All through the last episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we were teased and taunted with the identity and agenda of the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., now we finally get to meet him. Plus a second round of Quake vs. Ghost Rider, all this and more in my review of “Meet the New Boss,” after the jump.
Back in the Saddle
We begin, almost as if the summer break didn’t happen, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doing what this show does best – multitask. While implied by the episode title as the A plot, meeting the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is just one of the things being covered in short order in the first five to ten minutes. The tension builds immediately, but will it fizzle or explode?
The ghost from last episode claims more victims but S.H.I.E.L.D. got it on camera and Fitz and Simmons get to examine its energy signature as science meets the supernatural. Keeping with that theme, Daisy decides to stalk and eventually confront the Ghost Rider in his civilian Robbie Reyes identity. She does indeed have a death wish, does she not?
When I first heard the actually name of the new Director, played by Jason O’Mara, it rang a bell, I knew I knew it, but it took a moment to place it. Jeffrey Mace was the Patriot, a World War II superhero who not only fought alongside the All-Winners Squad and the Liberty Legion, but for a while was one of the men who replaced Captain America after the real thing vanished into Arctic waters, believed dead.
Among the hero’s most notable exploits is saving John F. Kennedy after the war. He eventually retired and married Golden Girl, who was a sidekick of the real Captain America for a while. Folks might remember Jason O’Mara as Sam Tyler in the American version of Life on Mars, or as the voice of Batman in the DC Comics animated feature series.
The New Boss
Here on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Jeffrey Mace is one of those bosses. He’s very concerned about keeping people happy, keeping perceptions good, public relations, the kind of boss that would make his people attend team building exercises on a holiday weekend. His mantra is “A team that trusts is a team that triumphs.”
Jeffrey Mace, in Marvel Television Universe continuity, is also an Inhuman with super strength and endurance. With Steve Rogers out of the picture, the powers that be wanted someone like him in charge of the new S.H.I.E.L.D., an enhanced individual, a hero. I’m wondering if we’ll get more of this, a perhaps some costume action?
Probably one of the worst moves Lex Luthor could do would be to show up at the Daily Planet, taunt Clark Kent about his secret identity, and threaten to tell his friends and co-workers. Well, that’s just about what Daisy does to Robbie Reyes. Feigning van trouble she tries to get in his garage and in his head about who he really is and what he’s about.
Robbie doesn’t put up with Daisy’s arrogance long, and soon she’s his prisoner. We learn that, according to him, he’s not an Inhuman, but he’s possessed, having apparently sold his soul to the devil. Everyone that he’s killed deserved it, because vengeance. Trying to put the pieces together however, Daisy mentions Momentum Alternative Energy Laboratories, and Ghost Rider is off again.
The ghost from last episode, named Lucy, finds that she’s been in that box for years. She winds up at that same Momentum place in Pasadena, releasing other dead comrades from similar boxes. They’re seeking revenge on the person who did this to them, but they’re not all that happy with each other either, bickering as they go. Whoever ‘did this to them,’ did it with the Darkhold.
Now that’s just not any Marvel Universe name drop. The Darkhold is bad news, similar to the legendary Necronomicon, this cursed book contains all manner of terrible magic and mayhem. Not only has it been used by Doctor Strange, Mordred, Morgan Le Fay, and Thulsa Doom, but it’s also directly and/or indirectly responsible for vampires, werewolves, and zombies, among other nasties in the Marvel Universe.
Plot lines converge when Mack and Fitz investigate Momentum and find themselves assaulted by these ghosts who have decided to blow the place up, taking a few blocks out with it. Luckily Ghost Rider, with Quake in pursuit save them. GR does not like these ghosts one bit. Mack tries hard to get Daisy to come back, but she refuses. Damn, they’re going to drag this out longer before we get our team back…
Meanwhile back at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, May is still haunted/infected by her interaction with Lucy last time. Like the other affected, she’s seeing everyone with dark hollow eyes, and it drives her to paranoid violence. In the midst of a congressional tour of the facility, Mace stops her. As the episode closes we see her straightjacketed, and Quake and Ghost Rider forming an uneasy alliance.
All in all this was a good episode, with its only flaws that it left me wanting more. I wanted more of Mace’s background, more Quake vs. Ghost Rider, more about the Darkhold, and even more of Coulson’s tour of the former S.S.R. facility now S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters with all the cool Agent Carter name drops. But that said, doesn’t it also indicate the episode was sorely lacking what it should have had?
Beyond the above, I wanted more of the all-too-brief May/Coulson clash, more of FitzSimmons and Mack discussing the possibility of ghosts, and maybe more of Robbie Reyes’ civilian life. After all if Ghost Rider is going to be a permanent fixture, let’s get to know him. Not everything needs to be drawn out over several episodes. I wouldn’t mind more single character spotlights as we had last season.
Next: Uprising, a new enemy, and how can S.H.I.E.L.D. handle a global blackout?