So you didn’t watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, and you didn’t read my weekly S.H.I.E.L.D. recaps. That’s fine. Life is busy. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Let’s recap the season for you, then. It was split into three major arcs, so I will split it into three posts.
Trust me, it will get long.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Ghost Rider
Daisy is now a vigilante Quake, hunting down the anti-Inhuman hate group The Watchdogs. She finds herself face-to-face with a mysterious crime-fighter killing the same men: a man with a flaming skull and a flaming car known as Ghost Rider. Mack and Coulson have been tracking Daisy, despite new Director Jeffrey Mace’s orders to cease, and receive a tip from May where she is. Fitz and Simmons are working on a new advanced virtual reality program The Framework, when Simmons is called to a mission. She is the new special advisor to the Director, and finds out May betrayed the Director’s order. She sends May and her S.T.R.I.K.E. team after Coulson and Mack. Fitz meets with Radcliffe and realizes he has built a realistic android named Aida, intended to be an LMD: A Life Model Decoy, to protect agents in the field. He decides not to tell Simmons, as she will have to report it to the Director. Coulson, Mack and May show up at the warehouse where Daisy is nowhere to be found, and stop Chinese gangsters who bought a mysterious box. The box unleashes a deadly ghost who infects the gangsters, driving them insane and forcing them to kill each other. She then infects May. Elsewhere, Daisy fights Ghost Rider and loses, but tracks him and discovers he is young mechanic Robbie Reyes, taking care of his wheelchair-bound brother Gabe.
Independently of each other, Daisy and S.H.I.E.L.D. come to the conclusion that the ghost is Dr. Lucy Bauer, a scientist who worked at the abandoned Momentum Energy Labs. Lucy returns to Momentum and frees three other ghosts in varying states of corporeality from similar boxes: Vincent, Hugo and Frederick. Most of them leave to find Lucy’s husband Joseph, who possesses a mystical book called The Darkhold, while Frederick stays behind with the intention of blowing up the lab. Director Mace holds a secret tour for government official, announcing his plan to make S.H.I.E.L.D. a public organization again. He asks Coulson to take over as the remaining Chinese gangster kills himself in custody. May begins going insane from the ghostly infection and Mace is forced to knock her out with his Inhuman super-strength. Daisy confronts Robbie about being Ghost Rider, but he beats her again and finds her research on Momentum. Mack and Fitz go to Momentum Labs, but are terrorized by Frederick who locks them in and tries to blow up the lab with them inside. Ghost Rider and Quake show up and Ghost Rider kills the ghost, stealing a picture of the former Momentum Labs employees from the wall. Daisy refuses to rejoin S.H.I.E.L.D. and instead decides to work with Robbie.
Yo-Yo is caught in a blackout at her friend’s bachelorette party in Miami, and an Inhuman resistance group claims responsibility and says more will happen. Robbie tells Daisy that his uncle Eli Morrow used to work at Momentum, but he was imprisoned for attempting to murder Lucy’s husband Joseph. They go to interrogate him, but when a blackout hits Los Angeles, they rush to save Gabe from looters. Daisy injures her arms from using her powers, so Robbie leaves to get medical supplies. Gabe recognizes Daisy as Quake and tells her to leave his brother alone. Coulson, Fitz and Mack arrive in Miami to find the bachelorette party held up at gunpoint looking for an Inhuman. Yo-Yo uses her powers to disarm the men, prompting her friends to disown her as an Inhuman freak. Fitz tracks the source of the blackout, finding it is not an Inhuman but an EMP employed by the Watchdogs. They disable the EMP and realize that the Watchdogs know where the Inhumans are, meaning they have access to the Sokovia Accords. Radcliffe and Simmons decide the only way to save May from insanity is to kill her and “restart” her heart. Radcliffe scans her brain and they kill her, but as they go to resurrect her they suffer a blackout. Radcliffe secretly uses Aida’s battery cell to charge the defibrillators and May is brought back. After shutting down all the EMPs worldwide, Mace announces that the Watchdogs were behind the attack and publicly declares S.H.I.E.L.D. a legitimate organization again. Senator Ellen Nadeer speaks out against this announcement, but later secretly reveals she is working with the Watchdogs because her brother is an Inhuman in a Terrigenesis cocoon.
Simmons goes to look for apartments for her and Fitz only to find out that the ad was set up by Daisy, who needs her help. She tells Simmons she believes the Watchdogs hacked S.H.I.E.L.D’s Inhuman registry. Coulson tries talking to Eli in prison and asks him to help with their investigation on Momentum Labs, but he refuses. Robbie tries talking to him next, and Mack recognizes his car as Ghost Rider’s so they chase him and take him into custody. Coulson forces Robbie to interrogate Eli on their behalf, and they discover the Darkhold is behind it all. Hacking into S.H.I.E.L.D. databases, Simmons and Daisy discover the next targeted Inhuman is J.T. James, who they fought as “Hellfire”. They meet him and warn him, but he betrays them to the Watchdogs. Coulson and Mack are alerted to the situation and arrive with Robbie to fight the Watchdogs and Hellfire. At Radcliffe’s, May’s recovery is being overseen by Radcliffe, Fitz and Aida. Radcliffe wants to know if Aida passes the Turing test: if May would realize she is a robot. The team arrives to pick up May to search for the Darkhold, and Simmons reveals to Fitz that she knows Aida is a robot and scolds him for not telling her, as her lie detection test is tomorrow. Lucy approaches Joseph and demands the Darkhold.
Visiting Joseph before he dies from Lucy’s ghostly infection, Coulson and Mack learn that Lucy has found the Darkhold. However, the Darkhold has text that appears in the reader’s native tongue, and it appears as blank to Lucy due to her ghostly state. Keeping Daisy and Robbie’s involvement in their investigation a secret from the disapproving Director Mace, Coulson decides to have Eli released from prison to help. Upon arrival, they are attacked by the guards and warden, who are infected by Lucy, Hugo and Vincent. Lucy opens all the cells, and Daisy fights the prisoners alone to buy time. Mace takes part in a televised debate with Nadeer to calm public fears regarding Inhumans, and publicly reveals he is an Inhuman. Simmons fails her lie detector test, but blackmails Mace about information she learned about him regarding a heroic act he claims to have committed during the bombing of Vienna in Captain America: Civil War. Coulson bonds with May over them both coming back to life, and romantic tension forms. Robbie kills Hugo and Vincent and gets Eli from his cell, but tells him to run ahead as he stops to kill the gang leader that he believes ordered the drive-by on him and Gabe, causing Gabe to be in a wheelchair. The gangster tells him that they were paid to do it, and Robbie kills him. Lucy captures Eli and forces him to read the Darkhold for her so she can restore her human form. Nadeer meets with Mace and shows him footage of vigilantes Quake and Ghost Rider working with S.H.I.E.L.D., blackmailing him too.
Gabe is brought aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. jet Zephyr One to protect him from Lucy. Robbie admits to Gabe that he is Ghost Rider, and tells him his tragic origin. In the drive-by attack where Gabe was crippled, Robbie died and was resurrected by Johnny Blaze, the former Ghost Rider. Mace sends Simmons on a secret assignment for Nadeer, then boards the Zephyr. Robbie breaks his way out of the containment cell and fights Mace, but stops from killing him when Gabe begs him to. Fitz realizes that Lucy is using Eli trying continue her experiments, which was to create matter and failed due to lack of sufficient power. The team arrives at a Roxxon power plant where Lucy is trying to recreate the experiment, and Fitz and Mack try to shut down the plant while Coulson, May and Robbie split up to find Lucy and Eli. Lucy stops Robbie and tells him that his uncle ordered the hit on him and deliberately turned the scientists into ghosts to try and use the power himself, but Robbie burns her, destroying her ghost. May retrieves the Darkhold and escapes with Mack, but Eli successfully recreates the experiment, giving himself the ability to create matter. His experiment creates a shockwave that vaporizes Fitz, Robbie and Coulson.
Coulson, Robbie and Fitz are trapped in an alternate dimension the ghosts were phasing out of, slowly slipping out of sync with reality. No one is able to touch or see them but they can observe everything. Eli uses his new powers to kill several agents with shards of carbon and escapes. Robbie finds out that Eli hired the Chinese gangsters to unveil the ghosts in a chase that led him to the Darkhold, but then the Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance leaves Robbie, unable to thrive in this dimension. It enters Mack, who leaves to hunt down the remaining Chinese gangsters. Simmons is debriefed on her secret mission, which is to free Nadeer’s brother Vijay from an Inhuman cocoon, where he has been for months instead of minutes. She is able to free him but is immediately sent back to S.H.I.E.L.D. by Nadeer. Daisy chases Mack and Robbie (who is still trapped in the other dimension) catches a ride. Robbie bargains with the Spirit of Vengeance and becomes Ghost Rider again. Against Coulson’s wishes, May decides to use the Darkhold to bring the displaced agents back. Radcliffe is unable to read the Darkhold, declaring it too overwhelming for humans to perceive, so they reveal Aida is an android and ask her to read it. Using knowledge from the book, Aida weaves a interdimensional Sling Ring portal from Doctor Strange and rescues Fitz and Coulson. Fitz and Simmons discuss the mysterious Nadeer mission, which Fitz learned of while in the other dimension. Robbie returns through the portal himself and finds former Ghost Rider Mack upset, holding a paper that says “Hope”. He enlists his help finding and killing Eli. At Radcliffe’s lab, Aida uses her newly acquired magic skills to weave an artificial human brain.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is able to track down Eli and his goons but Yo-Yo is injured in the process. Robbie finds that Eli is building a quantum battery powered by a demon core, a giant version of the boxes that contained the ghost scientists. His plan is to make himself more powerful and blow up Los Angeles, where he believes he will transcend as a god. This sends tremors through the city, and Fitz deduces that Eli isn’t creating matter, but borrowing it from other dimensions, causing their world to be unstable. Eli uses carbon spikes to impale Robbie inside the quantum battery. Coulson tells Mace that Aida is an android, and Mace isn’t happy. Still, they bring in Radcliffe and Aida to help rebuild the portal generator a floor underneath the quantum battery, with the intention of trapping Eli in the parallel dimension. Daisy controls the tremors while Coulson confronts Eli to distract him, as Aida, Fitz, Simmons and Radcliffe build the portal generator and Aida weaves the portal. Yo-Yo, Mack, May and Mace (as the hero “The Patriot”) attack Eli and his men and the portal successfully sends Eli to the hell dimension – but with Robbie with him. Daisy is discovered to be working with S.H.I.E.L.D. by the press, and Mace tells the world that she was working undercover the whole time. Mack and Yo-Yo finally start to date, and Daisy rejoins S.H.I.E.L.D. under Mace. Mace allows Radcliffe to continue working on Aida at S.H.I.E.L.D., using their resources but sharing all findings. A minor agent Nathanson is sent to retrieve Radcliffe’s data on Aida from his lab, when he discovers an unconscious May, and Aida kills him. It is revealed that the May who fought Eli was secretly an LMD replacement, made using Radcliffe’s brain scans and Aida’s woven artificial brain.
Woo! That’s Ghost Rider. Arc one, complete. Come back next week for arc two: LMD.