Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 1 “The Ghost”

7.9 Overall Score
Directing: 8/10
Writing : 9/10
Acting : 10/10

Gabriel Luna as Ronnie Reyes|The new team status quo|supernatural tone

Mid-level production and FX

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Season Four-Episode One: “The Ghost”

Written by: Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen,

Starring:

Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
Henry Simmons as Alphonso “Mack” MacKenzie
John Hannah as Holden Radcliffe
Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes / Ghost Rider

TV show created by Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Joss Whedon
Based on the comic book series created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby 

 

Still reeling from the repercussions of last season’s ending, our once familiar team of agents find themselves separated and re-assigned. Coulson is no longer director, Fitz and Simmons are working R&D, Melinda May is back training new recruits, and Daisy aka Quake is now a fugitive In-Human, labeled a criminal, and hiding from the people who were once her friends. The Sakovia Accords, introduced into the MCU after the fallout of Captain America: Civil War, adds further pressure to an already combustible situation. Everyone’s path starts to converge as all parties descend onto Los Angles, seeking an elusive, possible urban legend who has been violently attacking and executing criminals in a seemingly supernatural manner.

The big question on everyone’s mind when the promotional images for this season starting popping up was “How soon?” Even once casual fans of AOS were dying to see how and when the MCU would summon the long awaited, fan-favorite, and rumored Ghost Rider into their ever growing world. The answer, surprisingly, was about five minutes. Ronnie Reyes aka the new Ghost Rider makes his flaming debut in the episode’s cold opening, and it’s vicious. Slightly hidden in shadow, Ghost Rider and his supped up, flame wheeled muscle car make short work of a group of Russian mob thugs. He maims, burns, crunches steel and splatters blood. It’s obvious the show is benefiting from its new 10pm time slot, as the action and violence are taken up several notches. It’s like something out of a horror movie, a genre the MCU has yet to really explore (Doctor Strange, we are waiting for you!).

Full disclosure; I am a fan of the MCU movies, but AOS failed to really capture me. I have always watched it sporadically, skipping episodes and letting them sit in my DVR for weeks. But I absolutely think the introduction of Gabriel Luna as Ronnie Reyes has injected new heat and life into the show. Old school Marvel heads will grumble that it’s not original Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze, or his equally beloved (in some circles) protégé Danny Ketch. Reyes is a fairly new character, but having a Spirit of Vengeance that drives a supped up car on the streets of  L.A. illegal race culture is actually great. In a post-Fast and The Furious world, it’s almost a stroke of genius. And Luna is both tragic and menacing as Reyes, two qualities necessary for any Ghost Rider.

However the entire episode is not just about the Rider, as we are treated to solid plots involving Coulson accepting his new role as a field level agent, and Fitz and Simmons balancing a relationship amidst having to keep secrets from each other in a S.H.I.E.L.D operating under a mysterious new Director.

Daisy/Quake’s story is also strong, as we see her adapting to being a loner. She seems to be striking out as an unregistered In-Human, a detail that adds a few levels now that the Sakovia Accords have become the norm in this world. Again solid stuff.

The one negative is, as it always has beem with this show, the lowered production values, and effects that come from being the sole network show in a universe where your sister stories are either elegantly produced Netflix originals or big-budget Hollywood blockbuster movies.

So final verdict; the show is off to a god start, with a velocity not seen in prior season openers. Having Ghost Rider is a wise choice. As is shaking things up by adding an element of the supernatural in an otherwise science and tech-filled world. Also, I think Marvel learned a thing or two from the success of their Netflix shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the upcoming Luke Cage) as the added darkness only strengthens what was dangerously close to becoming too procedural.

 

 

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Author: Manny Gomez View all posts by
Manny Gomez is a freelance writer based out of Florida's west coast. He obsessively reads interviews, binge watches TV shows, loves comics, movies, punk rock, hip-hop, stand-up comedy, detective novels and the mythology of baseball. His best friend is a dog. Follow him on Twitter @Manny1138

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