An article on Blastr.com went into detail about how the new season of Agents of SHIELD will transform the series for the better. Certainly after two episodes I agree it has managed an incredible turn around. So much so that I remain skeptical if Marvel is doing the right thing releasing even more shows on Netflix. The teaser trailer for Jessica Jones released today certainly did not convince many people. But we are here for the second episode of AoS’s third season. I hope you will enjoy the review, below, that I wrote.
Agents of SHIELD S3Ep2 Purpose in the Machine Review
After Fitz tempts the Kree portal to take him to wherever it took Simmons he receives scorning rebuke from Coulson. Fitz nonetheless notices that sand has emanated from the stone, indicating that it is indeed a portal. Coulson tasks Fitz to bring back Simmons and begins to take an interest in involving the Asgardian scientist Elliot Randolph. As he may have knowledge of ancient devices. Recruitment of Randolph proves to be difficult but after they have succeeded Randolph is able to further along their knowledge. He does impose a condition, after Simmons is retrieved they must destroy the portal. The Hebrew sign meaning death that Fitz discovered in the season premiere leads the group to an abandoned castle in Gloucestershire, UK. There they uncover a basement that was designed to resonate and turn the portal on and keep it on. Their first attempt fails, but Daisy discovers that her special Quake powers may be suitable to resonate as well.
Meanwhile Doctor Garner is back at SHIELD headquarters. His evaluation of Joey concludes that Joey can’t join the team as he is still coping with his new predicament (turning metal into liquids). Garner argues with Daisy about the need to recruit new members into SHIELD. He tells her he knows she is razor focused on bringing in new people and approves of her growth into a leader, but not everyone can follow her path. A similar comment was made by Randolph who questions Coulson about what happened to his team. This episode also features the return of Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), who now leads a fractured HYDRA. Grant is busy removing members that are unsuitable while also recruiting new ones. He kidnaps the son of Strucker, Werner Von Strucker, who lives the life of a playboy on his yacht. Grant manages to have Werner reveal his hatred for his father and decides he may be a good fit for HYDRA. Grant tells him he knows about what it is to have a difficult relationship with a father and tells him he has a task Werner must accomplish.
The episode also saw the return of Agent May (Ming-Na Wen). She has temporarily moved in with her elderly father, who is recovering from a broken hip. It quickly becomes clear there is a lot of history between them and her mother. Season 3 yet again attempts to correct a mistake I noted with the previous season in that agent May’s background and motives were not clear. However, it feels as if this episode focuses too much on the difficult paternal relationship she has. The audience is also left to guess about the nature of May’s cool relationship with her father. It will certainly be a good storyline to revisit but I disliked how the episode hinted that it may have been HYDRA that ran over her father which caused his injury. The difficult balance that the creative staff had to deal with (revealing too much or hinting at future developments) was rendered mute when Hunter ‘rescued’ her from her father’s home. Hunter is in need for her help to track down and kill Ward.
Meanwhile plans are made to lower a probe into the pit with the portal. Fitz decides otherwise and jumps in to save Simmons, something Coulson and Mack should have foreseen. Daisy has difficulty holding the portal open, but after a minute on the alien planet in the midst of a storm Fitz manages to locate Simmons. Coulson decides to close the portal and orders Mack to pull Fitz back in, who has a steel cable wrapped around him. Just as the power of Daisy’s ability destroys the portal both Fitz and Jemma manage to make it back. For some this may seem like a very quick end to a side story that was actually interesting. However, considerations have to be given to the desire not keep Simmons separated from Fitz and the rest of the team. As three months have passed there is a large potential pool of flashbacks that season 3 can draw on. As there is still the mystery of what happened to the people that were sent through the portal I hope the audience will not be cheated. As a foretaste at the end of the episode we are shown Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) waking up after a nightmare pointing a sharp piece of metal in front of her, as if to fend off a person or animal.
The episode ends with son-of-strucker, Werner Von Strucker, applying to a psychology class given by Garner. Garner jokes that most people apply because of a need to understand their dysfunctional family. Werner agrees with Garner.
I really enjoyed this episode. Some reviews of Purpose in the Machine have been mixed but I cannot agree with the criticism. The inclusion of Elliot Randolph fulfills a problem I had with the second season, too few storylines focusing on artifacts. Instead this episode reminder me of the best season 1 had to offer. The story progresses naturally from the previous episode, it straddles both procedural and serial story-telling. It makes me think that Coulson and his team have finally grown beyond being secondary characters in movies such as Thor, Iron Man and The Avengers. They each have their purpose and each can measure up to other action heroes. This weeks focus on May and Hunter has put them back into the center of the action and they are doing nothing less than hunting down Ward in an attempt to kill him. What could be more captivating? If there are any blemishes than I will mention the humor. A number of jokes felt unsuitable. Just as suspense had been building up it was lowered by a an otherwise witty comment.
Score; 8.7 / 10. A very good episode of Agents of SHIELD that manages to reunite Fitz and Simmons while May and Hunter go after Ward!
A Wanted (Inhu)man
Next Tuesday Agents of SHIELD will be back with the episode ‘A Wanted (Inhu)man’ which will expand upon the ACTU story started in the season premiere. Below you can view the preview trailer.