The fourth season of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD has arrived. Picking up where Season 3 ended, the show jumped forward six months after the agents fought Grant Ward/Hive. If you missed the last season or need a refresher, you can check out our series recap here. SHIELD has gone through some big changes, and Daisy Johnson is on the run. The appearance of Ghost Rider won't make life any easier for the agents.
Warning: Spoilers for season 4, episode 1 of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD,"The Ghost," will be discussed below.
Daisy Johnson's Gone Rogue
When we last saw Daisy, she was no longer with SHIELD but instead, a fugitive being pursued by Coulson and Mack. It turns out she's destroying banks and other institutions funding the Watchdogs' attack against Inhumans. She's feeling guilt over falling under Hive's control and the death of Lincoln. As a result, she's pushing herself, her powers are increasing, but they're also taking a toll on her body. She doesn't want to have any attachments anymore and is focused on stopping the Watchdogs.
Big Changes at SHIELD
SHIELD has returned to being an officially sanctioned group. One of the big changes is a new director. Coulson is believed to be dead and can no longer perform the role. During the past six months, Coulson has been partnered with Mack in the pursuit of Daisy. Since she's been able to elude them, it's believed Coulson may be purposely allowing her to remain on the run.
Simmons has been given a promotion. She is now the Special Advisor to the Director in Science and Technology. Some of the others don't fully trust the new director (who remains unseen in this episode). Simmons is required to take daily lie detector tests to prove her loyalty and this has put her on the outs with her former teammates. Simmons now has a higher clearance level than May, who is training agents to kick butt the way she does. Simmons does confess to May that she doesn't trust the Director either, but she's trying to keep them together and take advantage of the fact he trusts her.
Fitz Discovers Radcliffe's LMD Project
Fitz goes to Radcliffe's to watch a game. Simmons couldn't make it due to being so busy. While Fitz is there, Aida, the Life Model Decoy seen in last season's final episode, reveals herself. Fitz is freaking out over Radcliffe's project because his pardon from working for Hive requires him to obtain approval before conducting any experiments. Radcliffe explains his idea for the LMDs is to use them to protect agents. He points out the deaths of Lincoln, Andrew, and Trip. He understands the dangers that could happen, as with Ultron. His LMDs aren't meant to be weapons and don't deal with artificial intelligence. They will be used as decoys when agents are out in the field. Fitz feels they shouldn't tell the Director just yet because there's no telling what he'd do. He wants to wait until Aida is perfect.
Ghost Rider Unleashes His Vengeance
Ghost Rider has been killing people. Daisy first sees the carnage when she was in pursuit of some men supplying weapons to the Watchdogs. She's later able to talk to one of the survivors in the hospitals who tells her, "When the Rider burns you, he burns your soul." She tries tracking down Ghost Rider to find out what his connection might be to the Watchdogs.
Daisy Fights Ghost Rider
Daisy asks around town, looking for parts for a Dodge Charger, the same car Ghost Rider drives. Her search takes her to Robbie Reyes. Reyes figures out her cover story doesn't hold up and moves to attack her. When Daisy uses her quake powers, he assume there's something dark about her as well. As they fight, he explains he only kills those that deserve it. When Daisy asks Reyes what makes him think he has the right to decide, he tells her, "I'm not the one who decides" and transforms into Ghost Rider.
Towards the end of their fight, Daisy tells Ghost Rider to go ahead and put an end to her. Ghost Rider looks at her and then leaves. This could be because there wasn't any evil inside her.
Daisy later tracks down Reyes again and sees he has a younger brother in a wheelchair.
The season premiere delivers a pretty strong episode. Last season's six month jump forward gives the show a bit of mystery. We get to catch up on what's been going on while the story continues to move forward. With a new Director, the team has to adjust to the changes and figure out if he can be trusted.
Agents of SHIELD has a record of shaking things up each season. A new direction is taken, and this season is no different. There are some minor hints of the show taking a slightly darker or mature approach with the move to a new time slot. It'll be interesting to see if this is something that continues further as the season continues.
The team may have their hands full trying to find Daisy and adjust to the changes made by the new director, but there's more problems coming. It appears May may be infected by the weapon the Watchdogs were after. Fitz is forced to keep the LMD a secret from Simmons since she has to report everything to the Director. Coulson may be in hot water for making a trip to Los Angeles with Mack where Daisy once again evaded capture. With so much up in the air, the show is holding our attention and breaking new ground rather than simply giving us more of what we've already seen for the last three seasons.