I See Kinda Dead People
Agents of SHIELD came roaring into season 4 with a darker tone, and a fresh take on the Ghost Rider character in episode 1. Episode two, Meet The New Boss, expanded upon the supernatural side of things, including a cold open featuring ghosts, and some pretty specific name drops.
The opening scene with the one of the ghostly figures released from “the box” had a nice horror spin to it. One that I thought would continue throughout the episode, but the more we learned about the sepia toned spectres, the less horrific they seemed. Yes, the body horror, with various wounds, and the tattered clothing led us to believe they were ghosts, but the more pseudo-science we got from Fitz, Simmons and Mack, the less scary the figures became. It also didn’t help that they still partook in the standard banality of inter-office talk, while oozing and fading from existence. Took some of the bite from their presence.
What worked best in Meet The New Boss was the interaction between Daisy and Robbie. Although, from a personal standpoint, I don’t agree with bringing problems to someone’s job, it was possibly the only place Daisy could confront Robbie without getting turned into a Kenny Rogers Rotisserie. Not that she got away from her habitual line stepping unscathed, without SHIELD tech to keep her powers in check, her arms are mostly fractured at this point. Didn’t stop her from using them to catapult onto Robbie’s car as he tried to speed away.
Through their conversations, Robbie revealed that he may be the key to what’s happened at Momentum Labs and a solid bridge between the sci-tech heavy world of the MCU and the more supernatural elements that’ll be introduced in Doctor Strange. Directly naming The Darkhold or Book of Sins, which is fairly important in Doctor Strange lore. We’re seemingly on another collision of storylines much like we were after Winter Soldier turned the MCU on its head.
Back at the base, we were finally introduced to the new Director of SHIELD, because the title of the episode is Meet The New Boss. And he was, fine. Clearly there was something behind those pearly whites, and childlike enthusiasm, but so far there doesn’t appear to be anything nefarious to his actions. In fact, we learn later in the episode that he is an Inhuman. Acting as “one of the good ones” to show that humans and Inhumans can live and work among one another, specifically, when it comes to matters of global protection. He hasn’t been named yet, and I don’t want to speak on rumors for spoiler reasons, but his character would tie into the MCU in an organic nature.
Meet The New Boss also expanded on May’s condition, which has gone from 0-100. After seemingly holding off whatever was forcing the other victims to act erratically, seeing ghoulish figures and all, it was if confronting her condition actually made it worse. May couldn’t separate friend from foe, and began to beat the dog shit out of anyone she could get her hands on. Not exactly the person you’d want on a murderous rampage in closed quarters. So, she’s been taken in for psych evaluations, while the rest of the team finds a way to cure those affected
The team is still fractured, and Daisy would rather ride shotgun with the flame headed one who “asked for vengeance, and got it”. She still doesn’t believe that he “sold his soul to the devil”, which is a good stance for her to take given her background. Again, SHIELD has specifically dealt in science thus far. She can act as the audience vessel as more of Ghost Rider’s story is introduced. In doing so, maybe they’ll make Daisy a little less annoying in her motivations. I love that Fitz pointed out that ALL OF THEM had been through some pretty rough times as of late, and chose to handle it together, instead of running off, while still attempting to do “her job”. There is a way to execute her story, without making her seem so glib. Still, Agents of SHIELD has had two strong episodes to begin the season, with a lot of room to maneuver and build.