This was a big episode. Lots of backstories were revealed and lots of guns go off, but at the end we’re left with more questions than answers. Let’s dive in.
“The Good Samaritan” opens with a flashback to Eli Morrow’s time at Momentum Lab. Eli is shocked when their project (to develop that miracle machine, capable of creating matter from nothing) takes a huge leap forward. Joseph Bower and his team successfully made carbon in an experiment that shouldn’t have been possible; the experiment ended with more energy than it began, which defies the laws of thermodynamics (and the law of equivalent exchange, for Fullmetal Alchemist fans). Eli’s curious about this breakthrough, and Lucy Bower lets slip that there’s a book involved, but Joseph quickly shuts her up.
Back in the present, the Momentum Lab’s looking a little worse for wear. May arrives with a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and finds the wreckage left by Lucy and Eli. Watching from a monitor, Fitz notices some equipment is missing from the last time he was there. Lucy must be taking the tools she needs to recreate the original experiment and de-ghost herself — but she’ll need a power source that rivals that of Momentum. Fitz sets out to find it.
We haven’t seen Gabriel Reyes in a few episodes, and he’s not happy about it. Like a concerned parent, he’s now calling Robbie’s dealership to see if he’s showed up to work. Luckily, Daisy shows up to fill him in — or at least reunite him with Robbie. On the Zephyr with her and Robbie, Gabe thinks he’s finally figured it out: Robbie must be a secret agent! That would explain his nightly jaunts and the blood on his clothes, and isn’t nearly as “bad” as what Gabe suspected Robbie was up to. Robbie decides to go along with the lie for now, since the main priority is protecting Gabe from Lucy — who, for her part, has apparently found a new lab where she and Eli can go about reconstructing their original experiment. Eli warns her that if things go wrong, thousands could die. Lucy doesn’t care; she just wants to be herself again.
Simmons and Mace are apparently still on awkward terms after their stare down last week. Mace sends her on a top-secret assignment on behalf of non-S.H.I.E.L.D. government people. He won’t tell her what it’s about or where she’s going, just that she has to leave now. He’s also leaving now, boarding a Quinjet on his own mission. We don’t hear from Simmons for the rest of the episode, but it doesn’t take long for us to see what Mace’s mission is.
One thing you can definitely say about S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Jeffrey Mace is he’s proactive. After receiving video of Ghost Rider and Quake working with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in last week’s prison brouhaha, he’s now coming to the Zephyr to take them in himself. Like Darth Vader boarding the Tantive IV, Mace sends his agents to sweep the plane for the hidden criminals (who are simultaneously being shuffled onto the containment module by Mack). The Star Wars references don’t end there, either.
As Coulson escorts Mace throughout the plane, they get into a conversation about the real hero of Star Wars. Mace knows everyone likes Han, but notes he’s actually a rule-breaking scoundrel (hint: don’t be like that, Coulson). Coulson agrees with Mace’s analysis and, nerd that he is, reveals he always found Admiral Ackbar to be the unsung hero of Star Wars: He’s the military man doing the hard work of actually running battles against the Empire. Mace hopes he doesn’t see S.H.I.E.L.D. as the Empire; they’re all in this together, and if S.H.I.E.L.D. is ever going to get off the ground again, they can’t be caught working with murderers and outlaws.
NEXT: Ghost Rider vs. Patriot!
Gabe is now safe in the containment module with Robbie and Daisy, but now he’s more confused than ever. Robbie decides to finally come clean and tell him the truth.
He begins with a flashback to the night of the shooting, when he pressured Gabe to come on a joy ride in Uncle Eli’s car. On their way, they’re suddenly attacked by gangsters. First there’s a firebomb, then machine-gun fire, and then the car flips over, trapping Gabe underneath and sending Robbie flying. The way Gabe remembers it, this is when the “Good Samaritan” came — a mysterious man on a motorcycle who resuscitated Robbie and pulled Gabe from the wreckage. That’s not the real story, though. The man who came for them was no Good Samaritan at all, but the devil answering Robbie’s dying wish for vengeance. Well, Robbie calls him “the devil,” but he actually just looks like the previous incarnation of Ghost Rider. Given the motorcycle he rode in on, it may very well have been Johnny Blaze himself who appeared and transferred the spirit of vengeance into Robbie. Gabe now realizes Robbie was the one who wiped out the Fifth Street Locos. Robbie says it was revenge for what happened to them, but Gabe has made peace with his paralysis and doesn’t want blood on his hands.
Coulson thinks he’s so smart hiding the module underneath the plane, but Mace is no dummy. He brings the module back up into the plane, just as Fitz bursts in to say he has a lead on Eli/Lucy’s location and needs Coulson’s signatures for the right security clearance. The revelation that S.H.I.E.L.D. knows where Eli is sends Robbie over the edge, and he begins banging on the module doors. Mace wants to turn the plane around and bring Robbie and Daisy back to headquarters to answer for their crimes, but Robbie wants to find Eli now. Fitz assures his bosses that breaking through the module is impossible (it’s held everyone from Lash to Daisy, after all), but this is a season of magic and ghosts and impossibility — so Ghost Rider is able to break through. Ghost Rider has consistently gotten the best fight sequences this season, and now he gets one with Mace himself. The Inhuman director is able to hold his own for a bit, but soon gets overpowered by Ghost Rider. The only thing stopping the beatdown is Gabe himself calling for Robbie. It works and Robbie flames down, but it might be too late for his relationship with Gabe, who demands to be taken home.
Mace has a sensible reaction to Daisy and Robbie (they’re criminals and we can’t associate with them, they have to answer for what they’ve done), but Coulson hits him with even more sense. Robbie is the only weapon they have against ghosts like Lucy and they can’t contain him anyway, so why not use him?
Fitz is mad about all the security clearances he had to go through to find what he was looking for, but as a conversation with Mack reveals, he’s really most agitated about Simmons. They had their slight fight last episode and he doesn’t know where they stand — but more importantly, he doesn’t know where she is at all and no one will tell him, thanks to all this clearance BS. On the bright side, he’s found out where Lucy and Eli are. Momentum was on ground belonging to the Roxxon Corporation (I assume most Marvel fans figured Roxxon would come into this at some point), and it turns out a high-energy Roxxon power plant got shut down a few years ago for safety concerns.
NEXT: Things take a turn
Indeed, that’s exactly where Eli and Lucy are. In their conversation, we learn Joseph was the one who hired the Fifth Street Locos for that fateful hit on Robbie and Gabe, which initiates another flashback to the Momentum days. Back then, Joseph was becoming Gollum-like with the Darkhold, refusing to let anyone else touch it and radically altering their group’s plan. Now they would try to create matter from scratch without any machine at all…just magic.
S.H.I.E.L.D. quickly arrives at the base. Unfortunately, most of the tech there predates the Internet, so Daisy can’t hack in and they’re going in relatively blind. They quickly run into Lucy, whom Robbie decides to handle while Coulson, Mack, and Fitz go on to find and disable the experiment. Lucy explains Joseph had hired those gangsters to kill Eli, not his nephews (they must have gotten mixed up by Robbie driving his uncle’s car), but this doesn’t exactly placate Robbie. With flames in his eyes, he tells Lucy there’s a cost to playing God. She tells him he’s got it all wrong — it’s Eli who wants to play God. This was all his plan!
Cue tonight’s final flashback to the Momentum days, one that puts a lot of things into perspective. As it turns out, Eli wasn’t worried about Joseph getting power-mad with the Darkhold — he just wanted it for himself. He’s the one who locked Lucy and her teammates in the boxes that turned them into ghosts when the experiment failed to give them godlike powers over matter.
Unfortunately, this story isn’t enough to save Lucy, and Robbie quickly goes Ghost Rider and burns her into dust. But it’s definitely true, as Coulson finds out when he confronts Eli in the lab. Coulson realizes Eli beat up Joseph not as revenge for the hit on Gabe and Robbie, but to find out the location of the Darkhold. Joseph didn’t talk, but after all these years, Eli has finally reconstructed the experiment anyway. He locks himself into the chamber and initializes. There’s a blast of white energy throughout the compound and when it clears, Robbie, Coulson, and Fitz are nowhere to be found. There’s only Eli, now apparently imbued with Molecule Man-like powers over matter. He proves it by making a hunk of carbon in his hand, and the episode ends.
So, yeah. That was a lot. This episode had a lot of action and plot revelations, and even managed some good character beats with Robbie/Gabe and Coulson/Mace. However, the Eli twist feels a bit like it came out of nowhere. Why would Lucy risk giving him the Darkhold and pulling him into this plan, if he was the one who betrayed her in the first place? I am glad the ghosts weren’t the real villains of the season, because they always felt a little thin. It’ll be interesting to see how villainous Eli plays into Senator Nadeer and the Watchdogs’ plans, and even more interesting to find out where Coulson, Fitz, and Robbie are off to. Were they sent to the Negative Zone? Are they ghosts now? Were they absorbed into Eli, like Majin Buu? Guess we’ll find out soon enough.