Welcome back to the new year coverage of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Yes, our favorite show has returned for its winter premiere, giving us some response to shocking turns of our mid-season finale.
Long story short, Ghost Rider sacrificed himself in order to banish his uncle to an inter-dimensional realm that Aida had created a portal to founded from the knowledge that she had gained by reading the Darkhold. Phew, that was a mouthful. Good news, Uncle Eli Morrow is no more. Bad news, Robbie Reyes had to leave with his uncle. Side tracked good news, there is probably another Ghost Rider out there that Coulson either knows about or knows personally, and it certainly has to be Johnny Blaze now, right? More bad news, by allowing Aida, an android, to read the Darkhold book, she was bestowed with a greater knowledge of her own existence meaning that she now can develop thoughts, feelings even, and use those to pursue personal goals. At the end of the mid-season finale, her personal goals started with kidnapping Agent May, and replacing her in SHIELD with an android copy.
This winter premiere began with orders from Director Mace to delete and replace the hard drive memory bank currently within Aida. The SHIELD team came to a consensus, with reluctant acceptance from both Dr. Radcliffe and Fitz, that allowing Aida to continue to possess the knowledge she had obtained from the Darkhold was too dangerous a concept because she could, as Mack continued to describe, turn into a killer robot hellbent on overthrowing her human overlords. Well, too little too late it seems as Aida opted to physically defend herself against Radcliffe, Fitz, and a squad of SHIELD agents and proceeded to assault the main base in order to secure the Darkhold once and for all. Once Aida was on the base, she was able to separate the members of the team and isolate the fake Agent May and Coulson together.
By knocking Coulson out, she was then free to program the Android May in order to comply with any command. I had initially anticipated that when Aida started to cut the fake May’s face that Aida was going to mask herself as May in order to take the Darkhold off the base, but instead she opted to have the fake May continue to fit in and play the part. This is by far a more dastardly and effective move seeing as Aida’s overall attempts to steal the book failed when Mack chopped her head off. A satisfying moment that had me cheering briefly only to find out that there are not only multiple versions of Aida out there, but Dr. Radcliffe is indeed the mastermind behind her dissension. He made the comment that the Darkhold had given him too much information to simply ignore, meaning that he must have caught a large enough glance at the blank pages that the book itself established a bond with his mind.
This was an episode ending twist I was not expecting and I’m happy with the show going for the unexpected storytelling route. Lately, I’ve been finding myself anticipating storytelling beats for this show more in advance than I am accustomed too, and it was making viewing a tad boring. I’m hoping the showcase in this premiere episode for the second dominant story of this season will continue to shock and awe because that is when this show works on all levels.
Also at the end of our mid-season finale, we saw the forced re-enrollment of Daisy back into SHIELD ranks. It was an awkward transition, that is only to say it was one that wasn’t initially favorable to Director Mace who had spent months and millions of dollars in resources tracking her down for the past couple of months. Never the less, I’m super happy that Daisy is back for good. Her whole lone ranger arc was consistently draining my patience especially when the only reason she was still pursuing that type of life was her own personal stubbornness. By bringing Daisy back in the fold, SHIELD can focus once again on harboring, rehabilitating, and protecting scared Inhumans around the world who are just discovering their powers and are getting attacked for it. Their first target is Senator Nadeer’s brother whom Jemma had gone to help under the veil of secrecy a few episodes ago. Director Mace, Daisy, and Simmons set out to locate Vijay Nadeer whom they believe is being held against his will by the Senator. Their hunch is bang on as Senator Nadeer had set up a squad of Watch Dogs to come in and assist with his death now that he is an Inhuman.
The real interesting nugget to come out of this story line were the continued references to “The Superior” both by the Watch Dog commander and Senator Nadeer herself. Clearly this means that someone else is pulling the strings behind the rise of the Anti-Inhuman group, someone powerful enough to control Nadeer.
Vijay Nadeer did discover what his abilities were as some kind of hyper reflex not unlike Neo from the Matrix. That allowed him to protect himself from Watch Dog attack after the Superior had ordered for his immediate death. That is at least until he chose to follow his sister instead of joining SHIELD and getting shot by her in their getaway helicopter. It all seemed rather quick for his story to be over since they put so much emphasis on how he was stuck in terrigenesis for over six months. With that said, I can’t say I was ultra surprised that he was protected at the bottom of the ocean in our 20 second final teaser scene at the end of the episode. Since he did die before that second cocoon enveloped him, I’m not sure if he will be the same person. That we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
Episode Rating: 8.5/10
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on ABC.