Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Agents of SHIELD reviews here.
“Meet the New Boss” did not waste any time moving Agents of SHIELD‘s fourth season forward. Despite having the appearance of a slower episode, the second episode featured interesting revelations, forward story momentum, and strong indications of the season’s direction.
True to the episode’s title, the new director of SHIELD was introduced in two expectation-subverting scenes. After all of the suspicious whispers about him last week, his introductory scene revealed him to be… a pretty pleasant guy, actually. He was heavy on bureaucracy and did not entirely see eye to eye with Coulson and his team, but he seemed well-intentioned and jovial. Which only made the later revelation that he was an invulnerable, super-strong inhuman all the better. I’m very pleased with how cleverly this character’s being handled, as an air of mystery still surrounds him.
Meanwhile, Daisy continued her investigation into Ghost Rider by confronting him directly. It was a strong sequence of scenes that fleshed out Robbie Reyes a little more that allowed both the viewers and Daisy to know him a little better. By the end of the episode they essentially became partners, a team-up I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of.
Finally, the rest of the team investigated the strange ghostly box that they discovered last week. As May wrestled with the visions it caused—and with her sanity—Mack and Fitz traced the box back to its origin. There, we saw more hints than any concrete answers, but enough to keep the intrigue going. More importantly, Daisy and Robbie crossed path with Mack and Fitz in the episode’s climax, making it clear that these “ghosts” will be the season’s central mystery for the foreseeable future.
My concerns about the season feeling fractured because of the split focus among unrelated storylines were allayed this week—several episodes earlier than I expected. Yes, Daisy and her teammates separated once more at the end of the episode, following a legitimately dramatic confrontation with Mack and Fitz. But it’s good to know that all of these characters and their respective plot threads are connected by the same overarching goals.
Last week’s premiere established a darker tone than usual for Season 4, but any fans who missed Agents of SHIELD‘s humour would not have been disappointed in “Meet the New Boss”. There was more fun to be had thanks to a snappy script and the actors’ ever-growing skills. Even Coulson seems back to his old cheerful self, unburdened of his duties as director. I particularly loved Elizabeth Henstridge’s delivery of Simmons’s condescending “That’s also a theory” when Mack suggested that the ghost might actually be, well, a ghost.
And despite “Meet the New Boss” being heavier on dialogue, the few action setpieces more than delivered. May took out half a dozen agents singlehandedly in an impressive sequence that once again showed how badass she was, even despite being delirious. But I was especially blown away by Daisy hanging onto the hood of Robbie’s speeding car, which was probably the most daring stunt Agents of SHIELD has attempted yet!