"Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire" is the fourth episode of the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
As Ghost Rider’s quest for vengeance brings him into an explosive confrontation with S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson and Mack must rely on an unlikely ally in their time of desperate need; and Daisy reunites with a familiar face to stop the Watchdogs.
Daisy finds Jemma while she is out looking for an apartment for her and Fitz to move into together. She is badly wounded, and after Simmons patches her up she says she was just in a fight with the Watchdogs. Daisy shows Simmons a list of Inhuman assets' I.D. numbers and locations she found on the Watchdogs. Since they could have only gotten this list from S.H.I.E.L.D., Daisy asks Simmons to help her hack into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s servers so she can see which other Inhumans were compromised by the Watchdogs' hack. When Simmons refuses, Daisy holds her at gunpoint and forces her to help. She takes Jemma to a nearby building containing the servers that hold S.H.I.E.L.D.'s database on Inhumans. Daisy wants her to steal another agent's I.D. so she can replace the flash drive with updated information with a decoy that would give Daisy remote access to the server, but when they see that agent arriving at the building, Simmons goes off-script and just hands her Daisy's flash drive. Since Simmons' is actually the other agent's boss, she simply delivered the thumb drive with the rest of the data like Simmons told her to. Once Daisy is in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s database, she recognizes James as one of the Inhumans the Watchdogs are coming for.
Meanwhile, Coulson and Mack visit Eli Morrow, a former electrical engineer for Momentum Labs who is currently serving time in prison. Since he is in jail for putting the only other person related to the case in a coma, Morrow is S.H.I.E.L.D.'s only lead on what happened at Momentum that turned his former colleagues into the ghost-like beings they are now. Despite showing some signs he wants to vindicate himself, Eli refuses to talk to Coulson. As they're leaving the prison, Robbie pulls up to it to see Morrow, his uncle. Robbie takes off when he and Mack recognize each other. The two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents chase Robbie through the streets of Los Angeles in Lola, ending up in the Los Angeles River. Robbie is knocked unconscious when he crashes into a camouflaged Quinjet.
Coulson and Mack takes Robbie and his car into their custody. After Robbie wakes up and is asked a few questions, Coulson decides his best option is to let Robbie out of the containment unit and work together. They go back to the jail, and Robbie talks to Eli on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s behalf. Morrow reveals that Momentum and Dr. Lucy Bauer were working on a machine that defied the laws of physics. The machine blew up, "killing" everyone except for Eli and Lucy's husband Joseph, who Eli put into a coma because he blamed him for what happened. Morrow says that Lucy, if she is still alive somehow, will be going after "the book." Even though he's held up his end of the bargain, Robbie chooses to go with Coulson and Mack when they get an alert about an Inhuman asset in danger. Elsewhere, Lucy finds Joseph in his hospital bed. She sticks her fingers into his head to wake him from his coma.
Agent May meanwhile is recovering at Dr. Radcliffe' place. The doctor has Aida treating her, who he introduces to May as his assistant. When Fitz shows up to check in on May's condition, he freaks out when he sees Aida is awake. Radcliffe is using the distrustful Agent May as a Turing test for his creation. If she can't tell Aida is not a human, the Dr. Radcliffe figures no one will. Later, Dr. Radcliffe tells Aida it is fine to lie like they're doing with S.H.I.E.L.D. to protect lives like her own.
Daisy and Simmons find James working at, of all places, a fireworks store. James had a difficult transition out of Hive's sway, and says he works at the store to remind himself of the person he does not want to be. Daisy destroys the watch S.H.I.E.L.D. uses to keep track of James and convinces her to join her fight against the Watchdogs. That night, they meet James at a storage facility next door to the fireworks store. The three of them are ambushed by the Watchdogs. James reveals he's been working with the Watchdogs all along, and that they used his watch to get into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Inhuman database. James turned his withdrawal from Hive's parasites into self-loathing, and is willing to help the Watchdogs exterminate the Inhumans as long as he is the last one they kill. Daisy uses her powers to scramble the Watchdogs, but the toll on her arms makes her unable to fight any longer.
James finds the storage unit Daisy and Simmons hide in. He grabs a chain and sets it on fire. Just as James pulls back the chain to kill Daisy and Simmons, Robbie Reyes shows up and grabs it. Robbie tells Daisy and Simmons to find Coulson and gives them the opening they need to get away from James. He tries to fight Robbie, but is shocked when his powers seem to have no effect on him. Robbie transforms into the Ghost Rider and uses James' own chain whip against him. He ties James up and pins him against a wall, but James uses his powers to break it down. The two of them fall into the fireworks store's warehouse. Their combined powers start a chain reaction where all of the fireworks in the store go off, practically destroying the place right after Coulson, Mack, Daisy and Simmons get out of there. Once the explosions settle down, Robbie walks up to them while dragging an unconscious James.
With Daisy and Robbie in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, Coulson convinces the two vigilantes to put their fight with the Watchdogs aside and focus on the greater threat, the Darkhold, an ancient grimoire that the "ghost" of Lucy Bauer is currently searching for. Fortunately for them, the person who could help them find it Joseph just came out of his coma. Before they go after this, Coulson stops at Dr. Radcliffe's to pick up Agent May. Simmons recognizes Aida as an android immediately. She pulls Fitz aside to talk about Dr. Radcliffe's android, and Fitz convinces her to not tell the Director about Aida.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson/Quake
- Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Henry Simmons as Alphonso Mackenzie
- John Hannah as Holden Radcliffe
- Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider
- Mallory Jansen as AIDA
- Axle Whitehead as J.T. James/Hellfire
- José Zúñiga as Eli Morrow
- Kerr Smith as Joseph Bauer
- Lilli Birdsell as Lucy Bauer
- Phil Tyler as Watchdog #1
- Sergio Enrique as Guard
- Tanner Fontana as Elliot
- Unknown actor as Shaun
- Unknown actress as Elizabeth Albee
Continuity and References to the Marvel Cinematic Universe
- The Watchdogs appear.
- J.T. James/Hellfire appears.
- AIDA appears.
- Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider appears.
- Lucy Bauer appears.
- Joseph Bauer is introduced.
- A Quinjet appears.
- Jeffrey Mace is mentioned.
- Hive is mentioned.
- Daniel Whitehall is mentioned.
- Red Skull is mentioned.
- Nick Fury is mentioned.
- Pasadena Momentum Laboratory is mentioned.
- Canelo's Auto and Body is mentioned.
- Momentum Labs is mentioned.
- Terrigenesis is mentioned.
- Darkhold is mentioned.
- Shotgun-Axe appears.
- The title of this episode is a lyric from the song "Fire" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
- After the end of the chase of Robbie Reyes and the Hell Charger, Coulson says "I get his car now right? Ain't that how this works?". This is a reference to the car race between Danny Zuko and Leo Balmudo of the 1978 musical Grease, where the prize to be won was the car of the loser. Both car races took place on the Los Angeles River.
- Episode writer Matt Owens confirmed that some of the lines in the episode are homages to the popular videogame Overwatch. In particular, some of Jemma Simmons's catchphrases reference the British hero Tracer, while Hellfire shared many lines and similar features with the Australian character Junkrat.
- Uncle Eli is shown reading "The Positronic Man" by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg. It is about a robot with a positronic brain that is ultimately declared an official human being. This may be a reference to Aida who is passed off as fully human in front of Agent May.