Episode four of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Season four, entitled ‘Let Me Stand by Your Fire’ was just amazing. The new Ghost Rider lore takes some getting used to but for what it is, the show seems to be pulling out all the stops. They’re doing a great job and they’re not done yet. Spoiler alert from here on. But hey, it will still be worth seeing after reading this.
Agents of SHIELD fans know that our dear old Quake won’t be on her lonesome for very long and this episode ends her solo work, at least temporarily. Fitz and Radcliffe also don’t have much to worry about Simmons discovering AIDA and as a prize in winning a great street race, Coulson gets to keep a spirit of vengeance.
First we see Daisy, whose hero name Quake is thankfully very much in use, manage to intercept Simmons in her new apartment to get some much needed medical help. We then see Coulson visit Eli Morrow, Robbie Reyes’ uncle. In the previous episode, Robbie and Gabe mentioned him as a father figure, not the evil mobster/Satanist in the comics who is actually Robbie’s possessing spirit and source of power. As someone involved in the ‘accident’ at the Momentum Alternative Energy Lab that created the show’s current ghostly antagonists, Coulson wants to milk him for information. Aside from not being a sadistic Satanist, Eli Morrow happens to be a scientist. Material is really loose here. We then get to Agent May recovering from her ‘near-death’ experience being taken care of by AIDA. Radcliffe put AIDA to the ultimate test in order for her to pass as human by keeping May for ‘testing’.
Daisy explains Gemma what’s been going on with the Inhuman registration project and both move on to fix the problem. Coulson gets nowhere with Eli and he and Mac chance upon the also-visiting Robbie resulting in a great car chase sequence through the streets of LA and finally to the riverbed. Robbie seems to have outrun them but gets knocked out after the hellcharger collides with a cloaked Quinjet. It would have been fun to see Lola fly again but Mac explained that repairs to the flight system were still pending. Daisy and Gemma hack into the SHIELD database to figure out who’s next. They find the familiar name James Slade (Hellfire) and decide to warn him about the Watchdogs. Simmons really developed quite a bit this season. Let’s say she’s no longer meek and helpless. She acts much like a boss. Mac marvels at the undamaged hell charger while Coulson and Robbie (trapped in the power-dampening cell) get acquainted. Coulson frees Robbie who agrees to help with his uncle. Daisy and Gemma meet up with James working in a fireworks store and tell him about the Watchdogs. Daisy blasts off James’ tracking bracelets so the Watchdogs don’t find him which alerts Coulson.
Back to May, AIDA accidentally translates May’s colorful Chinese to Radcliffe. May inquires and AIDA almost tells her that she’s mostly made out of Chinese parts but Fitz quickly lies and changes the subject distressing AIDA. Radcliffe later explains the concept of lying to the confused android which may result in something later on. Eli talks to Robbie and explains what happened at the lab. Momentum was creating a quantum particle generator whose specs were apparently taken from the Darkhold, a book that contains vast ancient knowledge. They basically tell us that they managed to translate magic concepts into technology. Like making things appear out of thin air through a quantum particle generator. Joseph Bower, the head of the scientific team pushed his staff (the ghosts) to go ahead resulting in their ‘deaths’. Eli assaulted Joseph and put him to a coma and may have been implicated in the deaths. Joe also happens to know the location of the Darkhold. Lucy, the lady ghost visits Joseph in the hospital and wakes him from the coma.
Robbie is now intent on going after the book but was told by Coulson that they’ll be taking a detour. Daisy and Gemma were led to a storage facility with James. James betrays them to the waiting Watchdogs and explains that being an Inhuman was a mistake despite initially wanting to become one. James now hunts Inhumans before willing himself to die. Daisy and Gemma escape and are later helped by Coulson, Mac and Robbie. Robbie goes face to face with his fiery Inhuman counterpart while Coulson and team deal with the Watchdogs. Ghost Rider and Hellfire fight each other and accidentally ignite the stored fireworks in the warehouse. Robbie captures James alive while Daisy is welcomed by Coulson back to the team. Coulson makes Daisy aware of the high stakes the Darkhold poses and convinces both her and Robbie to stay with the team. He also reveals that Daniel Whitehall, The Red Skull and even Nick Fury made efforts in finding it. May is also welcomed back. Aida passes the test with May but Simmons instantly notices that AIDA is an android but instead of being angry is highly impressed. Fitz confesses to what’s going on which was not a problem with Simmons. Unfortunately, Simmons faces a mandatory lie detection test the following day and may have to explain her knowing about AIDA’s existence and her team-up with fugitive Quake.
The creative team outdid themselves with story, the racing sequence and all the fight action. The narrative was smooth and every scene had purpose. Except for the awkward feeling of Marvel being loose with the source material regarding Eli Morrow, it wasn’t bad. Given Eli’s role in the project and in the comics, there may still be more to him in the future. The fight between hellfire and Ghost Rider was mostly behind-the-scenes because, you know, effects budget. Now with May back onboard, the team is now complete with one hot additional member. Hopefully the rest of the season will be just as good or even better.