Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4, Episode 6 “The Good Samaritan”
Hey kids, it’s backstory week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! The series goes back in time to tie a bunch of loose plot threads together to give the series its forward movement, but not before an awkward cliffhanger.
Director Mace takes a team to confront Coulson and the two fugitives (Daisy and Robbie) he’s harboring, first sending Jemma off god knows where. For good measure, Daisy picks up Gabriel for his own protection, and brings him on the jet.
Coulson hits Daisy, Robbie and Gabriel in plain sight (a containment module under the jet), which gives them nothing but time for Robbie to tell his brother what really happened for both of them on that fateful night. It’s straight comic origin story. Gabe and Robbie are shot in a drive-by (that we actually know was a hired hit); in the moments before hitting the pavement after being thrown from his car, Robbie implored the universe to give him the power to help his brother. The Spirit of Vengeance shows up and the rest is history.
Meanwhile, Fitz is going through old SSI records to discover a link to Season 2 of Agent Carter. It seems the ghost group was trying to make Zero Matter, the black stuff that made Madame Masque both crazy and powerful, and nearly ripped a hole in the universe. Thanks to the influence of the Darkhold, instead of trying to make Zero Matter with machines, the mission becomes to give a person the ability to create the stuff out of thin air.
After Mace discovers Coulson’s ruse and gets the snot beat of out him by Ghost Rider for his cleverness, the scene shifts to an abandoned power station where the team looks to stop the ghost and rescue Robbie’s uncle. Except, Robbie’s uncle doesn’t exactly need rescuing.
Old Uncle Eli was really the power mad one the whole time. He created the ghosts because the rest of the team stood in his way. He wanted the godlike powers the Darkhold could give him.
The episode ends with Eli’s evil contraption going off and sending out a wave of energy that seemingly swallows up Fitz, Coulson and Robbie. The last image we see is of Eli emerging from the machine, creating a chunk of Zero Matter out of thin air.
This was an odd kind of cliffhanger to leave the fans with, as the series doesn’t return until after Thanksgiving. The Ghost Rider and new villain origin stories were nice and all, but the story left the stakes and the danger poorly defined, undercutting the cliffhanger’s effectiveness. It felt like not enough happened with the core cast in the episode to give the disappearances of Coulson and Fitz the gut punch that it was seeking. Despite solid effects and action Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. missed the mark for the first time this season, which is unfortunate, given it is what fans will remember going into a three-week series break.