I would not fault anybody for not watching or liking Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to its hot mess of a first season. However, it has improved. Does it still have issues? Indeed it does. But with those issues comes the fact that it still remains one of the most diverse casts on TV. Though aside from showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen, I wonder what that diversity looks like behind the cameras. Anyway, now there is Gabriel Luna. With his head on fire. There was a lot of hype about the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider leading up to the season 4 premiere. By and large, it held up. Here are just a few points I remember and talked about with friends in person and via the internets.

agents-of-shield-season-4-ghost-rider-poster

The opening scene was the best to date, due in large in part to the tone. For a few minutes, it almost felt like the dark and violent Marvel world found on Netflix. There was likely more blood in that first Ghost Rider take down than all of last season. Speaking of the opening — okay, the Quake getting dressed scene — Ms. Bennet doth have nice buttocks, but it felt forced. Like a monster truck announcer screaming “Welcome to the later time slot!” followed by a hair rock guitar solo. Take it easy production team. It all would have worked without it. We all have Netflix too.

That scene aside, Quake does look good embracing the darkness, ready for action. RIP Daisy. May’s first appearance training her crew was also spectacular as she (and her stunt double) casually lands the flying armbar. Ming-Na Wen don’t quit. The more Mack the better. Henry Simmons just owns his scenes. And, look; it’s Yo-Yo! I’m there for whatever is happening between those two. Now, hopefully Joey gets back in this. Hear me writers?

Coulson seems to be struggling getting used to his new role as just another agent having fallen down the S.H.I.E.L.D. ladder, while Simmons has climbed up. The tension in scenes with Simmons and May over their security clearances were the best dramatic moments. The Weird Science all the way to Ex-Machina trope with Fitz, Radcliffe, and the lady robot didn’t work for me, though. I guess we’ll see where it goes. Sigh.

Okay, let’s get to the man of the hour… season. I think it’s too early to judge Gabriel Luna’s acting and I’m not too familiar with his work before this. However, with the little I’ve seen, I feel like I’ve Listerined the Nic Cage taste out of my mouth. His short battle with Quake was cool, too. (Please don’t turn them into a couple, writers.) Holy shit on the effects though. The “Hell Charger” (a ’69 Dodge Charger, not that I want one or anything…) looked great and Robbie’s transformation was way better than I expected.

By the way, Luna is pretty active and responsive on Twitter and I got to compliment the show’s VFX supervisor through him:

Watching a badass Latinx superhero take down Aryan Brotherhood fascists kind of made my day. It was cool to see Luna’s awareness of the weight and importance of his role in terms of diversity and inclusion too.

Not sure what all is happening with the new villain, but I’m interested. Nice cliffhanger ending related to her, too. I read that AoS will tie into Doctor Strange like it has with other past Marvel flicks. I wonder how deep this whole darker more mystical AoS goes? Are we getting Mephisto up in this? If you’ve been consistently watching the show, it’s been an evolution from few super-powered folk, to the introduction of Inhumans, to now being a vehicle for new (bigger name) Marvel characters. If you haven’t watched and are curious, now would be the time to check it out.

P.S., is it Friday, September 30 yet? It’s a holiday, right? Hopefully, we’ll be seeing the live action version of this soon:

9 thoughts on “Diversity on Fire: Thoughts on the Return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

  1. I think they might be testing the grounds for a rebooted Johnny Blaze you can bet he’ll be joining Netflix. Now I’m reading it will be actual magic and mysticism because up until now they’ve hinted Asgardians are just a really advanced civilization so advanced their technology is indistinguishable from magic. But props to Reyes for representing the Hispanic community. The Nic Cage ghost Rider really ran its course, let’s see how Johnny Blaze will be this time. Again I feel they’re testing the waters for the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider.

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    1. I would be here for that. Especially if it’s on Netflix. I’m not a huge stan for the movies (I did watch them, and kinda liked them) but I loved the Ghostrider comic books (mostly the original Johnny Blaze, though I like this new guy, just fine.)
      It’s a great idea for a show.

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  2. I think I’m going o start watching this regularly. I stopped in the first season for the reasons you stated but it really has improved, and that shows the creators are at least willing to listen to criticism.

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  3. I’ve been watching AoS since the beginning (yeah, I trudged through the first season, propelled only by the curiosity of how Daisy was gonna be developed, honestly). The second through the third season, I feel like the whole production crew really found their footing and the show grew more interesting as it went along. Now, I’m excited to see what they are gonna do with Quake and the whole concept of “supernatural” characters and powers. Also, as a P.O.C. I am really excited that the main cast is predominantly people of color.

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  4. How does it feel to be the first Latino to play a superhero as awesome as ghost rider?

    What happened to El Diablo in “SUICIDE SQUAD”? Especially since he ended up as a hero in the end?

    My feelings for Skye took a sour turn after two incidents. When she became Quake in mid-Season 2, she managed to maintain her human looks, while Raina, portrayed by another biracial actress – but one of African descent – had her physical looks drastically changed. I was also pissed off that Andrew Garner’s death in Season 3 was more about Skye than his ex-wife, Melinda May. In fact, the series provided a very small peak into Melinda’s reaction to Andrew’s death . . . because it was all about Skye. Ugh!

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  5. I think I’m going o start watching this regularly. I stopped in the first season for the reasons you stated but it really has improved, and that shows the creators are at least willing to listen to criticism.

    This show has improved since Season 2, which sucked considerably. Season 1 is still the best in my book. It took its time in telling its story, instead of indulging in storytelling for speedsters.

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  6. I haven’t caught up on the last few episodes, but I’ve heard that Grid, a comic character of Indian descent, is on the show played by an actor of Indian descent. If this is true, Agents of Shield continues to amaze me with all the diverse characters they keep adding!

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