Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ returned this week with the premiere of its fourth season and things got real dark real quick with the introduction of Robbie Reyes aka Ghost Rider the “spirit of vengeance”.

If you have not watched the episode yet then stop reading, go watch it and come back. *whistle whistle, whistle whistle*. Welcome back. You were missed like the desert misses the rain. So with a big fat stinky SPOILER ALERT here’s my review in four easy to chew slices:

#1 Daisy’s on the run

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When these arms come down, things are goin’ down

We’ll get to old hot head in a bit but first let’s do a sitrep. We return to find a very different S.H.I.E.L.D.: Phil Coulson is back to being “Agent” Coulson and has been paired up with Mack, Jemma received a promotion and has a strained relationship with May, and a mysterious new Director has everyone on theirs Ps and Qs in a post-Sokovia Accords world (see Captain America: Civil War). 

But the biggest change is that Daisy Johnson aka Inhuman wrecking machine “Quake” has gone rogue and is as hard to catch as a “ghost”. She has been out hunting the Watchdogs and their underworld affiliates as well as running from Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. Following Lincoln’s death in the last season finale we find a Daisy who is lost and haunted and borderline suicidal, likely blaming herself for what happened.

She is using her powers frequently on her mission of vengeance and, as fellow Inhuman Yo-Yo Rodriguez warned her, that it is negatively affecting her health. Seeing Daisy with her van took me right back to season one and her Skye hacker days, though now she is a much darker place. I do like this vigilante direction they are taking with her and seeing where it goes.

#2 AOS Ex Machina

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Yes I built a sexy robot lady. And I am not ashamed to admit it

After an offhand joke by Tony Stark in Avengers about Life Model Decoys (LMD) we finally get to see one in the flesh, so to speak. Kooky scientist Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) went all Ex Machina and created an android, which may be a LMD or a precursor to one. It was pretty funny seeing Fitz shielding his eyes from her naughty bits. Oh Fitz. ‘m thinking that such an early introduction means that the storyline will play a big part in the season to come. Maybe some supernatural big bad well adopt the body of a LMD. We’ll see. And we also got a nice Ultron shout out which was cool.

#3 Yo-Yo mackin’ on Mack

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She wants some of that brown sugar. Photo credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright

Last season there was definitely some chemistry between the Inhuman Yo-Yo Rodriguez and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and shotgun axe enthusiast Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie. In this episode Yo-Yo was apparently through with playing games and the only thing she did not do was jump on the man. It was interesting seeing Mack getting all uncomfortable but I found overall it was a bit much and I preferred the unspoken flirtatious relationship they shared before.

And in other romance news it appears that Fitz and Simmons have moved in and gotten all domestic. But Fitz keeping the secret about the android from her is definitely not going to turn out well for their nascent relationship.

#4 Vengeance has come and it is bloody

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Don’t make me fired up. You wouldn’t like me when I’m fired up!

And now for the belle of the ball, the hottest new character – Ghost Rider. The episode opens with the Rider and his fiery muscle car murdering some gang members that Daisy was hunting, with blood splatter and screams like a horror movie. I enjoyed Gabriel Luna’s performance as Robbie Reyes and he brought the intensity necessary for the super dark character. We also got a glimpse of his softer side in a scene with his wheelchair-bound brother, played by Lorenzo James Henrie of ‘Fear the Walking Dead’. The final battle between the Rider and Quake was cool but I felt it was a bit too short. It appears they are being set up for a team-up and that would make for a pretty powerful pairing. The face transformation near the end of the episode looked pretty sweet and much better than the crappy effects we had with the two Nicholas Cage Ghost Rider movies; Cage played the Johnny Blaze version of the character.

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I think someone needs to see a dermatologist…

The much promoted introduction of Ghost Rider is meant to coincide with the release of the magical and mystical Dr Strange in early November. After the spy conspiracy of the first season of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and the Inhuman action of the second and third season, it appears that season four is going all supernatural. In the premiere we saw something that looks like a ghost escape from the box and now poor May is getting the creepy hallucinations. I predict that the big bad will be a mystical or supernatural character which is a good change.

Though I found the episode to be decent I thought it was a bit too crowded. We had the Ghost Rider stuff, the Daisy stuff, the Coulson and Mack stuff, the S.H.I.E.L.D. inter-office politics, the LMD, the gangsters AND the ghost. I was not able to catch my breath but not in a good way. Hopefully now that they have set these plot lines in motion the next episode and thereafter will be a bit more streamlined.

Rating: “The Ghost” gets 2.5/4 life model decoys

So have you seen the ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Season 4 premiere? Were you fired up by it or did it leave you smoldering? Feel free to comment below and if you enjoyed this post you can share it with your peeps. Sharing is caring. 

For my Top 12 Comic Character Appearances in ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ you can click here and for more Marvel TV you can check out the teaser trailers for Netflix’s ‘Luke Cage’, ‘Iron Fist’ and ‘Defenders’ here. And for more TV goodness you can check back redmangoreviews for new posts Monday to Saturday and follow me on Twitter @suprememango012@suprememango012 for updates.

Julien is outie like a navel. l8rs