Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Lifeline

A whole lot happened in Episode 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s third season, and I’m not sure how I feel about it now that it has.

The main thrust of the hour involved the investigation of the Kree stone that took Simmons, picking up right after Fitz’s attempted beat-down of, then breakdown beside, the monolith. They still have little to go on, save for the discovery of some “impossible,” out-of-this-world sand inside the rock’s crannies.

Coulson enlists the help of Professor Elliott Randolph, an Asgardian who has been on this planet for “centuries” and thus may have insight into the potential portal’s workings. Upon being freed (or freeing himself) from his confines, Randolph sees the ancient parchment on which the Hebrew word for “death (by punishment)” is written. He has seen it once before, on the walls of a castle in Gloucestershire, England circa 1853.

Randolph accompanies Coulson, Fitz, Mack and Daisy as they revisit that location, where they discover a distinctly shaped chamber in the center of which is a pit just the right size to fit the monolith. Judging by the levers, switches, doohickeys and what not nearby, they divine that the room was used to control the portal. Coulson thus has the monolith airlifted to the castle and deposited inside the well, after which they flip on the levers, switches, whatchamacallits and such, effectively switching the stone into splishy-sploshy liquid form. While Daisy has a number done on her by the vibration frequency used to affect the monolith, Fitz has the presence of mind to shoot a flare into the goo before it firms back up — a brilliant move I would not appreciate until later.

Though the old-timey machinery is fried by the try-out, Daisy offers to recreate the vibration herself, even to her own detriment. As she does so, Fitz switches out a camera they were going to lower into the portal and instead throws his tethered self in, emerging on the other side on the strange planet we last saw Jemma. Fitz frantically calls out for Jemma, until she responds back, having been drawn to the portal site by the aforementioned flare. Fitz and Simmons can just barely reach one another, their hands grasping at and letting slip of each other, when time runs out and Coulson makes the call to reel Fitz back in. And just as Mack does so, the whole contraption goes kablooey, the monolith itself exploding into pulverized crumbs. But beneath the tar-colored rubble, we see Fitz emerge… with Jemma in his arms.

Jemma is hospitalized on the Bus, where Fitz sits by her bedside, all as well as could possibly have been imagined 24 hours earlier — save for the nightmares Jemma seems to be having, waking up ready to stab someone/thing. But really, is that it, are we done with the strange planet? Or will whatever Jemma endured during her time there come into play, necessitating a return visit? Or is SHIELD not a space-based series? Discuss.

Elsewhere in the episode….

While Andrew arrived on the Bus to shoot down the latest of Daisy’s Secret Warrior candidates, Joey, we learn that May has been getting her Tiger Woods on while visiting her father in Arizona, after her rekindling with the ex apparently fizzled. Hunter tracks May down (Sun City has a teeny-tiny Asian population, apparently) and beseeches her to help him put Ward “six feet under the ground, at least,” but she holds firm with her decision to seek a “normal life, away from S.H.I.E.L.D.” One pep talk from pop later, though, and May is locked and loaded and ready to hunt some HYDRA.

Ward meanwhile tracks down Baron Wolfgang von Strucker’s son, Alexander, whom he ultimately wins over to the “new” organization and promptly “plants” among Andrew’s students.

What did you think of Season 3, Episode 2, “Purpose in the Machine”?