The first episode of season four of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aptly named ‘The Ghost’ premiered, and it set up at least five different (and what will undoubtedly prove to be crucial) plot points.
For those of you who gave up on Agents of Shield after the first few episodes of the first season, then I both understand and resent your choice. How dare you not follow through with the whole season, I mean those villain/do I really care episodes of the week were some of the best television Marvel Studios had ever put out at that point in time (shout out to my fellow Marvel geeks). The first season was shaky with a lethal lack of entertainment beyond that of any formulaic show on television. The high standard that had been set by Joss Whedon’s The Avengers and the fact that he was involved with the show meant that a lot of fans and casual viewers alike were disappointed by the lacklustre first half. However if you strapped in and took a Hulk sized leap of faith you were more than pleased with the payoff. Left in a storyline limbo until the theatrical release of one of the best Marvel films to date – Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Agents of Shield became the show all us Marvel fans knew it was meant to be - nothing short of amazing. The crucial twist revealed in The Winter Soldier kicked the show into turbo gear and set forth the next few seasons of quality television.
Now onto its fourth season, the show is trying its darn best (don’t worry Cap, I got my language in check) to bring in new viewers and keep the old alike. Here are the top 5 most crucial things you should take away from the season premier (EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD)
Okay, last spoiler warning! Ready?
1. The Ghost Driver
The rights to Ghost Rider reverted back to Marvel and now his inclusion in the show has been made a prominent focal point. This incarnation of the character is Robbie Reyes, a young man just trying to do right by his brother. Whilst his comic book counterpart is not technically a ‘real’ Ghost Rider, the show has yet to reveal whether they will include this as canon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). For a show with a limited budget the CGI for his flaming muscle car and the flaming of his very own muscles (as well as the rest of his body) was really not that bad at all. His character has set the tone for a darker Agents of Shield, one that is somewhere between the family fun of Antman and the gritty realism of Daredevil. This was made all the more easier by the later 10pm US time slot, which on one hand sets in motion (please no) a gradual decline in ratings and the potential end of the show, on the other if it does end it will go out with a Daisy-quaking bang.
2. The Gang’s (barely) back together
After the introduction of the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War, Shield is once again under the no-nonsense hand of the US Government, and with the fear of powered people running rampant in the MCU, this new Shield has kept the old gang on the roster and on the move, separating our beloved heroes and pulling at our yearning heartstrings for our team to be on the same page again. The growing tension between members, no longer being able to rely on each other and trust issues running through the team much faster than Quicksilver (too soon?) leaves room for many complications. Hopefully something cataclysmic will occur soon that will require them to put all differences aside and be one big, weird family again.
3. Life Model AIDA
Anyone familiar with Marvel will know that Life Model Decoys or LMD’s have been a long time waiting. These Androids have already been referenced in the MCU films and now with the introduction of AIDA they have finally arrived. So what does this mean? Well it was made clear that she only ‘mimics’ human behaviour, but it’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong, just ask Tony Stark.
4. Elena’s yo-yoing allegiance
Part time Shield superhero, Yoyo, was featured in the first episode. Actress Natalia Cordova-Buckley brings such a personable quality to the character you can’t help but like her, but seeing her go behind her ‘flirt-tennis partner’ Mack’s back to help out her fellow Inhuman Daisy was a nice little scene in the episode. It showed that despite signing the Sokovia Accords she has not succumbed to the pressure of the Government and is still very much invested in the fight for Inhuman rights, even if that means playing nice with Shield. Can’t wait to see how her allegiance to either side plays out.
5. The Ghost in the Box
For anyone who has seen the Dr Strange trailer, you may have glimpsed Mads Mikkelsen's character Kaecilius with dark, ghostly eyes. Kaecilius looks very similar to the apparition and hallucinations featured in the episode, influenced by the entity from the ‘do not open’ – hey guys, lets open it – box. While it may not be tied into the movie, cross promotion from the show for the films isn’t anything new. The addition of Ghost Rider marks the introduction of the mystical which would tie in nicely with the supernatural tone of the film, and it would help tide fans over during the mid-season break that sees the show take a well deserved holiday along with the rest of us. (Here’s hoping May takes the time to recuperate!)
So, those were just a few points to take away from the season premier. Agents of Shield has taken a show spin off from a Hollywood blockbuster, with a limited budget, includes comic characters, is influenced by and reacting to what is happening in the MCU, has different filming schedules from the movies and still manages to be an exciting and engaging show. If that isn’t a feat to be in awe of then paint me purple and call me Thanos (cause you know, Cosplay comp in a month. . .)
4 out of 5 Stars