By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.
We got a Ghost Rider origin story in this episode, and it was an exciting one. So the shooting that put Gabe in a wheelchair and gave Robbie the Ghost Rider persona wasn’t gang violence as much as it was a hired hit (this was hinted at last week before Robbie burned the guy in the cell). Now we know that the hit was paid for by one of Lucy’s cohorts and that it was actually intended for Eli Morrow. We also learned that Eli isn’t nearly as innocent as we thought; in fact, he’s responsible for the accident that caused Lucy and the group to become ghostly specters. The writers did a nice job of taking these seemingly random events and tying them together in the end. They also did a good job of creating some unexpected tension between Robbie and Gabe. I don’t think we’ve gotten a clear idea what Gabe thought on Ghost Rider before this episode, but it’s clear now that he hates what that power has done to Robbie. Seeing him watch as his brother repeatedly punched Director Mace (I purposely didn’t say “beat” because I’m not sure Mace was actually hurt in this fight) was a sad way of showing us how far Robbie has fallen in Gabe’s eyes. Robbie has now lost the support of Gabe, SHIELD, and Coulson. He’s got nothing left to lose now and that makes him a more intriguing character.
No Doctor Stranger
So after all that speculation, the story arc of Lucy and the gang looks like it has nothing to do with this week’s upcoming release of Doctor Strange. While there’s still a chance that the Darkhold, the mysterious book that ultimately caused the people to become ghostly specters, has something to do with the mystic arts, the technology that caused the accident was actually a callback to the last season of Agent Carter. If you watched it, and I’m guessing you didn’t or else this fantastic series would still be on the air, then you remember that Dr. Wilkes spent the season as a hologram-like figure. This was due to an accident caused while researching zero matter.
This is an odd move by the writers. With a new Marvel release happening in just a few days, and a seemingly solid hint at a tie-in to that release, why would the writers choose to callback to Agent Carter? Don’t get me wrong, I loved that series and wish it got a third season either on ABC or Netflix, but why would the writers go in this direction? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe this will still all tie-in to Doctor Strange with next week’s episode? We’ll just have to see, but I would prefer if Agents of SHIELD just told it’s own independent stories if it’s only going to barely reference the larger MCU.
Jeffrey Mace and Phil Coulson
I wouldn’t say the conflict between Mace and Coulson came to a head in this episode, but it’s getting close. In an alternate reality, Mace has every reason to distrust Coulson and search his plane for Daisy and Robbie, but this isn’t an alternate reality; this is Agents of SHIELD and Phil Coulson is right every single damn time. It won’t be too long before everyone finds out that Mace is working with Senator Nadeer, and it won’t be long after that before they find out that Nadeer is working with the Watchdogs. The new SHIELD is still in its infancy and it’s already about to be brought down by scandal and corruption. As long as it ends with Coulson back to being the head of SHIELD then I’m happy with whatever happens along the way.
Thanks for reading!