Same Geek Channel: ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 3.2 ‘The Purpose in the Machine’

Comic Books Same Geek Channel Television
Careful, you guys have a bad track record with pits. Source: ABC.
Careful, you guys have a bad track record with pits.
Source: ABC.

Mordechai: Watching this episode, it occurs to me just how many balls this show has in the air. You have the Skye “Secret Warriors” plot, the May plot, the Ward-rebuilding-Hydra plot, the Hunter hunting-Hydra plot, the Simmons plot, the Inhumans are being kidnapped plot, the “oh and there’s another shadow agency” plot, and you know, I think I may have missed a few? That’s a tough thing to keep track of over a few seasons, yet they’re managing to touch on them all.

Corrina: One of the reasons this show has improved is the pacing. By that, I’m not referring just to the juggling of those multiple storylines but the overall show pacing, where problems are set up and solved far faster than they would have been in the show’s first season.

Mordechai: Good point. The May storyline also effectively merges with the Hunter one – which is likely all setup for the currently-being-pitched-a-second-time Hunter/Bobbi spinoff happens.

This, but for 45 minutes a week? I'm game. Source: ABC.
This, but for 45 minutes a week? I’m game.
Source: ABC.

Corrina: Just so long as they leave May on this show!

Simmons’ fate only took two episodes to be revealed and, thankfully, it’s a relief instead of being yet another blow to our group. Happy endings make for bad spy shows but constant happy endings make for depressing shows. And no matter how depressing the Marvel live-action universe can get (see: Daredevil), it still manages to retain that element of hope and fun.

So, yay, Fitz pulled Simmons from her fate on a still as-yet unknown planet, with an assist from Daisy. The science is, in pure comic book hand-wavy tradition, absolutely ridiculous, but I loved in nonetheless. And now it’s Simmons turn to recover from trauma.

Mordechai: Yeah, not sure why you’d call that “happy”. Bittersweet, maybe? Neat that Daisy’s powers were able to trigger the thing, but wow, how lucky were they that not a single electrical component corroded fully in over a hundred years? Or that they knew just which buttons and levers to push. Sheeesh.

Speaking of recovering from trauma, I guess Fitz is all better now. He’s a far cry from the near-helpless dude he was last season.

He's not 100%, but he's a lot better. Source: ABC.
He’s not 100%, but he’s a lot better.
Source: ABC.

Corrina: Hey, Simmons isn’t dead and she has all appendages, so there’s that, right?

But she’s not only one traumatized. May is still suffering from the effects of last season’s finale and she copes by caring for her insightful father, playing golf badly, and pulling knives on random prowlers. Luckily, the prowler is Hunter, looking for her help in talking down the missing former Agent Ward, who is reforming Hydra.

There’s also Coulson but quipping about his missing hand and insisting on forming a team of Secret Warriors (comic book reference) though it’s implied by psychologist Andrew Garner that he’s headstrong and impulsive now.

So, trauma reactions all around!

Mordechai: Implied, nothing. It’s basically said via Daisy. But you know what? It feels organic. As does Blair Underwood as Andrew Garner.

Corrina: Good thing they have a psychologist on call!

As for Daisy, she’s channeling her trauma from being genetically altered, into a mission not just to save fellow Inhumans but give them a chance to be heroes.

They’re all obsessed, in one way or another, though it’s uncertain whether anyone will succeed as Fitz did. Ward’s more than a little crazy and Hunter is more than a little nuts to want to settle a score with him.

Pictured: a very punchable face. Source: ABC.
Pictured: a very punchable face.
Source: ABC.

Mordechai:  And hey, Ward’s Hydra recruitment ends up grabbing Wolfgang von Strucker’s son – It will be interesting to see if they also add his sister, eventually. In the comics, Andrea von Strucker and Andreas von Strucker are mutants. I’m guessing whether or not she shows up, he ends up being an Inhuman. Which makes his placement in Garner’s life interesting. Potential Secret Warrior?

Corrina: I’d forgotten about the Strucker twins. Even if not, Ward made a mistake there. Kid Strucker isn’t going to forgive him for that torture and that will play into Ward’s fate down the line. If Ward dies (and he should at this point) then the show has neatly dropped in a successsor to their main villain.

But there was fun this episode too! Most of it was provided by Peter MacNichol’s lost Asgardian professor from season 1, Elliot Randolph. Randolph is refreshingly free of angst and obsession and only wants to be left alone. Coulson’s threats motivate him to help the team but one gets the feeling Randolph was too curious not to help, in any case.

Mordechai: He really banters well. “There’s no bunker under the there? There isn’t…now I have to check” made me smile. The great thing is that this and other lines felt organic and natural. A great feat of writing.

Peter MacNichol is so good, he can actually act against a bit of wall and be great. Source: ABC.
Peter MacNichol is so good, he can actually act against a bit of wall and be great.
Source: ABC.

Corrina: ‘To the plane!’ was a bit too obvious but I liked it any way.

Speaking of supporting characters, what about the loser of the Victorian-era explorer lottery we saw at the beginning of the episode? He might have just been a throwaway but given Simmons survived so long and that our explorer packed for a journey, I suspect he’s going to show up again.

Completely out there theory: somehow, he survived, was altered by the experience, and came back to Earth as Starlord’s father.

Mordechai: While unlikely, I have to admit that if Marvel still had the cinematic rights to the Skrulls, I would be very suspicious about Simmons right now.

Corrina: My first reaction: that would be fun. My second reaction: no, it wouldn’t. The first two seasons of this show were based on “you have no idea who to trust.” Tossing the Skrulls into that would be round three.

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