What a great episode. A bunch of loose plot threads came together and the result was exciting, funny, and fast-paced. I truthfully can’t remember the last time I enjoyed an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so much.
I haven’t had a problem with Daisy being isolated from the team but I sure as hell enjoyed her reuniting with her little found family, even if that reunion was less joyful and more mandated by circumstances. It was great to see her with Simmons and especially with Coulson again. Their dynamic is and has been one of my favorite in the entire series. Clark Gregg nails the disappointed dad vibe perfectly while Chloe Bennet plays up her sulky, rebellious teen. And now May’s been medically cleared so it’s look like the whole team is #backtogether. Squee!
There was a huge info dump in the middle of the episode concerning Momentum, the ghosts, and a very mysterious book. Still, the whole thing felt organic and earned. I’m even willing to overlook the coincidence of Robbie and Coulson showing up at the prison at the same time. It turns out Lucy Bauer and her husband Joseph were building a quantum particle generator, a device which could create matter and that Robbie’s uncle Eli was the engineer assigned to help them and keep his mouth shut. Something went horribly wrong, possibly killing Lucy and her fellow scientists, leading Eli to beat Joseph into a coma, a coma Lucy woke him out of.
The show seems to be of two minds on the question of whether Lucy and her buddies are alive or not. Coulson is convinced they are, while Mack previously referred to them as ghosts. Ultimately, I don’t think it matters. They might find a sciencey explanation for the ghosts and the ghostitis they spread or they might make it magic. Either way, I’m invested in their story. And as Jane Foster said (quoting Arthur C. Clarke) “magic’s just science we don’t understand yet.” I’m honestly more intrigued by Robbie’s backstory than any potential explanation of the ghosts. Did he really make a deal with the devil? Like *the* devil?
The main action of the episode was Daisy and Jemma’s grand adventure and attempt to save James from the Watchdogs until (oops) it turns out he’s a black hat and has been helping the Watchdogs this whole time because he’s just that screwed up. I would have almost felt sorry for him and his clear self-loathing if he hadn’t sold out my favorite character and her bestie to the bad guys. I wish we’d gotten to see more of the fire on fire battle between him and Robbie but I’m guessing Ghost Rider is pushing the show’s CGI budget as it is without extended fight scenes.
I really like Robbie, really. There’s just something that feels off about him as Ghost Rider. He’s just so…nice. And calm. And normal. I get that his brother was paralyzed and he was very angry about it, enough to do whatever he did to get his powers, but he lacks the rawness and scariness of Daredevil’s Punisher. It wasn’t hard to imagine Frank Castle killing people because he thought they deserved it, but I’m having a hard time imagining Robbie doing the same. I had a similar problem with Uncle Eli. He didn’t seem like the kind of guy to beat someone half to death out revenge. Is this just me?
Coulson seemed much more Coulsony than he has since season one. Back in the suit and with the sunglasses and introducing himself to strangers as “Agent Coulson of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division.” It made me nostalgic. I also really love the way he and Mack interact which I feel like I say every review, but which most definitely bears repeating. Mack is the one character I really feel has equally awesome chemistry with everyone in the cast. Although thinking about it I’m not sure we’ve seen him interact that much with May.
Aida finally gets something to do. She helps monitor and care for the recovering May, who, unsurprisingly, gets on very well with the robot. I loved Coulson and Simmons’ reactions to her at the end of the episode. Coulson was very human and kind to her while Simmons realized instantly she was an android and even tacitly approved of her.
Intel and Assets
--I’m really confused about locations. Robbie and his uncle are definitely based in Los Angeles, and we learned last week that Radcliffe is in DC. We don’t know where the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base they work out of is. I mean I get S.H.I.E.L.D. has crazy fast planes and we’re not supposed to worry about the day to day practicalities of say, where Simmons is apartment hunting and how long she is planning to commute to work, but it’s beginning to bug me.
Daisy: “You always were a sucker for a breakfast nook.”
Mack: “Get in the car. I’m driving.”
Coulson: “Oh hell no.”
Coulson: “In my experience, gods usually turn out to be aliens.”
Mack: “Did two fire dudes just drop into a warehouse full of fireworks?”
Coulson: “You had to see that coming.”
May: “Dying takes a lot out of you.”
Coulson: “I’ve heard. We should start a club, get some t-shirts made up.”
four out of four fireworks
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