‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap: S4E2: “Meet The New Boss”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is already off to a strong start.  The season premiere gave us the first look at Robbie Reyes, AKA Ghost Rider who in the comic book is the “Spirit of Vengeance.”  So far, he’s been depicted as a supernatural serial killer, but towards the end of the first episode, he revealed to Daisy that there’s a method to is madness.  Of the people he’s killed so far, none of them are innocent.  In a sense, he’s the supernatural version of Dexter Morgan from the Showtime series Dexter.  Daisy has been tracking down the Tea Party themed anti-Inhuman militia, The Watchdogs, and as a result, has crossed paths with Reyes.

Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. is going through some changes as well.  With the “Sokovia Accords” from Captain America: Civil War in place, and the natural distrust of the agency due to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the agency is in need of a makeover.  S.H.I.E.L.D. is going back as a public agency and promises not to repeat the same mistakes of the past.  Agent Coulson is no longer the director, since he is still technically “dead” to the public at large.  The new Director has instituted bureaucracy on a grand scale and now everything is compartmentalized, some people don’t have the same level of clearance they once had.  This is all due to the new boss.

This week we actually get to see the boss and gain a little insight as to how he runs things.  First off, he’s a meetings man, and he’s always late.  He also comes across as a corporate type who’s completely concerned with image and optics.  The big deal this week is putting on a tour for government officials before the agency goes public.  The agency now needs funding from the UN and US government, so he has to put on a charm offensive.  Speaking of which, why do they now need funding.  The past few season when Coulson was running things they didn’t have a funding problem.  Does this mean that they were receiving money from Tony Stark?  Was it black market weapon sales?  That seems to be a question that we need an answer for.  Who better than to offer a tour for the government officials than Coulson.  His SSR and S.H.I.E.L.D. trivia would win him everything on Jeopardy, so the new director enlists Coulson, even though he’s also not really excited with his adventure looking for Daisy last week.  He even comments to Coulson that Daisy could bring everything down in regards to public perception.

Meanwhile, May is slowly losing her mind due to the events of last week.  After the mysterious box was opened, some form of a ghost was released.  People that see the ghosts start to have paranoia as they have extreme hallucinations where people near them seem to have disfigured faces.  This happened to members of a Chinese Mafia group last week and now is happening to May.  It’s interesting because she has always been “The Calvary,” the one agent who is calm and cool, but these new apparitions are making her go insane.  She attacks the team she’s training and ruthlessly beats them (and Coulson) up as they all appear to her with disfigured faces.  The faces are very reminiscent of the villain of the upcoming Doctor Strange film.  The producers already promised that this season will get into the supernatural and will tie into the upcoming Marvel film.  May is finally stopped, by the new Director.  Turns out he’s an Inhuman.  With seemingly unstoppable strength as well as durability, he’s able to take down May with ease.  The reason he was selected as the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. was to put a public face forward for the Inhumans, to show that “not all of them are bad.”  In light of Captain America going “AWOL” after the events of Captain America: Civil War, they need to have a better public face of enhanced (super powered) people.

A little inside baseball:
The Director’s name is Jeffrey Mace.  Comic book fans know the name from the 1940s as “The Patriot.”  The Patriot was a superhero (with no superpowers) from way back in the day who was so inspired by Captain America that he became his own superhero and founded the “Liberty Legion.”  When Captain America went under ice way back when he actually assumed the mantle of Captain America as well.  Now this is probably just an Easter Egg as this version of him has superpowers, but it’s a good callback to the comic book character.

We also get to learn a little bit about the ghost from last season.  Turns out they are scientists of Momentum Alternative Energy Laboratory who experimented with “Darkhold.”  In the comic books, it is called the “Book of Sins.”  In the comic books, Doctor Strange gains access to it and uses it to cast spells against vampires.  The ghosts seemingly scientists who experimented with the Book and as a result have become astral beings that are driving people insane.  

Fitz and Mack go to investigate them and end up running into one of the ghosts who is trying to destroy the facility.  Turns out he’s really pissed about being a ghost and wants to destroy the facility.  After confronting Mack and Fitz, he almost kills Mack by locking him into a radiation chamber.  Mack is saved last minute by Daisy and Ghost Rider.  The Ghost Rider ends up killing the ghost by using his fire powers and setting him ablaze.  Fitz and Mack briefly reunite with Daisy, but she still wants to do things her way as a fugitive to Mack and Fitz disappointment.

Daisy is very much interested in the Ghost Rider and keeps following him.  She already knows that he has one weakness, his younger brother.  As the two trade words of war, it turns into another fist fight between the two of them.  Daisy at first things Ghost Rider is an Inhuman, but he reveals to her that he sold his soul to the devil, keeping intact with the comic book version.  Ultimately though, Daisy decides that she and he are on the same team and they start their version of Bonnie and Clyde and work together to investigate both the Watchdogs as well as the ghost scientists.

The episode ends with the reveal that the Director has taken May away.  There seems to be something a little sinister in what his plans are for her, but who knows what will happen.

Overall, this was a solid episode and has great references to the comic books as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.  With the agency going public, hopefully, this will impact Marvel movies going forward.  The new Director is very intriguing.  As the show goes into the supernatural world of Marvel, this could get interesting.  With the supernatural not only do we have Ghost Rider, but also vampires like Morbius, and perhaps even Blade.  How awesome would it be for Wesley Snipes to have a guest starring role on the show?

Next week promises even more action as they have to deal with a global blackout, riots, and perhaps the death of May???