This Agents of SHIELD review contains spoilers.
Agents of SHIELD Season 3 Episode 5
A few weeks back I was rather hard on the episode of Agents of SHIELD that saw Fitz rescue Simmons from her interplanetary isolation. I found the whole thing anticlimactic and obvious and I took it to task. Not to make this about me, but when you do this review gig, you can only do one episode at a time, so sometimes, when an episode of something sits isolated from the rest of the season, you can’t review what might be in the future, you have to review what was.
Well, this week’s episode of Agents of SHIELD was so good that it made that other maligned episode better.
Now, if you tuned into tonight’s Agents of SHIELD to see Coulson, May, Ward, Daisy, or Morse, you would have been disappointed. If you tuned into to see the fallout from the death of May’s ex-husband, you would have been unfulfilled. If you are still in a grief coma over this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, who can blame you?
But while the rest of the episode didn’t include our team of regulars, it did allow Elizabeth Henstridge to shine very brightly as a desperate and terrified Simmons lost on a Pitch Black-like planet without Riddick. At first, Simmons was ever the scientist, charting, positioning, observing, but soon, she turned into a desperate woman whose only connection to her home world was her smartphone.
This episode really established just how strong a bond Fitz and Simmons truly have, more so than the brain damage stuff of last season. It can be said that the show’s glue is the love between the two scientists, and when the series is ready to ride off into the sunset, the last thing I want to see is Fitz and Simmons happily sipping wine together. It really is that potent.
But there was a complication for that desire as this episode also introduced Will Daniels, a NASA astronaut who was sent to explore the inside the monolith in 2001. Daniels was a hunk of man, and as soon as I saw him, I knew there would be some cosmic tonsil hockey before too long. Sure enough, Simmons and Daniels found love in their desperation.
Again, forever the scientist, Simmons was trying to find a way off the planet while Daniels, a man trapped for over a decade, played the realist. Now, of course there were complications as it seemed that the planet itself was torturing Daniels and Simmons, sabotaging every attempt at escape. There was some sort of hooded figure that kept hounding the pair, and as I tried to wrack my brain for which if Marvel’s intergalactic rouges that this mysterious, Tusken Raider looking being could be, I came up empty. I will say that the figure had a quality shared by the best Stephen Moffat Doctor Who villains – hard to grasp, mysterious, and ever present.
We got some intriguing hints about the history of the monolith from Daniels. It was kind of amazing to think that being trapped since 2001, Daniels missed the coming of the Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, the resurrection of Captain America, etc. That was a scene the episode missed the boat on, Simmons trying to explain the rise of the superhero to Daniels. Also, other than Tony Stark, Daniels, and Peter Quill, I guess Simmons is the first human to visit an alien world. Maybe Stark can help Simmons with her space PTSD.
Anyway, the episode, of course, gives Simmons her mission for the season as the show is currently juggling plot lines. The Inhumans plot has grabbed me the least while I am interested in the HYDRA plot. But the Simmons saga has me completely sold. I am dying to see if Simmons can save Daniels, who we last saw trying to fend off the alien as Simmons made her escape with Fitz.
We also got to see what a truly good dude Fitz is. After Simmons told him the story of her ordeal, Fitz knew that there was a good chance that he lost any chance of building a romantic relationship with his beloved. After all, Simmons now had Daniels, who sacrificed everything to save her. Knowing all that, Fitz still promised to help save Daniels even it meant sacrificing his hopes of finally being with Simmons. That was a very moving and heartfelt ending to the episode. Very Marvel type storytelling as a hero selflessly sacrifices his own shot at happiness for a friend. Moving stuff.
Next week, we return to the war with HYDRA but this week, we got the most experimental episode of Agents of SHIELD to date, and you know what, it might have been the finest hour of the series so far.
– I can’t find any Will Daniels in the Marvel Universe. But man, wouldn’t it have been cool if one of his NASA crew was John Jameson. That could have led to the introduction of Man-Wolf because every show on TV needs a space werewolf. Especially The Bastard Executioner.
– Simmons and Daniels commented a few times that the planet they were trapped on was alive and actively fighting against their escape. Perhaps the planet could have been Ego the Living Planet? Now, I could totally picture that, using the idea of a sentient, murderous egocentric planet, but I can’t imagine they would ever feature the planet with a face and a goatee introduced by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in the pages of Thor in 1966.
But I kind of wish it would because every show needs a goateed planet. Especially The Bastard Executioner.