Our beloved agents just took three weeks off, but before they did, they left us with a pretty bombastic cliffhanger.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 6 revealed that Eli Morrow is the real villain of the story. Not only that: In channeling the power of the Darkhold to create matter out of thin air, he caused an explosion that made Coulson, Fitz and Robbie disappear.
On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 7, the remaining members of the team must deal with the fallout of this catastrophic event and figure out how to rescue Coulson, Fitz and Robbie – if it's even possible to do so.
Fortunately, it is. Turns out, the guys didn't totally disappear – they're just trapped between dimensions.
However, unlike ghostly Lucy, who was able to swan around all semi-transparent and screw with people, Coulson and Company cannot be seen or heard by anyone, nor can they affect the world around them. Not an ideal situation to be in, especially when you're Coulson and still so used to being the one in control.
Got any hell-demon tricks up your sleeve?Coulson [to Robbie]
However, the unfortunate situation does result in a pretty cool storytelling device being utilized in this episode. Essentially, two parallel stories are told throughout. First, we see what the main S.H.I.E.L.D. team is up to. Then, we see the entire scene over again, except this time, we see it from the perspectives of our dimensionally-challenged trio of heroes.
If done poorly, this could have felt repetitive – as though one were just watching the same scenes twice for no reason. However, every time the versions of the scenes including Coulson, Fitz and Robbie started rolling, new things about each scene were revealed.
I've got to phone her. Let her know I'm in another dimension...that's not going to work.Fitz
My personal favorite moment from this episode was the reveal that Robbie was secretly riding shotgun in his Hellcharger after it was stolen by Daisy to chase down Mack. (More on that in a bit.)
Robbie is normally pretty dark and angsty – as we all probably would be if possessed by demons. (I mean, I get dark and angsty simply from waiting too long between meals.)
However, watching Robbie frantically shout criticism of Daisy's driving while worrying over his precious car was pretty funny. It was a nice reminder of another side of Robbie's personality, the side that, before the accident that changed his life, lived for more than just vengeance.
I ran an illegal spy agency using powered operatives on American soil. Do you think the President loves that about me?Coulson [to Fitz]
Other little things were revealed in these doubled-back scenes, too. Incredibly little, minor things like, you know, Mack being possessed by Ghost Rider.
That's right – we got to see Robbie Reyes literally go toe to toe with his inner demons in the form of Mack, who was temporarily possessed by Ghost Rider and proceeded to kick the Chinatown Crew's butts and give Robbie a lot of hell. (No pun intended!)
Give me my vengeance on Eli. Settle my score, and I'll settle yours. All of yours.Robbie [to Ghost Rider]
As usual, Gabriel Luna gave an intense, emotionally wrenching performance. His angry confrontation with Ghost Rider, in which he demanded the right to have his final piece of vengeance against Eli before being dragged off to hell, was yet another standout moment from this season.
It will also be interesting to see how his moment of hellfire affects a religious man like Mack. I'm hoping that the fallout will be something else to bring him and Yo-Yo together, as she is the only member of S.H.I.E.L.D. with whom he felt comfortable sharing his faith. And also, you know, because they're really hot together.
My axe is plenty sharp. And a shotgun.Mack
In the end, Coulson, Fitz and Robbie all crossed back over to the appropriate dimension thanks to Radcliffe's Life Model Decoy, Aida, who built an inter-dimensional portal after daring to read the Darkhold.
I had been wondering where this seemingly meaningless Life Model Decoy plot device was going, apart from inevitably resulting in another iteration of Grant Ward (because I still think this will happen). It felt like pointless padding that slowed down what has so far been an action-packed season.
May: What's your name?
Nathanson: Nathanson, ma'am. What can I do?
May: Get lost, Nathanson.
So, I was pleasantly surprised to see Aida not only get put to good use, but also channel Doctor Strange to do it. Now that she has accessed these powers, I can't wait to see what else she does with them.
Will Aida use her powers for good, or for evil? Will she try to help humanity, or hurt it (or both)? We know the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn't have a good track record with creating robots for the good of mankind (cough, Ultron, cough) so odds are not in humanity's favor here.
And what was that weird brain Aida was diagramming at the end of the episode? Is she going to dissect Radcliffe? Because I have no problem with that. Radcliffe is little more than a mad scientist stereotype and he adds very little to the show.
It's S.H.I.E.L.D. Impossible things happen all the time.Daisy
Unfortunately, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is only back for one more week before it goes on winter break. That's right, next week is already the midseason finale, even though it literally just came back from a three-week hiatus!
Not only that, the show is teasing that this will be Ghost Rider's last stand. I really hope that, even if it is the last we see of Ghost Rider, it's not the last we see of Robbie Reyes.
So, what did you think of this episode? Who was the mystery man undergoing Terrigenesis? And what else does Senator Nadeer have in store for S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Remember, you can watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. online via TV Fanatic.
Lee Jutton was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She went into retirement in July of 2017. Follow her on Twitter.