TV Show Review

TV Review: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 4, Episode 6: The Good Samaritan [ABC]

Ghost Rider Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Good Samaritan

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Good Samaritan Review

ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 4, episode 6, ‘The Good Samaritan,’ turned out to be a bit of surprise fan-service, but ultimately served to reduce Robbie Reyes’ (Gabriel Luna) Ghost Rider arc, as it has so far been, to a set-up for something bigger & more personal. It also served as a tension breaker, between Coulson (Clark Gregg) & Mace (Jason O’Mara), even as Mace created a new source of tension for Fitz (Iain De Caestecker).

The old bait-and-switch routine has made for some fun moments, with the new Director; but wouldn’t have been possible without some genuine menace to the man. That menace remained in evidence, as he had Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) spirited off to some special, super-secret assignment for the Government. I’m sure we were meant to think of Mace being strong-armed by a certain Senator; but I’m not buying the Mace as smiling stealth villain.

This development made Fitz in something of a mood, the whole episode; but the current Fitz actually seems to be at his best when slightly pissed. I can see the show maybe milking the separation, to get more miles out of a pissed Fitz.

The Mace matter primarily focus on his relationship with Coulson, however, as the Senator’s leverage forced an armed ‘inspection’ of the Zephyr, and a really neat, running brinkmanship banter, between the old & new boss.

While they were having all the fun, the subjects of the search had some hang time to kill; so it was story time. Daisy (Chloe Bennet) had brought Gabe aboard, for a bit of protective custody, putting Robbie in kind of ‘Splaining to Do spot. Daisy was pretty handy with spinning a cover yarn; but by the time the three were left hanging, Robbie took what would be the first swing, in the episode’s effort to get some of Robbie’s family issues out of the way. This it did; but not necessarily in any way good or useful.

See, “back in the day,” Robbie’s uncle, Eli (José Zúñiga), had confronted Lucy Bauer (Lilli Birdsell) & spouse, over their use of the Darkhold, and the subsequent Gollum effect it had on them. That falling out eventually led to a mistaken identity hit – the mistaken targets being Robbie & Gabe (Lorenzo James Henrie).

It’s already been established that there was an element of guilt, to Robbie’s protectiveness towards Gabe; but the flashback brought new context to that guilt. Robbie was just stupid, and stupid loves company, so Gabe paid a price for Robbie’s ‘dull boy’ challenge.

That price was clumsily delivered – by gangbangers who din’t know what a proper Molotov Cocktail was, and didn’t think to open their ambush with a quick spray to the windscreen – but Robbie gave the right answer, to the wrong question, asked by the titular figure, and we had us an origin.

We also had a character regression, in the form of Gabe. After his last meeting with Daisy, I was left kinda hating the guy; but his flashback self seemed decent enough, and he seemed to take to his initial notion (of what Robbie’s story/ secret was) pretty well. That went away with the truth, however; and I’m going to have to side with Daisy, on this one – Robbie’s confession did not go well, at all. I also imagine that most viewers, myself included, might’ve felt the point of the origin story buried the lead, a bit.

The GS was the OG GR, baby! All fired up, no Nick Cage preservatives! I could go on, but I still got more show to pick at – talk among yourselves.

Since one good Bad Blazer deserved another, that flashback appearance was followed by the current incarnation – at the culmination of the Coulson-Mace dance. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is often at its best when its star players get taken out of their comfort zones; and the soul-sold-to-the-Devil meme (be annoying if regarded as anything else) has been a reliable source for just such discomfort.

Of particularly entertaining discomfort, this time around: Coulson & Fitz learning that the Rider doesn’t do ‘Binding me with Science,’ and Mace getting checked, regarding his role as Human Shield.

While it still hasn’t been made clear what Mace’s abilities are, it was nice to see him give GR a reason to stoke his own flames, some. Unfortunately for Mace, that extra heat turned out to be an almost fatal development. Unfortunately for us, it also put Robbie on the outs with Gabe.

While the fight made for a great tension breaker, to the Coulson-Mace dance, Gabe going emo sort of undercut the more likable character traits he had displayed, back in the day. I’m trying hard to get away from Henrie’s previous role, here, and the prospects of an emo Gabe isn’t helping.

Well, a guilted Ghost Rider, tempered Mace, and goal positioned Lucy allowed everyone to get on the same page, finally, for what came next. At that point, we knew how the Robbie GR came about, addressed some of family issues, and re-established his relationship with the Agency. The only thing left was establishing who his real opponent would be, and whether Lucy was really the one for the job.

So I guess it all boils down to whether Lucy has been under the influence of the Book (along with her colleagues), or if she was just a self-absorbed prat, to begin with (… along with her colleagues). The question got a little harder to answer, once the real mad scientist signed in; but Book related Gollum disease would be the only thing to make any real sense of the reveal.

They all went mad with target fixation, and couldn’t care who got caught in the blast; so finger pointing was never really a priority. The reveal still felt like it came from left-field, though – not like a last minute switch, but more like they didn’t really try to be logical about. You’d think Joseph Bauer would’ve mentioned it on his deathbed, instead of just his wife; but, evil magic logic.

With the Lucy overtake, the rest of the episode was anti-climactic. The GR-Mace confrontation was the only Boss Fight of the episode – the rest of it going into a race-against-the-clock doomsday scenario. What we were left with, then, was a bigger switch, to some higher stakes bait. No immediate doomsday outcome; but only because the secret baddie had succeeded in going overpowered.

I would call the whole exercise frustrating; but at least GR might actually get a real challenge, coming out of this. Let’s face it, it’s been nothing but a long, steady warm-up, thus far.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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