As an avid viewer of this show, this was the season I approached with the most trepidation. While the writing and acting on the show has been very solid for the first three seasons (and my fixation on Brett Dalton aka Ward/Hive fueled my fascination with the show), season 4 begins with a significantly reduced core cast. Bobbie and Hunter were excommunicated. Ward/Hive and Lincoln are dead. Coulson is no longer the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Daisy is channeling her inner Goth Girl and is off the grid after the deaths of the men she loved the most. How can the show possibly survive? To my delight, the show’s fourth season premiere should have really been called “Tabula Rosa” as literally, the slate has been wiped clean and what we have left is core cast and potential storyline that lay a strong foundation for the season. Minor spoilers ahead.
The current status quo is as follows: Daisy, now publicly known as Quake, is still on the run and conducting her own clandestine operations. Mac and Coulson seem to be the more active field agents. Agent Melinda May (my former nemesis) is now training an elite squad of S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers. Simmons has been promoted and reporting directly to the new director (the yet to be introduced character, played by DILF Jason O’Mara, formerly of Life on Mars and Terra Nova). Fitz is, well…being Fitz.
We did have the introduction of my least favorite iteration of the Ghost Rider mythos, Robbie Reyes (nicely portrayed by Gabriel Luna). While I would have preferred the Johnny Blaze version of Ghost Rider (and would have tolerated Danny Ketch), the addition of Mr. Reyes does amp up the Latino population in AoS (thankfully my Colombian favorite, Yo-Yo, makes a guest appearance as well). So far, Mr. Luna seems to capture the essence of what it is to be the host of the “Spirit of Vengance.”
We also see what may be the big bad of the season. While the identity of this rather ethereal character has not been revealed, my thoughts go to Chthon and the Book of Darkhold, which is closely tied into the Ghost Rider saga (albeit the Johnny Blaze/Danny Ketch versions). Alas, this is but an intuitive guess and I could be completely wrong.
The season premiere is ripe with OMG moments. Chloe Bennet‘s portrayal of Skye/Daisy/Quake is amazing. Her ascension from being meek and powerless computer hacker in season one to bad-ass Inhuman who lead the Secret Warriors and gave Agent May a run for her money. The special effects for Ghost Rider were pretty amazing for the small screen. We see what may be the introduction of the Life Model Decoy’s (LMD’s). The interplay between Simmons’ new director role and how this psychologically has an impact on her former co-workers, especially May, is so interesting to watch.
While the season premiere was a little slow overall (except the action scenes with Quake and Ghost Rider), it did seem to firmly set the stage for the upcoming season. My concerns were eased somewhat with this episode and I am certainly looking forward to the season (albeit the 10PM time slot is killing me). The only thing this season needs right now is the introduction of a Grant Ward LMD and my life will be complete.
I give The Ghosts 3.5 out of 5 stars.