going to change about the character and how will this character come to be in the MCU world? So many questions and we’re not even dealing with all the stuff happening with S.H.I.E.L.D. right now. So after a gangbusters first episode, how does the second match up? Let’s find out.

The episode starts with a young child who is sleeping at night. He hears a noise come from this house and he wakes up. Immediately he checks under his bed for monsters before he begins to venture further into the house. He finds the ghost that was released from the containment unit in the previous episode that was causing the character to hallucinate. He calls out for his father and the ghost disappears. He thinks his son is just having a nightmare but while investigating, the ghost appears to him and demands to know why he is in her house. He is very frightened but simply answers that they bought the house years ago and that it belongs to them now. The ghost touches him and he begins to hallucinate like the others did in the previous episode. We then cut to Robbie Reyes who is getting in his car and driving to work like nothing happened the night before. However, he doesn’t notice a van that seems to be following him, assumingly it is Daisy. The guys tease him about being out last night assuming that he was with a girl but he just shakes it off with a smile.

We then cut back to Fitz and Simmons who are examining the containment unit that they found in the previous episode. While examining it, they find technology that they have never seen before. Mack enters and tells them about the incident that occurred in the house recently and the sighting of a “ghost”. When they look back at the footage that they have of the bust, they see an image on the screen of a woman. They decide that they should investigate this “ghost”. We then move over to Phil and May who are waiting to see the new director. They’ve apparently been waiting quite a long time. They simply shoot the shit for a while and Coulson says that he is going to accept responsibility for going after Daisy.

Back with Robbie Reyes, he is finishing up with a customer when he finally sees Daisy’s van on the side of the road. He grabs a tire iron and opens the driver side door, preparing to strike whoever is inside but it seems to be empty. He walks back inside to the garage where the owner is meeting with a young woman. Turns out that young woman is Daisy who is posing as a former classmate of Robbie’s who needs work done on her vehicle. To keep up appearances, Robbie takes a look at her van and does a little tinkering. The two talk with a clear underlying message to their words. They have to keep up appearances for the people around them but Robbie clearly wants Daisy to leave. Daisy keep on pushing him by dropping lines about his old schools and his old hangs. Clearly she has looked up as much information as she can on him and she wants him to know that.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D., Phil and May finally meet with the director, although they waited two hours for it. The director is a character we haven’t seen before (at least I don’t remember seeing him). He certainly seems unlikable at first. He feels like a politician, always saying the right thing with a winning smile and quoting lame slogans. However, he informs the two about his plans going forward and why Daisy is such an issue with him. The new director is trying to bring S.H.I.E.L.D. back into the light of day again. Since the events of Winter Soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D. has had to work in secret but the new director is trying to win back the public trust. Daisy Johnson is seen as a fugitive right now and her connection with S.H.I.E.L.D. will harm the view that the public has of the organization. He doesn’t want that and neither does anyone else. The director then excuses May from the room but not before we see her hallucinate once again. The director is having a confidential tour of the facility for members of the U.S. government. A first step in getting S.H.I.E.L.D. its legitimacy back. He wants Phil to lead it since he is so knowledgeable about the history of the place. Phil initially declines but the director convinces him otherwise.

We then cut to a facility in which the ghost that we saw earlier is walking around in. While there, she begins to open more containment units which release more and more ghosts. The first one that she released is named Hugo and he seems angry at the person who put them all in these units. However, he has had no sense of time and says that they could have been in there for hours. The female ghost informs him that they’ve actually been in there for years. Back with Daisy and Robbie, the two continue to talk and Daisy tells him about the Watch Dogs. They are a militarized hate group that is hunting people like them. Turns out that Daisy believes that Robbie is an Inhuman like her. Robbie proceeds to inform her that he isn’t Inhuman. Robbie tells her that the sold his soul to the devil. Daisy doesn’t seem to believe him. Robbie then, fed up with Daisy presence, threatens to throw down with her again to which Daisy simply mentions his little brothers name.

Unfortunately for Daisy, that just pisses Robbie off and even more bad luck comes her way when the garage owner has to call it a day and leaves the two of them alone. Robbie grabs a knife and uses his powers to make it burst into flames. The two fight but Daisy seems clearly at a disadvantage as the pain of using her powers seems to have increased while Robbie’s powers remain strong. It only takes a couple hits for Daisy to be defeated. Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. May seems to be having more issues with her hallucinations that previously thought while Phil Coulson leads the tour around the base. May goes to the holding cells where they hold the others who were affected. She talks to the gang leaders and asks what’s happened to everyone and how she can help them. The gang leader simply says there is no way and he begins going mad and slamming his head against the glass, leaving a bloody mark. Jemma shows up and puts the gang leader to sleep and asks May what happened but May has left.

Back with Fitz and Mack, the two are on deployment for a facility they found that was doing tests with the particular containment units that they found. They believe the answer about the ghosts is there. At this point, we see that Fitz may harbor a bit of animosity toward Daisy. At the facility, all the rest of the containment units have been opened revealing four ghosts. The ghost argue about who betrayed them, even one of the new ghosts goes as far as to blame the female ghost that we’ve been following for this story. The ghost drop the name of an artifact. They call it the Darkhold. Now, many Marvel fans will know what this is. The Darkhold is the book of sin in Marvel comics and is tied to many supernatural parts of the universe including werewolves and vampires. It has also been playing a big part in the Carnage series that is currently ongoing for those that have been reading it. The female ghost states that the Darkhold should be able to fix them but not all of them are convinced.

We then return to Daisy and Robbie. Daisy has been tied up and Robbie is currently going through her things. Daisy awakens and clearly is in pain. Robbie tells her that her arm is fractured but not broken. However, it may not stay that way if she tries to free herself. Robbie tells her that he is looking through her stuff to find some kind of wrongdoing. If he can find a legitimate reason to kill her, he will. She claims that she isn’t afraid to die but Robbie sees right through her. She wants to die and he even references that she begged him to kill her when they first fought in the first episode. We go back to the ghosts for a moment and find them arguing. The female ghost’s plan is to get the Darkhold and return them back to the way they were. However, some of the ghost decided that they want to burn the facility to the ground. No one will go through what they did. This is where we discover the female ghost’s name is Lucy.

We got back to Daisy and Robbie once again. The two exchange some dialogue about their motives and Robbie even finds a picture of Lincoln in her things. During their conversation though, they find some kind of middle ground and Daisy mentions that the gangsters that he killed had stolen a weapon from a lab in Pasadena. This catches Robbie’s attention and he immediately bolts. Daisy uses her abilities to break out of her restraints and catch up to Robbie as he enters his car. She jumps on the top as he speeds away but he doesn’t seem to want her there. Using his powers he ignites the fumes from his engine, which start producing fire. The fire is too intense and Daisy has to let go. We cut to Coulson who is with the director when they are joined by Jemma. Jemma informs them about the situation in the holding cells. We cut back to May who is still suffering from hallucinations and delusions. She begins rifling through lockers trying to find something that is causing everyone to be infected when Coulson joins her. He asks her if he can help but she ignores him. So, he attempts to get her to go to the lab. Assumingly, once there they can find out what’s wrong with her. She agrees but on their way back to the lab, May become paranoid and fights back against Coulson and her own team. Suddenly the director shows up and we assume that May is simply going to beat his ass too. However, it would seem that he has some kind of super strength as he is able to quickly knock her unconscious and is able to withstand blows to the head with a metal pole. It is suddenly revealed that the director is an Inhuman.

Then we return to Fitz and Mack who have entered the facility in Pasadena. Fitz discovers that the facility is set to blow when the ghosts attack them. Mack is able to hold them off for a little while but finds himself trapped soon. Fitz is outmatched and a ghost approaches him and attempts to harm him when he is interrupted. However, the ghost is suddenly grabbed by none other than Robbie Reyes. The ghost seems surprised that he can hold him and questions what he is. This is when Robbie’s eyes begin to burn and he transforms once again into Ghost Rider! As surprised as Fitz is, he attempts to stop the explosion from happening and free Mack from his trap. Daisy shows up in the nick of time and helps Mack escape from where he was held and Fitz defuses the bomb. Meanwhile, Ghost Rider incinerates the ghost. He then walks out of the room but sees a picture on a bulletin board first. He grabs the picture and leaves. Mack attempts to go after him but Daisy stops him.

Back on the jet, Mack makes a brace for Daisy’s arm. They talk and he is worried about her teaming up with the Ghost Rider. However, she claims that they are not a team. Mack tells Daisy that when they return to the base he can take better care of her arm and that they have a new drug but quickly realizes that Daisy has the drug already and that Yo-Yo was the one that was helping her get it. Daisy tells Mack that she’s not going to return with them and we see Fitz’s animosity towards her come out once again as he accuses her of abandoning them and turning her back on them.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. the tour with the government ends and Coulson and the director finally have a moment alone. Coulson wants to help with the situation with May but this is where we see the side of the director that we haven’t before. The director tells Coulson that he is one of his best assets and most trusted advisors however, he doesn’t trust him when it comes to the issue of his old team, especially Daisy. He is too close to the situation and that clouds his judgement. We then see a scene of May being taken away on a jet, her condition clearly having worsened. We see Daisy one last time and Robbie pulls up in his car. He has clearly changed his mind at least a little bit about her because he believes that the situation at the facility was caused by him and he wants her to join him so they can figure it out and Daisy hops in his car and they drive off. This is where the episode leaves us.

The DCTV universe had better be watching because Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this season is bringing us some of the most compelling superhero content on television right now. Next week when the CW shows start, they are going to have some STEEP competitions. It may be a little early but if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues like this, it will be the best that this show has EVER been. The show is even making good use of its new time slot by making the show a tad more adult and it fits very well with this new story. There were some things about this episodes that I think improved on the last episode and some things that could have been better. For instance, this episode we did not focus on the AIDA storyline with Fitz and Radcliffe. I’m not sure how I feel about that storyline yet and I didn’t miss it this episode. In addition, the whole storyline with the director was very well done and I look forward to seeing more of him. The show also didn’t shy away from having Ghost Rider special effects again and they look just as good as the last, possibly even better since we got a better look at him. That said, while Ghost Rider looks amazing, the ghosts look absolutely awful. It’s just poorly done but I am looking forward to the rest of this storyline. This show may not have been on your radar for the past few years, but if there was ever an excuse to binge watch it, this season with Ghost Rider is it!

Bits and Pieces:

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has upped its game and it continues to fire on all cylinders (how many Ghost Rider puns do you guys think I can make before the season is over?) The story telling aspect of this show is at a different level than before and I cannot recommend people check this out. Granted, I have liked this show for a while now but it always fell short of some of the DCTV shows. However, right now Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a contender for the best superhero show on television and we will have to see what DC does next week when their shows premiere and see if they are up to the challenge.


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