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Agents of SHIELD recap: Season 4, Episode 5

Ghosts and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents alike converge on Uncle Eli’s prison, and Simmons maneuvers around Director Mace

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ABC/Jennifer Clasen

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet

This week’s “previously on…” recap focused almost entirely on Uncle Eli and the ghosts — great preparation for what turned out to be a ghost-filled episode, just in time for Halloween. Let’s dive in.

The episode begins with a flashback to Lucy and Joseph finding the Darkhold after years of searching. Taking a page out of Voldemort’s hunt for the Elder Wand, the Bowers went to the home of the person who killed the last known Darkhold wielder. Sure enough, they find the book under some layers of dust in this abandoned basement. Although the cursed book appears to be filled with blank pages, the pages immediately fill up with text upon opening … much like the Marauder’s Map (ok, sorry, I’ll cut it with the Harry Potter references). Funny thing is, the text appears in English to Lucy and German to Joseph. German apparently being Joseph’s first language, Lucy realizes that the Darkhold is reading them as much as they’re reading it. But the power is too tempting.

Back in the present day, the newly un-comatose Joseph is freaking out in his hospital bed while Coulson and Mack interrogate him about the Darkhold’s whereabouts. He manages to tell them he put it back right where they found it before dying of ghost-induced fear. Unfortunately, he also told Lucy, right before she fatally infected him with Black-Eye Syndrome (or whatever you want to call it). That info hasn’t done Lucy much good, however. She’s able to find the Darkhold again, but apparently the book only reacts to living flesh. In her ghost state, she finds the words disappearing as quickly as they appear. That’s no good.

On the Zephyr, Coulson is explaining his decision not to tell Director Jeffrey Mace about the quest for the Darkhold, a decision that seems totally unlikely to come back and bite them in the collective butt at some point. Anyway, Coulson wants to talk to Eli again. Robbie’s antsy about this and would much rather be back on the ground looking for answers his own way, but both Coulson and Daisy tell him he has to play team ball here. Robbie, quite reasonably, wonders why he should listen to Daisy about this when she continues to ostracize herself from the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. Daisy says it’s better for everyone that way; she clearly still has unresolved guilt issues.

When last week’s episode ended, it seemed like FitzSimmons had managed to dodge the AIDA bullet. The revelation that Fitz had secretly been collaborating with Radcliffe on AIDA didn’t seem to dent their relationship at all… until now. Simmons is antsy about her imminent lie detector test (and all the miniature facial expressions that can potentially broadcast a lie) and makes some bad pun about Fitz laying in bed with her while lying about AIDA (ugh). Every second we get of FitzSimmons this season is precious because there’s so few of them, and indeed they are quickly drawn away to their different missions: Simmons to said polygraph, and Fitz to help Coulson and the team get Eli.

Coulson and May arrive at the prison to transfer custody of Eli to S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson is curious about May’s recent death experience; after all, he knows a thing or two about coming back from the dead. Unfortunately they don’t have much time to discuss this further, as it quickly becomes clear that the prison staff have all been infected by the ghosts. They attack the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but Coulson quickly uses the energy shield attached to his robot hand (I love this show) to take them down. That awesome shield is rather underused, considering its thematic resonance with both the agency’s name and Coulson’s long-standing man-crush on Captain America.

The ghosts are clearly after Eli too, so Coulson and May are going to need backup for this one. Daisy suits up with new gauntlets and promises not to use her Quake powers (which are in danger of causing her permanent damage), while Robbie promises not to use his Ghost Rider powers down in the prison. Mack knows they need Robbie as their ultimate “ghost-buster,” but is also nervous about taking him into an environment where everyone deserves punishment. Sure enough, as soon as they arrive Robbie almost picks a fight with a prisoner he recognizes as a member of the Fifth Street Locos gang. Mack reminds him to focus on the objective. Robbie grudgingly agrees, but this appears to be the first real tug-of-war between Robbie’s team spirit and his obligations as the spirit of vengeance.

NEXT: Prison break!