MARVEL's Agents of SHIELD: 4.04 Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire
Episode four of season four is the sort of solid, workmanlike episode that SHIELD does very well. It's not the most dramatic episode but nor does it feel like your time has been wasted with plenty of action and snappy dialogue.
This week it's Simmons turn to catch up with Daisy, the supposedly impossible to catch vigilante who keeps turning up on her old friend's doorstep (even in properties they haven't purchased yet). It's good to see Simmons call Daisy out on her behaviour, that if she wants to keep using SHIELD members she might as well come back to the team. It's the type of "be a team player" stuff that Daisy has heard before, throughout the shows history, and it is wearing a little thin.
The smartest move the writers have made is putting Coulson back in the field and Clark Gregg is clearly having fun being back in the action, often getting the best lines and elevating exposition into snappy, characterful dialogue. It's also a nice little nod back to the very first Iron Man as Coulson gives us SHIELD's full name. Coulson also gets to offer some general commentary on the happenings and tropes of the MCU, "In my experience, Gods usually turn out to be aliens" and later joking with May that they should get some T-Shirts made now they've both come back from the dead.
One of the highlights of this episode is undoubtedly the Ghost Rider vs. Lola chase. With plenty of fun dialogue as Mack and Coulson admire Robbie's car whilst bickering over who gets to drive (Coulson, always Coulson) and a really sense of energy, it's a fun ride. However, it comes to a slightly lacklustre end with Robbie crashing into a Quinjet in stealth mode. Was that Quinjet there the whole time? Did Mack forget where they'd left it?
The Rider also gets a real fan pleasing moment later in the episode when he claims James' flaming chain, very much completing his look. It's something we saw coming - and the flaming chain effect way back in season 3 was very much reminiscent of the Rider - but it was still deeply satisfying. It was a cool little moment. More please!
The episode might not necessarily tell us anything new; someone is leaking registration information to the Watchdogs, James can't be trusted and that Robbie's family are tied to everything going on at Momentum etc. but it does a decent job of bringing the different plot threads together as the team prepare to go after the Darkhold, something we're told that the Red Skull, Daniel Whitehall and even Nick Fury looked for. There's some time spent moving the AIDA story along as she meets the rest of the team and learns a lesson in bending the truth. It keeps that thread ticking along until and it was fun to see Simmons instantly clock that AIDA is an android meaning that Simmons will have to learn how to lie now as well.
A solid, workmanlike episode that doesn't really take us anywhere new but does some necessary work to bring all the different groups together with plenty of wit and action to keep things feeling fun and sparky.