Quake hunts a ghostly rider on the streets of L. A., Fittz meets Dr. Radcliffe’s latest invention, and everyone gets attached to something.
A lot of changes have taken place within SHIELD over the last six months. With the Sokovia Accords cracking down on enhanced global threats, the U. S. government has started running things closer to the book than Coulson and his team did. A new Director has heightened security measures, for fear of another Hydra incident, and split up Coulson’s agents, assigning them to lead various departments of the organization; Coulson and Mack investigate occurrences in the field, May leads a strike team for when the situation gets heavy, Fittz runs the lab, and Simmons acts as the right hand and liaison to the director and the other departments.
After six weeks in the air on Zephyr One, Agents Coulson and Mack are called back to the bunker. May received a report of a sighting of one of SHIELD’s currently most wanted, ex-SHIELD agent Daisy “Quake” Johnson. Among her sighting comes reports of other bodies with burns and other extraordinary injuries. May relays this information to Mack and Coulson, giving them a head start to try and find Daisy, breaking their current orders which were to abandon their search for her as the new director thinks they’ve let her slip away too often. Mack and Coulson make plans to leave under the cover of checking in with their Inhuman asset in L. A., Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez.
The new day-to-day functions around SHIELD HQ has kept the agents fairly separated, especially Fittz and Simmons as they try to navigate maintaining their relationship while working under new security clearances. While busy with her duties, Fittz takes a break to watch a futball match with fellow Scotsman Dr. Holden Radcliffe. What he finds instead of futball is a walking, talking, and very naked, robot named Ada. Always looking to push the boundaries of science, Radcliffe has come up with a way to reduce the lives lost in the field with his life model decoys, robots that look and act human, who can serve as decoys, protecting other agents from harm. He’s done this secretly as the stipulations of his pardon require that any research is done under the supervision of SHIELD, but feels confident to show Fittz and get the approval he needs to take his work forward. Fittz feels differently, unsure of what the new director might plan for these LMD’s, and decides to hide the truth from Simmons until they’ve improved Radcliffe’s design.
On the run from SHIELD, Daisy has been taking out cells of the anti-alien hate group, the Watch Dogs, by hitting their funding and escape routes, but to the public, Quake is seen as a bank robber and terrorist. Hunting down one particular group, Daisy comes across a serial killer hunting the same prey, driving a black ‘69 Charger engulfed in flames. Daisy’s fight against the Watch Dogs is put on hold as she tracks this car down, and her trail is picked up by Mack and Coulson. Following her targets hoping to find Daisy, they come across a shipment to a Chinatown cell of the Watch Dogs. Watching from safety, the Watch Dogs look into this new item that is supposed to give them the advantage over their new enhanced enemies. Opening the crate, however, releases some sort of spirit , driving them mad and causing them to open fire on each other. As the situation gets out of hand, May and her strike team, sent to clean up Coulson and Mack’s mess by an angry Simmons, arrive and ice the Watch Dogs before anyone gets hurt. But with the scene now under control, Daisy never shows.
Daisy’s search for the serial killer the locals are call the “Ghost Rider” leads her to a junkyard full of old movie muscle cars and parts, and to an employee named Robbie, who has been taking on the guise as the Ghost Rider to rid his streets of criminals. Fearing he’s been found out, he attacks Daisy, but wasn’t prepared to meet another enhanced person, and uses the full extent of his powers to take her down. But when the moment comes for the killing blow, the Ghost Rider leaves Daisy alone and vanishes.
It’s great to be back in the field with Coulson and the rest of the Agents of SHIELD, but things are certainly different than when we last saw them. The enacting of the Sokovia Accords from Marvel’s Civil War has brought great change to SHIELD, and we don’t yet know if these changes are for the better. While “The Ghost” has some great action sequences involving a flipping fiery car and a super powered battle between Quake and the Ghost Rider, they had a lot of information to relay to the audience so we weren’t completely lost. Much of the interactions between characters was mostly exposition to get us up to speed to compensate for all of the changes. This catch-up was appreciated, but overall felt forced and left the dialogue a little clunky.
But it succeeds in setting up the season with new questions to be answered as the show progresses; Who is this mysterious new director and can he be trusted? Who is Robbie aka the Ghost Rider and where do his powers come from? What was the spirit that was released by the Watch Dogs and what new dangers will it greet our agents with? And what happened with Daisy to cause her to leave SHIELD and take up this fight on her own?