Refinancing The Demon Mortgage
After about a month away due to debate coverage and the Thanksgiving break, Agents of SHIELD returned to tie up some lose ends from their cliffhanger and connect a few threads to both Doctor Strange and Agent Carter(RIP). “Deals With Our Devils” offered a few twists and turns to go with the typical dramatic espionage that the show offers, and managed to give us a dream combination in Mack transforming into the Ghost Rider.
It was only a temporary transformation, as The Rider ripped himself from Robbie’s body, deciding it’d rather not get sucked down into whatever Netherworld, Fitz, Robbie and Coulson found themselves being drawn to. Having their story sync up with the events earlier in the episode was a great play. We’d been left wondering where the blast had sent them, only to find out they were right where we’d last seen them, just on another plain of existence. Slightly further removed than the Ghost Scientists, so unable to actually affect the physical universe. Along with the color swap, the use of camera movement and muted sound made the whole trek feel uneasy and claustrophobic. I’m glad the characters were able to keep some of their witty banter (“Do we look that stupid on comms”) but never distracted from just how screwed they would be if they couldn’t get out of that hell.
And just how did they accomplish that feat? By having the android read the damn Darkhold, that’s how. In keeping with MCU tradition, the worst ideas will always be presented as the obvious option AND still the worst idea. I’m looking at you Ultron. In this case, Aida, not actually being human, was a working loophole to the madness the Darkhold induces. She was able to absorb the information and recreate a portal to the Netherworld to retrieve our team. Bridging the gap between the shows science, and the magical elements of Doctor Strange. Of course, they couldn’t get away with this scot free, and Aida is now seemingly reconstructing a brain to insert into her coding. Yep. You should have let the android read the evil book.
Elsewhere in “Deals With Our Devils”, Mack was used as a vessle to continue The Riders vengeance tour 2016. The man may not be on a personal blood hunt, but we learned that he carries enough pain around to run flaming 68 Hemi Cuda. It’s a really fast muscle car. Still, Mack transforming into the Ghost Rider was cool as shit, for the limited amount of time we spent with him. No flaming shotgun-axe though. I are disappoint.
Eventually, Robbie re-upped on his deal, promising to help The Rider with ALL of his vengeance targets, in exchange for letting Mack go. That didn’t leave Mack unscathed though, and we’re likely to see these two pair up for a while as Mack tries to put his life back together.
“Deals With Our Devils” showed just how far these characters are willing to go in order to save the people they care about, or in the very least, do what they think is the right thing. Even Director Mace is carrying out black mask missions for Senator Nadir, which aren’t exactly on the up and up, but he’s sure that assisting her is keeping her more nefarious ideals at bay. Not really the case. The mid-season finale is next week, which means the jump start this episode provided only leads to another hiatus. One that will surely end in crying and mayhem. That’s how things tend to go for the agents. Now that the season has a common, and very powerful enemy, it’ll be interesting to see what differences are put aside to handle him.