***AS ALWAYS, SPOILERS MAY HAPPEN! YOU WERE WARNED, TRUE BELIEVERS!***
First off, it seems that the events Captain America: Civil War have affected the MCU in a big way, with the Sokovia Accords forcing all superhuman beings to register, or become wanted criminals. And now after the president of the United States is aware of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s continued existence, the organization and all of its members are registered and once again under government jurisdiction.
What makes all of this interesting is that Coulson is no longer S.H.I.E.L.D. director. Somewhere in between seasons, a NEW S.H.I.E.L.D. director was assigned. Who is it? Well, they are keeping that from us at the moment. I have a few guesses. More on that later.
ONE of the Agents has not signed the Accords and has gone rogue. Daisy Johnson, now known as the vigilante Quake, has distanced herself and is hunting down the remaining members of the anti-Inhuman hate group, The Watchdogs. Daisy started out as a rebel hacker on the run, now with her skills training with S.H.I.E.L.D., her powers and her anger after losing almost everyone she became close to, she is a one-woman war on bigoted scumbuckets. Coulson (now demoted back down to “Agent Coulson”) and Mack are assigned to track her down (as we saw at the end of last season), but of course they understand that she is out doing what they are now leashed to do freely. Annnd, maybe they aren’t looking too hard.
We were treated to an absolute amazing opening scene in this season premiere, as we are introduced to the new MCU connected Spirit of Vengeance! That’s right, gone is the motorcycle and the Nicolas Cage, welcome to the stage Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes (introduced in the comics in 2014 by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore), the new Ghost Rider! His flaming vehicle of choice? A modified 1986 Dodge Charger. Traditionalists may scoff, but keep in mind, the original Ghost Rider rode a horse.
GR seems to be doing the same thing Daisy is doing, hunting down Watchdogs. Why? Well, we are shown later on in the episode that he has a paralyzed younger brother (played by Fear The Walking Dead’s Lorenzo James Henry, who just might be the luckiest young actor in the world right now), this may be a big clue, although Robbie’s brother is not his reason for being GR in the comics. What I will note, however, is that Robbie’s origin DOES involve a certain Mr. Hyde, Daisy’s father. Could we see Kyle MacLachlan return to the show? Just throwing that out there.
We are also introduced to Holden Radcliffe’s (remember him? The robotics engineer who Hive hired to make genetically mutated monsters for him, which was the oddest request from a tech guy ever?) newest experiment, AIDA. She is basically very similar to Vision, as she is a body for an already existing A.I. He springs this on Leo Fitz, who just thinks he is coming over to watch some soccer.
Suddenly this buck nekkid lady comes walking out and the “too polite for his own good” Fitz doesn’t know where to put his face!! She soon begins to stutter her speech and clearly she is an artificial person. AIDA is played by the beautiful Mallory Janson, by the way, so that doesn't hurt the eyes at all. Fitz can’t warn Radcliffe enough about the dangers of sentient automatons (need we be reminded about a certain maniacal robot named Ultron?!), but like all geniuses, sometimes morality is not in question. He's a creator, so he creates.
AIDA in the comics was originally introduced in the comic Tom Thumb, which doesn’t take place in Marvel’s 616 universe. This is going to become an interesting development in the show, methinks. From Fitz's reaction, could AIDA become a problem in Leo and Gemma's now very REAL relationship?
Now, back to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ and the shake-ups there. It seems that this mysterious new director holds a grudge against Coulson and his team. Save Gemma Simmons who seems to have become his/her lapdog. Very interesting indeed. Melinda May seems to be demoted as well, as she now is in the position of training the younger S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in combat. She is also none too happy about being outranked by the younger Gemma.
Yo-Yo Rodriguez is back too, she is assigned to track down Daisy’s whereabouts as well and she is now seemingly fluent in English. She has also adopted a flirtier attitude towards Mack. He tries to keep things professional....but she wants to get bouncy, if you know what I mean. I gotta admit, this was a MUCH better personality for her. But the change in attitude IS a little peculiar. At any rate, she seems to be in contact with Daisy on the down low. It seems Inhumans stick together.
So who could the new S.H.I.E.L.D. director be? Here are a few contenders.
- Glenn Talbot: I don’t think it is Talbot, because he is mentioned separately from the director. And it is sort of too obvious. But he sure wouldn’t be trusted by the core team, that’s for sure.
- Maria Hill: Sure she gave up her S.H.I.E.L.D. status after Winter Soldier, and we have not seen her since Age of Ultron, where it seems she joined the Avengers staff. But now after the Accords, the Avengers ARE govt. sanctioned, so it’s possible she was assigned to oversee her old teammates. Who would know S.H.I.E.L.D. better than her? And she is the current director in the comics, too. Still, she wouldn’t have any grudges against Coulson.
- Nick Fury: Nah. He’s done being a government lapdog. And also, Coulson’s his boy.
- Secretary “Thunderbolt” Ross: It’s possible. Highly possible that the president would put S.H.I.E.L.D. under his care. And he would obviously not be too keen on Team Coulson’s past activities. I’m still not sure how this guy was PROMOTED to secretary of state after unleashing the Abomination on the world, though. That would be like making some reality star the president...
- Bobbi Morse: This would be interesting!! Now that Marvel’s Most Wanted is never to be, Adrianne Palicki is free to return to the show, and likely WILL be coming back at some point. But she would be a VERY fair director to Coulson and the team. This is not likely.
- Lance Hunter: Like Bobbi, Lance is likely to come back to some degree. And he wouldn’t be trusted as a director for a whole different set of reasons! Nah...no way would “hothead” Hunter be put in this position.
- Sharon Carter: It’s not clear whether anyone found out that she helped Captain America in his mission to save Bucky, but like Hill, it seems she is done with being a spy. Still, with that family name...she seems very fit to lead S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Tony Stark: I only mention him because in the comics he was the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and it would be just amazing to see Robert Downey Jr. FINALLY show his face on this show. It’s totally not gonna happen though.
- A Totally NEW Character Altogether: This is very possible. And likely the most possible route to go. I would personally like to see an agent from the comics that’s yet to be adapted, like G.W. Bridge, Abigail Brand, Clay Quartermain, Valentina Allegra De Fontaine or someone like that. And of course the show is not above creating someone entirely new or resurrecting someone like Victoria Hand or Robert Gonzales.
Of course, the big thing everyone is talking about it Ghost Rider. Yes, the season premiere did not hold back and we get to see Robbie full-on “Ghost Out” and there’s even a fight between Ghost Rider and Quake! Let me tell you, for a show that has been known to cut corners, they spared no expense on the CGI for Ghost Rider! It was movie quality and will put this show back on top for Marvel fans. In fact, this was exactly the kind of stuff that I think the fans were expecting out of an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show to begin with. Seeing popular Marvel lore characters brought to the small screen with the CGI quality we expect out of a Marvel movie. I was always understanding that that is not always so simple out of a brand new, untested show on network television. But as I suspected it would, AoS paid its dues for 4 seasons and we now are getting a top-notch show here!
I didn’t even do a recap of last season because this really did feel like a whole new era for the show. The episode was very fresh, new and edgy. Not to spoil too much, but this season will definitely be delving into the supernatural aspects of the MCU, likely to coincide with the Doctor Strange film. I’m not sure if we are dealing with Malice, a known Fantastic Four and X-Men villain with the same name as an unrelated Ghost Rider villain, but it sure feels like her M.O., as she is a body hopping apparition and the episode ends with May definitely possessed by something like that. Just an educated guess, but I’m not sure where the rights to that character is at the moment. We will need to wait and see if I am right.
Well, I could not suggest a better time to jump on board with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or jump back on board if you fell out of interest with the show. And for those of us that stuck with it, we are being treated to quite possibly the most ambitious and potentially action-packed season yet!
Stay tuned to next week’s review! Bleed out!