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‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap and Reaction: “Meet the New Boss”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s fourth season continued this week with its second episode, “Meet the New Boss.” As promised, it revealed more about the man who replaced Phil Coulson as S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Director: Jeffrey Mace. Who is he, and what’s his agenda? Let’s dive right in and examine the episode’s highlights.

Hi, I’m Jeffrey

Alex Mayes: Who the heck is this new director? I don’t like or trust him. Why did Coulson decide to step aside? Was it because of Daisy?

James Akinaka: “Meet the New Boss” revealed that Coulson willingly resigned as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Director and asked the President to select his successor. Jeffrey Mace is Coulson’s antithesis in almost every way. Mace masks his every thought with a smile. He cares more about public relations — “optics,” he calls it — than Coulson ever did. Perhaps Mace’s focus on PR will benefit S.H.I.E.L.D. in the long run, but his excessive smiles are unsettling. (Dare I say that he seems more politician than director?)

Nevertheless, I appreciated Mace’s spot-on observation about the “anonymous, unlimited funding” that Coulson has been using to keep S.H.I.E.L.D. up and running. That has been a plot hole ever since the series’ second season, so maybe we’ll finally learn more about it. (Does Coulson have a secret trust fund that we don’t know about?) At the very least, Jeffrey intends to make S.H.I.E.L.D. legitimate in every single way — and that includes having a transparent source of funding from the government.

The revelation that Mace is an Inhuman came as a surprise. However, it adds more layers to his character. Unlike Coulson, Mace is a superpowered person, so he’ll be able to empathize more with Enhanced individuals more than Coulson ever could. Furthermore, Mace is likely the first Inhuman Director in the history of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’m intrigued, to say the least, about what else we’ll learn about Jeffrey Mace.

Daisy and Robbie

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., "The Ghost": Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider

James: Daisy Johnson and Robbie Reyes work better as foils for each other, rather than enemies. While I’ve enjoyed the special effects during their fight scenes, it’s more interesting to see what happens when their interests align. It was a nice touch that Daisy incorrectly assumed Robbie was an Inhuman, and Robbie disproved her expectations. Still, it’s a mystery why Robbie became Ghost Rider, so maybe Daisy will help us — as viewers — learn more about him. We’ll see how long their partnership lasts.

Alex: Will Daisy come back to S.H.I.E.L.D. now? What will happen to her when she does?

James: Hard to say. But Daisy’s relationship with her friends at S.H.I.E.L.D. really crystallized when she crossed paths with Mack and Fitz. All of these characters live on the same show, after all, so they have to interact from time to time. Daisy has been willingly shutting her friends out of her life, and Mack and Fitz called her out on it. Mack also realized that Yo-Yo has been secretly helping Daisy, so that should add an intriguing layer to the growing romance between Mack and Yo-Yo.

It’s inevitable that Daisy will keep on encountering her former allies at S.H.I.E.L.D., but I doubt she’ll rejoin the agency. If she does, it would have to be for a really compelling reason, because she’s already done a thorough job of cutting ties with S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Mystery That’s Too Mysterious

Alex: Who are these other ghost people? Obviously they’re going to try and kill Ghost Rider, but why? Will Daisy get in the way?

James: Aside from meeting Jeffrey Mace and learning more about Daisy’s motivations, the rest of “Meet the New Boss” fell a bit flat. Right now, there’s too much unspoken subtext surrounding Lucy and her ghostly friends. Who’s the “he” who supposedly caused their intangible conditions, and how does it relate to the present story? We’re only two episodes into the new season, so not everything has to make sense yet. Still, the answers to these important questions seem to be coming too slowly.

Making May into one of Lucy’s infected victims raises the stakes of this magical mystery. However, it’s still too early to understand what’s going on. The series’ past seasons did a better job of setting up the current season’s antagonist, whether it was Daniel Whitehall‘s Hydra cell, the Advanced Threat Containment Unit, or Lash. I’m sure we’ll get more answers about Lucy down the line. Nevertheless, this week’s magic-related material didn’t work well as a standalone chapter in the season’s overall arc. Hopefully the next episode will provide more answers.

Alex: IS MAY GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT? I mean, of course she will be, but still.

James: Who can say? The series has a reputation for defying expectations, so we’ll just have to keep on watching. On a side note, I’m continuing to love Mack’s shotgun-axe. Very happy that the series’ writers (and the prop department) didn’t forget about it.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns in two weeks with “Uprising,” which premieres at 10 P.M. on Tuesday, October 11.


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