The Ghost Rider returns, Aida tries to recreate her fascist state, and SHIELD takes the fight back home.
On the defense against Aida, SHIELD comes under attack from the political arena. Once again, the world holds a meeting to discuss SHIELD and its Inhuman problem. In attendance is Ivanov and the Darkhold, ready to show the truth to the other world leaders. Disrupting the meeting, a Daisy LMD attempts to assassinate Gen. Talbot, shooting him in the head and chased off by SHIELD. With her powers, Aida thinks she’s won as she is confronted by the real Daisy, but with the frightening return of Robbie Reyes and the Ghost Rider, his fire scorches her, proving he can destroy her. In fear, Aida fleas, Daisy and Robbie taking care of the remaining LMD’s, and reclaiming the Darkhold.
Inside the Framework, Yo-Yo is guided to Mack and Hope by Radcliffe, eager to save her and get her out of the Framework before Aida shuts the entire system down. As the virtual world begins to come crashing down, Mack works with the Resistance to get the Inhuman refugees some place safe. Radcliffe and Yo-Yo follow closely, meeting Hope and trying to convince Mack to return to the real world. Mack is stubborn, until the Framework erases Hope from his arms. In tears, Mack and Yo-Yo return to the real world, leaving Radcliffe behind.
With the world thinking SHIELD was behind the attempted assassination of Gen. Talbot, Coulson and Robbie lay a trap for Aida. Luring her to their base to retrieve the Darkhold, Robbie transfers the Ghost Rider to Coulson, allowing him to get closer to Aida, and destroy her once and for all. With Aida destroyed, Robbie and the Ghost Rider take the Darkhold back to the hell dimension it belongs. Exhausted, and hunted by the authorities. SHIELD takes a moment to step back and enjoy some pie, biding their time until a mysterious group capture them and take them to space…
As cool as “World’s End” action was, the overall episode felt rushed. Almost like it was stitched together to cover a few loose ends. The scenes and plans of the characters were unconvincing; the surprise world summit, Ivanov screaming about the truth of the Darkhold, and the plan for the Ghost Rider to jump from Robbie to Coulson kind of came out of nowhere. The story was just weak, but the action was strong. Bringing the Ghost Rider back was exciting. Even Coulson was thrilled to have Quake and the Ghost Rider teaming up again to take out murderous Russian robots. But, ultimately, the details of the episode, are more or less forgettable. (Except for Radcliffe, who was fantastic)
Agents of SHIELD’s fourth season has been all over the place, broken into three acts, thinly held together by Aida and the Darkhold. From Ghost Rider to LMD’s to the Framework, it feels like they crammed everything they could into this season, hoping something would work really well. And, for the most part, they succeeded. Bringing in the Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider, and the lore behind him, brought the show even closer to the superhero genre and further from the behind-the-scenes spy-work. It was fresh, especially choosing the new Ghost Rider from the comics. The Framework was also an interesting story, showing the “what if” of the whole series and bringing beloved characters back to life for one last hurrah. Individually, these plot lines were enjoyable and kept me interested in what happens next. But, put together in one season, made it feel drawn out and confusing.
So, what now? As the Marvel Cinematic Universe prepares for the galactic Infinity War, where will Agents of SHIELD fit into it? With the Ghost Rider, Agents of SHIELD stayed relevant, if not connected, to the greater MCU using the same magic seen in Doctor Strange. Now, with SHIELD, or at least Coulson, in space, will SHIELD play a part in the upcoming war, even from a distance?