Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Good Samaritan” Review (Season 4 Episode 6)

Given how rarely Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is able to deliver a truly shocking surprise – at least for those of us plugged in to every bit of news or advertising that comes out for superhero shows like this – I won’t even pretend that a lot of my goodwill towards this episode comes from a single moment. Still, taking out the big reveal, “The Good Samaritan” is still a solidly enjoyable episode for the show, one that seems set to finally draw the team back together to face a truly dangerous threat moving forward.

The heart of this episode was of course our finally getting to see Robbie’s origin, learning how he first became Ghost Rider. The story we get is one that takes familiar elements from the comics – Robbie’s nighttime races, a horrible accident – and ties them closer to the traditional Ghost Rider mythology. We see that Robbie received his Spirit of Vengeance from another Ghost Rider, one that wears a leather jacket and rides a motorcycle.

Taken with the subtle references in last week’s episode, the show seems to have introduced original Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze in all but name. It was a thrilling moment, a surprise made easier to pull off given there was no need to hire an actor, just create a CG effect. What it does is open the door for the show to take an even deeper dive into the character’s mythology, with the possibility for even more Riders to show up down the road.

Of course, one cool appearance doesn’t make for a great episode alone, so I’m happy to say that the rest of Robbie’s backstory stands well on its own. We see that he’s always cared for his brother Gabe and his future, and get a sense that he was a more carefree, happy individual before the accident. The flashback scenes stand in stark contrast to the modern day, with Gabe angry at Robbie for both keeping secrets and for trying to put all the bad he’s done on his younger brother.

All of this flashbacking goes on as the team continues to search for Lucy and Eli, with the two continuing Lucy’s research in an attempt to return her corporeal form. In a far less shocking reveal, it turns out that Eli’s been the bad guy all along, seeking to complete the ritual he started with the Darkhold and gain power. Given the references to Agent Carter, it seems likely that he’s gained access to the Darkforce in some unique way, but it’s hard to say for certain until we see more of him. If nothing else, I’m glad to be rid of Lucy, who was always an obvious placeholder villain until a true Big Bad made their presence known. Here’s hoping he can live up to those who’ve come before.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!