Agents Of SHIELD Ghost Rides The Whip
There are actual comic book characters within this show now. About time, too.
A lot of shows like to start their season premieres with a comprehensive set of previouslies so that new viewers won't be lost. Not this show! Not a single previously is shown. This is presumably because it would be confusing to remind people that Coulson used to be the Director of SHIELD (he's just an agent now) or that Fitz had a brain injury for about half of a season (he's feeling much better now) or that Daisy Johnson used be an agent named Skye (now she's a vigilante called Quake). And let's not even get into whether SHIELD officially exists or not. Much better to just start over.
Pretty Cool, Huh, Kids?
The Scene: A mysterious dude in a '69 Charger attacks some goons while Daisy gets ready for action.
The Symbol: The wicked cool car. Also there are flames. And Daisy's in her underwear.
The Meaning: There will be plenty of action this season. It might be incoherent or somewhat offensive, but it will be action!
One Sweet Ride
Actually, you know what? That last section sounded a little cynical. And we don't need to be cynical, do we? Can't we just enjoy the awesomeness of a totally awesome car that spits fire? Especially if it's flipping through the air after being hit by a rocket launcher, and then it lands on all four wheels after enveloping itself in flames. That's just neat.
They Do Know The Season Has Started, Right?
What's the game? Backgammon.
Who's playing? Coulson and Mack.
Why? They don't have anything else to do.
What about all that action we were promised? Well...they're gambling on the games. That's a kind of action.
Was this scene put in by the Backgammon Council or something? Probably. They had to save their money for years to afford some product placement.
Who wins? Usually Mack. Not that we get to see any of the details of this exciting, thrill-a-minute game.
That sounds suspiciously positive. You haven't been paid off by the Backgammon Council, have you? Let's just move on.
That Quote"They say when the rider burns you, he burns your soul."- A dying goon, who's surprisingly insightful into this mythical figure nobody knows anything about -
Place Of Interest
For Legal Reasons, This Is Not A Holodeck
Fitz and Simmons have invented a virtual reality headset that lets them perfectly mimic the experience of being in any environment they can imagine. It could be a beach, or it could be that alien world where Simmons was stranded. But really it's just a virtual laboratory, because they are nerds.
What About The Geneva Convention?
Alert Type: Enhanced Interrogation Alert.
Issue: This mysterious guy with the cool car is interrogating the guy he captured.
Complicating Factors: We're not allowed to see the interrogator yet, because it's supposed to be a big reveal when we finally see the face of the Ghost Rider. Although he's just a dude, so the dancing around is unnecessary at this point. And his subject isn't very forthcoming.
Resolution: The Ghost Rider beats up the goon until he talks. But he's in the Aryan Brotherhood, so you don't have to feel too badly for him.
Spoiler: Even though the guy talks, he's still going to meet a messy, car-assisted end.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
The Polite Nodding Of Raw Sexual Chemistry
Apparently, Coulson and Mack's main job is to go around to Inhumans and make sure that they're not causing trouble. This is attributed to the Sokovia Accords, because everyone can agree that the most exciting part of Captain America: Civil War was the part where people promised not to use their cool superpowers. Mack takes a moment to bond with Elena, who he calls "Yo-yo." They seem like they'd really like to date, but there are rules against fraternization. That's inconvenient from a dramatic standpoint, but it's actually a good policy. If you just let everybody in your covert extragovernmental organization sleep with whomever they want, you end up with Torchwood. Anyway, Mack is trying to follow the rules, but Elena straight-up grabs his junk. There's nothing about that in your precious Sokovia Accords, is there?
Name: Aida (or possibly "Ada," which would be a good name for an AI). Age: A couple months. Occupation: Sexy naked robot. Goal: According to Dr. Radcliffe, perfectly human robots will come in handy because they'll be able to sacrifice themselves instead of letting humans get hurt. But that doesn't really explain why this particular model has to be all sexy and naked, so Fitz naturally suspects that there may be other purposes. Also, Radcliffe promises that there's practically no chance of another Ultron situation. Sample Dialogue: "It's good to meet you, Leopold. Beep boop."
We Are Completely Inconspicuous
Who called the meeting? Daisy.
What's it about? Daisy's looking for the Ghost Rider, because you're not supposed to run people over with flaming cars. Elena denied knowing where Daisy was, but she happily shares all the information she got out of Mack.
How'd it go? Apparently SHIELD, with its infinite resources and various ridiculous technologies, cannot track Elena when she's on a bus. And Elena slips Daisy some drugs to help with her problems with bone splinters. Yes, bone splinters. That's what happens when you use earthquake powers twenty times a day.
You Got My Good Side
As Daisy searches Los Angeles for a clue to Ghost Rider's whereabouts, she runs across a well-informed graffiti artist. Although no one knows anything about the Rider, the mural includes a flaming skull and a really detailed rendition of a 1969 Dodge Charger. It's not entirely plausible, but it does look cool. And that's going to have to be good enough.
for not just having a flaming skull already
Name: Robbie Reyes
Last Seen: Working at a picturesque junkyard.
Likely Punishment: Having his head set on fire.
Reward: You get to toast a marshmallow or two.
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Fight! Fight! Fight!
Ghost Rider vs. Quake
It is an unbreakable rule that whenever two comic book heroes meet for the first time, they must fight. And that's even more unbreakable when both heroes are acting as vigilantes, because each thinks they're facing criminals.
Winner: It's a draw, because there's also a rule that they have to separate after fighting, each coming away with a grudging respect for the other. Plus, Ghost Rider can apparently tell who deserves death, so he spares Daisy's life against her wishes.
Plot Lightning Round
This Is What SHIELD Does Now?
Coulson and Mack are monitoring an arms deal that has a tangential connection to anything else that happened in the episode. Those guys that Ghost Rider killed were involved in the deal somehow, and that's what led them here. But whatever is being sold is...well, haunted. Apparently.
The ghost drives all the baddies crazy and they go nuts attacking each other with machine guns. When this happens, Mack and Coulson have to abandon their original plan, which was to just watch everything and hope that Daisy showed up. They call for backup, and May's team appears instantly.
This is because they had been sent by the director of SHIELD to stop the Daisy plan. The director, incidentally, is only ever referred to as "The Director," so when we finally learn who it is, it will be a really disappointing surprise.
This Guy Would Make A Great Tattoo
In the course of fighting Daisy, Robbie explains that he only kills people who deserve it. And he's not the one who makes that call. And that's when his head catches fire. In case you were afraid that they were just calling some rando "Ghost Rider." Nope! Full-on flaming skull here!
Wrap It Up
Robbie Reyes turns out to have a good side. Or at least a brother he helps into his wheelchair. Daisy takes careful note of this, but it's not clear if she's deciding he's a good guy or just making note of his weaknesses.
Back at SHIELD, May plays some backgammon (the game of emperors and potentates! Minutes to learn but a lifetime to master!) with Coulson and warns him that the director wants to talk to him.
And while they talk, May sees Coulson's face go weird, because she got lightly haunted in the encounter. But she shakes it off. Probably nothing will come of it.