Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Review – “Purpose In The Machine”


In this week’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, it’s the return of super-evil Grant Ward! We haven’t seen him since the season two finale, where he looked to be out for revenge, ready to take up the Hydra mantle.

Before we get to his role in this episode, much more happens than I ever imagined.

Not-So-Short Summary: The year is 1839, one lucky gentleman gets picked and has to venture into the room with the Monolith, where it swallows him. It looks like no one has ever returned.

Present day has Daisy and Mack brainstorming about their new recruits, until Bobbi and Hunter dash through because Fitz’s freakout from the end of last episode is still happening. They pull him away and shut the cage just before the Monolith breaks down.

And Fitz discovers sand in the spotless cage. Impossible sand, even–carbon dating predates the earth by a billion years. So he knows that Simmons is out there somewhere. Coulson brings us back to reality, stating that it’s been months and she’s more than likely dead, but we’re going to find out, aren’t we?

Everyone goes on their respective ways: Skye and Mack take a backseat and chill with their Inhuman friend Joey, Hunter finally departs for his murderous rampage against Grant Ward, and Coulson, Fitz, and Bobbi are off to meet their point of contact, an Asgardian named Randolph, who just so happens to be in jail at the moment due to lewd public behavior.

Daisy and Mack welcome Andrew, May’s ex to HQ to work on Joey. Daisy wants to fight fire with fire in regards to the alien scares and public misinformation; Andrew wants her to be careful about it. Any of the people they recruit could turn into monsters if they aren’t careful. But Skye doesn’t have time for it; she wants to make a difference in their lives now because her mother’s halfway house didn’t work out so well.

Coulson and crew return to base with Randolph in their midst. Once he sees the Monolith, he agrees that he’ll help them find Simmons so long as they destroy the thing once they return. Everyone agrees.

Unfortunately, it’s all rumors he’s heard about the Monolith; Randolph recognizes the Jewish word on the scroll from a costume party in 1853 in England (that feels random even to type); they fly off to Gloucester where Coulson finds a hidden doorway and everyone follows down the rabbit hole.

They find a well-like hole in the ground that Fitz believes will hold and control the Monolith. Coulson brings it in, along with Mack and Daisy. They turn on the machine and all seems to go well. While Fitz screams for more light to take a look at it (and shoots a flare through it), it’s having an adverse effect on Daisy, who ends up passing out due to a pulsing sound the Monolith gave off but only she can hear.

The machines in the room were destroyed during the trial run, but Fitz realizes that Daisy can hone her seismic skills on the hole and shake the portal open. They’re going to send in a probe to take a picture of the other side. Of course, Fitz jumps in with it.

Everything is blue, windy, and rocky on the other side. Fitz screams for Simmons, and finally hears a faint “Fitz.” They find each other, nearly don’t hold on long enough, and then Skye has to break her hold on the Monolith, destroying it to dust.

FitzSimmons resides within that dust.

In the aftermath, Randolph inquires about what exactly Skye/Daisy is. “I have not heard that word in a very long time,” the professor muses when Coulson says Inhuman.

Elsewhere in this Agents of SHIELD episode…

Grant Ward does a heck of a lot of grandstanding in this episode. But when you’re trying to revive an evil organization from shambles, you need to give a lot of motivating speeches to keep morale up. He starts his personal season premiere out by dipping into the kidnapping well; he’s looking for a boy because he needs funding.

That boy turns out to be Baron Von Strucker’s kid. You know, that dude that died a meaningless death in Age of Ultron, as Ward so succinctly put? (Seriously, what was his screen time, ten minutes?)

Ward bonds with baby Von Strucker about dysfunctional families and does even more grandstanding about Hydra until he has Strucker under his wing, funding his resurgence.

Post-Credits Stinger: Andrew gets intercepted after a lecture by a young student who wants to get into his class. It’s Baby Von Strucker! Because of course it is.

Badass Moment of the Week: Grant Ward taking down an entire boat-worth of people to get to his target. As evil as he is, you’ve got to admit that was pretty cool.

Best One-Liner: “I totally just gave you permission to analyze me, didn’t I?” Skye mutters when Andrew gives her some advice about turning into a leader.
“You are sitting on a couch,” he replies.

I didn’t touch on May’s section of this episode: she is off in Sun City, Arizona helping her father through his rehab for his hip, attempting to lead a normal life. That’s when Hunter turns up in an attempt to recruit her for his tracking-and-killing-Ward mission. She turns him down multiple times, and it’s only after a heart-to-heart with her father that she decides to help.

It’s all that matters, because Badass Melinda May is back in action! With her new partner, Hunter! Beers all around!

Plus anytime you get to see James Hong in something, it’s good. Plus then I get to yell, “Cartwright!” at my television and cackle like a madwoman.

Is there any reason they didn’t ask Erik Selvig about the portal? I mean, I know he’s not an Asgardian or anything, but he was there when Thor came to Midgard the first time, seems to constantly be working alongside Jane Foster, was around during the entirety of The Avengers, was back to it again with Thor and crew, and then was called in on an emergency retreat with Thor in Age of Ultron. (Any reason aside from having an actual budget for episodes?)

Next week we see the return of Lincoln, who’s being hunted by Rosalind and her agency. Be on the lookout for more superpowers! And this week’s Brainstorm Session will have many, many ridiculous theories. Selvig may just be our “Weekly Avengers Cameo” idea.

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