TV Review: Agents of SHIELD (Season 4)

*Contains spoilers*

This show has improved every season, and the latest is some of the best TV this year. Great acting, top-notch special effects, and three distinct story “pods” all contribute to creating a fantastic, and thankfully not final, season.

The opening pod, subtitled “Ghost Rider” features the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider. While not the best known iteration of Ghost Rider, there are enough similarities to the more popular versions to create something familiar yet unique. The flaming skull effects are perfect, easily surpassing the mediocre special effects that have plagued the series in the past. While there were some story beats that detracted from the cool visuals, the pods finale wrapped up strongly and had an intriguing cliffhanger. 

The second pod, LMD, started off a little slow and seemed somewhat unfocused. However, the final few episodes were phenomenal, with multiple plot twists and a suspenseful “who can you trust” vibe. There were definitely some weak episodes in this arc, and quite a few things that never paid off later on.

“Agents of Hydra,” the final pod, was practically perfection. Thanks to the alternate reality of the Framework, we had an opportunity to see twisted versions of some of our favorite characters. Nothing was harder to watch than seeing lovable Fitz transformed into one of the series most hated villains. We also had the chance to see some fan favorites return, in particular, Grant Ward. They really put the heroes backs against the wall here, and it was that much sweeter to watch them overcome the odds. Although there were some loose ends and there were some wasted opportunities, the finale tied up all the threads from all three pods into a satisfying ending. 

What stood out more this season than any other was the acting. While almost everyone contributed to this, the strongest moments came from Elizabeth Henstridge’s Jemma Simmons and Mallory Janson’s AIDA. Henstridge had her character put through the wringer and she really sold her emotional journey. Janson brought depth to an emotionless android, and then brought nuance the all the various incarnations of AIDA.

Great acting, seamless special effects, and the three “pod” season all elevated what was once a mediocre TV show to possibly the best superhero show on right now.

Season’s best episode: “Self-Control” (Episode 15)

Season’s worst episode: “Hot Potato Soup” (Episode 12)

****1/2 out of *****

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