Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD “Purpose in the Machine” Review (Season 3 Episode 2)

Agents of SHIELD S3E2 Review 16

Marvel’s Agent of SHIELD returned tonight with another solid entry in “Purpose in the Machine”, and kicked it off with a rare flashback sequence. We didn’t just flashback a few years, though, and it wasn’t even a flashback like the one at the beginning of season two that flashed to Agent Carter. No, we flashed waaaaay back to the 1800s, as we see a shadowy organization that randomly picked people to be sent through the monolith. From what I could tell on my screen, that insignia on the door isn’t something we’ve seen before. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a clue to anything or what, but it could have been that the only point in this scene was to show us that the monolith has been around for a while.

The whole monolith storyline ended up fizzling out pretty badly. When it sucked up Simmons last season, it came so out of left field that it functioned perfectly as a crazy WTF cliffhanger. Then when we found out that she was on some alien world last episode, I was excited to find out where exactly that was and what dangers she was running from. I was hoping we would keep cutting back to her for a bit but then…she’s back now? As happy as I am to see her and Fitz reunited, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that this storyline got cut so short. Maybe we’ll get flashbacks to the stuff she went through, or maybe she’ll just tell us what it was like, but the Marvel Cosmic Universe has been so underrepresented on this show. This was really a chance for them to go for it and show us the other side of this world, but then they chickened out. Heck, all we get on this show that hints at a larger universe is an occasional appearance by Lady Sif or Peter MacNicol’s Professior Elliott.

Speaking of which, Elliott was back tonight in a fun little role. I was glad that we got him on the show in an episode that wasn’t forced to tie in somehow to a Thor movie, but he sure didn’t have a lot to do here. He could have just told them in the jail cell, “Hey, I’ve seen that symbol, go to England” and then keep reading his books. Instead he just tags along and doesn’t help in the slightest. I thought he might find that secret room, maybe? Nope. Perhaps he’d figure out how to operate the machine that turns it on? Nuh-uh. Maybe he would destroy the portal after it served its purpose? No, Daisy took care of all of that, and she didn’t even mean to!

The B-storyline tonight involved Ward, who continues to be a very polarizing character for this show. He’s still apparently recruiting and rebuilding Hydra, for some reason. As happy as I am that he’s staying on the show in some fashion, I’m not sure how much I care about him as a character. I don’t care if he succeeds or fails, which is a big problem. In my mind, Hydra is a dead storyline on this show. Why does he want to rebuild Hydra? What allegiance does he have to them still, and why? Why can’t he just start a new organization from the ground up? What name value does Hydra still have? Also, do we really need to meet the rich, douchebag son of Baron Von Strucker? There’s a bunch of people out there with powers now, Ward! Wouldn’t it make more sense if he was rushing around trying to beat Coulson and his team to it, or maybe finding some of those tainted fish oil shipments or something and making an army of Inhumans? Nope, instead he goes to Ibiza where a bunch of A-holes party on their yacht with supermodels and decides that he wants one on his team. Good call.

We finally caught up with May tonight, which was my favorite storyline of the episode. It turns out May has been caring for her dad, played by the always entertaining James Hong, and I loved all of their scenes together. It was great that her dad helped her remember what she excels at and what really makes her happy, and now she’s teaming up with Hunter to track down Ward and put a stop to him! The fact that Ward is going after her husband is pretty great. He’s not wasting any time making it personal!

What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments section!

Random Thoughts:

– Mac’s growling “yeah” to Elliott’s comment about a subwoofer was pretty great.

– Von Strucker’s son is played by Spencer Treat Clark, who is certainly all grown up after being such a famous child actor 15 years ago in “Unbreakable” and “Gladiator”.

– As lame as the Ward stuff can be, man does Kevin Tancharoen really know how to direct him well. All of the fast driving and fight scenes are done so well. You can tell the guy really likes having an outlet for all of his flashy directing tricks.