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Recap and Review of Agents of SHIELD Episode 302: Purpose in the Machine

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "Purpose in the Machine" - Fitz and the team enlist the aid of an Asgardian to unlock the secrets of the ancient monolith that swallowed Simmons, and Agent May is at a crossroads in her personal and professional life, on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) ADRIANNE PALICKI, IAIN DE CAESTECKER, PETER MACNICOL

After the extremely well done season 3 premiere, will they be able to continue the strong opening momentum? Let’s find out as we recap and review Agents of SHIELD Episode 302: Purpose in the Machine

[divider]Recap of Agents of SHIELD Episode 302: Purpose in the Machine[/divider]

Agents of SHIELD episode 302 opens with a flashback to the 1800s and a castle in England, where after a drawing of stones, a man is sent into a room where the Monolith eats him in the same way it had Simmons. And we get an ominous line about how no one in history has ever come back from an encounter with it.

Flashforward to the modern era and Daisy and Mack are arguing about how quickly they can get people ready for these new team of Secret Warriors, with Daisy being frustrated because they aren’t clearing people quickly enough for the field. They are interrupted by Bobbi and Hunter running in to say that Fitz has broken the containment. They rush and save him but he discovers some sand, that after testing reveals it came from…another super old planet.

Then in what I thought was the strongest point of the episode, you get a great scene where things come together as they all focus on the one thing; time to go get Simmons. (Well, except for Hunter, who runs off to talk to May, who he needs in his “Take out Ward at all costs” plan.)  (And the most humorous line of the show was when Coulson asks what Fitz needs and after a long string of science answers, Fitz tags on “…and a sandwich.”)

shield-purpose-thorBobbi and Coulson then go get Professor Eliott Randolph, the Asgardian professor from the Berserker episode, who Coulson thinks is the key to helping Fitz. He is locked up in a Norwegian prison. Coulson threatens him and Randolph decides to play team ball, ripping the door off his cell.

May’s ex-husband Dr. Garner shows up, as it turns out he is doing the the psychological evaluations on the new Inhumans, and he has yet to turn one loose to Daisy’s team. We cut to May, hanging out with her dad, who is rehabbing from some kind of injury.

The Asgardian Randolph freaks out when he sees the Monolith, but cuts a deal with the team: he helps them get Jemma home, but they have to destroy the portal. Turns out he was in England and he does a humorous “To the plane!” that is met by the team laughing until Coulson sends them all to the plane with a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Alexander von StruckerWard then ransacks a yacht, beats up the security and then takes a prisoner named Alexander. After torturing the young man he snaps, killing his interrogator and we learn that he is a descendant of a von Strucker. And Alexander becomes Hydra’s new bankroll and Ward’s new protege. (And at the end of the episode, he shows up and enrolls in Dr. Garner’s Psychology class!)

Garner gives Daisy a pep talk about being a leader, as she explains that part of her hope is wanting Inhumans to see their gifts, talents and powers in partnership with SHIELD.

May and her dad talk about her figure skating days when she snags Hunter, just as he is about to knock on the door. Hunter wants to know where May has been and why she has been AWOL. Hunter needs her and gets to the crux of why she is there: it seems like her dad’s accident might be created by Hydra. Despite May’s assurance that she is out, Hunter leaves her an offer to come with him on his infiltration and destruction of Hydra plan. Her dad later gives her a pep talk to handle her unfinished business.

In England, the team finds a room and a machine. Fitz theorizes that the room is a control for the portal. Daisy and Mac bring the Monolith to England and they turn the machine on. Sure enough, it opens the portal. After a few minutes, the machine breaks and the whole time Daisy is being hurt by something. After Fitz shoots a flare into it, it closes.

Agents-of-SHIELD-Alien-PlanetIt turns out that Daisy was hearing a pulsing sound. They all come to the realization that the room was a giant speaker, and the Monolith is controlled by vibrations. Daisy volunteers to open it up and though the plan was to send a probe through, Fitz hooks himself and jumps through, visiting the planet. After several minutes, he discovers Jemma but as the portal starts to close, we are unsure of what happened.

The Monolith has exploded. Fitz shows up in the wreckage, and eventually uncovers Simmons in the wreckage.  She was only nearby because of the flare they had shot earlier.

In the debrief, Randolph reveals that he has heard the Inhumans name before, a long time ago. Dr. Garner calls May and gives her the news of Simmons return, which she then passes on to Hunter, as she is clearly now onboard with his new mission.

[divider]Review of Agents of SHIELD Episode 302: Purpose in the Machine[/divider]

This was a solid 9.5 out of 10 Nerds.

Early in a season, you have to do new things and resolve old ones.

  • They resolved the Jemma storyline in a powerful way. It was pretty awe inspiring to see the way the whole team rallied, each doing their part. When Fitz nearly lost her, you had cuts between him and the others. (And the danger of dragging this plotline out for the whole season was a real one. It will be way more interesting to see how her time away impacts her.)
  • Hydra is becoming a bigger deal again, with Ward garnering people and resources.
  • As always, humor is well placed and well done.
  • I loved seeing Randolph again. Actor Peter MacNicol has long been a favorite of mine and he does great in this role.  
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