On the heels of its fifth season renewal, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fourth season finale will be airing Tuesday night. Season four may just be S.H.I.E.L.D.'s greatest yet, in no small part due to the inclusion of awesome characters like Ghost Rider, Madame Hydra and the Patriot.
Though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fourth season was split into three separate arcs, they are all connected. And with the return of Robbie Reyes, it appears that the fourth season will soon come full circle. So we are all on the same page before the season finale, here is a brief recap of what has happened thus far on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fourth season got off to a burning hot start by introducing Ghost Rider to television audiences. And this wasn't the Johnny Blaze version of Ghost Rider many remember from the Nicolas Cage-starring movies. Rather, Marvel went with the Robbie Reyes incarnation of the character.
S.H.I.E.L.D. initially sees Ghost Rider as a dangerous adversary — a fiery skull for a head doesn't scream friendly, after all. Phil Coulson soon learns, however, that Reyes could be a powerful ally in defeating those who have taken control of the mysterious Darkhold, a book with incredible powers.
In the fall finale, Reyes is able to prevent his uncle from carrying out his plan to gain even more power — possibly at the expense of millions of lives. Near the end of the episode, Ghost Rider and his uncle descend into hell, likely sparing the destruction of an entire city. But don't worry, this is not the last we will see of Ghost Rider.
The second part of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fourth season focused on Dr. Radcliffe's Life Model Decoy, AIDA. While the LMD was created to help humanity, both Radcliffe and AIDA become corrupted after reading the Darkhold, skewing both of their motivations.
AIDA begins replacing various agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with LMDs of themselves. The first to be replaced was May, but soon Coulson, Jeffrey Mace, Mack and Fitz followed. And while their LMDs were taking over S.H.I.E.L.D., AIDA and Radcliffe aligned themselves with the Russian, the leader of the anti-Inhuman group the Watchdogs.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s concluded its LMD arc by having the robotic May sacrifice itself to save Simmons and Daisy, the only two main S.H.I.E.L.D. agents yet to be replaced. And in order to save their friends, the two have to patch themselves into the Framework — the virtual reality in which AIDA has trapped the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
Of course, they soon realize that this virtual reality is not like the world they know.
Agents of Hydra
The final arc of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s stellar fourth season has largely focused on Simmons and Daisy's attempts to free their friends from the Framework. And what was so exciting about this alternate reality is that we were able to see characters return who had long ago perished in the real world, including Tripp and Ward.
Of course, the most interesting element of the Framework, is that it depicted a world controlled by Hydra. Not surprisingly, the evil organization was headed by AIDA, who had taken the name Ophelia, aka Madame Hydra. Her second-in-command was a larger shock: Leopold Fitz.
As it turns out, in the Framework, Fitz's dad never left him, and that fatherly influence led to a corrupted mind. And Fitz does some pretty horrible things in the Framework, including cold-blooded murder. When Daisy and Simmons are finally able to free him, and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the virtual prison, Fitz nearly has a mental breakdown after realizing what he did in the alternate reality.
Unfortunately, he is given no time to heal, as Ophelia emerges, alive and now-human, from a machine AIDA created using the Darkhold.
Season four finale
In the penultimate episode, the now-human Ophelia professes her love for Fitz, even trying to save S.H.I.E.L.D. from the Russian now that she can understand human emotion. Unfortunately, two human emotions she soon learns are jealousy and rage.
After Fitz tells her that he loves Simmons and not her, Ophelia completely loses it. And since she has augmented her human body with Inhuman powers, she seems nearly unstoppable. Fortunately, near the end of the episode, a familiar friend returns — Ghost Rider.
In the season four finale, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Ghost Rider will have to team-up to defeat Ophelia. For more on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s season four finale, here is the official synopsis:
With the surprising emergence of Ghost Rider, Coulson and the team attempt to stop AIDA from ending the world.
Need a bit more? Here is a preview clip from Tuesday night's finale, titled "World's End":
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