Secret Origins are a major part of the superhero game, so when it’s time to learn the dark genesis of Ghost Rider, the subtitled star of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s a big deal. Did Robbie really sell his soul to the Devil? Let’s find out. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “The Good Samaritan.”
Back in the Day
We open on a flashback labeled ‘back in the day.’ Last time it was ‘then.’ Why are the showrunners so afraid to tell us when this happened? We see Elias Morrow driving the not-yet-demonic Dodge Charger to work at Momentum Labs. Using a book, the Darkhold obviously, Lucy and Joseph Bauer create carbon out of thin air. When Eli questions it, Joseph tells him to shut up and do what he’s told. Alas, we’re not getting all the facts here, things may not be as they seem.
From what we’re seeing, maybe Eli had more to do with these experiments than we have been led to believe. He has many degrees, we’ve been told, and apparently nearly beat Joseph Bauer to death for what he had done. The Elias Morrow of the comics is an evil bastard, so what is the missing piece? Perhaps we are seeing the man through the eyes of his nephews, and not clearly and objectively. Maybe he went with Lucy willingly at the end of the last episode?
For his own protection, Daisy retrieves Robbie’s little brother Gabe and brings him on board the Zephyr One. He’s a smart kid, and makes quick assumptions. He thinks Robbie is a secret agent, and has no clue about Ghost Rider, yet. Of course based on Senator Nadeer’s info, the new Director is demanding to also board Zephyr One, to apprehend Quake and Ghost Rider. When they have to hide from Mace, Robbie tells Gabe, and Daisy, the truth.
In the flashback (also ‘back in the day’) I love the camaraderie between pre-Ghost Rider Robbie and pre-wheelchair Gabe. It’s really nice to see actor Gabriel Luna smile. They borrow Eli’s Charger to go racing and are attacked (by hoods hired by Joseph Bauer we later learn). There’s an accident and the Charger flips over. Gabe remembers Robbie looking dead and he wasn’t able to feel his legs. Then the Good Samaritan arrived.
The Good Samaritan
As both Robbie and Gabe are telling the story of that night back in the day, they fill in each other’s details. Robbie was dead. The Good Samaritan was a biker whose face Gabe didn’t see who pulled them to safety, and when he touched Robbie, he was alive. At least that’s what Gabe saw. My first thought was that this Good Samaritan was Johnny Blaze. Would they go this way? Could that also have been Johnny on that Quentin Carnival poster last episode?
As he flew from the car to his death, Robbie pleaded with whoever would listen to spare Gabe, for a second chance, for revenge, and then the Good Samaritan arrived. This man passed on what was within him to Robbie. One might believe that the Good Samaritan was Johnny Blaze, but Robbie believes that he was the Devil. If one is well versed in the origin of the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider, it could be a little bit of both – as he was possessed by Zarathos.
Ghost Rider vs. Patriot
With Daisy, Robbie, and Gabe in the sky elevator/containment unit outside the plane, Coulson gives Mace a tour of Zephyr One claiming they’re not there. The verbal sparring between Coulson and Mace is clever and cool, but the Director is not playing around – he knows where they are. Mace is determined to take them in, but when Fitz shows up, mentioning they had found Eli, Robbie wants out – and when Robbie wants out, the Ghost Rider comes out to play.
We witness one of the most tense moments in the show’s recent memory when Ghost Rider smashes his way out of the impregnable cell, which had previously held Lash and Hive. Mace isn’t worried, after all he’s an Inhuman with super-strength. He moves in to apprehend Ghost Rider, and it’s on. The scuffle is rough, and crazy. I don’t think either of them expected the other to be quite as powerful as they are, but Ghost Rider beats the Director down definitively. Unable to sway the Ghost Rider, Robbie sets the tone of the negotiations. S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to do what he says.
They’re going to save Elias, and happily that also falls in line with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s objectives as well, because Lucy has the Darkhold as well as Eli, and Ghost Rider can stop Lucy. There’s an Isodyne namedrop that folks might remember from Agent Carter. Absorbed by Roxxon, they worked on zero matter, or as it’s known in the Marvel Universe, the darkforce. The old Isodyne Labs is where Lucy could be doing her dirty work with Eli.
S.H.I.E.L.D. and Robbie go after Lucy at Isodyne. When they get there, Robbie confronts Lucy while the rest go rescue his uncle. But then the truth comes out, Elias Morrow is the big bad, not Lucy, not Joseph. Eli wanted to create matter and be a god. We get our cliffhanger when Morrow exposes himself to the Darkhold energy and is shown creating matter – the question is what will he do with this power? Nothing good, I bet.
We’re left with several questions. Coulson was in the room when Morrow transformed, where is he now? Coulson told May to take the Darkhold back to Zephyr One, but we never actually see her do it. Does she still have it, or does someone else? And how were the machines at Isodyne powered without the book? And how long will Robbie have leverage over Director Mace? And what was Simmons’ secret mission?
This was another excellent episode, especially because it follows the formula of less subplots and more singular main plot. I’m also a fanboy, so I loved the secret origin aspect, the possible appearance of a legacy character, and the pseudo superhero fight between the Patriot and the Ghost Rider. The lesser role of the angsty Daisy and the greater role of the snarky Coulson might have something to do with it as well.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns November 29th. Based on the supernatural nature of recent storylines, one can’t help but wonder how the events of Doctor Strange will affect the show… What did you folks think of this week’s episode?