How We Are Getting Ready for the Agents of SHIELD Season 4 Premiere
The leaves are beginning to turn, pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks, and that can only mean one thing: Fall TV is making its long-awaited return! Season 4 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return to ABC on September 20 in a new 10pm timeslot, and it’s going to be the biggest (sexiest?) season yet. But first, a reminder of where we left off.
Season 3 focused on Inhumans, a topic that became all the more important after the Sokovia Accords and Inhuman/enhanced registration made their appearance in Captain America: Civil War. The first Inhuman, a parasitic creature known as Hive (in the body of Grant Ward), was our big bad, and he was made extra dangerous by his ability to “sway” (or essentially brainwash) Inhumans, like Daisy. With the help of a kidnapped scientist, Holden Radcliffe, Hive planned to release a nuclear warhead that would turn anyone in its radius into a primitive inhuman. Not good. The only way to prevent millions—if not billions—of humans into turning into these ugly things, was for the warhead to detonate in space, and an injured Lincoln to sacrifice himself to ensure the warhead’s and Hive’s destruction.
The end of the season finale saw a six-month time jump. Daisy recreated herself as rogue Inhuman Quake, complete with a goth Hot Topic makeover. She is being actively pursued by Agents Mack and Coulson. We were sent into hiatus knowing we’d have a new S.H.I.E.L.D. director and Life Model Decoys (LMD) designed by Radcliffe to kick off season 4.
This summer we’ve had a slew of casting announcements. Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova) will be playing our new and yet-to-be-named director, although we’ve been promised his character has been appearing in the comics for decades. Mallory Jansen (Galavant) will be playing Radcliffe’s LMD, Aida, and Gabriel Luna (True Detective) will be playing Robbie Reyes, aka Ghost Rider (Nicolas Cage sold separately). Parminder Nagra (ER) will be an anti-Inhuman politician, and Lilli Birdsell will appear as a mysterious and violent woman named Lucy.
During hiatus, we learned that Simmons will have received a promotion which has her working closely with the new director, and this will strain her relationship with the rest of the team. (Considering Simmons’s early hesitation embracing Inhumans, their concern doesn’t surprise me.)
Season 4 Hopes and Expectations
But what can we expect from season 4? The new, later timeslot means Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can take on some edgier, darker, and even sexier moments—and the cast promised all three during Comic-Con interviews in July. And while I’m all for upping the stakes, I hope Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. maintains at least some of its humor and lightness. (The world has enough dark, gritty Marvel Netflix shows, you know?)
Personally, I have dreams of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tying into the MCU in a stronger way as we enter into season 4. After all, with the Inhumans movie currently unscheduled, S.H.I.E.L.D. is the only place in the Marvel universe where Inhumans are being explored. And with Agent Carter ruthlessly canceled last season (still not over it), S.H.I.E.L.D. is Marvel’s only remaining network show. Plus, what a nice way to incorporate some of the Avengers, since most of them are off the slate until Infinity War in 2018. (A girl can dream, can’t she?)
But realistically, I think we can expect lots of changes for everyone on the team. How will Coulson adjust to his demotion? He carried S.H.I.E.L.D. through a lot of changes in the show’s first three seasons—coming back to life, recruiting a team, the downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D., his promotion to director, rebooting the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. team, and joining ATCU as a cover for the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. team.
Coulson will certainly feel responsible for Daisy going rogue, and I wonder if perhaps his return to “agent” status was self-inflicted? He can certainly do more to track Daisy down and bring her back in if he’s in the field instead of dealing with Talbot’s red tape. So maybe he gave up the top job on his own. Regardless, Coulson’s new job will definitely be an adjustment for the entire team.
With a new director in place, I’m looking forward to seeing the new team dynamics. Will May, Mack, and FitzSimmons look to Coulson for direction instead of the new director? Will the new director have the job in name but not in spirit and support? Is the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. more of a figurehead now, with Talbot and the rest of the ATCU taking over day-to-day operation? The S.H.I.E.L.D. organization has been in a constant state of flux since Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and I don’t think season 4 will see any changes to this trend.
But what about our other favorite characters? Mack lost his partner when Daisy ran off, but I’m confident that the new Mack-Coulson pairing will be endlessly entertaining. How will May deal with the death of her ex-husband, Andrew? And will she feel slighted that the director job wasn’t passed to her?
From the minor glimpse into the future we got in the season 3 finale, I have an inkling—or just strong desire—that a proposal could be on the horizon for FitzSimmons. Their relationship is still going strong six months later, and Fitz was planning a surprise for her. After all they’ve been through, these adorable kids deserve some happiness. LET THEM HAVE IT.
On the professional side of things, Simmons’ new role reporting to the director is sure to cause some strain. Not out of jealousy, mind you, but because Simmons can be very clinical—more so than Fitz. And while I don’t think Simmons would ever intentionally work against her team or inhumans, I can see her unintentionally causing some problems.
But FitzSimmons will also play a role with Radcliffe’s LMD project. Part of me is excited for them to experiment and create outside of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s purview, but the other part of me saw Avengers: Age of Ultron and is mildly concerned about what will come out of this LMD research.
And lastly, our girl, Daisy. She’s off causing trouble as Quake. But she’s also helping people, like the Hinton family. Is she trying to atone for helping Hive? Grieving for Lincoln? Embracing the dark side? Either way, I imagine we’ll find out her motivations soon enough. Hopefully Daisy will be back with the rest of the team before long? (And is it too much to hope that Bobbi and Hunter will be back with the team in season 4, too?)
Whatever the new episodes have in store, I’m ready. The show has continued to get better and better each season—here’s hoping season 4 continues the trend!
Samantha Swank is a Marvel Report guest contributor. She regularly writes for Entertainment Weekly’s Fan Sided Community blog. You can check out her recaps for the Gilmore Girls, Chuck, and The Fosters here.