As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. winds down its fourth (and possibly final?) season, the show has set a great standard for how to navigate those long, 22-episode network orders. By splitting its season up into three parts — Ghost Rider, Life Model Decoys, and Agents of Hydra — the show has been able to really dive into some great mini-arcs without being enslaved to one Big Bad. It’s a lesson a show like The Flash in particular could learn from. Imagine if we had spent a third of the season in Flashpoint instead of just one episode? And another third with Alchemy before focusing in, finally, on Savitar?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is drawing all of those pieces together, though, as it closes out its season. According to TV Line, the series is bringing back Ghost Rider, a.k.a. Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna). The storyline was a little controversial, though our recapper Evan Valentine was a big fan of how S.H.I.E.L.D. chose to portray Reyes on the small screen. But regardless of your thoughts on Ghost Rider, him returning for the finale makes sense as far as bringing together the various parts of this season into one cohesive storyline. Other guest stars for the episode will also include Natalia Cordova-Buckley (Elena/“Yo-Yo”) and Adrian Pasdar (General Talbot), as well as Joel Stoffer as “silhouetted man.”
Though this fourth season of S.H.I.E.L.D. has gotten plenty of praise on the whole, it may not be enough to save the show. Its pilot spinoff Marvel’s Most Wanted, was canned, and S.H.I.E.L.D. has never exactly been a ratings barnstormer. What has kept it around this long is because Disney owns ABC, and it’s part of their Marvel property portfolio. But the show — which was supposed to act as a kind of TV companion to Marvel’s cinematic universe — has always been better when it did its own thing, and wasn’t hamstrung by the movies.
Unfortunately though, most viewers didn’t stick around to see it find its footing, so its future remains in doubt. But might this Ghost Rider-infused finale send the show off in style?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday nights on ABC; check back here each week for recaps from Evan Valentine.