Coulson and Mace discuss Star Wars, Robbie stops lying to his family, and there is no such thing as luck, just decisions and consequences.
Finding out about Coulson’s team working with Quake and the Ghost Rider, Mace flies to the Zephyr to arrest them and assume control over his rebellious agents. While Coulson leads Mace around the plane, discussing the politics of Star Wars, the Empire versus the Rebellion, if Han Solo is a hero or only selfish, Mack hides Daisy, Robbie, and they’re newest passenger, Gabe, joining Robbie for fear of being targeted by Dr. Bauer, in the containment unit away from Mace’s eyes. While hidden, Robbie tells Gabe everything that happened to him and how he became the Ghost Rider.
“Back in the day” Robbie and Gabe led normal lives, living with their uncle, Eli, who worked as an engineer for Momentum Labs. While Eli stressed over a new project at work, Robbie took advantage of his absence to take his ‘69 Charger out to race against the gangs of Los Angeles. One night, catching him as he was leaving, Gabe confronts him and decides to ride with him to the race. But their night takes a turn for the worst when they are attacked and crash. Trying to crawl away from the flaming car, Gabe is helped by an unknown “Good Samaritan” who pulls him from the wreckage, and then helps Robbie. What Gabe doesn’t see is the flaming skull of their rescuer, and Robbie’s resurrection from death. In his last moments, Robbie prays to anyone that would listen to spare Gabe, blaming himself for putting his younger brother in harm’s way, and it’s a man with a flaming skull riding a motorcycle that answers his prayers, and passes the Spirit of Vengeance to Robbie Reyes.
Gabe has little time to process his brother’s reveal when Mace discovers them and Daisy, ready to arrest them. But, with some convincing from Fittz and Coulson, and a beating from the Ghost Rider, he agrees to continue their mission to stop Dr. Bauer and save Eli. However, once they find them in an abandoned Roxxon Corporation facility Bauer reveals the truth about what happened to her team. It was Eli who killed them, locking them away in their ghostly state, in order to gain the knowledge of the Darkhold himself and manipulate energy, creating matter from nothing in the palm of his hand. Coulson and Fittz work to shut down power to the facility before Eli achieves his goal, but run out of time. Eli’s machine sends out a shock wave, leaving Eli with new power, and Coulson, Fittz, and Robbie, nowhere to be found.
“The Good Samaritan” winds the clock back a bit to explain the circumstances of a few characters, We’re shown the recent history of Robbie and his family before the accident at Momentum and Gabe’s paralysis. While Gabe remains fairly unchanged, still achieving his goals in school and looking after his older brother, Robbie is a completely different person. Without the guilt of his brother’s injury riding on his shoulders, Robbie is relatively care free. Sneaking out at night, racing in the streets, bringing his brother to unsavory events because he believes them to be safe, that he can take care of anything.
But it goes back even further in the involvement of experiments from Isodyne and Roxxon, two scientific corporations involved in the series Agent Carter. It even specifically mentions the experiment to create Zero Matter, a focus of Agent Carter’s second season. But the connections to the greater elements of the MCU don’t end with Agent Carter, as it also introduces the existence of ANOTHER Ghost Rider.
The Ghost Rider was never a singular entity, but a long chain of heroes stretching through history, of which Robbie is only the latest incarnation. This older Ghost Rider isn’t specifically revealed, but the fact that he appears on a motorcycle is telling enough that it was probably Johnny Blaze, the stunt rider and, most popular, Ghost Rider. Could there be a whole series of encounters of Johnny Blaze fighting bad guys as the Ghost Rider that we will be witness to, or will this appearance in Robbie’s origin story be a one time thing?
The events we’re left with at the end of this episode seem to leave quite an impact. Not only are some characters now missing, but SHIELD will be introduced to a new villain in the form of Robbie’s uncle, Eli. This would make a perfect time to take a mid season break and come back after the Christmas season, but we’re still early, and something else sits between this episode and the next; Doctor Strange. So far this season has danced on the line between science and magic, leaving Fittz-Simmons intrigued over the existence of Bauer’s ghost and Robbie’s powers. As Doctor Strange premiers this weekend, it will fully open up the idea of magic and other dimensions, realms that Fittz-Simmons’ science can’t explain. It’s doubtful that we’ll see Coulson and Robbie, wherever they’ve vanished to, in the film, and even less likely that Doctor Strange himself will appear at the Roxxon facility to save the day (but wouldn’t that be AWESOME?!) What is more likely is that some element in the new film will affect the rest of the MCU, and we will see those effects in the next episode of Agents of SHIELD.