Agents of SHIELD: Purpose in the Machine Review

Well, that was a whole lot of nothing. Our review of the latest episode of Agents of SHIELD

This Agents of SHIELD review contains spoilers.

Agents of SHIELD: Season 3, Episode 2

After a strong season three debut, Agents of SHIELD has gone back to toothless storytelling that only has a semblance of life because of the magnificent performances by an eminently likeable cast.

If you recall, the last episode ended with promise — the promise of our agents storming an alien planet to save their beloved Simmons. A S.H.I.E.L.D./Kree conflict for the ages, perhaps? These were the images running through my little geek brain last week as Agents of SHIELD. ended with a killer intergalactic cliffhanger. But all that was not to be as this week’s episode came up with a convoluted, contrived  way of rescuing Simmons from the remote alien world, a way the involved an Asgardian, an ancient temple, and an Inhuman. Now, lest you think this was the latest Marvel crossover with the Warriors Three or Lady Sif riding in on winged steeds to fight side by side with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans, well, wipe that bit of coolness from your brain. The Asgardian was that Elliot Randolph dude from season one. Remember him, the Asgardian who decided he liked Earth so he stayed here? Yeah, he was kind of funny and his back and forth with Coulson was fun to watch, but man, that’s some bottom of the ale barrel Asgardian right there. At least hit us with some Thunderstrike action or something.

Anyway, Randolph, Coulson, Daisy, Fitz, Morse and Mack flew to some ancient British castle or something that happened to have a gateway that could open the monolith because reasons. In fact, the show began with a flashback to the castle in the 1800s, showing some ancient order experimenting with the monolith or some such folderol. This sequence was only notable because, other than a few moments of Viking fun in the first Thor, this was the earliest era we have seen so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A notable curiosity, but yeah, nothing happened.

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So, after some scientific jargon spewing, our crew figured out that the gate could be opened by matching a seismic frequency and hey, there just happened to be a chick there with earthquake powers — how convenient! Daisy opened the portal at great risk to herself while the rest of the cast earned a paycheck by looking concerned. The not very climactic at all scene was only saved by Fitz nobly leaping into the portal to save Simmons. Now, last week we saw Simmons pursued by something.

Was it an agent of Thanos? Annihilus? A Kree Sentry? Dark Elves? Dire Wraiths? Tax collectors? Anything? Whatever it was never showed up.

I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t fist pump when it was revealed that Fitz saved Simmons because I love those two kids, but couldn’t something have happened? 250,000 alien races and cosmic menaces in the Marvel Universe and this one remains off screen. The last image we were left this week with was Simmons clutching a sharp stick, frightened that her pursuers were still out there so maybe, MAYBE we will see it at a later date but you know what, probably not.

Showing more promise this week was the Ward trying to rebuild HYDRA subplot. This week, Ward recruited Werner Von Strucker into the fold. At first, Werner was portrayed as a spoiled millionaire but when Ward ordered the young man to be tortured, Werner showed some of that old Von Strucker dander and killed his tormentor, impressing Ward. It was cool to see somebody with a pedigree like Werner become part of the series and hopefully Ward’s HYDRA will provide a palpable threat to season three. Whatever Ward does, it has to be better than unseen space monsters.

Plotline number three this week centered on Agent May getting back in the game. We did get a nice look into May’s past and got to know her father a bit, and we also got to see her play golf which was strangely cool. Hunter and May could make for an interesting pair in the weeks to come as they hunt Ward. With Bobbi out of action with her injury, it will be interesting to see how Hunter meshes with the no-nonsense May.

All that said, I am was so happy to see Simmons safe at home and that speaks to the immense acting prowess of Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker because boy, did the episode itself not give us reason to care. Fitz’s desperate screams last week really kept this episode from being a full out, paint by numbers uninspired dud because at least we can get behind the characters while the story kind of just ate itself.

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Marvel Moments

– Werner Von Strucker first appeared in Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Vol. 2 #1 (1989) and was created by Bob Harras. Werner is the least famous of the Strucker brood as his step-siblings, the mutant brother/sister threat known as Fenris, have fought the X-Men and the New Mutants a number of times. Strangely enough, this is not Werner’s first TV appearance as the character also appeared in the infamous David Hasselhoff-starring Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV movie.

– HYDRA reforming under new leadership is not a new thing as there have been many tendrils of HYDRA over the years at Marvel. Cut off one limb indeed.

– We had our first vocalization of the name Secret Warriors this week so that should become a thing soon.

J- oey Gutierrez, who was discussed but not seen this week, has the same powers as long time Iron Man foe the Melter. The Melter could melt (duh) any metal but his powers were tech based rather than Terrigen based. The original Melter was killed by the Scourge of the Underworld in a moment that blew my twelve year old mind. 

– This was where I was hoping to give you the history regarding some awesome Marvel space character but that was not to be because evidently not showing us things is edgy and cool or something. Ah, don’t mind me; I’m bitter about the Yankees. 

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2 out of 5