It’s a night of backstories, ghost stories, and second chances, though not always the right kind. Even though we’re not yet halfway through this half-season arc, plot threads are being tied up left and right. You know what that means.
Back in the day, Eli was part of Lucy and Joe’s team as they worked to create a machine to build matter out of nothing. When Joe achieves this thanks to the Darkhold book, Eli is suspicious and concerned, especially as Joe’s behavior grows erratic. Lucy reveals Joe is trying to take the machine out of the equation and use the book to create matter solely through himself.
Daisy picks up Gabe and brings him aboard the Zephyr to reunite with Robbie. He’s thrilled his older brother is a “secret agent,” which Robbie does not correct at first. When Director Mace boards looking for Quake and Ghost Rider, the three are put into a containment unit and hidden out of sight. While stuck there, Robbie comes clean about what he really is. We flashback to the night he and Gabe were attacked. Robbie had convinced his brother to join him in a street race in their uncle’s car. En route, they were shot at and the car ended up flipping, tossing Robbie onto the pavement. Gabe remembers a “Good Samaritan” dragging him from the car and then tending to Robbie.
But that’s not quite what happened. In fact, as Robbie was thrown from the car he prayed and wished to save his brother by any means necessary. When he hit the pavement, he died but still heard a voice in his head. It asked him if he wanted to save Gabe, avenge him and avenge himself. Robbie answered yes. “The Devil” then rode up, pulled Gabe free, resurrected Robbie and gave him the Ghost Rider powers. Gabe is horrified that his brother has been murdering people, though Robbie protests it was the thing inside him, not him.
That’s soon put to the test when Mace brings the containment unit up. Though Coulson did a fine job convincing the Director he had no fugitive on board, Mace isn’t an idiot. He orders Robbie and Daisy taken into custody and the Zephyr to turn back to HQ. Fitz then races up with vital information about Lucy. Figuring she will need a massive amount of power to run her experiment, he believes she’s at a power plant and the experiment could have deadly consequences for thousands of people, including Eli. This sends Robbie into full Ghost Rider mode. He bursts from the containment unit and repeatedly beats Mace until Gabe’s desperate cries to stop get through.
In the aftermath of his beat down, Mace is persuaded to use Daisy and Robbie to help defeat Lucy and recover Eli. Going through old records, Fitz is able to locate Lucy’s new lab at a Roxxon facility (shout out to Agent Carter fans!). He’s right too. There, Eli and Lucy are putting the final touches on the experiment. Lucy apologizes for Joe ordering the hit on Eli, which his nephews took instead.
S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives at the facility and Robbie quickly encounters Lucy. May and Coulson move ahead and find Darkhold, which May takes back to the Zephyr for safe keeping. Meanwhile, Mack and Fitz are struggling to shut off the plant’s power. They decide an EMP like the Watchdogs used might do the trick and Mack runs back to the plane to grab it.
That’s when the real bomb drops in the episode. Lucy tells Robbie it wasn’t her or Joe’s fault the experiment went wrong before. It was Eli. He wanted the power for himself. In flashback we see him turn Lucy into a ghost, the same way he did to the rest of the team, in an attempt to imbue them with godlike powers. Even as Ghost Rider dusts Lucy, we know her story is true. Coulson finds Eli and realizes he beat Joe into a coma trying to learn the location of Darkhold. Now Eli has recreated the experiment. He locks himself in the chamber and a blast of white energy surges through the compound. When it clears, Coulson, Robbie and Fitz are all gone. Eli steps from the chamber and forms a piece of carbon in his hand. The experiment has worked.
- In addition to the connection with Roxxon, Agent Carter also got a shout out when Fitz pulled up Peggy’s reports on the Dark Matter incident. Is it still too late to #SaveAgentCarter?
- This was the episode where everyone’s ship was literally torn apart. Quake Rider? She’s on the Zephyr and he’s somewhere. Philinda? He’s in that same somewhere (presumably) while she was outside the blast zone. FitzSimmons? He’s disappeared as well and Simmons was sent by Mace on a top secret mission.
- Ghost Rider’s backstory did not disappoint. Neither did the VFX. Seeing Robbie’s transformation in reverse was flat out awesome. Can’t give enough praise to Mark Kolpack and the VFX team.
- I can only assume, next week’s episode will in part be tied to Dr. Strange, which hits theaters in the US this Friday, Nov. 4. Can’t wait!