Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 2: “Purpose in the Machine”
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen
Written by Daniel J. Doyle
Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen
Starring Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Nick Blood, Adrianne Palicki, Henry Simmons, Luke Mitchell ABC
Air Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 9pm
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.returned last week with a brand new season, and with it, a bit of a new direction as well. In the opening scene of Episode 3.2 “”Purpose in the Machine,” we saw the introduction of a new Inhuman, jumpstarting Daisy’s (Chloe Bennet) and Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) search for more of her kind in hopes of forming a S.H.I.E.L.D. regulated group of secret warriors (see what I did there?). We were also introduced to a new shadow organization with deep ties to the U.S. government, because with Hydra out of the picture (for now), someone’s got to play spy vs. spy with S.H.I.E.L.D. And finally — Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) was being chased around on some alien planet by who knows what, while her best friend Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) screamed uncontrollably at the monolith (trust me, it was intense) that brought her there.
But what about Ward (Brett Dalton)? Or May (Ming-Na Wen)? Or May’s gun that she brought with her on sabbatical?
The episode opens in England, 1839 as a group of men sit around a table then all stand at once. They open up their hands at the same time to reveal stones resting on their palms. It seems as if theyâ€™re â€œdrawing strawsâ€ for some unwanted task, as one manâ€™s stone is different than the others and heâ€™s subsequently chosen for a â€œjourney.â€ The other men provide him with a sword and then push him into another room. He now stands face to face with the Monolith (clearly that sword isnâ€™t going to help much), and within seconds, heâ€™s sucked away a la Simmonsâ€™ scene from the end of last season.
In the present, Mack (Henry Simmons) and Daisy discuss the positives and negatives of recruiting Joey for their team (Jean Pablo Raba). Since they canâ€™t seem to agree, they decide to bring in an expert to evaluate: oh yeah, you guessed it â€“ none other than Mayâ€™s ex-husband, Dr. Andrew Garner (Blair Underwood). But where the heck is May? Weâ€™ll get to that soon enough.
Garner doesnâ€™t believe that Joey is fit for Daisyâ€™s team â€“ in any way. Heâ€™s actually concerned about multiple things in regard to S.H.I.E.L.D.: Coulson’s desperation as made visible in okaying Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) to leave in order to enact sweet revenge on Ward â€“ more on that later â€“ and by allowing Fitz to continue searching for Simmons even though it seems like a lost cause. But heâ€™s also a bit worried with Daisy and how sheâ€™s adjusting to becoming the leader of her â€œSecret Warriorsâ€ (itâ€™s amazing how the littlest nod to something from straight out of the comics can make me smile). So what does Daisy do with all of this information? She brushes it off and decides to put her skills to use elsewhere.
Elsewhere, the moment weâ€™ve all been waiting for: Melinda May! Playing golf! What? All this time away, and the Calvary has been hanging out with deer old dad (James Hong) on the golf course, trying her best to dodge her past; but Poppa May knows better; he knows his daughter â€“ because apparently she reminds him of her mother in practically every way (it seems like her mother ran away from him). And do you know who else knows May all too well? Hunter, thatâ€™s who! Hunter stops by for a visit â€“ not before May holds a knife to his neck â€“ and convinces her to join him on his Ward killing quest. Itâ€™s a good thing May has been carrying that gun around (I am liking where this is going).
Speaking of Ward, heâ€™s been on somewhat of a mission of his own, recruiting new members to Hydra â€“ a â€œlean generationâ€ he calls them; but in order to really restore Hydra to what it once was, heâ€™s going to need help. Who better to work alongside with than a young, rich playboy â€“ a young rich playboy by the name of Alexander (Spencer Treat Clark) who just so happens to be the late Baron Von Struckerâ€™s son! Boom!
Wow, a lot has happened in this episode and I havenâ€™t even gotten to the main plot point yet! At the end of last weekâ€™s episode, we saw Fitz screaming and punching and kicking the Monolith because, well, heâ€™s pretty much exhausted all of his other options in finding Simmons. But it turns out his fit of rage was not in vain, as he discovers a bit of sand within the container holding the Monolith â€“ sand that predates the earth by one million years. This is enough of a reason for Coulson to give Fitz the go ahead in mounting a rescue mission â€“ but theyâ€™ll need an outsider to help them; someone whoâ€™s familiar with alien artifacts; someone who is an alien himself: Professor Elliot Randolph (Peter MacNicol), the Asgardian whoâ€™s lived on Earth for centuries.
Once convinced, and using the artifact from last weekâ€™s episode with the Hebrew inscription â€œDeathâ€ on it as a guide, Randolph leads the team to England, where he had once seen the same engraving written on a wall in a castle (it’s all coming together); however, Randolph quickly explains that the true meaning of the Hebrew characters is â€œDeath by Punishment,â€ â€“ how very ominous!
Led through a secret corridor (because all castles have them and theyâ€™re freakinâ€™ cool) and finally into a room that reveals a giant hole in the ground, the group realizes what they must do: deliver the Monolith into the hole and open its portal. After a failed attempt via an old machine in the room, Daisy conjures up her earthquake mojo and opens the portal like its nobodyâ€™s business.
Without hesitation, Fitz ties a rope around his waist and jumps into the portal. Landing on what looks to be the same planet that we saw Simmons on last week, though in the midst of a massive sandstorm, he calls out for her until finally he hears her voice yelling his name back. Pushing through the current of the storm, they reach out for each other and are able to make it back safely through the portal just before it explodes and is destroyed for good (phew!). Covered in sand and rubble and lying at the bottom of the hole, Fitz holds Simmons tightly (reunited and it feels SO good!).
But wait! Thereâ€™s more! After the final commercial break, Garner leaves a building at his college campus when a student stops him.
â€œIâ€™m thinking about transferring,â€ he says. â€œIâ€™d like to take Psychology.â€ When the camera focuses on the man speaking, we get to see the evil smile of Alexander Von Strucker!
Another solid episode and we’re just getting started! There are multiple storylines being focused on this season, and I’m looking forward to exploring all of them, particularly the dynamic between May and Hunter as they search for Ward (what a fight that will be when it comes to a head!). What did you think of this episode?
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×02 Promo “Purpose in the Machine
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Clip “Running Out of Time”