This week was all about Ghost Rider. There were some advances and references to the other plot lines (like FitzSimmons’ relationship and the Darkhold), but the meat of this episode was Ghost. Motherfucking. Rider. And god damn did it deliver.
Obviously, spoilers live here. Don’t try to put it on me if you read past this warning!
Ever since Budget Gambit (thanks everyone!) came onto the scene last season what with his fire bocce balls and fire chain, we have been wondering if Ghost Rider himself (Johnny Blaze or Danny Ketch) would appear. We got Robbie Reyes as a main character, and his newer version of the Spirit of Vengeance.
But that wasn’t all. Little hints here and there were dropped, hinting at something more. Sure, we know Robbie sold his soul to the devil for a chance to get even with those that wronged his brother (and everyone else who happens to have it coming). He used Budget Gambit’s fire chain against him. There was a poster for the carnival that Johnny Blaze used to own in a basement or garage with a jacket and motorcycle. The hints have been there, building up.
And then we got to this episode and learned the truth. Yes, Robbie sold his soul to the devil, but who made the exchange?
None other than Johnny Blaze him fucking self. It was a brief glimpse, but my god was it beautiful.
1. Lets recap: Robbie was racing, and thought it would be fun to take Gabe out to watch him make some money. When the guns started blazing, Robbie felt like he screwed up, and was responsible for getting his brother killed. While he was flying through the air after the car crashed (crazy good scene in its own right), Robbie plead to anyone who would listen to let Gabe be okay and to get a second chance. Robbie was completely selfless in that instant, and his call was answered by someone. A voice. The voice asked if he wanted to punish those who were responsible and get vengeance for his own death. When Robbie said yes, a good Samaritan showed up.
That good Samaritan was Johnny MOTHERFUCKING Blaze. With a sensual touch of the head, a new Spirit of Vengeance was released on this Earth, with Robbie at the helm.
It looked like Johnny transferred his power to Robbie, but that’s not what I saw. In the comics, there are multiple Spirits of Vengeance, and I maintain that Robbie contains a different Spirit than Johnny. Although his cameo was goddamn beautiful, they are not the same Spirit. Johnny has the Penance Stare. Robbie does not. Johnny doesn’t determine if people deserve to die - he makes them experience all the emotional pain and suffering they have caused in their lifetime, permanently damaging their soul in the process. If he has to, he’ll kill, too.
That’s not Robbie’s shtick. Robbie can tell if a person deserves to die. He doesn’t damage their soul - he removes them from this realm completely. Since the two Ghost Riders’ power sets are so different in that regard, I’m led to believe that there are multiple Spirits of Vengeance in this Marvel Universe, and in 2016, we’ve met two of them. Hot damn.
2. In the comics, Mephisto gave Johnny Blaze his powers for selfish reasons. Robbie keeps talking about the devil, but I don’t think it’s the same one. Despite his connection with Johnny, I still think Robbie was endowed with this power by Chthon, the Elder God of Chaos. We haven’t figured it out yet, but there is some connection between this Ghost Rider and the Darkhold, which was authored by Chthon. Think about it: When we first met Robbie, he was hunting Watch Dogs, who were transporting a “weapon” that turned out to be Lucille Ghost in a box. Robbie was hunting the people responsible for putting his uncle in jail, and those people happened to be ghosts that only Robbie could put down for good.
So far as I can tell, Chthon was the entity that answered Robbie’s call, and realized he could be used to eliminate those that would abuse his book. When Robbie saved Mack and Fitz in that reactor room, he took the picture of the scientists that worked on the project as Ghost Rider. As we saw last night, it took some convincing by Gabe for Robbie to get back control of Ghost Rider when he was wailing on the LMDirector. It seems like at this point Robbie has control of Ghost Rider just long enough to keep him bottled or to put him back in. But when Ghost Rider is out, he’s at the reigns. There is some connection between the Darkhold and Robbie’s Ghost Rider. Johnny Blaze was a magnificent cameo and passed the torch well, but I think he was just the delivery guy in this exchange.
3. Johnny Blaze wasn’t the only awesome cameo this week. Fitz was looking into all this technology and ghost business, and came across some old SSR files from the 1950s. Once he got through the black tape, Fitz learned all about Isodyne and their experiments with the Darkforce. WOO AGENT CARTER!
Apparently Isodyne was bought up by Roxxon sometime after Agent Carter’s second season, and unless something awesome happens with Netflix or Hulu, we may never get to see a third season. Rude. We were told at the time that Agent Carter’s Darkforce, which had already been referenced in the first season of Agents of SHIELD, would be tied to Dr. Strange. Since the movie has already come out internationally and is about to drop in the United States, we’ll get our answers soon enough. Without spoiling anything, I have a feeling I know where that may be.
4. Also remember: The Darkforce affected people in different ways. In Agents of SHIELD, a guy could manipulate shadows made of Darkforce. One guy could drain energy from any source, thereby killing people if they were that source. In Agent Carter, Whitney Frost was able to absorb life forms to feed her own powers. Dr. Wilkes was rendered incorporeal, and could not interact physically or audibly with the world until Howard Stark started getting involved.
Now, Uncle Eli (you fucker) seems to have been given some powers. We know that he got them by using the Darkhold, but it’s unclear if those powers came from the same Darkforce that we’ve seen to date. They very well may be, and the Darkhold would probably have helped Whitney Frost all those years ago.
5. But who is Uncle Eli, besides a backstabbing motherfucker who deserves what Robbie is eventually going to dish out? I was thinking Molecule Man, but that’s mostly a Fantastic Four villain, and I doubt that Marvel has the live action rights to him. Maybe something similar? Only time (and boy do we have a lot of it) will tell.
6. I am a little more convinced each and every week that Mace is a LMDirector, and this week was no different. Sure he seemed pissed at Coulson and kind of squirrely with Simmons and her secret mission, but watch his fight with Ghost Rider. He took a whoopin, and sustained no damage. There were no cuts or bruises, and Ghost Rider was whomping on him good. LMDirector staggared back a little, but was never unconscious and sustained no lasting injuries. The next scene, he was fine talking to Coulson about the mission at hand.
When we first “learned” that he was “inhuman,” May attacked him when she was straight tripping, and he didn’t flinch or react to being hit, and calmly knocked her out with little effort.
The LMDirector’s speech is very calculated, and now I’ve noticed it seems that he tailors it to whomever he is talking to. When speaking with Simmons, he tries to appeal to her sympathetic side, what with convincing her to help him in the debate and convincing her to go on the secret mission. Sure, Simmons doesn’t trust him in the slightest, but she goes along with it anyway. When speaking with Coulson, he is assertive like a Director (Coulson used to be one), but appeals to nostalgia and history. He convinced Coulson to lead the tour of the base by playing off of Coulson’s history background and love for everything SHIELD and SSR. When he appeared at the Zephyr to take Daisy and Robbie in to custody, he used Star Wars references to make his point. Look how LMDirector interacted with Senator Nadeer when she was blackmailing her. He had no idea how to act, so he simply asked what she wanted. He didn’t know how to talk to her, and was trying to figure it out.
Director Mace is a LMD. Watch how he interacts with the world. You’ll see.
Speaking of Star Wars: That scene of LMDirector boarding the Zephyr was some New Hope shit. All that steam as the doors opened? So Vader. I hope that isn’t foreshadowing anything about him, though.
7. Daisy is coming back. I love it. When she was all in, she was all about helping others get used to working with SHIELD. It wasn’t her main thing, but it was something she did for a bunch of the team. She’s back to doing that with Robbie and Gabe, especially. Daisy took a big step this week in coming back into the fold for good.
8. Gabe did a good job contributing this week. Black Kojack! Ironside! SUPER DOPE. I like this character much better than Christ from Fear The Walking Dead. I hope he sticks around for a while. And he has a science background. In the flashback, Gabe was trying to do homework to get into college. He was heavily referencing science and math. If Robbie and Gabe stick around with the team, he will make a good addition to the science team one day.
9. Fitz was frustrated and snippy and I fucking loved it. I want to know who had Roy G Biv clearance to help him finally unlock the old SSR files. Whoever came up with that system was a total wanker. That was hilarious. Coulson was on it this week, too. They’re goose free, yes sir-ee! And when LMDirector called Robbie a terrorist, he said “that sounds a little Fox News to me. But you’re not wrong.” I was dying.
10. Lines of the night: “I know you. You’re his nephew, Gabriel. Like the angel.” “No. I’m the other one.” HOOOOOOLY FUCKING SHIT that was dope. Super dope.
11. I like the “Back in the day” time stamps. If only they were in Futura Medium.
12. VOTE. Seriously. I already did because California is awesome and Absentee voting is the best. Make your voice heard, because it counts. Maybe you want to vote for Clinton but live in a county that always goes red. Still vote, because although your county may go the other way, your voice still matters, and you also have an impact on the more localized elections. The only way to make change is from the ground level up, so don’t stay home because you feel like it isn’t going to matter anyway.
If someone at the polls tries to intimidate you, report them to the FBI.
But what does all this have to do with Agents of SHIELD, you may ask? Well, if you watched the entire episode, you may have noticed that the next episode does not air until NOVEMBER 29TH. That’s 27 days away. Next Tuesday is the election, and the two Tuesdays after that are days off for some reason. I don’t know why, but I don’t like it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder?
13. Speaking of. ARE COULSON AND FITZ GHOSTS NOW? Coulson had a compelling argument to Hail Satan after watching Robbie break out of containment, and Fitz is going to be a believer now. This felt like a mid-season finale! What is happening?
Until next time!