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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4 E2 "Meet the New Boss"

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Daisy continues to investigate Robbie after encountering his other side. Coulson must deal with the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: Discussed, when Jeffrey is trying to convince Coulson to lead a tour of government officials around the Playground. He states that when S.H.I.E.L.D. was in the shadows, they may have had the resources to build something like the Zephyr, but not anymore with government oversight and funding that can be restricted or cut on a political whim.
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  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Daisy initially assumes Robbie is an Inhuman. While she accepts it when he says he's not, she has a much harder time accepting that he sold his soul to the Devil. She just figures he must be some other form of Enhanced. She seems to be coming around by the end of the episode after watching him curb-stomp a ghost.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After a whole episode building up how the new director is a complete hardass who causes nothing but problems for the team, he turns out to be a quite personable guy, who's still able to put his foot down when he needs to.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Coulson stepped down from being Director on his own because of "a whole host of reasons" and wanted a "powered person that people could trust". Now he's starting to regret it due to disagreeing with Jeffrey more and more, as while Mace clearly respects Coulson, he also has very definite ideas about how to run S.H.I.E.L.D. and isn't concerned about Coulson's approval.
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  • Berserk Button: Robbie is fuming with anger as Daisy spends much of the day needling him, but keeps the lid on until she mentions his brother.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ghost Rider and Daisy arrive just in time to rescue Mack and Fitz from one of the spirits.
  • Bound and Gagged: Daisy is tied to a chair after her fight with Robbie as he looks through her things, and he gags her with a piece of tape just before leaving her. Given her powers, it doesn't last long.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Daisy deliberately antagonizes Robbie, despite it being quite apparent that she cannot beat him and that he is willing to kill her. He concludes that she is trying to die.
  • Cassandra Truth: Daisy scoffs at the idea that Robbie sold his soul to become Ghost Rider, assuming him to be an Inhuman who just won't admit it. She seems more open to the idea after the Rider kills a ghost.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Mack still has that shotgun-axe from last season.
    • Jeffrey mentions Captain America going rogue, in reference to Captain America: Civil War.
    • When Fitz and Simmons are theorizing on the nature of the ghosts, Fitz mentions Tobias, the "ghost" (not really) from "Repairs" in Season 1.
    • When Robbie is going through Daisy's stuff, he flips open a passport. The name is fake, but it has the correct birthday she was told by her father on it.
    • Mack makes a reference to Gordon from Season 2 when fighting one of the ghosts. He says that he hates it when they disappear.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Robbie vs Daisy, round two. He walks through everything she hurls at him and knocks her out with a flaming weapon. He doesn't even need the Rider's help this time, since Daisy's bones are in no shape to handle her powers.
    • May vs. Jeffrey. He No Sells every hit, does a Neck Lift, and slams her into a pillar to knock her out.
    • Ghost Rider vs. a ghost. The ghost is immolated with zero effort.
  • Death Seeker: Robbie deduces that Daisy is deliberately putting herself in harm's way as penance for Lincoln's death.
  • Demonic Possession: May is driven insanely paranoid by the ghost which possessed her at the end of the last episode, to the point that she has to be knocked out and forcefully restrained to not endanger her fellow agents.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Subverted. Analysis of the box reveals it's some form of incomprehensible technology and Fitz–Simmons assume that technobabble created the ghosts in an energy lab (similar to Tobias from the first season) but the ghosts themselves attribute their creation to a book called the Darkhold, so they were definitely made from supernatural means, and Robbie believes Ghost Rider, a supernatural entity, is connected to them.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Mack is disheartened when he realizes that Yo-Yo has been giving Daisy S.H.I.E.L.D. medicine despite knowing that he and Coulson were going around in circles trying to find her.
  • Ghostly Goals: The ghosts who were trapped in the boxes are trying to find the Darkhold, reverse what happened to them, and kill the one responsible for their current state. It's hinted the one that first escaped has more sinister motives.
  • He Knows Too Much: Robbie wants to kill Daisy because she figured out his identity, but this is complicated by the fact that he can't because she's not guilty of anything. He resorts to going through her stuff looking for an excuse, which helps lead him to his next target instead.
  • Heroic Willpower: All the others driven insane by the ghosts did so immediately. It took at least a day for the same to happen to May and she still isn't willing to kill.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Daisy's justification for leaving S.H.I.E.L.D. and refusing to "come home" with Mack and Fitz is that she has to do what she's doing by herself. Robbie would say this is just more death-seeking penance.
  • Internal Reveal: Mack finds out that Elena has been in touch with Daisy for a while now. He doesn't take it well.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Coulson's statement that so many stories about Peggy Carter were never recorded.
  • Magic Versus Science: Explicitly supernatural ghosts were somehow trapped by technological means.
  • Magitek: The Momentum energy company was working on this, running scientific experiments involving a Tome of Eldritch Lore called the Darkhold.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Darkhold is an artifact from the Marvel comics, created by an Elder God as a repository for his considerable knowledge of dark magic and as a way for him to be remanifested.
    • During a conversation between Coulson and Jeffrey, it's mentioned that Coulson wanted the new Director to be a powered person that the public could trust, like Captain America. In the comics, Jeffrey Mace was a member of the World War 2-era teams the Liberty Legion and the All-Winners Squad under the identity of The Patriot, and was later retconned to have been the third Captain America while Steve was missing.
  • Necessary Evil: While shipping May off to who-knows-where definitely makes one question Jeffrey's motives, having her bound in a straightjacket is an entirely reasonable precaution to keep her from being a danger to herself and others. After all, one of the Chinese gangsters was able to seriously injure himself because he was only being held prisoner without restraints, and May is a martial arts expert capable of taking down multiple people by herself.
  • Nice Guy: Despite being a Slave to PR, Jeffrey is a well-meaning and friendly person.
  • No-Sell:
    • When May attacks Jeffrey, a barrage of punches and pipe to the chest don't even make him flinch. Terrigenesis gave him superhuman strength and durability.
    • The ghosts, shown to only be tangible when they wish to be and drive others insane by touch, are completely powerless against Ghost Rider. He can grab and hold them against their will and without ill-effect.
  • Not So Different: Robbie says this in regards to Daisy in regards to them both being vengeance seekers. She thinks its because they're both Inhuman.
  • Oh, Crap!: The ghost that can drive anyone insane with a touch is understandably freaked out when someone grabs him and shows off a flaming skull.
  • Outside Ride: Daisy boosts a jump with her Quake powers and latches onto the roof of Robbie's Charger. He uses his own powers and pops some flames from the supercharger to get her to let go.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • After spending the entire episode deliberately damaging her van with her powers (to antagonize Robbie while he tried to fix it), Daisy is unable to get the van (which wasn't in great condition to begin with) to start during the stinger, forcing her to abandon it.
    • Due to the damage to her bones from the use of her powers (indicated to be overuse and pushing well beyond her limits) without the gear Simmons built for her, Daisy is unable to put up any sort of a fight when she pushes Robbie's Berserk Button, and unlike last time, Robbie doesn't even transform into the "other guy".
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Whatever else he might be up to, Jeffrey definitely appears reasonable. He wants Coulson to lead the tour group not as a demeaning punishment, but because Coulson knows more about the SSR and S.H.I.E.L.D. than anyone else, which is needed to impress the visitors. He quickly adjusts when Simmons tells him not to visit the containment cells, comes up with a better idea and then credits someone else for having it. He only uses as much force as needed to knock May out (and then quickly checks her vitals). He doesn't flip out on Coulson for going after Daisy alone, and seems honestly apologetic that they have to treat her as a wanted fugitive.
  • The Reveal: Coulson stepped down as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. of his own free will for personal reasons, and Jeffrey happens to be an Inhuman.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Robbie's friends ask him if he watched the football game last night and add that they "finally got a team back in town", referring to the Los Angeles Rams returning to the city after moving to St. Louis in 1994.
  • Seen It All: Although initially taken aback, Fitz, Mack and Daisy seem to recover quickly enough from the fact they just saw a man with a flaming skull for a head kill a ghost.
  • Slave to PR: Jeffrey is a justified example as he wants to bring back S.H.I.E.L.D. as a legal, legitimate organization. This means that rogue agents have to be hunted down because they're rogue and the people that pay for what they do have to be impressed enough to continue paying.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: When Fitz and Simmons try talking about ways that the "ghost" could be the result of some kind of scientific phenomenon, Mack notes that maybe, just maybe, it's a real ghost. Needless to say Simmons and Fitz, being scientists, don't agree.
  • Stealth Pun: Possibly unintentional. When asked about football and the returning home team (the Rams), Robbie comments that he favors "the Silver and Black"; that is, the Raiders. While it makes sense that Robbie would be a fan of them as they're the other team that had formerly been stationed in LA, the team preference is also fitting for Ghost Rider in that they have a skull-head logo and silver and black are the colors of his Dodge Charger.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: The group of ghosts is somehow involved in Robbie's backstory and the latest movements of the Watch Dogs.
  • Super Strength: Jeffrey has strength enough to easily Neck Lift and knock out May.
  • Super Toughness: Jeffrey is able to easily endure a beating from May, even with a metal pipe.
  • Take That!: To the show's own overlords, as Coulson tells the Congress people that Peggy Carter had so many stories to her legend that were never recorded thanks to her show's cancellation.
  • That Came Out Wrong: May tells Piper to drop formalities when talking to her and just address her by name. She responds with "I can do May" before quickly rephrasing it as "I can do that, May."
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The ghosts were created by a book called the Darkhold, and it's implied ghostifying people is the least of its potential uses.
  • Touch of Death: Anyone the ghosts manage to touch is driven violently insane.
  • The Unintelligible: One of the ghosts, Vincent, has it worst since the rest of the group can't understand him even while he is obviously screaming at the top of his lungs.
  • Wham Line:
    • When the new director ignores all of May's attacks—including from a metal pipe.
      May: You're a monster.
      Jeffrey: I prefer the term "Inhuman."
    • The ghosts discussing how they got into the mess.
      Frederick: You shouldn't have messed with the Darkhold.
  • What the Hell Are You?: The ghost Robbie immolates, not to mention Fitz, ask this of him upon seeing his ability to touch the former, and then upon seeing his Ghost Rider form.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Both Mack and Fitz call Daisy out on running away, stating that while they understand what she's going through, her leaving hurt them, too. Mack also gives her a scolding for excusing Robbie's methods.
    • She says nothing during the whole thing, except that she's doing "what needs to be done", thanks them for the patch up and walks away.
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: Coulson immediately starts to explain why he disobeyed orders to go after Daisy last episode, only for Jeffrey to let him off the hook before he can finish. Coulson admits he had an entire speech ready, which Jeffrey says he can use next time.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Daisy gets it even worse in this episode. When she's attacked by Robbie for mentioning his brother, she can barely manage a few attacks before he lands a strike on her fractured arm and she passes out from the pain. Last time, she held her own until the Rider took over. Her bones and general constitution are even worse in this episode.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Fitz and Simmons try to find a scientific explanation behind the ghost who left the box. While there is one for the box, the ghost really is a ghost.
    • May apparantly believes that some kind of intruder or double-agent has infiltrated the base, which isn't too far of a stretch considering her past dealings with the likes of Agent 33 and Hive. Her reaction to Coulson trying to get her to the lab is reminiscent of how other characters have reacted in the past to discovering someone is not who they seem - except this time, May is the one that's been compromised, and is seeing demons everywhere thanks to a supernatural ghost.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: The ghosts had no sense of time passing while trapped in the boxes. The first ghost heads back to what was her home only to find that a new family bought it years ago. The second ghost worries that they could have been trapped for hours until the first one explains that it's been years.


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