Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: A Speed Bump for Ghost Rider

Agents-of-SHIELD-Season-4-Ghost-Rider-Vengeance

‘Uprising’ Plot Summary:

While the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. deals with worldwide blackouts, supposedly by Inhumans fighting against government registration, Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Radcliffe (John Hannah) race against time to save a deteriorating May (Ming-Na Wen).

We’re back, again. The season was just starting to pick up when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took an unexpected hiatus, I’m guessing for the Vice Presidential Debate last week. Talk about strange. Why else take a break just two episodes into the fall season?

Photo Credit: ABC/Jennifer Clasen
Photo Credit: ABC/Jennifer Clasen

Anyway, this whole episode feels a bit strange in its placement within the season. Instead of focusing on the intriguing developments with the ghosts last episode, we’re reunited with an old enemy, the Watchdogs. I’ve already gone on record saying that I’m not crazy about the Watchdogs. I understand their narrative purpose but I question putting them in just as Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) was getting interesting. Ghost Rider is still in the episode and we’ll talk about that, but more on the Watchdogs.

The inclusion of the Watchdogs was actually effectively neutered by the promos for this episode since they gave it away, so that’s a mistake on ABC’s part. The blackout premise is kind of cool but it could have been better if it wasn’t the Watchdogs behind it. It does give us some impressive fight choreography in a few cases. The highlight of the episode is Simmons and Radcliffe working on May. Perhaps I should have seen it all telegraphed, but I was genuinely surprised to see the power go out on them. I almost thought she would die for a moment. I certainly didn’t think of the solution.

Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Robbie are also affected by the blackout, but aside from one good fight scene it’s more quiet character building, particularly with his brother Gabe (Lorenzo James Henrie). It’s nice to see that the show is developing him to be more than just a victim, but it’s nothing that engaging. At this point I’m more invested in Ghost Rider’s mythology than him as a character. However, his relationship with Daisy continues to be enjoyable.

Photo Credit: ABC/Jennifer Clasen
Photo Credit: ABC/Jennifer Clasen

In contrast, whatever’s going on between Mack (Henry Simmons) and Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) just isn’t doing it for me. Whereas Mack has grown on me, Yo-Yo has never been much beyond her neat powers, and even those are starting to become tiresome. And her storyline earlier in the episode isn’t that great. I’m undecided if I like how her ordeal with her friends ends. No doubt Mack and Yo-Yo will become a thing though and that will up both their chances of dying. As stated in a previous review, love interests have a bad track record on this show.

Even though this is not the finest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. by any stretch of the imagination, it has good elements, particularly May’s death and revival and the fights. Perhaps the biggest strength is the set-up. Not only is a shadow organization funding the Watchdogs, S.H.I.E.L.D. is officially back, baby! Still, I guess the notion of the sum of the parts not being equal to the whole is really true is some cases, just in the negative sense for this episode. Hopefully the show will regain the momentum it lost.

We’re counting on you next week, Ghost Rider.

RATING: 6.5 OUT OF 10 (AVERAGE)

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Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in television and film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky

Aaron Sarnecky is The Pop Break’s Television Editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a TV/Film grad of Rowan University and the fraternal twin of staff writer Josh Sarnecky. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed.