Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been a roller coaster ride for a lot of viewers. The first and second seasons had major problems that caused me to find myself flip flopping on whether or not I wanted to continue with the show. While the second season definitely picked things up, I could never help myself from always wanting more from S.H.I.E.L.D.. Despite its flaws, I ended up really enjoying where the second season left off and finally, in the show’s third season, I feel like it has finally found its groove.
So far in Agents of SHIELD’s third season it has established its core characters and is finally exploring who they are in a way that feels extremely natural and mature. Last night’s episode, “4,722 Hours,” threw something completely new at us with an episode solely dedicated to answering what happened to Simmons on the mysterious planet. The episode really dove into the deep bond that these characters have developed, mainly Fitz and Simmons. For Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. its really weird to watch an episode that focuses on one character and not a mixture of the team as a whole with snippets of what’s going on individually. Honestly, this was an amazing break for the show and a great decision for them to do because it was easily one of the most emotionally impacting that we’ve seen.
What’s immediately beautiful is that we finally get the parallel to the season’s premiere; we watched a James Bond-esque Fitz endlessly travel around the world in search for any possible way to bring Simmons home. Now we watched Gemma use Fitz as her driving lifeline while stranded. I absolutely loved the way she kept herself sane by using him as a diary and memory. Their connection is deep on so many levels and it was just nice to finally see the way both of them felt in such dire situations. Within the past 5-10 years there has been a growing trend of isolation movies; whether it’s Gravity, Interstellar, or more recently, The Martian, we love to watch people deep down and grasp on to that one thing that keeps them fighting, which is what this episode accomplished.
Eventually, Simmons discovers other life on the planet and it turns out to be an astronaut named Will who has been stranded for 14 years since NASA originally sent him while they possessed the monolith. As anticipated, the two eventually grow closer and closer until becoming romantic with one another. I thought that this was amazingly handled in the short time the show has to accomplish a full story arc. Simmons and Will come together out of their shared isolation from everything and everyone they love. Their ability to keep one another stable while on a foreign planet is quite touching because it inspires a new sense of hope now that they have one another.
In one sense, I was feeling heartbroken because we see another wedge thrown into the want for Fitz and Simmons to finally get together, but on the other hand you appreciate Will and everything his character accomplishes because it fills a void and a need for Simmons to escape the dreaded planet. The connection between her and Will is very well done, because throughout it all she never loses faith in Fitz, and she’s still always trying to get back to him. Not only does this show Will was a mental placeholder, but it also just shows the strength of Jemma’s love for Fitz.
When we discover she’s recounting her entire story to Fitz at the end, it makes the emotions hit even harder when you realize he’s been having to listen to each detail we’ve watched within the past hour. Lain De Caestecker has been really amazing with his acting this season and showed a tremendous amount of mixed feelings during this scene; you can tell Fitz is absolutely crushed by everything she went through. While Jemma’s entire story is amazing, I think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really sealed this episode off well by the Fitz/Simmons interaction the end. Jemma is worried Fitz is mad and upset with her for finding someone else because of how he storms off; yet, not only is Fitz not mad at the love of his life, he realizes what Will meant to her and is the reason Fitz was able to get Jemma back at all, which is why he knows he has to save him for her.
It was weird to see such an emotional Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode that was so willing to break its traditional cardboard story lines in order to focus single-handedly on one character and a random supporting character (for now). I loved it though, and think that this is something S.H.I.E.L.D. should look to incorporate more of. Yes, we can always have those fun movie tie ins where characters like Sif show up, but I want the shows main characters to have depth, struggle and emotion, because that’s what is real and that’s what allows us to relate to these fictional people.
- I’m definitely interested to see where the “rescue Will” plot goes because the rest of the team might not understand its importance compared to Jemma and Fitz.
- Ego Ego Ego! Jemma definitely had to be on Ego the Living Planet, which would be an amazing character to incorporate!
- I was honestly super impressed with the episode, great acting by Elizabeth Henstridge for such an isolated story line and she really carried it well.