Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Round Table: The Monolith Unlocked

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It's safe to say we're all thrilled Simmons is back, but is she 100% human?

That's just one of the pressing questions our panelists will tackle. Along with the possibility a lost traveler was chasing her on the planet, Fitz jumping through the portal, and Professor Randolph's reaction to the word "Inhuman."

Join TV Fanatics Kathleen Wiedel, Jim Garner, Caralynn Lippo, Robin Harry and Hank Otero as they discuss the finer points of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 2 in this week's Round Table discussion...

Agents of SHIELD Round Table S3 - depreciated -

Did you enjoy seeing Professor Randolph again? What do you think he knows about the Inhumans?

Kathleen: I loved seeing Peter MacNicol again. He has such fun interactions with the team, Coulson especially. I was just a trifle frustrated (okay, I was shaking my fist at the screen) when they cut away from his conversation with Coulson about Daisy. Come on! What does he know about Inhumans?! Aren't you going to tell us!? ...ahem. Anyway, Randolph certain seemed disconcerted when Coulson mentioned the word "Inhumans." It's possible he's heard something about them from his time on Earth; I think it's possible that he might ultimately end up pointing them in the direction of the other hidden Inhuman populations beyond Afterlife, such as Attilan.

Jim: I agree with Kathleen, I was like "wtf..?" when they cut away and never came back to their conversation. I remembering Sif chasing a guy who wanted to wipeout Inhumans and her wanting to take Daisy away for their safety. Could Randolph's opinion follow along those same lines? I guess time will tell.

Caralynn: Absolutely! It was a well-timed re-appearance, in the sense that it totally fit within the storyline to bring him back at that point, given what we know about him and his knowledge base. I agree with both Kathleen and Jim -- the way their conversation about Inhumans broke off was so frustrating! He must have had some personal experiences with them. Was it just me or did he look a tad scared when Coulson mentioned Inhumans?

Robin: There is never really a time where Peter MacNicol isn't welcome on my screen. Randolph and Coulson play so well off each other, and they're a lot of fun to watch. It was interesting that he recognized the word "Inhumans" and it seemed like he's had some sort of experience with them. I noticed that cut away - the editing in that episode was off in general. There was another sudden cut during Daisy's conversation with Dr Garner as well.  

Hank: The Asgardian's return was long overdue, but I'm glad it tied in nicely and wasn't forced. Peter MacNicol is wonderful and that line, "To the plane!" cracked me up. I know some folks thought it was cheesy, but we need those fun moments of silliness in my opinion. Since the Inhumans were intended to be weapons of the Kree, I'm sure he's troubled by hearing Daisy's one of them. Caralynn's right, his expression was one of fear. I wonder if Professor Randolph will play a part in the Super-human Registration Act leading into Captain America: Civil War?

Share your thoughts on Ward's intimidation technique. Is he responsible for May's father? Is Hunter taking his mission too personally?

Kathleen: Ward is pretty crazy. Now unbounded by anyone holding his metaphorical leash (be it Garrett or Skye), is taking HYDRA to the next level of insanity. A leaner, meaner HYDRA. Dude, you're nuts. I don't think Hunter is taking his mission too personally at this point; he was not so obsessively focused that he missed out on the joy of the (more or less) safe return of Simmons. That said, Hunter has done incredibly stupid things before in the name of payback (remember how he messed things up with Carl Creel in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Episode 2?). At least this time he had the good sense to recruit help in the form of Melinda May.

Jim: Ward's intimidation methods are are point with how crazy he is, no surprises there. I don't think he went after May's father, specifically because he's still alive. I feel certain that if Ward wanted him dead, he would be. As Kathleen pointed out, Hunter has done stupider things for less. That being said, his recap of Bobby's injuries showed how personally he is taking it.

Caralynn: It was definitely a very "Ward" way to go about the whole recruiting thing. I also don't think he was responsible for May's father's accident -- what purpose would it have served to lure May back to her father and then do nothing? If he wanted either of them dead, they'd probably have been dead and not just injured. Hunter's plan is really stupid. It's admirable that he's doing this to avenge Bobbi or whatever, but it's plain stupid. His whole speech about getting close enough to Ward to put a bullet in him was ridiculous. As if Ward won't have the common sense to quiz his lackeys about who the new British dude sniffing around is?

Robin: What makes Ward seem even crazier is how much fun he seems to be having. He is loving every second of being a homicidal maniac. I don't think he's responsible for May's father; I think Ward's goal is a lot more big-picture than that. I don't think Hunter is taking his mission too personally, and I do think he's grown from the hot-headed person we first met, so there may be some hope for him.

Hank: Ward is having a blast torturing Hydra operatives, which makes me like him even more. I mentioned in my review for Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. Season 2 Episode 2 that I'm glad they didn't feel the need to "redeem" the guy. Let him be a bad guy, he's infinitely more interesting that way. I'm going to disagree with everyone and say that Ward did play a part in hurting May's father. It wasn't about killing the old man, but keeping Agent May out of play. The proof's in the pudding, he sent von Strucker's kid after Dr. Garner. I also think Hunter's taking this revenge mission too personally. He's going in all hot-headed and it's going to get him killed.

Who (or what) was chasing Simmons on that planet? Any theories? Lost travelers from Gloucestershire perhaps?

Kathleen: Now there's a freakish thought. Poor unfortunate souls that have been trapped on that world for who knows how long, perhaps twisted and changed beyond all recognition. That would be an ominous thing, wouldn't it! It would be like Simmons being chased by fun house mirror future versions of herself! Suddenly, I'm reminded of the Doctor Who episode "Into the TARDIS," where our heroes really were being chased around by terrifying freakish future versions of themselves... Thanks for that.

Jim: Whatever was chasing her apparently could be scared off with a small pointy stick, judging by how she woke up waving a small pointy stick. Maybe it was space squirrels or something.

Caralynn: Space squirrels! LOL. Simmons was plenty traumatized by her ordeal, so whatever it was that was chasing her must've been plenty spooky. I really like the idea that the chasers were other people who'd gone through the portal over the ages and never returned. I need to know more about where she was!! So intrigued.

Robin: Jim, you're hilarious, man. Space squirrels may not be that farfetched --I mean, we have seen space raccoons. I guess it would be other monolith travelers, but do they gain immortality when they go through the portal? This thing has been used for centuries.

Hank: The opening scene in Gloucestershire, England was a major hint those lost travelers were trapped on that mysterious planet. Did the Kree force them to evolve into Inhumans? Is there an alien parasite changing their DNA? Perhaps those human visitors, unable to return to Earth, established a colony on that world for others that crossed over? It's possible Simmons didn't see a monster, but someone draped in heavy gear protecting themselves from the elements. There are so many possibilities, I need to know more!

Were you expecting Fitz to jump through the portal? Did you ever doubt he'd bring Simmons home?

Kathleen: Expecting it? Eh. Fifty-fifty. Surprised by it? Not in the slightest. No doubt here that she was coming home, and very thankful that they didn't drag it out.

Jim: I was totally surprised that he jumped into the portal when he did. That said, I never had a doubt that he would bring her home, even with all the hand slipping and grabbing, when the rock blew up, I had no doubt Jemma and Fitz were under all that dust.

Caralynn: Ditto on being glad that they didn't drag out the rescue. I mentioned last time that part of me was hoping that Simmons would find a way to rescue herself just as they were gearing up to save her, but I did love this turn of events. Fitz's absolute glee when he realized he'd gotten her back warmed the cockles of my cynic's heart. I'm really looking forward to FitzSimmons bounding over their ordeals and any lingering psychological effects from what they've gone through over the past 1+ year.

Robin: I'm with Kathleen. I was half expecting it, and I wasn't surprised by it at all. I wasn't sure what to expect with the outcome; I thought it would either be Fitz stuck out there with her, or she would be back with him. However, I knew once he reached her that he would never let her go again.

Hank: Like Jim, I was surprised Fitz jumped in, but I had no doubt he'd bring Jemma back with him. I'm also thrilled they didn't drag out her rescue, that would have grown old quick. What a wonderful reunion between those two, right?

Do you think Simmons is still 100% human? Or did her ordeal change her?

Kathleen: Oh, I'd say the ordeal definitely changed her. Whether the changes were purely emotional and psychological as opposed to physical, however...? Hopefully, our heroes have the good sense to give her a full workup once they get her back to base.

Jim: She's still human, I doubt the alien planet would have changed her base DNA. But, as Kathleen said, emotionally and mentally she is going to be different. She's going to have PTSD for a while, as exampled by having a sharp pointy stick still in her hand after being taken to the infirmary.

Caralynn: I was concerned for a minute that what Fitz brought back wasn't actually Simmons -- the rescue just seemed to go too easy, it made me suspicious. She is definitely going to be dealing with PTSD, and I don't think she'll become anything other than human. In between all the Inhumans, superheroes and bionic-armed men, we need to have a couple of good ol' fashioned human beings like FitzSimmons and May to balance things out.

Robin: I can see how it would be possible for her to have physiologically adapted to survive on a non-Earth planet, but I don't think she'd become alien. I also agree with everyone else, she won't be the same person mentally. Though I hope those changes include an urge to make Fitz lots and lots of sandwiches.

Hank: I had the same thought as Caralynn, the rescue seemed way too easy (and quick, Ep.2?). Clearly Jemma's going to be dealing with PTSD, but I can't help wonder if the ordeal changed her physically. Let's just say, it wouldn't surprise me if she was no longer 100% human. Hell, she might not even be the Jemma we all know and love. That would make for an interesting twist and a possible return to the blue planet. Then again, the team's got enough to deal with as Caralynn said, so I'm probably just letting my imagination get the better of me.

NOTE: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 3 is titled "A Wanted (Inhu)man" and airs on Tuesday, October 13.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 2 Quotes

Bobbi: This looks a lot like it was made to hold...
Fitz: The monolith! This machine was designed to control the portal. To open and close it at will.
Coulson: Do you know that? Or is that just what you hope it to be?
Fitz: Well there's only one way to find out.

Bobbi: Who is Professor Randolph?
Coulson: This monolith has been studied for centuries. Well, Randolph's actually been on the planet for those centuries. And he's traveled through space in a portal. And he's also an alien, So, he's got a lot going for him.