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TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4 Episode 6 "The Good Samaritan"

11.02.2016

EPISODE 6: "The Good Samaritan"

SYNOPSIS: Robbie’s shocking story on how he became Ghost Rider is finally discovered as Coulson and his team’s lives hang in the balance.

Welcome To Level 7, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., TV Review, Marvel Studios, ABC, Drama, Comic Book, Superhero, Clark Gregg, Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider

REVIEW: After four seasons, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has finally found a place that balances the big screen Marvel Cinematic Universe with a wealth of storylines and characters that do not quite fit into the big picture. After going all in on the Inhumans, the series seemed to be struggling to find a reason for existing. S.H.I.E.L.D. has come and gone and the mere fact that Phil Coulson is alive has yet to have ramifications for The Avengers who mourn him, but there is a purpose to this show and it is Ghost Rider. For all of the questions surrounding the choice of Robbie Reyes as the rebooted Rider, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has answered every one of them with a stellar hour of television devoid of secondary plots. This is a lean and mean story that delivers and sets up a heck of a lot of potential for the future of this show.

After seeing him in action for multiple episodes, this hour of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns to what the subtitles refer to as "Back in the Day" when Robbie Reyes and his brother Gabe were in a terrible car accident that cost Gabe the use of his legs and Robbie his life. That's right, echoing the Johnny Blaze version of the story, this Ghost Rider arrived to ressurect a dead man and bestow the power of the Rider. For a fleeting moment, we see the character known as The Good Samaritan who very well may have been Johnny Blaze himself. Astride a motorcycle, he brings Robbie back and gives him the mission to avenge those who need it. But little does Robbie know that this vengeance will be on his own Uncle Eli, the man they helped escape prison last week and who was responsible for the creation of the ghostly beings we have seen all season.

 Welcome To Level 7, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., TV Review, Marvel Studios, ABC, Drama, Comic Book, Superhero, Clark Gregg, Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider

But before Robbie can face off against his Uncle, the new superpowered villain of the show, we have to discuss the repercussions this reveal makes for the MCU. While Robbie, Gabe, and Daisy are locked into a S.H.I.E.L.D. containment unit for a large portion of the episode, I continued to anticipate exactly where the writers were about to take us. As Jeffrey Mace acts on the intelligence that Coulson's team is harboring Daisy and Ghost Rider, they witness Robbie banging on the containment unit to be let out. Even as his skull burts into flames, Coulson asks Fitz if the unit will hold. Knowing that the box is powerful enough to hold any type of Inhuman, the agents are shocked when they see Ghost Rider break through it and battle Mace easily. The logic of the MCU to date has been based on heroes and villains all being the product of Terrigen/Inhuman origins. But, by adding the spiritual angle to the mix and the supernatural roots of whether Robbie Reyes made a deal with the Devil, all bets are off. The rules have been reset and nothing is a foregone conclusion anymore.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has so long been pre-occupied by the Inhumans and Avengers that it lost sight of just how massive the MCU is. With DOCTOR STRANGE opening this weekend, the series writers decided to go with an indirect connection to the feature film rather than a cameo-laden tie-in episode. Zero Matter and The Darkhold are clearly from the same realm as Stephen Strange's mystical powers which means that the battles the MCU is capable of demonstrating now expand to another plane of existence entirely. The mind-boggling possibilities here are capable of reshaping everything Marvel has done thus far with their cinematic properties and gives S.H.I.E.L.D. a much needed reset button that fits into the already existing narrative. This show just got exponentially more interesting and did so without falling back into it's old ways.

Welcome To Level 7, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., TV Review, Marvel Studios, ABC, Drama, Comic Book, Superhero, Clark Gregg, Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider

The plots involving the Watchdogs, the LMDs, and anything else this show has focused on for the last several years were paused as the threat of The Darkhold takes center stage. Clearly, the Inhuman storylines will need to be addressed in coming episodes, but by putting Ghost Rider front and center and allowing Coulson and his team to absorb the enormity of what they are witnessing helped this episode rank as one of the best the show has produced. As much as I like the main cast of this show, giving them less screen time here was actually a blessing. Coulson got to deliver some nice analogies about STAR WARS and Admiral Ackbar, harkening back to the fun and light days of S.H.I.E.L.D. while everyone else acted to propel the main plot forward rather than a handful of disparate subplots. This was a narratively perfect hour of Marvel television and one that should be watched by fans of the MCU even if they have given up on this show.

Where S.H.I.E.L.D. goes from here is a big question mark. The show will take a month-long hiatus, likely to accomodate the Presidential Election and other television events, which will give us viewers plenty of time to check out DOCTOR STRANGE and try and wrap out minds around this new era in the MCU. Whether Ghost Rider will remain a fixture on this series or, possibly, get his own spin-off has yet to be determined. What I do know is that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just became must see television in a way it has not done since it premiered four years ago. That is high praise and something I hope it can continue to live up to for the rest of this season.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: There are direct ties between The Darkhold and the Zero Matter that was the central focus of the second season of Agent Carter. Isodyne and Roxxon are specifically named making the book in this show connected to the black liquid creature that was Zero Matter.

NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: The next episode airs November 29th

Source: JoBlo.com

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