AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Premiere Recap: Of Fire, Guilt and New Leaderships

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That was so worth the wait, wasn’t it?

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D returned last night for their fourth season and things couldn’t have been better, if they tried. Picking up pretty much where we left off in the season 3 finale, “The Ghost” immediately introduced us to the new threat of the season – the Ghost Rider.

Even though we only actually met him three quarters into the episode, his presence was felt from the very beginning – from the attack on those guys that Daisy was after, to that hospital room scene where we saw one of the survivors getting killed by an unseen force. What really surprised me, however, was that Ghost Rider is a regular guy named Robbie Reyes. Not being exactly versed in comic canon, I expected him to actually be evil, but that wasn’t the impression I was left with when the episode ended. If anything, it looked like he had been possessed, maybe or doing things that are not entirely in his control? I don’t know, but I am definitely curious to find out more about him.

That said, we need to talk about the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Things are very, very different from the underground organization we all knew and loved. First, Coulson is no longer director. He has been bumped back to field agent and found a new partner in Mack, now that Daisy has gone rogue. The new director seems to be a real hard ass and wants to have control of everything. Even though we haven’t met this mysterious new director yet, their presence was felt through the entire episode and it seems like whoever they are, everyone is afraid of them.

Our beloved team has been torn apart and each member sent to different areas. Coulson and Mack are in the field, barely staying at HQ at all; May is apparently training new operatives and so very pissed off at the new arrangement and hierarchy; Fitz and Simmons are still in the the lab, but Jemma is an assistant to the director, which means she has a higher clearance than anyone else on the team. That means she is privy to information she can relegate to her old team, but she can’t learn any new info – especially if they decide to go rogue, like Mack and Coulson did – because she has to go through a lie detector test every single day when she reports to the director.

So that is the world that our gang lives in as season 4 starts. Mack and Coulson have been searching everywhere for Daisy, who has gone rogue, following the events of the season 3 finale. Her powers have grown and the public knows her as a threat – a very dangerous Inhuman named Quake – because, you know, she causes earthquakes. When mysterious deaths start happening in and around Los Angeles, and reports that she had been seen come into the base, May gets Coulson and Mack to go check it out under the radar.

They set up a bogus mission that they need to check the Inhumans that have signed the Accord in the LA area, and to our surprise, Elena is the one who shows up to check in. Apparently, she and Mack have gotten quite close and I am so on board that ship. Yoyo has always been sassy, but she was on fire last night and I can’t wait to see more of that relationship as they move forward. Mack is hesitant because it is frowned upon for operatives to fraternize with each other, but Yoyo is having none of that. I already ship them so hard, guys. Let’s just hope that doesn’t mean tragedy is about to befall them. This show has a history of destroying relationships or putting so many obstacles in their way, that they nearly give up. So fingers crossed this isn’t going to be a doomed romance.

So Mack tells her that they’re really there to try to bring Daisy in and Elena begs him to let her help. When he says no, she does it anyway, because – as it turns out – she has been in contact with Daisy all along, helping her whenever she can.

Daisy – on the other hand – is not doing so well. The guilt is eating her alive and she basically has no regard for her health or safety. Her powers have grown and evolved, and she keeps pushing herself without care to the consequences to her body. But the guilt she feels drives her forward and away from everyone. “No roots”, as she told Yoyo, when they met on the bus. In her mindset, if she stays away from everyone she cares about, she is protecting them from her and the inevitable destruction and heartache she brings.

But the guilt, guys. The look in her eyes is heartbreaking. While I really dig the new darker look, that is just a reflection of what she is feeling inside. Even though she is trying to do good, and put the bad guys away, she’s going about it all wrong. The more she pushes herself and her powers, the less her body can withstand the pressure. Hairline fractures keep popping up all over her arms and she’s covered in bruises. Yoyo tells her she needs to be more careful, take better care of herself, but she doesn’t listen.

She goes and faces Ghost Rider all by herself and is suprised to find out he is just a young guy. But when they face off and fight… Guys, the look in her eyes when he is about to kill her and she is in so much pain – physical and emotional – that look just about broke my heart. Because she thinks she deserves all this pain and suffering and she doesn’t. Chloe Bennet really knocked it out of the park in that scene and managed to tear my heart out and tap dance on it in the process.

Meanwhile, we have Fitz and Simmons working kind of together in the lab. Apparently, Simmons has been all work and no play because of her promotion and they barely get to see each other. They seem to be pretty close to Dr. Radcliffe, though, and hang out on occasion. The good doctor is eager to show them something, but since Simmons was stuck at work, only Fitz comes by his house. Apparently he was pardoned and the conditions were that he always reports any developments in his projects. So when Fitz gets there and comes face to face with a naked woman, he is shocked, to say the least. It turns out that Radcliffe has created a robot that is so human-like that it’s creepy. Fitz can barely look at her, but Radcliffe explains that she is supposed to be a shield for operatives in the field.

This is a very, very bad idea, Dr. Radcliffe. Haven’t you ever watched BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA? Cylons? Ring any bells? That’s how it starts and then they take over the planet and kill every human in it.

And last, but most definitely not least – what the hell happened to May? What was that thing that went through her when she went to extract Coulson and Mack and why is she seeing things now?

I don’t know about you guys, but this was solid premiere and I am so pumped for this new season. MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D is that rare show that reinvents itself every year, and this season seems to be no different. When I think it can’t possibly get any better, they go and prove me wrong. I am so glad I braved through the first few episodes back in season 1 and didn’t give up on it. It’s a joy to see this show evolve and improve every single year and I am so happy that I get to go along for the ride.

Don’t miss an all new episode of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. on Tuesday, September 28, at 10/9c on ABC.

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