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TV Review: Agents of SHIELD - Season 3 Episode 2 "Purpose in the Machine"

10.07.2015
100%

EPISODE 2: "Purpose in the Machine"

SYNOPSIS:  Fitz and the team enlist the aid of an Asgardian to unlock the secrets of the ancient monolith that swallowed Simmons, and Agent May is at a crossroads in her personal and professional life.
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).

Opening with a flashback to England in 1839, this week's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. feels more like an adventure out of Indiana Jones and builds the momentum for this season even better than last week's premiere did. Chock full of character development, we now have a much better idea of where the multiple story arcs will be going over the third season, including where things stand with HYDRA and the developing Secret Warriors. More importantly, we now know where the heck the absent Melinda May has been and finally get some resolution regarding the fate of Gemma Simmons.

First things first, many theorized that the Asgardian teased in the synopsis would be Thor or Lady Sif but instead we get the return appearance of Peter MacNicol as Professor Randolph. An undercover Asgardian who has lived on Earth for hundreds of years, Randolph first appeared in the first season of the series. Brought in to help the team figure out what the monolith is and how to rescue Simmons, Randolph leads the agents to an abandoned castle in England where they find a hidden chamber with a machine designed to change the ancient rock to it's liquid form. Randolph agrees to help the team under the condition that they destroy the portal once they rescue Simmons and Coulson readily agrees.

The team quickly break the machine, of course, but not without Daisy realizing it is generating vibrations that liquify the monolith. Of course, since Daisy can control shockwaves, this makes her invaluable to recreate the machine's effect. Doing so for a short time affords Fitz the chance to dive into the liquid portal during a sandstorm. Attached to a cable, Fitz finds Simmons since she hasn't ventured far in the months she has been on an alien planet and the two scientists are able to make it back just as the monolith crumbles to black dust. While the resolution seems a bit too tidy for my taste, there is no saying what lingering effects Simmons may feel going forward this season.

In other team-related news, Daisy is gung ho about assembling her team of Inhuman/S.H.I.E.L.D. agents despite May's ex-husband, Andrew Garner, having not cleared any of them for active duty. Daisy's team, dubbed the Secret Warriors, are meant to be her way of unifying her Inhuman lineage with her S.H.I.E.L.D. training for the betterment of mankind. There are other underlying issues there, but it is clear that Daisy is the next step in the evolution of Skye, the former hacker and outsider to the team and who is now the central figure and growing leader. For a series that started as Clark Gregg's showcase has grown into quite the ensemble with Agent Coulson doing what he does best: supporting the rest of the characters and help make them better.

Which brings us to May who has been staying with her father while he recouperates from an auto accident. May says she wants to put S.H.I.E.L.D. behind her and lead a normal life, but she continues to investigate where Ward has ended up, something Lance Hunter has been doing as well. Hunter drops in on May and convinces her to join him on the mission to kill Ward once and for all. Ward, last seen assembling some thugs to try and rebuild HYDRA, has made headway on that task and has the beginnings of an army growing. Targeting a young rich guy, Ward and his crew plot to steal the kid's money. The young man soon shows he is more than capable of holding his own and is revealed to be Werner Von Strucker, son of the late Baron Von Strucker. In the stinger sequence, we see that Ward has joined forces with the young Von Strucker who goes undercover as a student in Dr. Garner's psychology class.

I was pretty rough on the season premiere of the show, but this week felt like a much better intro to season three. I hope the rescue of Simmons is not as easy as it looked and there is more building there along with the growing Inhuman plotline. The mysterious spiked creature from last week, Lash, did not make an appearance, but he was referenced several times. It is still too early to tell just what is going on, but everything this week felt like it was heading in the right direction aside from the HYDRA plotlines. Ward remains the weakest element of this series and I think the show would have been all the better if he was just eliminated completely from the show after last season. Otherwise, I am definitely feeling more confident with the new season than I did last week.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: References are made to the Sokovia incident from AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:

Episode 3 "A Wanted (Inhu)man" airs October 13th - Daisy, Mack and Coulson race to protect Lincoln as Rosalind’s team hunts down the Inhuman in their quest for powered people. Meanwhile, Hunter proves that there is no line that he will not cross to exact his revenge against Ward and Hydra.

Source: JoBlo.com

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1:31AM on 10/07/2015
Tuesday's are back. My favorite night on the week, this and the Flash, comic book geekdom at it's finest. This week was a much better setup to the upcoming season than last week, while resolving last years stinger...for now anyway. I, like the reviewer, am curious what she brought back or who she is now that she is back. I'm still going with the theory that they'll turn her into Dr Minerva.

Tonight was a real ensemble show, not really centered on anyone specific. May I suppose got the most
Tuesday's are back. My favorite night on the week, this and the Flash, comic book geekdom at it's finest. This week was a much better setup to the upcoming season than last week, while resolving last years stinger...for now anyway. I, like the reviewer, am curious what she brought back or who she is now that she is back. I'm still going with the theory that they'll turn her into Dr Minerva.

Tonight was a real ensemble show, not really centered on anyone specific. May I suppose got the most airtime. and James Hong got to represent in full force as May's dad. Again great geek moment, and we all love him. I'm glad they are throwing May back into the mix in the hunt for Ward. I love Hunter and for some reason him playing off May I think might make for some fun moments. Its always good seeing Peter MacNicol too. People were expecting Sif, but since she is the star of The Blindspot, I'm not sure she'll have time for other tv shows.

Not much got advanced this week in terms of delving into lore or inhuman stories. This was all about figuring out what that monolith is/was, what the machine is/was and getting Simmons back once they did. We didn't get any answers on what world she was on, hopefully we do. Obviously it was a portal, but the biggest question will be to where. Now that its destroyed, there is no going back. The ultimate question is what if anything did she bring back, and who is she now. I hope life doesn't just go back to normal and pretend that this all never happened with no effects on Simmons. I hope we find out plenty more about it.

I continue to like the Mac/Daisy moments. They make a good team. I loved seeing her learn even more control over her powers. Controlling the vibration to the point of mimicking the perfect sound frequencies, is a nice huge leap forward. Seeing her take more of a lead is nice too. The name drop from May's husband "Secret Warriors" I nerd popped for. I'm not sure I'm liking seeing Coulson take such a big back seat though. he had time, but he is still the center of this team, and he better remain as such. I know the ensemble is expanding, but I hope it doesn't lose who made the show int he first place.

Wards story was again the weakest for me as well. Having Struckers son was a nice touch, but ultimately does anyone really care? Hydra is in pieces at this point. Strays are all thats left, its nothing more than a lame duck. We've been dealing with Hydra since the show's inception along with TWS, and even AOU. Its time for Marvel to put the Hydra story line to bed. That includes on this show. The only other thing I didn't like was the lack of Lash. I was hoping for a little more from him, if for no other reason than to show his menace.
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3:53AM on 10/07/2015
They should just rebrand it after the now gone AIM. I mean why bring it up in Iron Man 3 only to let it die there while Roxxon has been in the back ground since IM1. Just saying. Let Hydra die so AIM can be reborn.
They should just rebrand it after the now gone AIM. I mean why bring it up in Iron Man 3 only to let it die there while Roxxon has been in the back ground since IM1. Just saying. Let Hydra die so AIM can be reborn.
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1:14AM on 10/07/2015
This was clearly the "We're getting the band back together" episode. However if Simmons was trapped on the alien planet for months, what did she eat or drink while she was there? Also, in the stinger last week it seemed like she was running from something, but that was never referenced again.
This was clearly the "We're getting the band back together" episode. However if Simmons was trapped on the alien planet for months, what did she eat or drink while she was there? Also, in the stinger last week it seemed like she was running from something, but that was never referenced again.
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1:34AM on 10/07/2015
Hopefully that all comes about next week or in the coming weeks. It could be something that time here and time there are different. There is actual space time theories that discuss time passage, especially during space travel can be relative to your surrounding and the speed at which you are moving. I hope she has plenty of stories about what happened as well.
Hopefully that all comes about next week or in the coming weeks. It could be something that time here and time there are different. There is actual space time theories that discuss time passage, especially during space travel can be relative to your surrounding and the speed at which you are moving. I hope she has plenty of stories about what happened as well.
4:53AM on 10/07/2015
Yeah, Simmons did seem to be avoiding some hunter. She covered her bleeding brow with mud in last week's stinger. This week, she awoke armed from restless sleep. She was not alone on in that purgatorial landscape.
Yeah, Simmons did seem to be avoiding some hunter. She covered her bleeding brow with mud in last week's stinger. This week, she awoke armed from restless sleep. She was not alone on in that purgatorial landscape.
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