Last week, "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." returned with a new mission, new team members, and generally picked up the rip-roaring momentum of season two... And not only that, it introduced a new, super-powered threat in Lash (Matthew Willig).
This week an old guest star is back... And that's not the only shocking return. Here are all the biggest moments from "Purpose In The Machine."
Ye Olde S.H.I.E.L.D.ABC
Was that first scene what you expected? Not this guy! Things kick off in England, 1839, where a group of fancy men reveal they've watched a lot of "Lost." Or at least, one of them unveils a white stone in his hand, the rest black stones -- and the one with the white stone goes through a door.
Behind the door? The Monolith that swallowed Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) at the end of season two. It swallows him, too, with the leader saying, "Our best minds are working to understand this, but as far as we know, in all of history... No one has ever returned."
Quick question: is this, by any chance... The original S.H.I.E.L.D.? In the comics, the organization has existed, in different forms, for generations. Are we about to see that historical precedent in the show, too?
Also, Ye Olde PlanetABC
Pretty quickly, Fitz figures out based on some sand on his fingers that Simmons is trapped on an ancient alien planet, because I can totally look at sand and know where it comes from, too.
So the team splits up, one group to track down Simmons, Hunter (Nick Blood) to track down Ward (Brett Dalton). "Don't die out there," Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) tells Hunter. "Make sure he does," Coulson (Clark Gregg) quips back.
So has Coulson given up on Ward, I guess? Given Dalton is a regular cast member, probably not completely... But things have certainly changed in the Coulson/Ward dynamic.
Kick His AsgardianABC
The team tracking down Simmons naturally go for an expert in ancient alien artifacts. That expert? Professor Elliot Randolph (Peter MacNicol), who's in jail for disorderly conduct ("Asgardians can hold their drink, right?" "I tried to hold all of them.")
Once Coulson, who Randolph also notices has grown a little frosty, convinces him to help out, he just up and tears the jail cell door off. Which, given MacNicol is usually the nervous nerd, is pretty hilarious.
First Of MayABC
Where's May (Ming-Na Wen)? She's playing golf, and hanging out with her Dad (James Hong)! That's pretty much it, at least until Hunter shows up (more on that later).
Meanwhile, her (ex?)-husband Dr. Andrew Garner (Blair Underwood) is over at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ checking out new Inhuman Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) and giving Daisy (Chloe Bennet) advice.
Specifically about her leadership of, "these... Secret Warriors..." But it's teasing something. Is Daisy going to take control of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Or maybe she's going to break off to form her own team? Either way, we're setting up something big here.
Okay, look, this isn't a jaw-dropping moment or anything, but MacNicol is hilarious. After checking out the monolith, he tells Fitz he's out of there. "You'll have to go through me first," Fitz says. "I could," Randolph says. "Literally. But I don't know what Amazon and Robot Hand are capable of."
Can we please make those Bobbi and Coulson's canon names? Please?
Anyway, Randolph changes his mind and agrees to help... So it's off to the castle from the cold open!
Ward's Making MovesABC
What's Ward up to? Driving people around on the hood of his car, releasing rats on party boats and kidnapping kid millionaires. Sort of.
Meanwhile, Hunter (see I told you we'd get back to him) is trying to recruit May to the cause of taking down Ward. As you might expect, she decides to live a happy life just golfing and hanging with her Dad the end.
Just kidding, she joins up with Hunter, and together they're gong to take the pain to Ward.
With the whole team gathered in a spooooky laboratory at the castle, Fitz turns on the machine, and the portal stays open. That's when something starts going wrong with Daisy. Holding her head, bleeding from the nose, and eventually fainting...
Clearly there's more of a connection between the portal and her Inhuman psychology than we thought -- though let's be honest, we kind of thought there was, right? Right.
The Son Also RisesABC
Let's talk about who the kid Ward kidnapped really is: Werner Von Strucker, the son of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" bad guy Baron Von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann). And it seems that Ward doesn't want him for his money... He wants him for his HYDRA legacy, and his craziness.
And the kid is CRAZY. Strong, deadly, and ready to join Ward in rebuilding HYDRA bigger and badder than ever.
His first move? Signing up for Garner's psychology class. Yeah, he's going after the team, and hard.
Daisy Plays PortalABC
Pretty quickly, Fitz figures out that the room is actually basically a big amplifier/sub-woofer -- and all they need is Daisy to open the portal. So she does... And rather than just let a probe go in, Fitz immediately jumps in himself.
He screams Simmons' name on the strange alien planet... And she answers. Through a torrential storm, Fitz reaches for Simmons. On the outside, Daisy falters -- so Coulson gives the order to pull Fitz back. Fitz grips Simmons' hand. She grips his. They're about to lose their grip, when Daisy gives up, and the portal explodes.
In the ruins of the portal, Fitz pops his head over the surface... And so does Simmons. She's back! Also, I am crying. Bye.
The episode ends with Simmons waking up, terrified... And then laying her head in Fitz's lap, calmly going back to sleep. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. My heeeeeaaaart.