‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4.08 Recap: “We Need the Big Guns”

It appears that ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ will divide the two halves of this season into distinct storylines. The mid-season finale finally (mercifully) brings an end to the Ghost Rider arc, at least for now. I can’t possibly be the only one who thinks this guy is boring as hell, can I?

Robbie’s evil uncle Eli is working with Chinese gangsters again. They’ve holed up in a building where Eli is creating… something. S.H.I.E.L.D. gets wind of this and cordons off the area, which leads to a media circus. Director Mace has to go on the news and use all of his smarm and charm to calm public fears. Knowing that Eli has a dangerous new power to create matter out of nothing, Coulson wants to send in his three most powered assets – Daisy, Robbie and Yo-Yo (Elena). Mace is concerned about the PR shitshow that would occur if the media found out that S.H.I.E.L.D. is working with at least two known fugitives, but Coulson talks him into letting them slip into the building. Coulson also informs him that Aida is an android. Mace isn’t happy about that at all, but he agrees to let Coulson use her on this mission so long as she gets decommissioned afterwards.

Robbie, Daisy and Yo-Yo prepare to breach the building. Yo-Yo goes in first to do some recon, and walks right into a booby trap. An incendiary device goes off, creating a giant fireball she just barely outruns. She escapes with only minor singes, but Mack is overly concerned and protective of her. Robbie, who has no fear of fire, goes in next to hunt down his uncle.

Robbie fights off the gangsters with no problem, but when he finds Eli, he gets lured into an oversized box with lots of lights and glowy lines in it. Eli describes this as a “quantum energy battery,” and it saps Robbie’s power to flame out. Eli traps him in there by impaling him on spears of carbon. They argue when Eli finds out that his nephew is the Ghost Rider. He says that he only ever wanted respect, and he’ll get it now that he’s a god.

Small earthquakes shake the area. Daisy insists that she isn’t causing them. The quantum battery is powered by plutonium, and Fitz is concerned that a meltdown could destroy half of Los Angeles. Fitz also becomes determined to find a rational scientific explanation for Eli’s power. He doesn’t believe that matter or energy can be created out of nothing.

Mace wants to send Elena back in the building, but Mack yells at him. Elena doesn’t care for being treated like a piece of property that two men have a dispute over.

Coulson goes into the building instead and talks to Eli, distracting him while Aida works in the basement to build a big magnet.

Fitz eventually figures out that Eli isn’t creating energy; he’s stealing it from elsewhere. This is what’s been causing the earthquakes. Daisy tries to use her power to absorb the quakes as best she can. A S.H.I.E.L.D. team sweeps into the building and fights with the gangsters and Eli. Robbie gets so angry that he’s able to flame out again. He grabs Eli and pulls him into the box with him. The two of them get trapped in there and suddenly vanish. I guess that’s it for the both of them. See ya.

Aida’s magnet somehow keeps the quantum battery from melting down, but Aida herself is shot during the conflict. Because she’s designed as a lifelike decoy, she’s been programmed to feel pain. She doesn’t like it.

Daisy becomes overwhelmed absorbing the earthquakes and has to run outside, where she’s spotted by a news crew. Director Mace acts quickly to publicly exonerate her on the air, claiming that she’s been working undercover and is a true hero.

Daisy is later formally reinstated to S.H.I.E.L.D. but is a bit nervous about it. Mack and Elena finally give in to their romantic tension and kiss. To congratulate themselves on a job well done, Coulson and May go out for a drink like they’ve discussed a bunch but never found time for.

Mace is so impressed by Aida that he allows Dr. Radcliffe to keep his project alive, under S.H.I.E.L.D. supervision of course. He might reconsider that if he knew that Aida had just murdered the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent assigned to watch her and has Agent May imprisoned unconscious in a secret room.

But wait! Didn’t May just go out for drinks? Oh no! That’s not May in the bar with Coulson. It’s a Life Model Decoy!

Perhaps Mace was right the first time when he asked why the hell nobody learned any lessons from Ultron. Damn androids, you just can’t trust ’em…

Episode Verdict

This is a really underwhelming end for Ghost Rider. Eli was a weak villain for the season, and he and Robbie simply disappearing after they get stuck in a box is a truly lame climax. I imagine that we will eventually see Robbie again, because Marvel’s going to want to keep its Ghost Rider character active for future use. Hopefully the Spirit of Vengeance can jump to someone more interesting when that happens.

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ will return on January 10th, and the back half of the season will be subtitled ‘LMD’, which is a pretty dumb title. Obviously, Aida will take over as the main villain. I like actress Mallory Jansen and hope she can pull it off, but the Aida character hasn’t been terribly unique or compelling thus far, and I’m wary of Marvel trotting out another evil android after the ‘Age of Ultron’ disappointment.


  1. I can’t do it any longer…I’ve stuck with this show since the beginning, but it’s felt like too much work watching this season. I’ve lost the plotline and characters, but I don’t think it matters…it’s less about not following it and more about it being boring. Oh well..time to move on

  2. Guy

    According to interviews after the finale, they’re dividing this season into thirds rather than the standard halves of previous seasons. There will be another arc after LMD. I assume that’s when Senator Nadeera and her Inhuman agenda will bubble over. I’m a fan of this connected mini-arc format for full-length seasons. A few shows I watch have done this in the last few years and it’s much better than trying to stretch a single villain over 22-24 episodes without losing steam.

    While acknowledging they had to skip election night, it would’ve been nice if ABC could’ve found a way to schedule this Ghost Rider run uninterrupted, though. If the creative staff is going to provide natural breaks, why not take advantage?

    Also, did your DVR catch the promo for the Yo-Yo digital series airing during the winter break? No clue how extensive it will be, but Cisco’s webisodes, while bite-sized, were superior to most actual episodes of The Flash last year. Here’s to hoping the SHIELD folks have cooked up something good.

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