Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Season Four, Episode #2 Review
This week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continued to feature Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider in a prominent role and, apparently, one of the driving forces of the season, at least as it relates to the supernatural elements being introduced. Daisy interjects herself into Robbie’s life, pretending to be an old school friend so she can learn more about him. She resigns herself to the fact that some of those that Ghost Rider has killed did indeed deserve his style of vengeance but she is still unsure about him. This leads to another fight between the two with Reyes again getting the upper hand.
At S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ we have a bustle of various activities. Simmons is analyzing that mysterious box that was recovered in the last episode. May continues to be adversely affected by the touch of the ghostly spirit, sending her into a bout of paranoid psychosis. Coulson meets the new Director and is assigned a PR assignment, giving a tour of the headquarters to a group of VIPs, all to gain trust as S.H.I.E.L.D. seeks to again make itself visible to the general public, and to get important government funding.
Now, as to that new boss, referred to only as Jeffrey (Jason O’Mara), his identity is a mystery. It appears, however, that he is actually Jeffrey Mace, known in the Marvel Comics Universe as The Patriot. He is one of Marvel’s oldest heroes, debuting back in The Human Torch #4 in 1941. He even became Captain America for a short time and his identity is strongly hinted at when Cap is mentioned in the episode. The only thing is, THIS character has super strength and durability and even referred to himself as an “inhuman” so there might be some ret-conning of the character taking place. It is revealed that Coulson stepped down as Director and wanted a powered individual to take his place.
The other important plotline in this week’s episode was that we discovered there are several other ghostly “spirits” on the loose, former employees at Momentum Alternative Energy Labs who were betrayed by another one of their co-workers which led them to being in their current non corporeal condition. The main take out of this is the mention of the Darkhold, an ancient book of arcane lore which is to the Marvel Universe what the Necronomicon is to H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. In fact, the Darkhold was written by Cthon, a demonic elder god inspired in part by Lovecraft’s work.
The Darkhold is an important new element in the series. The book has been around since the dawn of time and was responsible for creating the very first vampires during the time of the barbarian King Kull of Atlantis. But the key here is that the Darkhold has long been associated with Doctor Strange. Strange once used the book to destroy all the vampires on Earth. With Doctor Strange being the next Marvel film due to hit theaters it is clear this season of AOS is going to play a major role in setting up that movie.
I was a little concerned about how these supernatural elements were going to fit into a show which has focused more on high-tech and espionage but so far I have been impressed at the complete 180 that the show has done. It has scaled back somewhat on using a large roster of characters preferring to concentrate on the story arcs involving only a few. Even Coulson was a bit of a fringe player this week. One thing to keep an eye on is that the ratings for the first week were the lowest of any season premiere episode and lower than about half of the episodes from season three. Of course, the move to 10pm is no doubt one of the main reasons for the drop and ABC and Marvel had to know there would be a drop. As long as the show continues with good stories it should be able to find its niche even if it isn’t a top ratings hit.