Danny Hale reviews the fifth episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4…
‘Lockup’ was a really, really fun episode stacked with action, new developments and further questions regarding Ghost Rider and our new director Jeffrey Mace. We open with a flashback of Lucy and Joseph Bauer discovering the Darkhold and we start to see some of its power; creating some sort of connection with whomever lays eyes on it. Present day Lucy in her spectral form soon learns that she can no longer read the book as the text will not appear to her. Thus Lucy decides to infect an entire prison in an attempt to kidnap Eli Morrow, Robbie’s Uncle from last week.
It was great to see Daisy back on the team but with the dynamic still changed. I was worried that Daisy absconding from the team would be resolved without the appropriate time for the audience to feel her absence. Here, we have her back but only because it is in both S.H.I.E.L.D and her own best interests but the deeper fissures in her relationships still need a lot of work and attention. This is a much better scenario as Daisy is not free to act as recklessly as she likes without the rebuttal from her friends. As May put, she doesn’t “get to choose who cares about” her. As the season has been progressing we’ve seen Daisy’s actions and her abilities starting to take their toll on her and this week when she faced off against the cafeteria full of infected prisoners it was great to see her not use powers and to show off her awesome hand to hand combat. Although I believe that Daisy will stay with the team after this mystery is solved what I love is that Daisy herself clearly does not want to. Her character is just not in that place yet and I am so happy Daisy’s arc is getting so much time to breathe; Lincoln’s death can’t be downplayed even if his character wasn’t all that popular because it has had clear and drastic effects on Daisy’s character. In last year’s finale Chloe Bennett gave a heart-wrenching performance and now we are seeing the results.
This week gave us a further look into the Spirit of Vengeance’s idea of morality; we see Ghost Rider consume a man who had committed heinous acts in his past even after apparent years of repentance. I had been wondering how Ghost Rider judges people and from what we’ve seen this week some acts are irredeemable in Ghost Rider’s eyes. As great as that moment was when Robbie let the Ghost take over, he sacrificed the entire mission by letting his Uncle Eli fall into Lucy’s hands. Another interesting question raised is how much the Spirit of Vengeance urged Robbie to go back for the Fifth Street Loco member and how much was Robbie’s own personal thirst for revenge simply fuelled by the spirit. It’s complex and that’s the best scenario. Either way Robbie has directly disobeyed orders, murdered a man in cold blood and botched the mission. Worse, all of this was done on S.H.I.E.L.D’s watch.
We got to see more of Director Mace this week where he enlisted Simmons’ aid while he went toe to toe with Senator Nadeer on live television. It’s during this back and forth that we hear about Mace’s heroics during the attack in Vienna as seen in Captain America: Civil War before he outs himself as an Inhuman. Mace is playing a very good game but senator Nadeer is not easily dissuaded. Simmons, having been trying her hardest to mask her lies now has an acute knowledge of the various micro-expressions that can betray a person’s story. She thus manages to blackmail her way out of further polygraph tests as she makes it clear to Director Mace that she knows he lied about Vienna. I loved this as I can clearly see the PR move Mace is making; having a heroic act behind him enforces the idea that Inhumans are just like everybody else and not predisposed to violence. Take that act out and Mace becomes just another Inhuman, and a liar at that. Simmons now has the power to bring Mace’s political career crashing down around him and he knows it. This is just another example of how Simmons has grown over the years although this delicate agreement between herself and her boss can’t hold up forever.
Another great week for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. bringing Daisy closer to her old team (physically at least) and introducing the Darkhold properly into the plot. Coulson’s quizzing of May about what she saw after her “death experience” leaves some questions for further weeks (Awesome line and awesome delivery) and the final moments where Senator Nadeer blackmails Director Mace with footage of Ghost Rider at the prison does not bode well for our team going forward. All makes for good viewing and has me hooked for next week.