It’s been four weeks since two SHIELD agents and a Ghost Rider got caught in an explosion at a deserted lab, while another agent was recruited for a mission so secret she had to be blindfolded by the boss she doesn’t trust.
What happened next was an excellent episode that revealed a lot of secrets, and twists that could make things uncomfortable in SHIELD and the world in general.
**** SPOILERS BELOW ****
Last time, Fitz, Coulson and Robbie (Gabriel Luna) were caught in an explosion set off by Eli (Jose Zuniga) at Momentum Labs. They’re believed to be dead, but actually they’re caught in between dimensions. It’s reflected when we see May and Mack look for Coulson, Fitz and Robbie, and they don’t see them. Yet both Daisy and May have some belief that somehow they’re still alive.
As for Eli, his power is growing. He’s able to make carbon stakes out of mid-air, then he can break them and control the pieces to kill soldiers. It’s his only scene in this episode, because his big plans are coming later.
Robbie in an alternate dimension affects him deeply. The demon inside him escapes, and goes inside Mack. Now he becomes the Alternate Ghost Rider who decides to find the Chinese gangsters Eli had hired. Mack leaves with his axe gun but not a helmet, with Daisy not too far behind in Robbie’s car.
Even though they can’t be seen, Fitz and Coulson try their hardest to affect the people around them. Seeing Coulson trying to let May know he’s alive, and also trying to dissuade her from using the Darkhold, is heart-breaking. It doesn’t work, because she hands the book over to Radcliffe (John Hannah), who’s called in to find the agents. Aida, the Life Model Decoy, is there, too, and she will play a big part.
Fitz’s condition gives him an unexpected advantage. He’s able to find out Jeffrey Mace (Jason O’Mara) sent Simmons at a mission somewhere, and Senator Nadeer is involved somehow. He passes that info to Coulson, and that, like it or not, the Darkhold may be needed to get them back to reality. They have quite the argument over it, and why Coulson thought he had to step down as director. After all, he’s not Fitz’s boss, so Fitz can make the call, too.
Mack finds the Chinese gang, and it looks like the Ghost Rider inside him prefers to stay inside Mack because “he lost hope”. Robbie, however, is able to follow Daisy in the car, even though she can’t see him. She’s also able to battle the gangsters, but sees Mack as the Ghost Rider talking to someone. It’s really Robbie, who tells the Rider to go back inside him so he can settle its scores and it helps him find Eli. Somehow, it works.
But how can the agents get back to reality? Aida (Mallory Jensen) volunteers to read the Darkhold, which means Radcliffe has to admit she’s a LMD. Fitz had to confess that fact to Coulson, too. She is able to get the knowledge from the book, which appears in binary code. She builds a gateway with special equipment and hand-waving similar to Minority Report. They’re just able to get Coulson and Fitz back in one piece. Too bad they couldn’t call Doctor Strange, since his sling ring could have gotten them through sooner. That was pointed out by a few fans online, too.
While all this is happening, Simmons finds herself in an undisclosed location, where a scientist wants her to look at the person who’s been inside a terregenesis cocoon for seven months. They won’t say who’s inside, but they’re worried about what he’ll become. Fans already know it’s Nadeer’s brother.
Borrowing a scene from Arrival, Simmons is able to calm the man inside by touching his outer crust without protective gear. It’s enough to remove some crust from his body, including half his face. Before they can talk together, though, she gets blindfolded again and is sent back. Strangely, they’re not so worried about what powers the guy could have.
Still, she gets back to the base just as Fitz is back in reality. Now they can agree that Mace is not to be trusted, and discuss who he’s working with. That could be a slightly less dangerous situation than Eli.
Then Mack is there, looking at a piece of paper that says “Hope 4/18/06”. It’s not known if it’s a person or “hope,” but Robbie soon emerges from the gateway, ready to take on his uncle with the Ghost Rider inside him.
However, a future problem may be developing. As Radcliffe tries to write a song about his success in the style of Leonard Cohen, Aida is busy making a new brain thanks to what the Darkhold taught her. Anyone suspect this will lead to a Dark Willow/Ultron mashup?
Next week will be the last episode of the year, and maybe Robbie’s last battle. That doesn’t mean there won’t be several issues that will emerge after the New Year.