Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: ‘The Laws of Inferno Dynamics’ Mid-Season Finale Review
All cards are on the table.
WARNING: Major SPOILERS for this mid-season finale review of Agents of SHIELD… because how boring would it be without the spoilers?
And with that, we have a solid, if not near perfect first half of the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. AOS has become consistent with pulling out all the stops when it comes to its finales, whether it be for the season or the mid-point of a season. Tonight’s “The Laws of Inferno Dynamics” was no exception. What I love about AOS is their mid-finales always have a satisfying conclusion to a main story arc they are on, while setting up for the next part of a season with a shocking cliffhanger. I’m probably speaking for myself, but it’s because they give us a satisfying episode with plenty to be thankful for, the cliffhanger doesn’t sting so bad. Yes, it sucks to get a cliffhanger, and tonight’s definitely made my heart drop a little while leaving my with a ton of questions, but at least the middle of the season gave us awesome action, great teamwork, a lot of reveals, and storylines that came full circle. Therefore, I wasn’t left hanging with an episode that felt like a waste of time. SHIELD has not let me down yet. (Knock on wood)
Major shout out to the director of this mid-finale, Kevin Tancharoen. He’s come up in at least one of my reviews before. He’s touched episodes of Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, but he’s best known for the webseries Mortal Kombat: Legacy. This is his seventh episode for SHIELD, and he continues to bring out the best in the series.
Hands down, the most compelling aspect of this first half of season four has been the inclusion of the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider. Not only did it include a nice level of fan service to Marvel fans, but his presence made for some wonderfully dark and complex material for the show. Gabriel Luna has become a star, playing this role with so much heart, respect, and diligence. He has become one of the best characters of the series, and not just because it’s simply Ghost Rider, an established character from comic book lore. It’s because of the brilliance and intensity Mr. Luna brought to each episode. He has given us some incredible and memorable moments this season. Watching him work as a vigilante, eventually teaming up with S.H.I.E.L.D., finding out about his tragic back story, has all been rewarding. Sadly, his story has concluded, for now anyway. His dramatic exit saved the day by stopping his evil uncle, Eli Marrow from blowing up LA with his misuse of power.
As Coulson suggests, this may not be the last we see of Reyes and the Rider. I’m certain with the positive response Gabriel Luna has received for his efforts, he’ll be back in some capacity. Rumors have been thrown around suggesting a spinoff series for Ghost Rider. Now that would be awesome if it were to come to be. How-ever, let’s not forget the promised Bobbi and Hunter spinoff, Most Wanted. You know, the one that was scrapped twice, even after both characters were disavowed from S.H.I.E.L.D. and removed from AOS so they could be in their own show. Yeah, I’m still bitter about that whole fiasco. Bring them back, dammit! So because of that experience, I can’t hold my breath for Robbie Reyes to have his own show. However, I will assume he’ll at least show up in this series once again. But for what it’s worth, having Gabriel Luna being part of the show as Ghost Rider has been one hell of a ride.
Let’s not rule out Eli returning as well. In the current Ghost Rider comic book run which recently dropped, it is Marrow who is the Spirit of Vengeance who posses Robbie. Now, the new comic is a far cry from this show – Robbie is a teenager, for some reason The Awesome Hulk is part of it, the comic actually sucks… – but if they wanted to, the producers of the spinoff could run with that idea. One thing I can’t rule out is Jose Zuniga’s performance tonight. If this was his swan song for this show, it was an opus. His villainess ways came out in full swing and it was glorious. His dramatic exchanges with Gabriel Luna and Clark Gregg as Coulson were as exciting as the action sequences of the episode. His lust for power was pretty cut and dry, what with his former science team not treating him as an equal and all, but the execution of Zuniga’s portrayal was great. It is too bad he was defeated already. S.H.I.E.L.D. facing off with an evil god for a few more episodes would have been ideal. But at least we got a quality conclusion here in this mid-finale.
There was a deeper emphasis on leadership, teamwork and trust tonight. It seems every lie and secret was revealed to the team tonight. Jeffrey Mace and Phil finally truly had it out, clearing the air on many issues. Mace seemed like his heart truly was in the right place all along by admitting doing a favor for inhuman hating Senator Nadeer to protect S.H.I.E.L.D. from her discrediting the team. However, we can’t be certain yet if there isn’t a larger secret he has in the mix since he has been caught in lies before. Mace is a character I can’t quite decide if I like or not. Maybe that’s how the show wants it to be. He was great in this episode, fighting along with the rest of the team. He even cleared Daisy’s name by telling a fib to the press that she was undercover and not rogue. Mace did a lot of good this week, but it remains to be seen if he is truly on the right side or not. I had a big chuckle with his reaction to finding out AIDA was an android and admitting he found her attractive.
Yo-Yo came back, and she was awesome. We need more Yo-Yo. They need to make Natalia Cordova-Buckley a series regular. Finally Mack laid a big smack-a-roo on her. He does not need to be over protective of her though. She is more than capable of taking care of her bad ass self. Her little Quicksilver moment rocked, and it actually made the team look more bad ass.
I have a few concerns with the season moving forward. Said concerns stem from the conclusion of the Ghost Rider story and the cliffhanger. If this truly was the end of the Ghost Rider arc, what now? I wouldn’t want the second half of the season to fill like a different season. In the previous season, the conflict with Grant Ward may have concluded in the mid-finale, but because Hive possessed his dead body, he was still the main advisory for the remainder of the season, even though the actual Ward was dead. Now even though the new conflict with obviously be with AIDA – a conflict that was built up in the first half of this season after she read the Darkhold – I just hope it won’t feel weird without the Ghost Rider element. I’d like the dark tone of the season to continue. Next, what exactly is going on with May? I apologize, I’m a bit confused as to what happened with the real Agent May. She didn’t look dead, and she better damn well not be. I just want to know how and when did AIDA kidnap her. Now apparently there’s an android of Agent May walking around S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ right now, is that what you’re telling me? One issue I have with a May decoy is it seems like a recycled idea. We dealt with a rogue agent wearing a high tech digital mask posing as May in season two. I hope this isn’t a sign of ideas being low. I doubt it though. I’m sure there’s something big and awesome brewing. I’m at the very least excited towards seeing Mallory Jensen grow as the character. He has done nothing but solid work as AIDA.
A few quick highlights I just want to mention.
- Eli turning a thug’s blood into rubies from the inside. That was sick and awesome!
- Fitz and Simmons standing side by side with pistols, shooting a bad guy together. Best couple… EVER!
- Daisy laughing of Coulson’s idea that she’d make a great director of S.H.I.E.L.D. saying “maybe in the comic book version”. Nice.
Overall, this was a great finish to the first half of season four. After the spectacular third season, I didn’t know if AOS could stay fresh and keep the momentum going. The Ghost Rider arc certainly heated things up, making for an intense and suspenseful start to this new chapter of the gang. Like I said before, Gabriel Luna really rocked as the Spirit of Vengeance. The mysteries of the Darkhold and who was responsible for all this damage was a thrilling concept. There’s still so much to be elaborated on. I can’t wait to see where we end up next.
UPDATE: This little section is where I make a few alterations and updates to a few things I said in the review. I do get early access to Agents of SHIELD episodes for reviewing purposes – Thank you to everybody who makes that possible – but I do rewatch every episode on ABC while it airs. This allows me to pick up on things I missed, and boy, do I often miss things. It also allows me to enjoy each episode again, yay. Oh, and seeing the previews is a good thing too. I don’t get previews with the screeners.
After the broadcast, it confirmed the new threat will focus on AIDA and her LMD’s. Apparently these Life Model Decoys are a thing in the comics, but I know nothing about them… yet. Seeing how AIDA can create A.I. and an android that looks just like May, this could prove to be a very challenging next chapter for our S.H.I.E.L.D. agents because they’ll have a hard time knowing if the person next to them is the real thing. Speaking of May, I picked up on Mace sending her to Radcliffe’s lab to pick up AIDA for the mission. I missed that line when I saw the episode the first time. That must have been when AIDA clunked May over the head and switched her out with her decoy. Which means May’s decoy was the one kicking ass during the mission. Lame.
They also just announced (on TV anyway) Yo-Yo will have a six-part digital series called “Slingshot” starting December 13th. I wanted more Yo-Yo, so… Ask and you shall receive. I will definitely be watching that, but I probably won’t be reviewing it. Not sure.
Also, apparently, not sure if this is accurate, but we won’t have to wait too long for the show’s return. January 10th seems to be the return date. Thank goodness.