We went from mysticism to the dark side of technology with the LMD and Framework storylines. All 3 arcs held their own and were entertaining. The characters grew and changed and the core team (Coulson, Daisy, May, Mack, Yo-Yo, Fitz and Simmons) all seem mentally exhausted by the end of the finale. They’ve all been through the ringer!
*Spoilers below! This is your warning!*
Last week seemed pretty bleak as all the agents woke up from their Framework lives (except Mack, who chose to stay with his daughter who only exists in the program, and Mace who died saving everyone), but at the same time, Aida created a machine using Darkhold magic that “3D prints” a real, organic body and uploads a Framework consciousness into said body. She, of course created a real, living body for herself but also genetically programmed herself to have various Inhuman powers, including Gordon’s teleportation powers, Lincoln Campbell’s electricity powers and a healing factor.
At first, Aida seemed all ready to live her life as a feeling, compassionate human, even saving Mack’s body from drowning at one point, but as soon as Fitz rejected her as a lover...she of course goes full on Fatal Attraction on him, and along with her Russian LMD minions, declares war on all humans. She is by far the most powerful enemy the agents have ever faced! They needed help...and thankfully they get a lucky break (for once), GHOST RIDER IS BACK! And he is thirsty for VENGEANCE! Yeah, baby!
Seems Aida’s shenanigans using the Darkhold has caused some unbalance in the netherworld, and Ghost Rider is drawn back to Earth to right the wrongs! We get no word on what happened to Robbie’s uncle Eli...but I can only imagine great vengeance was SERVED to his ass! Robbie seems to come back a bit wiser to what his demon is and what is out there in the universe. I believe he has accepted his role as the Rider and his whole purpose. And let me tell you, it’s pretty awesome when a hero understands his purpose. This is no exception. Robbie “retrieves” his ’69 Charger from a S.H.I.E.L.D. holding facility, fires that baby up and takes the fight head-on to Aida and the Superior-bots (and another lackey LMD who we find out about later). He obviously can home into the Darkhold like a tracking device. He lays waste to the LMDs and apparently is able to burn Aida without her being able to heal. This infuriates her, as her plan was to be the hardest “boss fight” in history. Ghost Rider is basically the Game Genie to Aida’s Battletoads (80’s NES kids will get that reference).
We also get a little hint of a romance between Daisy and Robbie. Which I sort of felt was going to happen earlier in the season. It’s nothing blatant, but you can see that they like one another, and it’s something the show could pursue down the line. Personally, I would love to see Ghost Rider get his own show. There’s a lot more they could explore with him, and the special effects when he transforms are absolutely phenomenal. Not many fans would object getting a weekly dose of Robbie Reyes, I'm sure.
That other LMD I spoke of? Well, there’s a a scheduled S.H.I.E.L.D. hearing that General Talbot wants Coulson to be at, because the entire intelligence community seems to think S.H.I.E.L.D. has gone rogue and unleashed killer robots onto the world and murdered the new director (Mace’s body was found somewhere, dumped by The Superior’s men). This new LMD is to be at that hearing along with one of the Superior-bots, masquerading as a Russian bureaucrat. I know, it seems like an illogical conclusion that S.H.I.E.L.D. would destroy itself that way....but anyway.
The LMDs try to get the committee at the hearing to use the Darkhold to rid the world of Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. Nobody seems to be too keen on that wacky idea (why did they think that plan would work!?), and it doesn’t matter, because a Daisy Johnson LMD attempts to assassinate Talbot! She shoots is right in the coconut! Coulson and the gang show up a second too late and shoot the crap out of the LMDs. Talbot is still alive, but only barely. Even though clearly the bad guys were robots, S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to take the blame for this!
All the while that this is going down, Yo-Yo jacked herself into the Framework to convince Mack to wake up. Daisy and the gang hacked clues for Holden Radcliffe to find her and he does (she’s tied to a gurney in some Hydra facility). Thankfully she wasn’t one of the Inhumans that were captured and experimented on by Evil Fitz. The problem is, she’s on borrowed time. Aida doesn’t need the Framework anymore, and she’s gradually destroying it. Pieces of the world are just fading away a little bit at a time. Eventually, Mack and his little girl Hope will go with it. This is a pretty heartbreaking portion of the episode, because Yo-Yo discovers that Mack has no memories of her and she’s more real than Hope. As adorable as Hope is, he has chosen the fantasy. She does understand why once she meets Hope, though. She genuinely feels sadness for Mack, but desperately pleads with him to wake up with her.
We do get them both back, and thankfully instead of despising Yo-Yo for waking him up, he seems thankful to her for taking the chance and at least getting to know a daughter he’s never had the chance to know. He really does seem at peace at the end of it all.
Holden Radcliffe, on the other hand, with his mind only being alive within the Framework, fades away with that world. He becomes a true casualty of his own creations...like most mad scientists. In the end though, he did the right thing and ended his existence a hero, of sorts.
Daisy and Coulson eventually meet up with Robbie and he explains why he’s back. He needs to get the Darkhold back to wherever it belongs. They devise a pretty ingenious plan to trick Aida. She does eventually show up, obviously to win back Fitz, and she threatens the life of Jemma. What happens is they use Aida’s little tricks against her. Jealousy, anger, hate and fear blind her and that becomes her ultimate downfall...being human, basically. It was her desperation for being human that undid her in the end.
Beyond all that, we get the ultimate payoff and get to see Coulson in a way we never thought we’d see. It really is pretty cool. There will be repercussions, though. The extent of those repercussions is unknown though.
Ghost Rider gets back the Darkhold and reveals a new power. He can use his chain to create dimensional portals?! Not a power GR is known for...but it does explain how he came back, at least. He says he is going to make sure the book is put in a “safe place”. The geek in me can only suspect he means Wong’s library, and I would have lost my s#$t for a Benedict Wong cameo (seriously, they couldn’t even get HIM?), but be that as it may...the movies and TV shows of the MCU will likely forever frustrate me in their divisiveness. *sob*
The season ends somewhat happy, even though the team understands that they will likely all end up being arrested and their reputations ruined. At least they decide to face the music as a team and a family. And they do. And then weird stuff happens. And I think I know where it’s going and I always thought we’d see it go there eventually....and they are going to need to hire an actress that is willing to dye her hair green...and I’m not talking about Madame Hydra.
Good stuff could be happening for next season, and we should get to see some Infinity War tie-ins! It’s definitely possible now.
Well, I hope everyone enjoyed my Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reviews for season 4 as much as I have enjoyed writing them! I’m not sure if I will continue writing them next season or do Inhumans instead, but at any rate there’s lots of fun in store! That’s all for now! Bleed out!