This week of Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. continued the team up with the Agents and the vigilantes (Daisy and Ghost Rider). Last week Daisy landed back with Coulson and then gang as they were investigating the anti-Inhuman group the Watchdogs. Now there are bigger fish to fry, and Lucy and the other scientists-turned-ghosts are trying to find the Darkhold, the ancient “Book of Sins.” The one person they need to find is Ghost Rider’s uncle Eli, who is currently locked up in prison for the brutal assault of one of the Momentum lab scientists.
The episode begins showing us our first look at the Darkhold book in a flashback as scientists Lucy and Joseph finding the mysterious book. As soon as they open it, we learn a little bit about the mystic book. The book is able to “read” each person who tries to read it. Lucy’s native language is English, so she can read it in English. Joseph’s native language was originally German, so the letters appear to him in German. We find later on, that thanks to her transformation, Lucy can no longer see the pages of the book. She needs to find Eli, so it’s off to the prison she goes.
Mack and Coulson try to interrogate Joseph, but since ghost Lucy touched him, he’s now infected with the same hallucination-inducing sickness that claimed May a few weeks ago and he quickly dies due to the shock of seeing the hallucination of black-eyed Coulson and Mack. With nowhere to go, Mack and Coulson decide they need to have another go-round with Eli, who’s locked up in prison. Coulson has been playing this investigation off the books, and decided not to tell Director Mace about Darkhold and they go to the prison with Daisy and Ghost Rider.
Meanwhile, Simmons has her scheduled lie detector test and it’s going to be hard to keep the secret of AIDA away from Director Mace. Lucky for her, just as the lie detector machine is about to catch her in a big lie, Director Mace needs her help. Turns out, he needs debate help for his debate with Nadeer on George Stephanopoulos’s show (with an interesting cameo by the news anchor). As the interview commences, we learn a little bit about Director Mace. He was at the UN in Vienna when it was bombed in Captain America: Civil War by Helmut Zemo and emerged as a hero helping the injured there. As the debate with the Inhuman-hating senator takes a turn, Mace decided to drop the bomb that he is in fact, an Inhuman. Surprisingly, this works in his favor as his poll numbers (and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s) go up as a result. The director then thanks Simmons for her help, but she still has the lie detector test to go on with. Simmons manages to out-politic him as she reveals the truth that she knows he’s not the hero he claims to be. As a result, Mace relents and excuses her from the lie detector test.
At the prison, all hell is breaking loose. The guards have become infected by Lucy and are attacking the agents as well. We get to see the return of Coulson’s “Captain America” energy shield sprouting from his robot hand as he defends himself from the guards shooting bullets. To make matters worse, Lucy has released the prisoners to slow them down. We are treated to an impressive and well-choreographed fight scene between the Agents (specifically Daisy) and the inmates in the prison cafeteria.
Elsewhere, Mack and Ghost Rider are trying to find his uncle. However, Robbie notices the ink of a gang from his hood, in fact, the gang is responsible for his younger brother being crippled from their drive by. At first, Robbie blows it off at Mack’s insistence. However, after they rescue his uncle, he wants to enact his vengeance. As he talks with the gang leader it is revealed that the gang didn’t make the call to put the hit out on him, they just took up the order. So who did, and did they signal Robbie out on purpose? We don’t get to find that out because Robbie burns the gangster to a crisp. In the commotion, Lucy finds Eli and escapes with him. She needs him to translate the text from the Darkhold since she cannot ready it anymore.
The end is somewhat surprising as we see Senator Nadeer and Director Mace have a one-on-one in the aftermath of their debate. Because they are both politicians, the meeting is not too surprising. They don’t appear to be colluding, but they don’t not appear to be colluding either. She then reveals to him that Coulson has been working with Ghost Rider and Daisy, two vigilantes and she will send it to the press. The directors then ask her what does she want.
Overall, the episode didn’t have much forward storytelling. It did give some great insights to Director Mac e as he may not be as squeaky clean as we thought he was when we first met him. There is a cool Easter egg referencing the original Ghost Rider in the form of a poster for the Quentin Carnival, made famous in the comics by Johnny Blaze, the original Ghost Rider. Also, Eli’s look of amazement at the Darkhold is intriguing. Was he more involved with the scientists than we previously thought?
Next week will give us the true origin story for Robbie Reyes, and we will get to see how he became the Spirit of Vengeance.