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

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


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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