If you haven’t seen this week’s episode, please turn back now! So much happened, and spoilers abound.
So, that was something, wasn’t it? This episode was unlike anything SHIELD has ever given us, and I want to take a second to applaud the entire creative team for making that decision. Having the entire episode focus on Simmons’ survival truly was the best route to take, and it showed. Even the opening credits’ logo was different!
The incredible Elizabeth Henstridge held this exceptional tale together, constantly impressing throughout the episode as Simmons struggled to survive on this alien world. It immediately tugged on our heartstrings, with Fitz asking Simmons on their first date just before she was dragged away; her holding on to Fitz in the first stretch of survival was heart-wrenching, from her out-loud potential conversations to checking Fitz’s picture to leaving audio updates on her magically long-lasting phone. Their relationship is one of my favorite aspects of the show, and these moments only helped show how strong that bond is.
…as strong as the toothpaste that kept her teeth so nice on that desolate planet.
It was only a matter of time before they revealed that Simmons actually met someone on the other side of that portal,and I’m he’s already made an impact. Will Daniels introduced himself to Simmons after capturing her, hinting at a tragic backstory right off the bat when he didn’t believe she was even real: an astronaut stranded for fourteen years after his fellow travelers went crazy and had to be put down. Within the first 30 minutes, the show had given us yet another fully formed character. It’s not only the great minimal dialogue that shaped Will, but also the fantastic performance by Dillon Casey.
Towards the beginning of the episode, Simmons told Fitz that she won’t give up,but you see her start to think a little less of him the longer she was on the planet. At one point, she even talks to herself about making dinner for Will, a direct parallel to her earlier “conversation” about her date with Fitz. The chemistry between her and Will visually strengthened as they worked to locate the portal back, and as she realized her last chance of getting off the planet lied in potentially losing everything she loved, she said goodbye to Fitz one last time. Then she loses the gamble. By the time she sees that flare, Fitz was a memory that rarely came to the surface, and Will had started to embody the very hope that Fitz once was.
I mention all of that to demonstrate how the show perfectly conveyed how that Simmons would lose all hope, and how she could possibly end up in someone else’s arms. Am I mad that there is yet another wrench thrown into Fitz and Simmons’ complicated relationship? Yes. Did the show throw said wrench extremely well? Yes.
To be fair, it’s a pretty handsome wrench.
Now let’s talk about that planet/figure, shall we? I know I’m not the only one whose first though was Ego (look him up if you’re unfamiliar). There was so much foreshadowing to the planet being alive that I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility — though I doubt we’ll ever see a personified planet-face. What I know for sure is that whatever the mystery behind this planet is, a lot of people will be disappointed if it isn’t taken from the comics.
If this episode is anything to go by, SHIELD shines when it tries something different. This hour of television was mesmerizing, and put Elizabeth Henstridge in the spotlight she deserved. Who didn’t feel something when Fitz told Simmons he would help find Will? The two of them have a long, long road ahead of them — one that I hope explains what that after-credits scene meant.
Article by contributor Russ Milheim. Follow him on Twitter for more Marvel goodness!