Plotlines Converge on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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

‘Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire’ Plot Summary:

While May (Ming-Na Wen) recovers from her revival, a hesitant Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) helps Daisy (Chloe Bennet) fight the Watchdogs and Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) clashes with S.H.I.E.L.D. during their investigation of Momentum Labs.

Would you look at that? Just one week after I questioned the inclusion of the Watchdogs and we’re seeing some meaningful convergence between that and the main storyline for the season. Good for you, S.H.I.E.L.D.

With Daisy leaving the Reyes household the way she did last week, including both the Watchdogs and the Ghost Riders arc in this week’s installment is an effective way to kill two birds with one stone. The way the episode constructs it gives us a lot of information on certain characters. We learn Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons are looking for place to live together, stuff about Reyes’ uncle, and we get to see what’s up with James, AKA Hellfire (Axle Whitehead).

It seemed like there was no room for James with Ghost Rider around, so it’s nice to see the mischievous Aussie again. Him working at a fireworks shop is a perfect fit for his character, even though he’s not so happy with his life at the moment. His defection to the Watchdogs’ side comes as a shock and good twist. However, it doesn’t make the most sense. James’ life wasn’t that great before he went through Terrigenesis. He lived in a hovel by himself, with a wire fence and landmines guarding his front yard. The most exciting part of his day appeared to be drinking alone and watching TV, and who knows how he paid the bills? Still, as a means of developing Ghost Rider, his turn to evil is necessary. Now Ghost Rider has his iconic flaming chain, so I can’t complain too much. I will say though that I wish their fight scene were longer.

If there’s another standout scene for this episode, it’s Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) pursuit of Ghost Rider. If I’m not mistaken, it ends at the 6th Street Viaduct in Los Angeles (featured in movies such as Grease, Terminator 2, and Drive). I could be mistaken though, since the bridge was demolished in January. Anybody reading, feel free to let me know. Anyway, not the best car chase ever, considering neither of their cars used their special abilities, but exciting nonetheless. I especially like how it ends.

Speaking of ending, it appears the endgame for the Ghost Rider story is this Darkhold book. It’s a fascinating fusion of the more supernatural/mystic and the scientific, with the Spirit of Vengeance, the ghosts, the book, and this machine they were building at Momentum Labs. Even the characters themselves notice how this case appears to differ from what they’re used to. It feels like it’s only a matter of time before we see the Devil himself, or whoever made a deal with Robbie. That’s something to look forward to, I’d say.

Overall, a quality episode that sets up interesting things to come, between character and plot progression and exposition about the mythology. At the same time, the episode mixes in past elements, including a Coulson introduction reminiscent of his appearance in the first Iron Man.

And Coulson’s joke to May about making a club and shirts for people returning from the dead is gold. I have to give the episode a positive score, if just for that.

RATING: 7 OUT OF 10 (GOOD)

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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