Posted in TV Stuff

Champions of S.H.I.E.L.D part 4

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Agent Phil Coulson –  Clark Gregg

Agent Melinda May  –  Ming Na Wen

Agent Leopold Fitz    – Ian De Caestecker

Agent Gemma Simmons –  Elizabeth Henstridge

Daisy ‘Quake’ Johnson   –  Chloe Bennett

Alfonso ‘Mack’ MacKenzie – Henry Simmons

Jeffrey ‘Patriot’ Mace – Jason O’Mara

Dr Holden Radcliffe – John Hannah

Aida/Ophelia/Madam Hydra/Agnes – Mallory Jenson

Recurring Cast:

Elena ‘Yo-Yo’ Rodrigues – Natalia Cordova

Grant Ward – Brett Dalton

Glen Talbot – Adrian Pasdar

Robbie ‘Ghost Rider’ Reyes – Gabriel Luna

Overview: After a mixed season 3, season 4 turned into something a bit different with an almost triptych season, with mini-arcs or pods that tied together at the end. It’s ambitious, but with the returning cast very at home with their characters and decent performances from newcomers and consistent writing, it led to a season that pushed the quality up a level or two and that led to a more enjoyable season than I originally expected.

Initial Status Quo: Six months after the Hive incident and the fall of Hydra and it’s all changed. The Sokovia accords have been ratified after the events of Captain America: Civil War and S.H.I.E.L.D. is on the verge of being re-legitimised, Coulson (having run an illegal spy agency for a couple of years) is no longer director, Daisy Johnson is now a fugitive called Quake and the anti-Inhuman hate group Watchdogs has gone global. Now the season splits into 3 fairly distinct, but naturally connected pods.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. : Ghost Rider

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. : LMD

Agents of HYDRA

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. : Ghost Rider

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Episodes 1-8

These episodes center around the threat posed by ‘ghosts’, the mystical tome known as the Darkhold and the spirit of vengeance known as the Ghost Rider and all of those things converge with the re-organised S.H.I.E.L.D

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. : LMD

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Episodes 9-15

With Ghost Rider arc over, there are new threats. The Watchdogs have gone global, answering to a superior with ties to a hard-line anti-Inhuman senator and underneath that is Holden Radcliffe and his creation Aida. Bit by bit all the other threats fall away until we are left with Radcliffe replacing members of S.H.I.E.L.D. with identical Life Model Decoys (or LMDs). Those replaced include May, Mack, Mace, Coulson and Fitz. There’s robot doubles, the continued race for the Darkhold and obsessions galore, until Radcliffe’s ‘Framework’ is complete and Quake and Simmons have to break into this virtual work to locate and save the replaced agents and then we get to the final part of this season.

Agents of HYDRA

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Episodes 16-22

Ending the season is, Daisy Johnson and Jemma Simmons are in an exact replica of the world, but history has changed. Aida has fixed one thing for all captive agents, to keep them placated in their new lives, which has snowballed into a new world. May is first, he regret is the regret of killing an Inhuman child, this had led to an incident where the child killed hundreds of other children and bit by bit, a fascist Hydra run state has come into being and May is one of their harshest enforcers of law. Mace is a true Inhuman, able to be the hero and man he has always wanted, but now viewed as a terrorist. Coulson didn’t really want to join S.H.I.E.L.D. and is now a history teacher, indoctrinating the young in Hydra’s worldview and informing on those who don’t. Mack didn’t lose his daughter Hope and is a devoted and loving father to an adorable 10 year old. Fitz is the most changed, raised not by his kind and caring mother, but his abusive authoritarian father and now is the Doctor, an amoral scientist and number 2 man at Hydra, gleefully experimenting on Inhumans. Fitz is in love with the head of Hydra, Ophelia or Madame Hydra, the Framework avatar of Aida. Jemma and Daisy inhabit their own avatars and find that Daisy is Skye, Agent of Hydra and living with boyfriend Grant Ward and Jemma climbs out of a mass grave at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy. The team get back together through battles, crises and not all of them make it out in one piece. But get out they do, but Aida has used the Darkhold to create her own body outside of the Framework, full of Inhuman powers and the full range of human emotions. She’s full of the wonder of life and passion, until things go badly and then she is all heartbreak and rage when everyone becomes who they used to be and remember who they loved, including Fitz, the man she loves.

It all ends in fire, death and revenge and includes a brief return appearance by Robbie ‘Ghost Rider’ Reyes. The team win the day, but with their base, alliances and reputation in tatters expect to be arrested and so wait to be captured.

Final Twist: Phil Coulson wakes up in some kind of cell, he gets ready for work, looking out of his window at the stars, because wherever he is, is in space.

Where are they? What’s going on? Well you’re going to have to wait for season 5.

Overall: It‘s a solid season, still over reliant on the Inhuman thing to move things forward and paint over the cracks in the story. The introduction of more mystical elements as well as the whole LMD thing adds a new flavour to the show and deliver a fun and well laid out season that brought me back to a show I was less than enthusiastic about watching again.

Stand Out Episodes:

The Good Samaritan: The first arc becomes a little clearer with the origin of the all new Ghost Rider.

Laws of Infernal Dynamics: Ghost Rider, the Patriot, Aida and the rest of the team go all out to defeat Eli Morrow, before he can destroy LA.

The Patriot: The Watchdog threat comes into focus here and we learn the truth about Jeffrey Mace, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and we get more changes to the team’s dynamics.

Hot Potato Soup: Several Koenigs, androids, the Framework and a race to the Darkhold as the LMD of May makes her move.

Self Control: Four people on the base are LMDs and the FitzSimmons team is on the defensive, until they realise that one of the four, is one of them. Paranoia and horror until we end up in the Framework, a world run by Hydra.

Identity and Change: A world were Grant Ward is the hero and Fitz is the monster who shoots an unarmed innocent to prove a point and the question changes from can we save them, to should we?

Next Time: “Space? Figures, we haven’t done that yet.”

Author:

Liverpool based family man and unrepentant geek, trying to understand what's going on in my own head, which is not always being a good place to be. Remember always, we live in a world of wonders.

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