I’m not quite sure what they’re doing with the scheduling for Agents of SHIELD, but it’s getting a bit odd. They took a random few week break, came back last week, now this week is their “winter finale.” I guess working for SHIELD must come with a great vacation package.
Things are coming to a head between SHIELD and their new ally, Ghost Rider, and the Chinatown gang that started the problems off this season, who are working for Eli Morrow, recently empowered super-engineer. The show opens with the gang complaining about their pay, especially if they are going to facing SHIELD and the cops. I guess they don’t know about the Rider yet. Eli handles the labor dispute in the supervillain tradition, but with a special flair from his new powers.
As the situation grows more tense, another factor that military, law enforcement, and superheroes have to deal with more and more often comes into play now: the media. They are all over the site of the building stand-off, reporting the usual slew of what little they know, what they’ve heard, and various rumors. It’s not making things easier for anyone, especially not Jeffrey Mace, Director of SHIELD. I wonder how much he regrets taking this job at this point?
After a very brief phone interview with the media, Mace gets a briefing from Coulson and May about what’s going on. They’re worried about stopping Morrow; he seems to almost as worried about how things might look. Just what we need, a super-powered politician. Eventually, they agree on a team to send in and to use Aida as part of the mission. Mace learning about Aida triggers worries about the Sokovia Accords and Ultron specifically, which was a nice callback to the movies and actually made some sense. After the decisions are made, there’s a short meeting with just Mace and Coulson, neither of whom are happy with the other.
Among the other set up issues are Reyes refusing to wear a mask (and some confusion about the difference between a balaclava and baklava), Fitz insisting that Morrow’s powers can’t work the way whey seem to, a general dislike of magic, and a weird digression by Fitz about clowns with knives. The boy has issues.
The heavy hitters line up to go check out Morrow’s defenses in the warehouse he’s holed up in. I get they have powers, but not arming any of them, especially Daisy with her SHIELD training (and Yo Yo should have had some by now, too), seems a bit odd. Yo Yo gets sent in for some recon, which allows them to show some cool superspeed effects and a really nasty booby trap. They’re using Yo Yo a lot more like a regular speedster this episode, which is different. I’m not quite sure I like it.
Dr. Radcliffe is next up to get a meeting with Mace. He’s mostly worried about pleading Aida’s case. Mace is confused that Radcliffe is fine with Aida being an AI/robot, but is intimidated by the Darkhold. Yo Yo gets annoyed that Mac is fussing over her. Those two have several amusing scenes this episode. Robbie gets tired of waiting and goes in alone, sending a video feed back to SHIELD (I guess he has a Ghost-Pro). Robbie finds a much larger scale version of the energy boxes from Momentum Labs, and gets a nasty surprise from his uncle. They have a less then friendly family chat.
SHIELD starts to gear up for their mission. Aida is going, and taking some special equipment. Mace is also going along, although he has a very uninspiring version of a SHIELD uniform on. Mace has a plan that Mac doesn’t like. The area is also getting a lot of small tremors, which Daisy insists is not her fault. The team also compares notes on Simmons’ odd little side mission from Mace and Senator Nadir (I still can’t get over that name). The team also finally gets word on why Mace sent Simmons off, so at least most of the intra-team secrets are gone now.
Morrow’s lecture to Robbie about the evolution of his powers gets interrupted when Coulson allows himself to be escorted in by some of the gang members. After a joke or two about Coulson not being dead, the Agent warns Morrow that his powers are causing problems. Fitz was right about his insistence about the way things work.
Down below, another team is getting ready to neutralize Eli’s deadly toy. Aida is helping set up something new with help from Team Science, while Daisy tries to absorb the various quakes threatening the area. Robbie finds a way to get past some of his own obstacles and shifts to Ghost Rider. After Aida makes a big sacrifice to protect the agents, their plan works, sending Eli Morrow’s doomsday device away, but also taking Morrow and Reyes with Ghost Rider with it. There’s also a great fight scene with Yo Yo, Mac, Coulson, and Mace taking on the gang.
In the aftermath, the team tends to Aida, and Daisy bleeds off some excess energy, which has a side effect with the media, that Mace actually does something nice and useful for. Daisy and Coulson have a talk that hints at an earlier Ghost Rider and what Coulson had originally wanted for SHIELD’s public face. Yo Yo and Mac have a scene that resolves some of the uncertainties about their relationship. And we get a big surprise regarding Aida and what she’s apparently up to.
What I liked: It was smart of Coulson to insist on using his superpowered agents (I do wonder if Joey is ever coming back). I liked Aida showing how she is willing to protect the team. It was nice seeing Mace do something besides politics, although he has the most generic powers of any Inhuman I’ve ever seen. Ghost Rider just plain looks cool. The effects for Yo Yo looked pretty cool.
What I didn’t: I’m hoping we haven’t seen the last of Ghost Rider. It was a good cliffhanger to leave us on, but I don’t like what it looks like for two characters. I don’t quite get why the team didn’t have weapons when they went in. I’m not sure I like the way they did Yo Yo’s powers this episode.
It was a good episode that did some cool things. I’ll give them a 4 out of 5, and they have me really curious about what’s going to happen when they come back from the long winter’s break.