S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Catch the Spirit — Plus, the New Director Is [Spoiler]

Agents of SHIELD Recap Jeffrey Mace

It may be September, but this Tuesday’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was littered with Easter eggs for Marvel fans.

This season, of course, introduced Ghost Rider, in the form of mechanic Robbie Reyes. And boy, was he surprised to find Daisy casually chatting with one of his coworkers so soon after their heated skirmish. Daisy has done a deep dive into Robbie’s past, passing her self as an old classmate. He warns her about getting in his business, but Daisy insists that she is just trying to find out what all he is about. Besides, they have something in common, as Inhumans — though he actually isn’t one, Robbie makes clear.

Meanwhile at the base, Coulson is enlisted by the new Director, “Jeffrey,” to help give some House Appropriations committee members a ten-cent tour, being the expert he is on SSR trivia and all. (Was Coulson’s reference to “so many [Peggy Carter] stories left unrecorded” a dig at Agent Carter‘s cancellation? Discuss.) The tour goes well enough, despite a few close calls — one involving the goons who got “spooked” by the mystery box last week getting out of hand down in containment. Speaking of which, May grew increasingly erratic, seeing that “spectral” face on everyone she looked at. Ultimately, when a concerned Coulson tried to lure her to the lab, she lashed out at her strike team members and Phil himself, until the Director intervened and proved himself impervious and superstrong. He’s an Inhuman, it is revealed — and Coulson knew.

Later, a chat between the Directors past and present reveals that Coulson stepped down from the post, with the proviso that someone America could trust was put in charge. Since Steve Rogers is “AWOL,” the current Director got the gig. But who is he exactly? I happen to watch TV sometimes with closed-captioning on, and he was identified in his first scene as “MACE” — as in Jeffrey Mace, who per 1940s Marvel lore was a Captain American groupie who went on to adopt the persona of The Patriot. A later rewrite revealed that Mace filled in as Cap during the late ’40s, while Rogers was in suspended animation.

The other Easter egg involved the glowy “ghost” that emerged from the mystery box last week. Lucy, it turns out, is one of several such incorporeal beings. She returned to an energy plant in Pasadena to begin releasing friends from similar boxes. Lucy, Hugo et al blame “him” — Ghost Rider? — for their fate, and now seek The Darkhold to help restore their forms. The Darkhold is a tome authored by Earth’s first practitioner of black magic and has figured into stories involving Doctor Strange and (Johnny Blaze’s) Ghost Rider.

(At a recent press event, Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb referred to writer Gerry Conway and artist Mike Ploog (who visually created the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider) and hinted that longtime “Marvel Zombies” will have something to be on the lookout for in the episodes ahead.)

By episode’s end, Robbie saves Fitz’s life when a rogue ghost tries to kill both him and Mac. Afterward, he invites Daisy — whom he earlier had kidnapped, for being too good and persistent a snoop — to ride shotgun and help him possibly sort out his connection to the ghosts. Crazed May, meanwhile, was discreetly “handled” by the Director, who jetted her off in a straitjacket, to parts unknown….

What did you think of “Meet the New Boss”?

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