On the night of its season premiere, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. scored 3.44 million viewers overall, up from it season three finale that raked in just 3.03 million. However, the second episode the season didn’t fare as well, with a score of just 2.95 million viewers. That said, this time last year ABC was struggling to make anything happen at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, with Wicked City dipping all the way to 1.69 million viewers in episode three before being cancelled.
Moving S.H.I.E.L.D. to 10 p.m. may have been a form of getting it out of the way, but it can’t be denied that, so far, it’s giving ABC a boost in what has been a very troubled time slot recently.On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 3, titled “Uprising,” a series of blackouts caused by EMPs made cities around the world vulnerable to vigilantes trying to hunt down Inhumans. The downside to this was that all of the awesome fight sequences in this episode took place in the dark. However, the upside was that one of the blackouts took place in Miami, where Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez was attending a bachelorette party. And I am always in favor of more scenes with Yo-Yo.
But not many people want anything to do with Inhumans, especially with the blackout. One of the most powerful moments of this new episode involves Yo Yo. She’s at a bachelorette party when the blackout hits and all of a sudden, a group of Watchdogs arrive to weed out any Inhuman presence. Soon, Yo Yo must use her powers to save an amateur magician believed to be an Inhuman and her friends turn on her faster than the GOP turned on Trump.
The first two episodes of the season were Ghost Rider-heavy, but they kind of had to be. With the third episode, Ghost Rider, or more accurately Robbie Reyes, became a part of the show rather than being the show. In fact, this week, Reyes doesn’t even transform into his demonic alter ego, instead, we get to know the man behind the leather and chains (that didn’t sound like I wanted it to sound).
The whole episode focuses on an EMP-caused blackout in Los Angeles. It seems that the blackout is caused by a group of rogue Inhumans fighting the Sokovia accords. So it looks like we have a sort of Brotherhood of Evil Inhumans up in here… but not so fast. When the blackout hits, Reyes’ brother is in a wheelchair and on a subway in a bad part of town, so Daisy and Reyes race to his rescue.
My initial feelings of wariness about Jeffrey are already starting to wear off. He might be a shiny stuffed suit, but I don’t think he’s an evil one. (Though, as someone who works in public relations – Jeffrey’s favorite buzzword – I may be more sympathetic to his cause than I should be!) Jeffrey has different priorities than Coulson and the rest of the team. This is guaranteed to keep causing friction throughout the season, but I don’t see him as a full-out villain – at least, not yet.
Instead, in this episode we got a good look at another villain – Senator Rota Nadeer, the anti-Inhuman talking head featured in numerous television broadcasts surrounding the blackouts. Played by Parminder Nagra, a thin layer of ice coats every hateful word that comes out of her mouth. It’s worth noting (though in an ideal world, it wouldn’t be) that the addition of Nagra adds another actress of color to one of the most diverse casts on television. It’s also a bit of a twist to see a person of color playing a character persecuting others for being different. Senator Nadeer is clearly covering up some secrets of her own, as we saw in the last scene of this episode, and I can’t wait to discover more about what drives her actions.
I did enjoy the moment when Radcliffe addressed the myth of humans only using ten percent of their brains as just that: a myth. It is used as a crutch in so much science-fiction, from Lucy to Limitless and beyond, so it was refreshing to see a show like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debunk it.
For too long, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the rest of Marvel Television has been forced to be the reactor to the events seen in Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers and more. Never do the films deal with the repercussions of what’s happening on the shows, even when S.H.I.E.L.D.unleashed the Inhumans onto the world at the end of season two. However, there’s hope the end of this week’s episode is going to change that. It’s funny, Agents Of SHIELD always felt like an addition to the MCU, not an essential cog, but somewhere, perhaps this week, the agents we have been thrilling to these past three seasons have become truly likable heroes.
For the first time since Captain America: The Winter Soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D. is being recognized as an official organization. There’s no way for this not to have major implications within the MCU (though it’s clear Coulson wasn’t left in charge so that when the announcement was made, the secret of him being alive would still be just that to The Avengers). Even if it’s just Tony Stark acknowledging its existence in the next Spider-Man movie, the world at large can’t let this change in mythology sit unacknowledged. Yet something tells me the Ghost Rider/Momentum Labs storyline won’t gain any…well, momentum, until after Doctor Strange is released. It’s one of those things that makes you curse the interconnectedness (what little of it there is) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.