Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 2 Review: Purpose in the Machine

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That's right, Simmons in back! It didn't take half the season either.

It's safe to say the creative team have learned from past pacing issues. Sure, use the secret warriors as the season's slow burn, but the Jemma thing needed to be resolved quickly. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 2 was pretty darn quick.

It's going to be interesting to see how this experience changed her, and possibly even revisit that planet via flashbacks.

Though it was great to see Professor Randolph again, I loved that Daisy saved the day.

The 1839 Gloucestershire flashback was unexpected, but introduced the fact a secret order had been experimenting with the Kree monolith for centuries. Since "no one has ever returned," it's possible that one of those travelers was chasing Simmons on the planet.

Did they simply want to get back home or are they changed? Is Simmons now host to an alien parasite? What a great way to kickoff her mysterious arc, right?

Poor Fitz was still pounding on the monolith. It liquefied immediately after the team pulled him out. Yeah, that was a close one. The "impossible sand" on his cheek proved without a doubt the thing was a portal. I thought it was clever of Hunter to bring up blasting the monolith and contaminating everything. Nice attention to detail from writer DJ Doyle. Fitz asking for a sandwich was fun too.

There's no doubt the writers are working hard getting us to like Bobbi and Mack again. Well, it's working so far. I've almost forgotten all about the "real S.H.I.E.L.D." nonsense.

Time to locate our Asgardian ally! Anyone else forget he was in prison?

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.

Coulson is definitely a changed man. When Bobbi asked Hunter not to die chasing after Ward, Coulson said "make sure he does." Phil means business these days, he's not messing around. However, neither is the treacherous Grant Ward. His intimidation technique was pretty impressive. I loved the way that scene with the car was shot. Excellent work by show creator Maurissa Tancharoen's brother Kevin, who directed this installment.

HYDRA needed a major overhaul, and Ward's taken it upon himself to eliminate the dead weight. Dalton is a great big bad. I'm thrilled they didn't go the predictable route and redeem his character.

I found it odd that Daisy was pushing for Joey to join the team. He was clearly traumatized by his metamorphosis and needs more time to adjust. Luckily, Mack and Dr. Garner agreed with my assessment. Lincoln's a far better candidate for the Secret Warriors and we'll be catching up with him next episode. Daisy inquired about Agent May, which gave us a chance to catch up with her. May's father was a trip, I enjoyed their witty banter. Will she join Hunter's mission to take Ward down in the end?

Professor Randolph wasn't too cooperative at first, but Coulson had him figured out. Again, well-written scene when Coulson tells the professor he's probably investigated stories of portals in fear of being sent home. The symbol Fitz found took the team to Gloucestershire. It was hilarious when Professor Randolph said, "To the plane!" Those little tension breakers are just plain fun. Coulson mentioning removing all the S.H.I.E.L.D. insignia from their vehicles, except the plane, was another example.

Speaking of the plane, it didn't take long for Mack to arrive with the monolith.

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.

Though I'm not sure how Fitz knew which levers to pull and buttons to press, let's chalk it up to genius. The fact that primitive machinery actually worked was impressive. Anyone else wonder why Fitz shot a flare through the portal? Of course, we now know that's what brought Simmons to his location when he jumped through. Brilliant stuff, bravo!

Ward's interest in the rich kid wasn't clear until the end. The poor bastard took quite a beating. I can see why he would be interested in von Strucker's son. Their partnership should prove interesting, but is the kid a villain? We saw him messing with Garner at the end.

Fascinating that Ward gets to play mentor/father figure like Garrett did for him. Are we nearing the end of his story, since it appears to be coming full circle? Would you hate to lose Ward on the show, or are you almost expecting it?

Anyway, back to the monolith. It was amazing that Daisy could open the portal.

Daisy: If the point of the machine was to resonate the room at a certain frequency; I can do that.
Coulson: And you can replicate it?
Daisy: Kind of drilled into my brain.
Coulson: And it could kill you. How long to you think you could hold it?
Daisy: Maybe a minute.
Coulson: If it's too much, you pull back. I can't lose you too.

It makes total sense Fitz would dive in, but I admit I didn't see it coming. The kid has certainly come a long way since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1. The first time Fitz and Simmons' hands touched and separated I thought she wasn't going to make it back. Bear McCreary's music added to the tension of the scene and had me at the edge of my seat. Those strings wowza!

Again, as I mentioned at the top, I'm thrilled Jemma is back. Now, let's see what kind of trauma her little journey caused. Is she still 100% human? Coulson seems to believe she is, what do you think?

Randolph recognizing the term "Inhuman," was a hint we might see him again. I like the character, and I hope he continues to help the team. Though it would have been cool if Star Lord made a quick cameo as I mentioned in my Agents of SHIELD Season 3 Episode 1 review, the important thing is Simmons is home. It seems this ordeal is going to bring Fitz-Simmons closer than ever. I'm totally cool with that, they deserve it.

What did you think of "Purpose in the Machine"? Are you happy Simmons is back? Does Daisy continue to impress or what? Is Ward indeed responsible for May's dad? Will Alexander prove a worthy protégé? You're up guys, sound off in the comments below. Look for our Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. round table later this week.

Want to see the Fitz-Simmons reunion again? watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. online via TV Fanatic.

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.

Purpose in the Machine Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (61 Votes)
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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.