It was another action-packed hour on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Not sure if the show's budget for visual effects has gone up, or they've just invested in some new talent who are making the most of what they have, but this season has definitely impressed me so far when it comes to adding firepower to its fight scenes.
Not content to stop there, this season has also added firepower in the form of two major new characters. In the premiere, it was Robbie Reyes, otherwise known as Ghost Rider. In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 2, we literally "Meet the New Boss." That is Jeffrey, the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. And his introduction was definitely one to remember.
Jason O'Mara plays Jeffrey as a slick corporate type whose shiny smile is permanently and politely plastered onto his face. He is focused far more on public relations that Coulson ever was. Though, given how bad public perception of S.H.I.E.L.D. was for most of Coulson's reign (not to mention the times people didn't know it still existed), a little media savvy could probably do the organization some good.
Jeffrey's calm, cheerful response to Coulson's unauthorized – and failed – mission to find Daisy was counterbalanced by his rather cold assessment that the main reason they needed to hunt her down and bring her in was that her actions as a rogue agent were going to ruin the newly positive public perception of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Coulson: But I had a whole speech ready.
Jeffrey: I'm sure it's good. You can use it next time.
His explanation made sense, to be sure, but it was totally at odds with Coulson's super-personal way of running S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson was willing to bend the rules and take risks for the members of his beloved team, but one imagines that Jeffrey would throw them under the bus if it meant that he and S.H.I.E.L.D. would look the better for it.
And then, it was revealed that Jeffrey isn't just a random suit chosen to lead S.H.I.E.L.D. – he's also an Inhuman.
The reveal of Jeffrey's powers was pretty intense, mostly because being forced to watch May lose her mind and go from being the cool, collected, Cavalry that we know and love to someone deranged with paranoia was devastating.
May: You're a monster.
Jeffrey: I prefer the term...Inhuman.
Normally, May doesn't even break a sweat fighting bad guys twice her size, but her face was shiny with uncontrollable stress in this episode. Ming-Na Wen is always excellent; she took on a role that could have been a stereotypical "strong female character" and added so many more layers to it. Her performance is subtle, but never stiff. Yet she went to new heights – or rather, lows – in this episode, showing us a May who was surprisingly, believably, utterly crazy.
In fact, May was so frantic that she attacked the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and then was just as shocked as the rest of us when she bounced off of his super-strong body without even scratching him.
Based on his powers, his reported origins in the 1940's and his first name, a popular rumors is that Jeffrey is supposed to be Patriot, a character who eventually became the third person to wear the mantel of Captain America.
According to my (very quick and by no means in-depth) research, the original incarnation of Patriot, a newspaper reporter named Jeffrey Mace, didn't have superpowers, he was just awesome at fighting Nazis. A pretty admirable skill, all things considered.
A later incarnation of Patriot did have super-soldier abilities a la Steve Rogers, and given his inability to be hurt by a manic May with a metal pipe, I'd say our Jeffrey's powers qualify. Perhaps he is supposed to be an amalgamation of multiple Patriots?
Most people know the legend of Peggy Carter but there were so many stories that were never recorded.Coulson [to the tour group]
Either way, he's definitely got a dark side, as he loaded the visibly sick and disturbed May into a straitjacket and sent her away, refusing to tell Coulson where. He seemed to take great satisfaction in telling Coulson that information was classified.
As much as it pains me to say it, his point about Coulson's blind spot when it comes to May and Daisy is valid. I don't think anyone would argue that Coulson was a flawed Director and honestly, is probably much better out in the field than behind a desk, hobnobbing with Congressmen.
Yet Jeffrey seems too much of an extreme in the other direction. He is too impersonal, the exact opposite of Coulson in every way apart from their shared affinity for SSR history. (Props for the shout-out to Peggy Carter! I already miss Hayley Atwell's right hook and retro fashions.)
I hope we figure out what fate Jeffrey has in store for May sooner rather than later – and that she finds a way to escape it, because I cant imagine it's very good.
We’re not so different, you and me. You just feel bad for the dead in your wake, and I don’t feel anything.Robbie [to Daisy]
"Meet the New Boss" also treated to one of the most killer stunts Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has ever pulled off. I'm talking about Skye using her powers to explode from the bonds Robbie used to tie her to a chair, then flying through the air to land on top of his car. Naturally, Robbie drives like hell (to pun intended) to try and throw her off.
The scene itself was far too short – I could watch a good car chase for ages – but it got the adrenaline pumping while it was happening. It helped that it was really Chloe Bennet clinging to the top of that Charger. Every time an actor does their own stunts, it lends a level of realism to the scene that ratchets the tension up a notch.
I'm glad that it only took two episodes for Daisy and Robbie to decides to team up. Their scenes were already starting to grow repetitive with all of the needling about each other's emotional baggage without actually telling each other anything.
Vengeance seems to put you on the same track as me.to Robbie}
Speaking of emotional baggage: It broke my heart when Mack and Fitz confronted Daisy about having turned her back on the team after the showdown with the ghosts at Momentum Labs. They were both so visibly, deeply hurt by her actions.
As Fitz pointed out, they've all had bad things happen to them, and they've all relied on each other to get through it, as opposed to shutting the others out entirely. But, Daisy deserves to work through her issues on her own time, and one imagines that Robbie will be better able to relate to her current state of mind than her friends at S.H.I.E.L.D.
As for those ghosts, well, I have literally no idea what to think about them yet, though I do find them legitimately creepy. Again, the visual effects crew has really stepped up their game. The opening scene of this episode actually sent shivers down my spine, and it would never have worked if the ghosts weren't so well-executed.
So, what did you think of "Meet the New Boss"? Where do you think Robbie and Daisy's relationship will go from here? Do you think Jeffrey is Patriot, or a different character from the Marvel archives? And what do you think he's got planned for Melinda May?
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.