Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Ghost

“Everyone gets attached to something eventually.”

Without mincing words, this season premiere was a bit of a mess.

Okay, first off: I hate time jumps, in large part because they generally require a massive reset. So much of this episode felt like a pilot. We had to get reintroduced to our characters and how they’ve changed and how their relationships and jobs are different. It’s a prime case of being told instead of shown and it’s annoying.

Coulson has been demoted to Agent. What intrigues me most of the show’s new direction (pun intended) is how someone was able to wrest control of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the man who rebuilt it from ashes and who that someone is. I’d hazard a guess it’s someone we know or else they would’ve simply referred to them by name. My money’s on it being a Koenig. The color coded levels feels like something he’d do. Any other theories?

Coulson’s demotion probably feels like a bad thing to the character, but it’s a very good thing for the audience. I’ve missed field-ready Coulson so much. Now, he’s partnered with Mack which allows Henry Simmons to prove he has chemistry with everyone. Coulson and Mack: together again and making snide references to that time Mack cut off Coulson’s arm.

Mack’s relationship with Elena has…yo-yoed. We’ve gone from cute flirting learning each other’s languages aw how adorable to not being allowed to be together oh what cruel fate. It feels like a LOT happened off screen and I’m not particularly happy about it. How am I supposed to be invested in this relationship if I don’t get to see it?

Speaking of relationships, FitzSimmons are having problems making time for each other, largely because of Simmons’ busy work schedule. Jemma’s been systematically climbing the ranks at S.H.I.E.L.D. because she doesn’t trust the director and is ascribing to the whole ‘keep your enemies closer’ philosophy. And honestly, good for Jemma. She spent a solid part of last season being a victim so it’s good to see her being proactive. May’s really uncomfortable with it, though. May also doesn’t trust the director, which isn’t surprising at all; she’s May. I wish she had more to do in this episode. She feels the most cut off from everyone and as she’s one of my favorites it didn’t sit well with me. The idea is that the director split the team up intentionally but that doesn’t explain why Fitz and Simmons still work together and how Mack and Coulson got partnered up. It seems like May is in the cold all alone.

Speaking of being all alone, the love of my Marvel life, Daisy Johnson (dreamy sigh). Because there apparently is a god, she has abandoned her Avril Lavigne circa 2005 look. She’s still going for edgy accessories and a very smoky eye but the flat ironed black hair has mercifully not made a reappearance. We’re being led to believe that Daisy has spent the last however many months we’re at now going after the Watchdogs. I’m totally okay with this. Last season saw Daisy having issues with moral boundaries and an almost too fervent desire to protect Inhumans. That doesn’t mean, however, I’m happy with (I’ll say it again) being told about it instead of shown. How much more interesting would it have been if after Lincoln’s death Daisy kept up her S.H.I.E.L.D. duties while she gradually pulled away from the team and began her vigilantism right under Coulson’s nose? I would’ve loved that. The drama of their relationship changing, of her keeping secrets. It would have been amazing. But okay we have this and this isn’t horrible in and of itself.

The premiere sees her cross paths with Ghost Rider Driver. While I don’t know much about Ghost Rider, I do know he has a motorcycle and not a muscle car. I’m assuming this was cheaper and easier as far as stunts are concerned. I’m reserving judgment on this guy. Maybe he’ll turn out to be as cool as the Punisher was in Daredevil. Let’s be hopeful, shall we?

Finally, John Hannah, whose character name (Radcliffe) refuses to stick in my brain, has been experimenting with robotics and has created a…I’m not sure what she is actually. Android? Yeah, let’s go with android. Played by Galavant’s Mallory Jansen, I’m quite sure that Aida is going to mean serious trouble later in the season.

Intel and Assets

--The meds Daisy is taking for her bones look exactly like the generic Claritin I take every morning.

--Coulson still won’t let Mack work on Lola.

--I really loved Yo-Yo teaming up with Daisy.

--We learn that, after Ultron, the development of artificial intelligence has been made illegal.

--The Sokovia Accords also got a shout out.

--What the frick frack was in that box?

Mack: “Want a beer?”
Coulson: “It’s six o’clock in the morning. What are you, Hemingway?”

Coulson: “You want tech like this, you should’ve cut off your own hand.”

Simmons: “Why not tell me? I have daily lie detection.”
May: “That’s why.”

two out of four ghost rider drivers

sunbunny

6 comments:

Lamounier said...

sunbunny, I had a very different reaction to this episode. I dropped AoS a couple of episodes after the midseason finale last season because the hook, for me, was gone. But this episode really brought me back into the show. I thought it was amazing.

Since I took a long break from the series, I didn’t mind the amount of changes. May I say, thank god Ward, in whatever incarnation, is gone. It’s clear the producers loved the actor, but the character had expired its welcome a long time ago. With Hunter and Bobbi gone, and Lincoln dead, the writers can devote a little more time to the remaining principal characters, even if there’s still a lot going on and they are not a team anymore.

As for the Ghost Rider, I’ve read there are two versions of it. One of them drives a car. I’m okay with that. He was very cool and the special effects were awesome. His scenes and Daisy’s were my favorites. God, Rogue Daisy rules! Can she hold her own or what? I loved Yo-Yo backing her up. In fact, Yo-Yo was a hoot (“good to see you too, Coulson”).

For now, I’m excited. Let’s hope this season doesn’t go south.

migmit said...

I've never read the comics, but I heard there were actually four Ghost Riders (five if you count the ex-cowboy who's vehicle of choice was his horse — I think he made an appearence in the first Cage movie).

When Yo-Yo walked into that plane, which is like The Bus but not, I thought for a second it was Bobbi. No such luck.

All in all, it wasn't as exciting as I hoped. Something feels wrong and I can't exactly figure out what.

As for the new director: Koenig would be cool, but a) which one? and b) I think Gemma said explicitly that she doesn't know this guy, while in season 2 Koenigs weren't always on screen, but they were supposed to be working closely with the rest of the team, so, they should know each other well.

Anonymous said...

Good review but i think i disagree with everything, personally i thought it was an excellent season opener. Although i see where you are coming from as you highlighted some flaws i didn't see.

It was not a mess but i agree that it was somewhat pilot like..
But that was the aim so they succeeded. AoS season 1-3 was a pretty serialized and contained story which ended all the respective arcs that began in season 1. How could the show carry on without a soft reboot.
The time jump was made clear at the end of last season so should not have been a surprise.
While i agree there was alot of exposition (tell) they did (show) alot while this was going on..I felt they made a good balance of showing and telling, while retaining some mystery...What is the point if everything you want to see happens or is resolved in the first episode. An example when Yo Yo come to see Mack..
Shield is government run again and out of the shadows due to the Sokovia accords.
Coulson who is still presumed dead can no longer be the leader of Shield can he.
Also these are the consequences of of lasts seasons events. Despite how heroic the team is, from a logical standpoint an Inhuman god was unleashed on earth due to them and they told no one...Yes they won but that's beside the point..I find it realistic that some oversight would happen to their team.
Yo Yo and Mack have not even been on a date yet so i don't see how alot could have happened. Again i think you missed the part with the Sokovia accords and the kind of man Mack is.
Really disagree with the Jemma 'spent a solid part of last season being a victim'.
I don't recall that at all at any moment..Even when she came back traumatized she was mostly upset of Fitz finding out she wanted to go back and why. Yes she was part of a triangle (that never really existed to me) with two men trying to save her but given the circumstances how could Will and Fitz not try regardless of the fact that Jemma was being a badass. Shes no May or Daisy in the field but is just as tough if not tougher.
Fitz and Simmons hardly see each other at work...May is sectioned off with the new recruits, Coulson and Mack are in the skies for 6 weeks at a time and Daisy has been gone for 6 months.
The team is split and cleverly done.They remain assets to Shield but no longer THE TEAM.
The android is an LMD (Life model decoy) something i expected the Koenigs to be, she could be used badly but in the comics they are mostly good.
Daisy seems to to be in that suicidal self destruction stage of her exile...Loved that the Ghost rider recognized she was not 'evil' despite her attack and powers against his possessed form.
Good start to Marvel opening up to the 'magic' side..With Doctor strange coming up and also Iron fist coming early next year.

Mark Greig said...

I didn't think it was a mess, but the various plot threads didn't mesh together well. I'm having trouble buying that Coulson and May would just relinquish control of SHIELD to someone they don't seem to trust without a fight. There was an entire story arc in season two about Coulson fighting for control of SHIELD for crying out loud.

Marianna said...

I suppose it was piloty, but it was a pilot for a show I'm very interested in. The show seems darker and more intriguing.

I don't know who the new SHIELD director is, but I don't think it's a Koenig. Getting in the way of Coulson and his team seems like something he absolutely wouldn't do. I'd say it's someone government-appointed.

garyb said...

I was wondering about the android's name Aida, as it follows closely after the Image comic Alex + Ada. Where, Ada is an sentient android.

Turns out that Marvel's Aida has been around since 1985 in the Marvel books. Sort of.

https://imagecomics.com/comics/series/alex-ada


http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Artificial_Intelligence_Data_Analyser_(Earth-712)