This week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had May golfing with her dad, the most casual prison break ever , and even Fitz asking for a sandwich. You can read our review of the episode here, but we thought we’d break down the biggest moments from “Purpose in the Machine”.
1) Daisy’s Therapy Session
May’s ex-husband, Dr. Andrew Garner (Blair Underwood) is back, and it looks like he’s in charge of the Secret Warrior psych-evals. Predictably, he declares Joey to be unfit for action, but he has a conversation with Skye that’s far more interesting. He points out that the new Inhumans aren’t the only ones who are unstable, and that “Coulson’s desperate to win on all fronts. Desperation leads to mistakes.”
Last season, we saw Coulson nearly driven to the edge as he tried to keep S.H.I.E.L.D. together, convince the US Government that he wasn’t a terrorist, and uncover the secret about the alien obelisk. Sure enough, his desperation then led to mistakes. He nearly lost the trust of his team, and control of S.H.I.E.L.D. itself. So far, season three Coulson doesn’t seem nearly as crazed and desperate as season two Coulson did, but Dr. Garner may see something that we don’t. We could start to see Coulson taking even bigger risks, and maybe making some costly mistakes. We won’t know for sure until the pressure is really on, but if Dr. Garner is right, it might not end well for the team.
Garner also gets Daisy to reveal the reason she’s so anxious to get the Secret Warriors team up and running, and it all comes back to the same thing that has been Daisy’s motivation from the beginning: belonging. The bad-ass, super powered, team leader that we now call Daisy may be a far cry from the van-dwelling hacker we knew as Skye, but every change her character has gone through has been motivated by the same thing. She has always wanted to belong, and now that she finally feels she does, she wants to give others that same feeling. As she tells Garner, she wants Inhumans to know that “being different can mean making a difference,” and this conversation just proves that the show has a clear direction for Daisy’s character.
2) Grant Ward’s Hydra
Speaking of big character changes, remember the bland, no-nonsense Agent Ward from season one? Now that Ward is picking up the pieces of Hydra the way Coulson did with S.H.I.E.L.D., season one Grant Ward is little more than a distant memory. Ward’s leadership philosophy seems to have taken more than a little bit of inspiration from Grant’s own former mentor, John Garrett. The speech he gives his new protege, Werner Von Strucker (Spencer Treat Clark), about not being handed anything, and having to earn everything, is definitely something we’ve heard before. Now that Ward is stepping into a Garrett-like role, that gives us some hints as to how he’ll develop throughout the rest of the season. We can definitely expect more tough-love style tests for Werner (in between his Psych 101 classes, of course), and with Grant’s guidance, we could see Werner live up to his family name and become a tough Hydra boss.
One reason the show could be setting up Werner, of course, could have something to do with the Most Wanted spin-off that’s currently in development. Hunter is obviously out for blood in his new mission to take down Hydra, and Bobbi is itching to go with him as soon as her knee heals. If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to focus on the Inhumans and the Secret Warriors, Most Wanted could be a more direct descendant of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s second season, keeping its focus on espionage and taking down Hydra. If that’s the case, it’s easy to imagine either Ward or Werner (or both) as the big bad of Most Wanted‘s first season, assuming it moves past a pilot order.
3) Simmons is Home
Finally, we come to the point of the entire episode: getting Simmons back. Just like in last week’s episode, Fitz once again shows how far he’s willing to go for Simmons when he leaps into the portal to look for her. Unfortunately, we don’t exactly get any answers about the monolith or the planet that Simmons has been on in this episode, so there isn’t too much to talk about here that we didn’t already know from last week. The good news is, now that rescuing Simmons isn’t the top priority, Fitz and the others will be able to focus their questions elsewhere and learn more about the origin of the monolith and the planet on which Simmons has spent her last few months.
Of course, Simmons herself also might be able to provide some answers about the alien planet–or maybe even some cool flashbacks–but her state at the end of the episode doesn’t seem to indicate that she’ll want to talk much about her experiences. As Elizabeth Henstridge herself discussed, Simmons is pretty much shattered by her time on the alien planet, and even after she recovers, she’ll probably never be the same. I mentioned last week that this could lead to some serious trust issues between Simmons and the Secret Warriors. Jemma’s never been the biggest fan of alien things, and now after having yet another traumatic experience directly caused by alien technology, I don’t see any way that can change.
If Simmons decides she doesn’t like the new, pro-alien direction S.H.I.E.L.D. is going and wants to leave, what does that mean for Fitz? The only thing that could rival his dedication and devotion to S.H.I.E.L.D. is his loyalty to Simmons. I guess it wouldn’t be Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. if the team wasn’t always on the brink of falling apart. But still, is it too much to ask for everyone to be happy for, like, five minutes? Apparently, yes.
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