Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD – Season 4 Episode 6

Nov 2, 2016 | Posted by in TV
Agents of SHIELD

“The Good Samaritan”

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD reveals the origin of Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider as Lucy moves her plan to the next level.

Origin stories are something we’ve all seen more than enough times to be tired of them and I wasn’t sure we really needed to see just how Robbie Reyes became Ghost Rider. Thankfully the episode doesn’t hang itself on showing this but, at the same time, seeing it doesn’t bring us anything we didn’t already know.


Appealing to any higher being that will listen

We have learned through dialogue that Robbie made a deal with the Devil and now he is cursed to prey on the guilty to live up to his end of the bargain. This we know and it has weight through his actions and reactions to them. Seeing it play out feels a little too mechanical and lacks the weight that we get through the mystery that surrounds this character.

It wasn’t a bad sequence and was actually handled fairly well in the context of the story. Gabe being brought aboard the Zephyr and promptly being hidden along with Robbie and Daisy is a good device for some character development. They are all sitting in a confined space with some time to kill so it’s the perfect opportunity for some reveals to happen.

It’s great to watch Robbie and Gabe talking to one another as family who have some distance from one another. Robbie is committed to protecting his brother but there’s a sense that they have drifted apart and haven’t had much chance to have an open conversation for a while. Gabe realises that there is something going on with Robbie that he isn’t being completely honest about. He’s not stupid so notices things like the blood on his clothes or the extended absences. Amusingly he concludes that Robbie must be working for S.H.I.El.L.D. and Daisy is all to happy to back him up on this. It’s a fair conclusion considering the evidence but it also happens to be a lie that doesn’t hold for long.

They discuss the night that Gabe was paralysed and we see the events pretty much as we know them. Last week Robbie found out that the attack was no accident so our audience viewing of the event is somewhat coloured by the fact that it seems random but we know it’s deliberate. It’s not enough to bother me but it was enough to lift me out of how Robbie and Gabe would be feeling as they experienced it. The reveal of the deliberate hit could have been left for a little while to strengthen this sequence.


Johnny Blaze? Is that you?

It’s all very well done from the chase to the impressive crash and then the mystery surrounding what happens next. I like that we get Gabe’s perspective on it followed by Robbie’s and that they are slightly different. It’s the difference between the natural and the supernatural personified by these characters. Gabe’s account is to be taken at face value as he talks about being unable to feel his legs and a mysterious Good Samaritan pulling him from the wreckage before checking on his brother. Robbie sets him straight on what really happens and talks about experiencing death followed by a voice offering him a second chance. It is also mentioned that he appealed to every higher power for an answer and got one but was cursed as a result. It’s a great scene that succeeds in being quiet and unsettling. Robbie seems completely isolated as he lied dead on the road and it really builds the sense of hopelessness that he would feel.

The Good Samaritan that gives the episode its title turns out to be another Ghost Rider who really must be Johnny Blaze considering he shows up on a motorcycle and vaguely looks like him.It may not be and we may never find out but it’d be nice if it was. Robbie mentions that the curse was passed onto him but I wonder if it really was or if it was duplicated. Again, we may never find out and it’ll be a shame if we don’t.

As I said, this sequence was well executed on a mechanical level but other than the previous Ghost Rider there isn’t much else to be taken from it. I like the Ghost Story angle and Daisy’s fascination with the events comes through well but this would have been a good opportunity to explore the relationship between Robbie and Gabe. A better way of handling this would be to show how Robbie went from being the reckless street racer to the committed Spirit of Vengeance we have seen this season. Without that it mostly feels like killing time with information we already know.

The rest of the episode is a mixed bag that highlights just how weak Lucy has been as a villain so far. Her plan to use the decommissioned power station to finish her experiment and possibly restore her body makes sense but I’ve never really felt the threat level from her. This episode does very little to change, especially since Robbie defeats her so easily.


Robbie almost kills Mace

Revealing the real villain to be Robbie and Gabe’s uncle, Eli worked really well as it wasn’t hugely obvious to those unfamiliar with his role in the comics. There have been a number of looks hinting at his real agenda but nothing that couldn’t easily be missed. It’s rare for this show to be so subtle so I applaud them for managing to hide this so well.

The reveal does very little for this episode other than create an effective cliffhanger that sets things up for the next arc of the season. Lucy and her gang of ghosts were a means to an end and having her defeated rounds off the first story arc of the season before dealing with the next threat. I feel like I have an idea of what to expect from Eli as a villain as there are references to the events of Agent Carter season 2 so I suspect he will have similar abilities to Whitney but will be more in control of them since he has read the Darkhold. I like that Agent Carter was referenced as it allows the show to live on in some way while having the events depicted there have tangible consequences in the present day. It’s a connected universe after all so it’s good that this is taken advantage of.

Eli as the villain also allows Robbie to have a personal stake in what is to come. Much of his motivation up until now has been clearing his uncle’s name and releasing him from prison. Finding out that he was fooled by someone so close to him should provide some good material for Gabriel Luna to make use of and keep the stakes feeling grounded enough that they affect the characters in meaningful ways. They can’t be personal for the rest of the cast but Robbie is definitely a focal point this season and it’s good that the show is well placed to take advantage of that.

The cliffhanger itself was reasonably effective. Will Coulson, Fitz and Robbie turn up as ghosts like Lucy and have to be restored or have they been transported somewhere else? They obviously won’t be dead but I’m genuinely interested to see what has happened to them. Say what you want about the writing quality of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD they can deliver a promising cliffhanger. Promising resolutions are another matter but we’ll see how this goes.


Bye Bye Lucy

Mace coming aboard the Zephyr was clumsily handled. I did like the discussions he had with Coulson that put the old Director against the new Director but they only really scratched the surface of what they could have. I think this would be better handled if it weren’t so obvious that Mace isn’t what he seems. Much of his screen time this season has been devoted to pointing out just how straight laced and transparent he is and now he clearly has some other agenda that he is barely hiding.

Personally coming to get Robbie and Daisy is part of that and the way he appears as an obstacle to Coulson is another part of that. Sending Simmons on some secret mission for the Government at the last minute isn’t all that transparent either so it’d be easier to accept his position on honesty vs. secrecy if he wasn’t clearly hiding something himself. I wonder if this is all designed to make us side with Coulson but we should be left to make up our own minds on who we believe has the right methods.

Despite that, the idea of Mace seeing Robbie as a terrorist when Coulson doesn’t label him that way had a lot of potential. A solid argument is made for Robbie’s actions completely speaking for themselves as far as Mace is concerned and him being needed to help with the difficult mission that lies ahead as far as Coulson is concerned. The discussion doesn’t go deep enough but the surface level ideas are good.

Another issue I had with this part of the episode is how obvious it was that Mace was simply humouring Coulson before revealing that he knew the containment pod was hidden under the Zephyr all along. It was needed for the plot sure but I feel that Coulson should have been prepared for it. It did give us the great Ghost Rider vs. Mace fight which also showed us that Gabe can cut through the Spirit of Vengeance and appeal to his brother. This will definitely be important later on and it works well here.


Now what?


A good episode that closes off the opening arc of the season while setting the stage for what comes next. Seeing Robbie’s Ghost Rider origin story was good but doesn’t add much depth to what was said in previous episodes. It was framed well and the isolation as well as the mystery came across nicely but it would have been better to show Robbie’s transition from reckless street racer to Spirit of Vengeance. It does help deepen the relationship between Robbie and Gabe which pays off by the end of the episode.

Lucy is still a weak villain but having her casually dealt with to make way for the real villain made a lot of sense and was a well hidden surprise unless you’re familiar with the comics. Mace and Coulson’s interactions were fine but more could have been made of the old Director vs. new Director angle than we get here. It doesn’t help that Mace clearly has a hidden agenda either. The cliffhanger ending is really effective and I look forward to seeing what the resolution is.

  • 8.5/10
    The Good Samaritan - 8.5/10


Kneel Before…

  • the mechanics of the Ghost Rider origin
  • Johnny Blaze?
  • the well hidden real villain reveal
  • a good cliffhanger

Rise Against…

  • the Ghost Rider origin not adding much we don’t already know
  • the Director v. Director argument not being as strong as it could have
User Review
9/10 (2 votes)