Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Deals with Our Devils” Review (Season 4 Episode 7)

Given the unending tide of other superhero shows I’ve been keeping up with for review, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. feels as if it’s been off the air for months instead of a simple four weeks. That it’s immediately turning out its mid-season finale next week is even more of a bummer, particular given that “Deals with Our Devils” is easily the show’s best episode of the season, one that has me excited to delve back into the MCU.

This episode works so well because it feels like the show is finally ready to start comingling its various plot threads. Coulson and Fitz get a real taste of what the supernatural is like as they find themselves isolated in another dimension of sorts, while Aida reading the Darkhold leads to some sort of malevolent force finding its way into the machine. Meanwhile, Simmons, isolated from the others, manages to coax Nadeer’s brother out of his Terrigenesis cocoon, though she doesn’t really get a chance to see what he became. There’s a sense that the show’s wildly different elements – supernatural, Inhuman, and robotics – are set to begin interacting in major ways.

Taken on its own, though, this is still a fun episode, one that manages to provide a number of strong character beats alongside over-the-top action. Daisy may still be at a low point, but she’s ever the optimist, not accepting for a second that Coulson and the others are dead. She remains distant, but it’s clear how much she misses and cares for her friends. Fitz, meanwhile, had a chance to let out some rage at both current and former directors, first blaming Coulson for everything that’s gone wrong recently before tearing into Mace for endangering Simmons.

On top of that, we got a ridiculous-in-all-the-best-ways story that saw the Spirit of Vengeance abandoning the displaced Robbie to turn Mack into the new Ghost Rider. Aside from proving that the Rider has a very specific taste for black leather, this afforded Henry Simmons a chance to play Mack a bit more unhinged than usual, while also giving us some strong action beats throughout. Plus, Ghost Rider may like his chain, but I have to imagine even he appreciates the ludicrous power of the Shotgun Axe.

Tying it all together is a great conceit that sees scenes played out from both sides of the dimensional spectrum, with Coulson, Fitz, and Robbie all attempting to contact the others. It reminded me of the jump-around storytelling of “T.R.A.C.K.S.” all the way back in the first season, and I’d love to see the show play with its visual and storytelling style more often.

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