With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returning for its fourth season next week, our first clip from the season premiere hit the internet today. This scene is a bit of an exposition dump, setting up several storylines for the new season. So, MILD SPOILER ALERT for those who don’t want to know anything about the show before it comes out on Tuesday. Most of the material, however, has been telegraphed ahead via the pre-season promotional channels.
-The show-runners have clearly shuffled the deck some. We get to see the chemistry of Mack and Coulson as partners. That should be fantastic to watch. The two have no interest in spending time at HQ, clocking up the most air time every in the Zephyr. Coulson’s reticence to be around the new director is matched by the director’s total mistrust of Coulson. Agent May will get to dance between the two without her duplicity being caught. Also, we see May serve in her new leadership role. It’s so fitting to see her taking charge, even if some fans are disappointed that she isn’t the director herself.
-Is this a sign that things are going to get darker or grittier? The description of two victims (presumably of Ghost Rider), includes bashed-in heads and a “spine pulled out of his…” While this description is not the same as seeing said dismemberment, it’s a more aggressive and graphic tone than the show has often had. This matches well with some of the horror-esque shots in other trailers of the Rider’s victims about to be impaled by a car. Maybe Marvel really is going to use the 10 PM time slot to full effect.
-Quake and Ghost Rider look to be ready for a mistaken identity plotline. As May, Mack, and Coulson talk, it appears that they are connecting the Ghost Rider violence to the person of Daisy. One can easily see a storyline where Quake is following around Ghost Rider to stop him, is mistaken as the perpetrator, and S.H.I.E.L.D. goes after her all the harder. Such a storyline, for this author, is pretty much a tired trope. Here’s to hoping that it doesn’t drag out too long. Also, notice that after years of avoiding the Quake moniker like a plague the writers are now making it her super villain name. Would it kill this show to just us codenames? If, after a season, Ghost Rider is “Reyes” or “the demon enhanced individual” or some other mess, fans might pull out all their hair.
-Season three storylines are still in play. Part of Quake’s quest is to take out the Watchdogs. This storyline was started a bit into season three, but it never really went anywhere. It seemed like maybe they were just a way to get Hive some Alpha Primitives. (Possibly the worst special effect and makeup work in the history of modern television.) But the Watchdogs are back and part of Daisy’s grand scheme. Also, the tension between May’s distrust and cynicism on one hand, and Coulson’s undying devotion to Daisy on the other, is strong as ever.
Does this have you excited for the return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? What new storyline has you most interested? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The fourth season of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., starring Clark Gregg, Chloe Bennet, Ming-Na Wen, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, and Henry Simmons, will premiere at its new 10 P.M. time-slot on September 20th, 2016.