|Writer(s):||Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen|
|Series:||Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.|
|Original airdate:||September 20, 2016|
|Next Episode:||"Meet the New Boss"|
"The Ghost" is the first episode of the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Daisy Johnson, now known as the vigilante "Quake," tracks a group of heavily-armed Aryan Brotherhood gang members through the streets of Los Angeles. These gang members stole an expensive weapon with a hijacked big rig. They are fleeing from something that has them terrified. When Quake uses her powers to stop their truck the lead thug tells the others to shoot at anything that moves. Daisy gets the drop on them, but to her surprise one of the gang members begs her to help them before collapsing. The lead thug shoots at her and an innocent bystander, but stops when he hears the sound of an engine revving. A black Dodge Charger appears in the distance and races towards the skinheads' truck. The thugs unload on the car, even firing an RPG at it, but the car - with its wheels now on fire - continues towards the them. It rams into the side of the truck, sending one of the skinheads in the back flying. The flames on the car ignite a pool of gasoline in the street, preventing Daisy from getting a good look at what's going on. The driver of the car gets out and brutally kills one of the gang members. The lead thug tries to escape, but the driver knocks him out and drags him into the trunk of his car. Before he gets back into his car and drives away, Daisy sees that the driver's head is on fire. The sound of police sirens getting closer tells Daisy she, too, needs to get out of there.
Agents Phil Coulson and Alphonso Mackenzie return to the Playground after spending six weeks in the field tracking Inhumans. Melinda May called them in herself to tell them about a mysterious trail of bodies left by a possible Enhanced - the person Daisy saw attack the Aryan Brotherhood. However, the one gang member who begged Daisy to save him was taken into police custody and told them he saw Daisy. May decided to give this information straight to Coulson and Mack, since if S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new director found out Quake was connected to these murders he would send agents after her with orders to kill. Before they leave to investigate these murders, they stop by the labs to see FitzSimmons. The new director recently promoted Simmons to a new position, "Special Advisor to the Director in Science and Technology," which Fitz calls "SADIST." The new director has kept them busy with "busy work" and lie-detector tests to make sure no one working for S.H.I.E.L.D. is a double agent now that the organization is government-run again. Fitz gives Mack an exploding pen and Coulson a new prosthetic hand to help them on their new assignment. After they leave, Simmons tells Fitz she can't go with him to watch a Football match with Dr. Radcliffe.
Daisy breaks into the hospital to question the surviving gang member about what happened the previous night. He asks her to save the skinhead the person hunting them took hostage before he's burned. He says if "the Rider" burns you he burns your soul, and your soul doesn't heal. With no hope of escaping "the Rider," the thug takes his own life by getting out of his hospital bed and opening his wound. Daisy escapes from the hospital with the thug's police protection right behind her. Meanwhile, the Rider has his prisoner tied to a wall standing up in a building. The Rider interrogates the skinhead for information on where that weapon, a box, is being kept. The skinhead tells him he was working for a Chinese gang, but the Rider doesn't believe him. He warns the thug that if he doesn't talk, he will have to talk to "him."
Fitz goes alone to Dr. Radcliffe's house to watch the football game. While Fitz is sitting on his couch, a naked woman walks in from another part of the house. She tries to introduce herself to the embarrassed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, but she keeps stopping halfway through and starting over. Dr. Radcliffe tries to explain that the woman is Aida, his digital assistant that he gave a body. Fitz is still wary of what Dr. Radcliffe has created, afraid what this technology could do if it fell into the wrong hands. Radcliffe chooses to let Aida herself explain what her purpose is to calm some of Fitz's problems. She says her purpose is to act as a decoy target to safeguard the lives of living people. Fitz tells Radcliffe they need to keep this technology a secret from everyone, even Simmons, until Aida is "perfect." Back at the Playground, Simmons confronts May over keeping the news about Daisy a secret.
The Zephyr arrives in Los Angeles under the guise of giving Yo-Yo her check-in early. She flirts with Mack and gets caught up on the situation with Daisy. She meets Daisy on a bus and tries to convince her to back away from her life as a vigilante. She knows Daisy's powers are shattering her bones without S.H.I.E.L.D.'s equipment. Daisy, meanwhile, has begun her search for the Rider. She finds a street artist spray painting a mural of the "Ghost Rider" onto a wall. Another person points her to a junkyard to find a car like the one she saw. Elsewhere in the city, Coulson and Mack find the big rig the skinheads hijacked at an auto body shop. Inside the trailer they find a number of corpses, apparently having ripped themselves apart.
That night, Coulson and Mack eavesdrop on the deal between the Chinese gangsters who wanted the box. When they open the box, some strange, ethereal energy moves through them all. A ghostly woman appears behind the lead gangster and whispers in his ear. He starts to see the faces of the people around him distort into a demonic shape. The gangsters start shooting at each other, forcing Mack to call in a team of agents led by May for support. After they clear the area, the ghostly woman passes through Agent May. The Ghost Rider, having already killed his prisoner, is about to leave to interrupt that same deal. Before he can leave, Daisy finds him and asks him if he knows about a black Dodge Charger. He introduces himself as Robbie and leads her to the junkyard's main office. Robbie tries to attack her from behind, but Daisy is prepared and throws him with her powers. Robbie, realizing what he's up against, uses his own powers on Daisy. She confronts him on his apparent killing of innocents, but Robbie says each of his victims deserved it. When she says he has no right to decide who lives and dies, he says he ins't the one who makes the choice. Robbie then fully transforms into the Ghost Rider his head becomes a flaming skull. The Ghost Rider easily overpowers Daisy, knocking her to the ground before throwing a heavy wrack of car parts on top of her. Daisy holds the rack up with her powers, but asks for the Ghost Rider to finish her off over her guilt for what happened to Lincoln. The Ghost Rider looks into her eyes and lets her live.
The next day, Daisy tails Robbie during his day, and sees him pick up his wheelchair-bound brother. Back on the Zephyr, May plays a game with Coulson when she sees his face distort into a demonic shape.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson/Quake
- Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Henry Simmons as Alphonso Mackenzie
- Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez
- Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider
- Mallory Jansen as AIDA
- Lorenzo James Henrie as Gabe Reyes
- Briana Venskus as Agent Piper
- Max Osinski as Agent Davis
- Ricardo Walker as Agent Prince
- Edward Gelhaus as T. Mitchell
- Ian Hutton as M. Scott
- Blaise Miller as Nathanson
- Samuel Barajas as Felix
- Bryan Rasmussen as Warehouse Manager
- Wilson Ramirez as Diego
- Jen Kuo Sung as Chen
- Jerry Ying as Thug #1
- Lilli Birdsell as Lucy Bauer
- Unknown actress as Janet
Continuity and References to the Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider is introduced.
- Gabe Reyes is introduced.
- Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez appears.
- A.I.D.A. appears.
- The Sokovia Accords are mentioned.
- Lola is mentioned.
- Watchdogs are mentioned.
- Jeffrey Mace, the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Director, is mentioned.
- Ultron is mentioned.
- Glenn Talbot is mentioned.
- Matthew Ellis is mentioned.
- Antoine Triplett is mentioned.
- Andrew Garner is mentioned.
- Lincoln Campbell is mentioned.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally out of the shadows and it has a new director, as the public still thinks Coulson is dead.
- Season 4 introduces the Robbie Reyes version of the Ghost Rider, who rides a Dodge Charger instead of a motorcycle.
- The opening scene where Robbie Reye's Charger is hit with an RPG, flips in the air, and lands on its wheels, is direct reference to All-New Ghost Rider #2.
- Aida the android/robot is the first TV appearance of a long time comic S.H.I.E.L.D. idea, that of a "LMD" or Life Model Decoy. They've been used numerous times in the comics to explain things such as Nick Fury's apparent death.