Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep. 4

(Marvel Studios – 2016)

Ghost Rider Arc – Part 4

Summary: 6 months have past since the events of season 3. SHIELD has been reinstated as an official government agency, but it’s still rebuilding and has a long way to go before it returns to glory. The world, however, believes Coulson dead and so a new Director is in charge. Daisy has left SHIELD and is now a vigilante working to help others while fleeing authorities. All the while a new supernatural entity has entered the ring: the Ghost Rider. This season tells of a family broken a part in need of being pieced back together.

“Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire”

Directed by Brad Turner; Written by Matt Owens

[SPOILERS!!]

Review: This episode not only has the best name of the series so far but it also the best episode of the season so far. We’re only 4 episodes in, sure, but with 3 other very strong episodes preceding it it’s nice to know that the show is only getting better and better as it goes. With a 10pm time slot on Tuesdays many people automatically assumed this was going to be the show’s final season, with Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire however I think it’s safe to say that this show isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

Episode 4 sees so many storylines come together real quick in a very natural way while also pushing several of the subplots forward. It genuinely surprised me with just how much meat we got in this one episode. From Jemma and Daisy reuniting and going on a fun caper adventure, to seeing Ghost Rider go up against Hellfire in a fan-service filled brawl.

Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire is an interesting title in an of itself, I believe it’s a lyric reference but in context to the actual story it holds no meaning other than perhaps referencing Coulson trying to recruit Robbie, with Robbie being the fire, or in reference to the two fireheads that plagued this episode. While it doesn’t hold much meaning to the actual story elements of the episode I still love the title because it’s really fun to say and I’m a sucker for unconventional episode titles in shows.

Several beats are at play this time around. We get the introduction of Elias Morrow who is connected to the ghosts seen in previous episode as well as the Darkhold, he’s in prison and Coulson is trying to get information out of him. He fails, and as Coulson and Mack are discussing the matter Robbie shows up to see his uncle and this leads to a totally cool chase scene between Lola and the Hell Charger. In the comics Elias Morrow is the Spirit of Vengeance who possesses Robbie, however I’m thankful the showrunners decided to change this so that it’s something closer to the traditional Spirit of Vengeance which is a part of a much darker entity.

After the chase scene – which did I mention is awesome? – Robbie is captured and his Charger taken hostage in order to force him to comply with SHIELD. Getting the info they need from Eli after Robbie speaks with him about the history of the lab techs turned ghosts, Coulson, Mack and Robbie attempt to go after their leads until they’re pulled into the storyline going on with Daisy and Jemma.

ep-4-let-me-stand-next-to-your-fireThat leads us to the other main story going on in this episode, which is the brilliant team-up between Daisy and Jemma which begins with Jemma looking at apartments for her and Fitz to move into, which is a wonderful progression of their relationship, until she runs into Daisy who’s been tailing her with a gunshot wound in her back. Though the two are still friends Daisy is forced to pull a gun on Jemma so that she can honestly tell her superiors that she was only working with Daisy because her life was “threatened.” This leads to Daisy and Jemma, after Jemma patches Daisy up, finding out that the Watchdogs have been hacking into SHIELD’s Inhumans database and targeting them. One of the latest targets is James, aka Hellfire from season 3, and the two of them go to warn him after he’s made headway in trying to better himself under government witness protection.

Unfortunately James is still a sleazeball and teams up with the Watchdogs to backstab the two of them. Having aligned himself with the enemy James explains that after having finally became an Inhuman he hates it and wishes to see their kind extinguished. He also accepts his own fate but promises to be the last to die. I actually liked James in this episode, I’m not surprised to see him still a baddie, however as a character he was far more subdued than last season and it really allowed me to see the guy underneath the brazen attitude.

This all takes place in a fireworks warehouse which I felt was just perfect. Once Coulson, Mack and Robbie catch up to James and the others this is where everything comes together. Ghost Rider ends up taking on Hellfire in an epic fight that sees Robbie take on the iconic chain after he steals it from Hellfire. The fight culminates in a fireworks show as the two ignite the various explosives laying around in crates.

Using Eli’s information Coulson is able to deduce that the book they’re after is the Darkhold and thanks to the events of the last two episodes has the band back together including Daisy and the addition of  Robbie. It’s a great to see everyone together again but with the incredibly shifted dynamics thanks to the events of last season. I’m very excited to see what comes next.

Finally the team meets up with May, Fitz, Radcliffe and meet AIDA for the first time and Jemma discovers that AIDA is an android. It was great seeing her be so perceptive from the get-go and still not get upset over Fitz for keeping her a secret. Their relationship has continued to feel so very real and natural and I’m loving it. Unfortunately this puts Jemma is a tough spot now that she knows of AIDA’s existence and she’s the Director’s right hand man.

4 episodes in and I’m just continuing to love this season. It’s not as dark as the Netflix shows but it’s a helluva lot more fun and if we don’t get an official Ghost Rider spin-off after this season then the world is cruel and even more unusual.

Final Score: 4.5 Flameheads Brawlin’ in a Fireworks Stand out of 5

DERRICK-imageDerrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.

You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net

@KazekunForever

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