Remember that darker season of S.H.I.E.L.D. that we were expecting? Turns out it’s actually more of a supernatural season. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With Doctor Strange coming out in a couple months, the spiritual and spooky side of Marvel is starting to reveal itself. It reminds me of the classic horror comics like Strange Tales that gave birth to a lot of the most memorable heroes.
The episode “Meet the New Boss” even starts with a bit of nostalgia – a young boy looking under his bed checking for monsters. Unfortunately for him, he finds the ghost woman from last episode. Keeping with ghostly clichés, she screams that this is her house and possesses the child’s father causing him to see the freaky demon eyes again (trust me, there will be a lot of demon eyes in this episode).
Jumping from one ghost story to another, Robbie Reyes is off to work like the blue-collar superhero he is. Since Robbie works at an auto body repair shop, one would expect the other mechanics to talk about sports OR girls but we are gifted with comments about both! Skye/Daisy/Quake is still tracking Reyes down in the most obvious, non-discrete van you’ve ever seen. How she has managed to stay hidden from one of the world’s top security agencies I’ll never know. Daisy confronts Reyes at work lying to the other employees that they knew each other growing up. There are some delightful double entendres about how Daisy is concerned about her van that spontaneously burst into flames the other night and that Robbie might be an expert in regards to that. Daisy’s mistake is bringing up Robbie’s brother, which gets Robbie fired up literally. Daisy attempts to fight back but her bones continue to crack under the pressure of her powers and Reyes takes her out. She’s tied to a chair when she wakes up and attempts to tell Robbie to focus on the bigger picture and that they have similar goals. She also mentions wanting to die again because we can’t have an episode without it. He’s not triggered until she mentions a laboratory where the ghost boxes came. He gets into his car and heads out with Daisy releasing herself and attempting to follow by jumping onto the car. We get our weekly car chase and flame effects but Daisy can’t hold on and Ghost Rider escapes.
The main focus of this episode is with the agents. Fitz/Simmons are investigating the box that the ghost lady popped out of and they discover it’s actually a type of containment field and thanks to Mack, they find a photo of the ghost from a security camera. While discussing theories of how this is possible, Mack steps in to ask if maybe she is just a ghost. It’s a great debate of technology vs. faith. This brings us back to the beginning of the episode as Mack and Fitz decide to head to California to investigate the recent ghost sighting there. We also had heard about the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. last episode but we still had no details about him. Coulson and May are requested to meet with him in response to Coulson’s decision to go after Daisy without the Director’s authorization. Coulson is already going into the meeting with too much arrogance; he believes that since he was the former head of S.H.I.E.L.D. that he isn’t restricted to the same standards of protocol. He is immediately taken down a peg when the new Director calls him “Phillip.”
Jason O’Mara is playing Jeffrey Mace, the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Now if Jeffrey Mace sounds familiar, it could be because you are thinking of the Marvel character Patriot. Ray Gill and Sid Greene created Patriot in 1941 and his comic history is almost an amalgamation of several characters. Mace grew up on Yancy Street (Fantastic Four), was a reporter for the Daily Bugle (Spider-Man) and even fought in World War II after being inspired by Captain America. Although he never possessed any actual powers, he did replace Steve Rogers when he went missing in 1945 and became the third Captain America. Now obviously the time frames don’t match up so this version of the character may change for the show but it’s certainly worth remembering as the episode continues.
The meeting between Coulson, May and Mace works to set up the new power dynamic of the agency. Jeffrey Mace is playing the good cop; he understands Coulson’s desire to help Daisy and even encourages him. Coulson calls out his sincerity and Mace doesn’t lie or retaliate, he simply states that S.H.I.E.L.D. is about to re-announce itself to the world and an agency that needs the public’s trust can’t have a former agent robbing banks and causing earthquakes. Coulson was a great Director but he was never one to understand PR. Mace ends the meeting with a special assignment for Coulson only to reveal that it’s as tour guide for some visiting officials. Even though Coulson is stuck in the minor leagues with a job like tour guide, seeing him get excited talking about S.H.I.E.L.D. history is great and my heart aches every time he mentions Peggy Carter’s name (RIP Marvel’s Agent Carter).
Just because one ghost wasn’t enough, the mysterious ghost lady releases three more at a lab. The new ghosts have difficulty understanding their current ghost-ness and find out they’ve been trapped for years. They also mention a “He” too as in “What did HE to us.” Who did this to them? Who is making the ghosts? We have no clue. They do mention a book however called the Darkhold. Now the Darkhold is also known as The Book of Sins in the Marvel Universe. It first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #4 in 1972. It was a book written billions of years ago by a demonic god who was the first on Earth to practice black magic. The book is responsible for vampires, werewolves, and even has its own cult. The book has appeared in several Marvel stories but it has been featured in Ghost Rider, Blade and Doctor Strange (wink wink). The ghosts all seem to know each other and they all seem familiar with the lab they are in suggesting they might once have been scientists. Now they’re all ethereal and arguing amongst themselves about wanting this book back to stop whoever did this to them. Just a thought but I already feel like the ghost that can’t speak will be my favorite character this season.
May is still dealing with the demon eyes she keeps seeing everywhere and to understand it better she decides to visit one of the effected gang members they have locked up. Where as most people are afraid of those infected with the demon eyes, May is under the impression that the people need to be saved. Ming-Na Wen is incredible as she physically struggles with this supernatural delusion. She’s becoming unhinged and stares blankly as the gang member goes crazy in front of her and starts bashing his head into the containment unit. Simmons is the one who tells Coulson that something is wrong with her and that they should try and help. This leads to May kicking everyone’s ass as they try and take her in. We then get to the part that genuinely surprised me – New S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Jeffrey Mace shows up and takes every punch without moving an inch. May’s hitting a brick wall. Even a metal pole to the face doesn’t shake him. It’s like a scene right out of Captain America. May calls him a monster but he clarifies that he’s actually Inhuman (GASP).
Storylines converge as Mack and Fitz show up to the ghost’s laboratory and find it abandoned. OR SO THEY THINK. Turns out one of the ghosts stayed behind to blow up the lab with a nuclear reactor. The ghost tosses Mack into the reactor and Fitz tries to save him to no avail. It seems all is lost until Ghost Rider shows up and takes out the ghost by BURNING HIS FACE. It’s pretty cool. Daisy follows and uses her powers to release Mack, while Fitz shuts off the reactor to save the day. Ghost Rider walks away but not before grabbing a photo of the laboratory’s scientists. Daisy stops Mack from pursuing and we get a little reunion of the agents. Mack tries to tell Daisy to join them again and that they still have the medicine for her bones only to come to the conclusion that Yo-Yo has been lying to him while stealing it for her. It’s Fitz who stands up to say that Daisy has turned her back on them and doesn’t deserve their help.
The episode ends with Coulson and Director Mace discussing what will happen to May and we finally see a harsher side to Mace. He reminds Coulson that putting a powered individual as head of S.H.I.E.L.D. was his idea and to realize his place within the agency. The final nail in the coffin is when Mace tells Coulson that May’s condition is classified. The classified information we find out is that May is tied down to the floor of the departing visitor’s plane in a straightjacket screaming at everyone. As for Daisy, Robbie Reyes drives by and offers her a ride and tells her that he believes he’s the connection to all of this. They drive off together which means that’s right, next episode we get a MOTHER F#&%#*@ TEAM UP! So stay tuned, true believers!