Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is due to air on September 20th, and Marvel fans couldn't be more excited — not least because the premiere is set to reveal the newest Marvel superhero, Ghost Rider! The Season 3 finale gave us a glimpse of the future, showing Chloe Bennet's Daisy Johnson on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D.. It seems she's gone rogue — but the question is, why?
Check Out This Clip From the Premiere!
It's a fascinating little clip, and it gives us a lot of information. We now know that Daisy Johnson somehow becomes tied to Gabriel Luna's Ghost Rider, and is blamed for his brutal acts of vengeance. With a national manhunt underway for Daisy — who now goes under the code-name #Quake — she's quickly identified, and May passes the information to Coulson and Mack. Although Clark Gregg's Coulson seems more relaxed than he has since Season 1, clearly enjoying being back in the field, Ming-Na Wen's May isn't quite so happy. She's actively undermining the new Director's orders, and seems more than a little dismissive of him. The conversation tells us a lot more than just this, though...
S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Priorities Have Changed
Things have changed at S.H.I.E.L.D.; the organization is back in the public eye, and as such, #Coulson could no longer stay in charge. After all, the world considers him dead! Besides, let's face facts; his tenure as Director wasn't exactly an unparalleled success. Under Coulson's lead, Terrigen was released into our ecosystem and began to trigger Inhuman genes across the world. He led a risky mission through a dimensional portal to rescue one operative, kicking off the series of events that led to Hive returning to Earth and almost conquering the world. He even went off the grid himself in a vendetta against Grant Ward. It's not very hard to make a case that Coulson simply isn't command material.
The problem is, the new leadership hasn't earned the team's trust. Where Quake trusted Coulson implicitly, she doesn't trust the new Director. She seems to disagree with one particular priority.
The Watchdogs Have Changed Everything
Introduced in Season 3, the Watchdogs are a militant group who are fanatically dedicated to protecting the world from 'enhanced beings'. Although the Watchdogs are a grassroots movement, they have tremendous financial support and are commanded by ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Felix Blake (played by Titus Welliver). They have a history of targeting Inhumans, and were even willing to attack the US Government in order to acquire weapons and kill Inhumans. The concept is lifted straight from an X-Men equivalent, the Friends of Humanity, who are a private militia opposed to mutants over in the comics — one of them even became a Presidential candidate!
With fear of 'enhanced beings' at an all-time high, the world's government is publicly striving to keep superhumans in check at the start of Season 4. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s priority will be to "bag and tag" anyone who displays superpowers. Meanwhile, the Watchdogs continue to operate without real fear of S.H.I.E.L.D. opposition, funded by powerful and wealthy figures who no doubt have the political influence to keep S.H.I.E.L.D. off their backs. No wonder the new Director is a subject of controversy!
It turns out the rise of the Watchdogs is why Quake is on the run. The Watchdogs' methods and motives are tough for anyone to swallow — but accepting their existence will be downright impossible for Quake. She's everything the Watchdogs most fear; not only is she a powerful Inhuman, she's also S.H.I.E.L.D.-trained, and has the hacking skills to unravel the Watchdogs' secrets. Armed with that knowledge, it seems that she's become a fugitive because she's launched a one-woman war on the Watchdogs. It looks like she's willing to cross almost any line to defend her people, and she's already caused a great deal of collateral damage. Given that one of her goals is to cripple the Watchdogs financially, it's no surprise that her targets have included companies and banks — presumably those somehow associated with the Watchdogs.
The Sokovia Accords just make this all the worse for Quake. Like all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Inhumans, she's registered under the Sokovia Accords; that makes her most recent actions unsanctioned, and therefore illegal. So, as far as the world's governments are concerned, she's a dangerous rogue — perhaps more so than any of the runaway Avengers, since she's conducted a public campaign that will be perceived by many as a series of terrorist attacks.
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So now we know. Six months after Quake's status was teased, Marvel has finally revealed why this major S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is on the run. One thing fans will note with delight, though; no longer is she Daisy Johnson.
Now, she's Quake.
Are you excited for Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Let me know in the comments!