In week two of Agents of Shield, we see more of what everyone else is doing and resolve what happened to a huge chunk of the female part of the team.

“Purpose in the Machine” thankfully wastes no time getting to the point of the matter. Simmons is still around (as revealed last week), and Fitz is hell bent on rescuing her. With the monolith still a mystery to all, the team employs the help of our favorite Asgardian runaway Dr. Elliot Randolph (Peter MacNicol) who has been sitting comfortable in a Norwegian prison. Fearing a rogue portal could send him back to his fate on Asgard, he decides to help track down the mystery of the monolith in return for a guarantee of permanently closing the portal.

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "Purpose in the Machine" (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) PETER MACNICOL, ADRIANNE PALICKI

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Purpose in the Machine” (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)
PETER MACNICOL, ADRIANNE PALICKI

After a series of clues, our team discovers that the monolith reacts to harmonic frequencies that Daisy can produce, leading us to a thrilling, though completely unplanned rescue. Like the ever persistent fool, Fitz jumps first into the portal, unknown with what he’d find on the other side, if anything. I’m not sure if this is still an after effect of his injuries last season when he nearly drowned, but his zeal and disregard for his own safety is very dangerous, and could come into play later down the season if Simmons were threatened.

Lingering questions still remain with the recovery of Simmons, mainly what happened to her in the months she was trapped in the other world. Clearly her trauma is pretty severe, and will she be able to readjust to the normal world. It leaves for plenty of material for later in the season.

On the other side, we also get to see the fate of Agent Melinda May, who until now had been “on vacation.” Hanging out with her father (James Hong) actually looking like she’s attempting to relax is an interesting take into her character. We gain quite a bit about her motivations and see a surprising softer side of her, even if it’s clearly something she has to fight to bring out.

May’s goal now was to lead a normal life, much like Daisy attempted to do last season. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of self reflection to realize that to her, normal means fighting the fight, and soon she joins up with Hunter to infiltrate the new Hydra and take down Ward once and for all.

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "Purpose in the Machine"  (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) SPENCER TREAT CLARK

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Purpose in the Machine”
(ABC/Kelsey McNeal)
SPENCER TREAT CLARK

Speaking of Ward, the scenes of him rebuilding Hydra and working to reclaim Werner von Strucker (Spencer Treat Clark), son of Hydra head Wolfgang von Strucker, seem mostly flat and cartoonish by comparison. I have no doubt that Ward, the ever committed sociopath, will rebuild Hydra, but it’s hard to say if it will be anything will come out of it beyond this season. If it found it’s way into the movie side of the MCU, it would be quite the revelation, and I’m not sure where it would fit in the current movie line up. In the TV side, Hydra seems like a holdover remnant of the movie side that should just be passed on by now.

Overall, “Purpose in the Machine” is more great examples of how the small screen format works far better in the comic universe than the movie counterparts and leaves us wanting for more next week as we go hunting for Inhumans.

Other Observations

  • “You know…there’s a giant eagle symbol on top of our jet.”
  • Bunker under the Louvre
  • Dr. Andrew Garner mentions to Daisy about her “Secret Warriors”, which in the comics is a super powered team Nick Fury assembled in the wake of Hydra’s infiltration and ultimate defeat of SHIELD