HYDRA is gone. So is Grant Ward, once and for all.
So what now?
Season four is, literally, a whole new world for the agents. The public is welcoming back a new SHIELD, after some controversial changes. Some of them have new jobs, and another’s future may have a tragic end.
The main villain seems to be a mysterious man with a cool car, and a very scary head, who wants vengeance. However, there’s also someone new who claims to be a shield, not a weapon. There’s also what seems to be a ghost.
It’s been six months since the end of season three, and Daisy Johnson is a hunted woman. She may say she’s trying to keep the anti-Inhuman group, The Watchdogs, from harassing enhanced people like her, to everyone else, she a menace and must be put down. The new boss of SHIELD, whoever he is, is making that a top priority. As for Coulson, he’s trying to find for her before the Army does.
As the episode starts, Daisy is after some Watchdogs, but they soon encounter someone with a very cool Dodge Charger that has flames coming out of it. They try to stop the car, but it flips over, just like the evil van from Stranger Things, and keeps on coming. Whoever is driving it kills two of the thugs. A third dies in the hospital because the stranger burned out his soul (?!?). Of course, Daisy is blamed for all this, because who’d believe the truth? That’s how she crosses paths with the Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna).
When Coulson hears about this, he and Mac decide to investigate. It somehow involves some Aryan Brotherhood guys and a mysterious Asian gang who is very interested in a big box.
Meanwhile, things have changed at SHIELD. Coulson is just an agent now, but he has a new hand that even has x-ray vision (and hopefully that virtual SHIELD ray, too). May is busy training new agents, and Simmons is now a special advisor to the new boss. She even tests out new virtual reality programs that might make fighting a little easier, and makes her feel she’s walking on air. However, the new title is not a good fit for her. It’s taking time away from Fitz, and some people resent her new authority, including May. Simmons says she knows this, but it’s important the new boss trust her so that maybe the old SHIELD can be restored. For now, the team is kept apart by red tape and new protocols. That also means she has to tell the boss what Coulson has done.
While Daisy isn’t trusted anymore, Elena Rodriguez, aka Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) is still allowed in SHIELD under the Sokovia Accords. She’s kind of glad to see Mac again, but tells him if he’s interested in what she’s been doing, ask her out instead of using satellite tracking. However, she believes Inhumans should stick together, which is why she finds Daisy at a bus in Los Angeles and they exchange info about the Ghost Rider and Daisy’s status. It’s also revealed Daisy’s powers are taking a toll on her body, which means she needs special drugs. Otherwise, she wants to be left alone.
Daisy tracks down the Rider, whose name is Robbie Reyes. She is angry he killed a teacher and a detective, but he says the cop was corrupt and the teacher was a pedophile. He does those things because a spirit of vengeance is inside him, and it decides who must die. That sets off a big battle, and it looks like he might kill her. In fact, she wishes he could kill her. Her guilt over what she’s done makes her think she’s got a devil inside her. Reyes, though, lets her live. She’s still spying on him, and learns he has a crippled brother. Their paths will keep crossing for a while.
As for Coulson, he sees the Asian gang get the box and open it…and something strange comes out. It looks like the ghost of an old hag, and it delivers “a breath of fresh air” that drives the gang members insane. May and her strike team come in to put them down. However, she also feels the presence of that ghost. Does May know what this is? SHIELD may have dealt with aliens, robots and enhanced people, but the supernatural may be a whole new ballgame it can’t handle.
There’s one more thing: Fitz finds that Dr. Radcliffe (John Hannah)is doing his own version of Ex Machina by creating AIDA (Mallory Jansen), a Life Model Decoy that exists only to be a shield, not a weapon. Fitz isn’t sure about this, since Radcliffe is under a very restrictive pardon. Still, he agrees to keep it a secret until AIDA is perfect. Of course, things will go wrong, maybe in a Westworld type of way.
The current status quo is symbolized by a game of backgammon that bookends the story. Mac tells Coulson sometimes he has to sacrifice everything in order to survive, but in the final scene Coulson and May play just because it’s a chance for both to be alone and quiet, just like the old days,.
It may take a while to get used to this new version of SHIELD, especially when the new boss is expected to arrive next week. There’s also a government official who doesn’t like Inhumans and, maybe, the new boss is involved.
Oh, and in November, someone named Stephen Strange might have an impact, too.
Fans are hoping the agents will survive somehow, and have better luck at 10 PM than it did at 8 and 9 PM
Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on ABC.