Sometimes with an ensemble series, it’s nice to be given an episode that focuses solely on one of the main characters. That goes double for a series like “Agents of SHIELD“, where the episode order is 22 episodes long per season. Not only does it allow us to better get to know a character or at least focus more strongly on their arc, but it also saves the show some money for a week and perhaps spend that extra dough at a later date on a big sequence. More than anything, however, it simply acts as a breath of fresh air. It busts up the usual week-to-week formula of the series and offers us a different take on the concept.
This week the series focused solely on Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), specifically showcasing her time on the unknown alien world that the Kree monolith transported her to. What happened during the 4,722 hours she spent there? Now we finally know. Stranded on a strange world, Jemma managed to survive for awhile on her own before luckily coming across another human being. Named Will Daniels (Dillon Casey), her newfound stranded astronaut companion taught her the ropes and rules of this strange planet and helped her survive. He also became a friend and (sorry Fitz!) lover during her time there.
Of course, we know that Jemma was rescued from her marooned state by Fitz, but what happened to Will? He’s still alive and stranded on that hostile world, possibly still being stalked by whatever evil lived within the constant sandstorms. Jemma is determined to return there and save him, so it looks like we haven’t seen the last of that blue-tinted, sand-filled alien landscape just yet.
All in all, spending time solely on Jemma without having to worry about the machinations of Hydra and the ATCU this week was an absolute blessing. It also gave us one of the best episodes of the series. The lack of a fractured narrative certainly helped, instead handing us a simple tale of survival and bonding. I would have liked to have been given more insight into their sandstorm-surrounded, otherworldly assailant, but there’s still plenty of time for that.
On the negative end, I’m not sure how I feel about Will be set up as a rival love interest for Fitz when it comes to Simmons’ affections. It almost feels wrong to wish for a character’s death when they haven’t done anything to warrant it, but I grow more and more tired each year with love triangles when it comes to on-going series. They almost never work out, as they tend to drag on for too long and/or ultimately make everyone involved out to be an asshole. So let’s hope that they manage to avoid that here.
Next week returns things to the norm, with a stronger focus on the hunt for Grant Ward, “Director of Hydra” (I’m still laughing about that). We also finally get to see the fallout from Andrew’s death when it comes to may. The preview makes it seem as though the next episode is ATCU and Lash-free, which is fine, but I’m beginning to wonder if the show is juggling too many on-going arcs this season.