Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Meet the New Boss Review
ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 4, episode 2, ‘Meet the New Boss,’ was set up as a clash between the old team, and the new Agency order. The payoff to that wrote itself. It was also the formal starting point to a number sub-plots, re-worked dynamics, and the season’s main arc. I just don’t entirely know which is which, just yet. That could be a good thing; but until that becomes clearer, I’ll just focus on what we were left with.
The Daisy (Chloe Bennet) ghost hunt expanding, some, May (Ming-Na Wen) seeing dread people, and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) finally meeting the person now sitting in his old chair.
Now, bait & switch has been both a Whedonesque hallmark of Agents, and one of its strengths; so I enjoyed watching Coulson & May winding themselves up to meet the Great & Terrible Director (complete with near boss-fight, between May & a man-mountain, at the Director’s door). When the curtain (of staffer Agents) finally parted, we were treated to all sorts of disarming pleasantry. Director Mace (Jason O’Mara) only wanted to keep rogue Agent Daisy from spoiling his Agency PR charm offensive.
I like O’Mara. He’s an actor who knows how to use his physical presence – forcefully & comedically – which helped sell the bait & switch. His introductory moment also reminded me that the Whedon bait & switch tends to be an ongoing, revolving, evolving thing, depending on the scale of the plot it serves as a device for.
Judging from the twist, at the end of the new Director’s intro (complete with a “top men” kiss-off, to Coulson), I’d say there may be some ambition left to the series.
On the minus side, May got her bus driver’s licence revoked.
There was no telling how long the ticking time bomb scenario was going to play out; but the May day (you were warned) came as fast & furious as expected, when it did. It’s always fun watching May blow through trained fighters, like so much Kleenex in flu season. The fact that said Kleenex had been fashioned into her personal set of paper dolls… well, Coulson shouting for her team to not hurt her might as well have been an order to stand & take a beating.
The <ahem> May-hem was, of course, a great way to set up the Mace reveal; but her subsequent sidelining lingered as a cause for concern.
Former paper doll, Daisy, followed up on her Ghost Rider loss, by taking a shot at alter-ego Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) – pinning his mortal coil down at his busy day job. Given the local folk hero status, that Reyes’ Ghost Rider seems to have developed over a period of time, you’d figure someone would’ve noticed the distinct car & outfit the Ghost & Reyes had in common.
Well the one person that did connect the two (but for only one of those reasons) also turned out to be pretty adept at rattling nerves (even before she became adept at rattling everything else). So good, in fact, that I felt like crediting Reyes, for keeping the heat under his collar from reaching full ignition.
It was the smack talk, before a rematch; but the rematch was a little on the anti-climactic side. It was obvious we were getting to the team-up – the rematch only meant to get them to really regard each other, before the deciding action.
The decisive action also meant a convergence of old teammates. Mack-Fitz (Henry Simmons, Iain De Caestecker) was back together again, after a bit of the old Wonder Twin magic brought them to ground zero (minus half the Twins – ’cause ‘sponsatilities) of the current arc’s antagonist mystery.
Given that this is a S.H.I.E.L.D.-Ghost Rider cross-over, in progress, a fusion of science & the occult was the order of the day. The kind of fusion that justifies GR going full burn, but should’v also warranted an Evil Dead reference, of some kind (#ShotgunAxe). I guess GR & Mack-Fitz linking to the same site was as good a reason as any to get back to some unfinished business, for Mack-Daisy.
The idea to flash forward the series gave Mack enough time to let Daisy go – same as Coulson – but he caught up pretty quick. The man’s no fool; so there would’ve been no point to slow walking him through having been played by a Yo-Yo. Unfortunately, that likely means more office romance fallout drama, in store; but you could feel all eyes turning to Daisy, even as Mack monologued. I imagine Fitz got major ‘this’ props, for stepping on Mack’s moment with a tell-it-as-it-is moment of his own. From shy babbler, to damaged rambler, to confidently direct – I do appreciate Fitz’s evolution.
Okay, so while some lingering bad feelings (over what could be considered 3 out of 4 female Agents on the outs) may be on tap, at least Daisy has been paired up with someone who checked her unbalance twice. I don’t expect the Ghost & the Goth to be a thing for too long; but I do expect it to keep things interesting in the field, while the old boss-new boss dynamic keeps things interesting on base.
Unless you’re sick of Inhumans, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. looks to be going about finding new ways of incorporating them into a larger series mythology, rather than incorporating itself into a larger Inhuman role, within the MCU. Making the Ghost Rider more than just a prop for Daisy seems to bear that out.
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