Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Premiere Review: Ghost Rider Heats Things Up

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Comparing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Premiere with early Season 1 episodes is a night and day difference. Darker, bloodier, this Marvel spin off series has certainly grown up over the years. The gradual tonal shift makes it easier for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to introduce a hellish and popular vengeance seeker, Ghost Rider.

Ghost Rider is creating renewed interest in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The premiere capitalized on that interest by delivering on the Ghost Rider scenes. Right away, we see how macabre and menacing he is. He also has a badass flaming Dodge Charger.

The opening scene did a good job of cutting to Quake’s reaction and viewpoint without actually having to see Ghost Rider eviscerate those men. The transformation from Robbie Reyes’ face into the flaming skull head looks terrific as well. Visually, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has got Ghost Rider right. As the season progress, it should be interesting to see what they do with Robbie Reyes as this version of Ghost Rider. 

In addition to the Ghost Rider scenes, the premiere has quite a bit going on. Unlike Marvel’s Netflix series which has 13 episodes a season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D essentially runs a marathon at 22 episodes per season. As a result, a number of new story threads need to be set up. Some of this requires viewers to trust that the writers have the season’s big moves mapped out already and that it’s all going to fit together by the end. 

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The premiere also established where the agents are at in their life and how their relationships has changed. Daisy has distanced herself physically and emotionally from the agents. The chain of command has a new look with Simmons near the top and Coulson back as a regular field agent. Plus there’s an air of secrecy implemented by the new director, perhaps trying to keep the old team from working too close together again. Fitz is keeping AIDA, life model decoy, a secret from Simmons which is going to backfire because it’s a TV drama! Whatever the case, the interplay between the agents has a fresh coat of paint and should provide the writers with different dynamics to work with.

To have many questions left unanswered is a good place to end a premiere. The goal is to entice viewers to tune back in next week. Whatever’s in that box it can’t be good and to what extreme is it going to affect Agent May? We know that AIDA won’t be another Ultron, but how will she factor into the big picture? The director is giving the green light to kill Quake on sight, who is the new boss? 

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Premiere had heavy lifting to do. Some elements didn’t shine as brightly as others but where it needed to deliver, the Ghost Rider scenes that is, it hit the mark. If the writers are on point, they should get good mileage out of Ghost Rider and hopefully reignite excitement in the show. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. needs all the hype and attention it can muster.

Do you think the premiere did enough to convince viewers to keep watching the season? What are your impressions of Ghost Rider and the new team dynamic?

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