Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Just Delivered It's Best Episode Yet

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 - 1:18PM
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Wednesday, 28 October 2015 - 1:18PM
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Just Delivered It's Best Episode Yet
In last week's episode we saw S.H.E.I.L.D and the ATCU go head to head with Hydra, resulting in a major (and majorly upsetting) character death. We also learnt that Simmons is finally ready to reveal what happened when she was trapped in the world beyond the monolith, and it's in that alien world where we start off this week.
 
From the moment the opening logo appeared bleak, hazy and blue we knew that this would not be your average episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and after last week's blip, that was fine by me. The scenes of Simmons on that alien planet were so strikingly out of the ordinary, it's hard not to want more. Thankfully, the episode opened with a flash back of Simmons on the inhospitable planet. After a brief freak-out, Simmons begins to record her findings and experiences on her phone like only a scientist like Simmons would. In the meantime, she does what she needs to survive, which includes killing aquatic tentacle creatures and eating them raw.
 
 
After 3 weeks of survival efforts that would put Bear Grylls to shame, Simmons discovers she is not the only human present on the planet when she meets a man who goes by the name of Will. We learn that Will first arrived on the planet 14 years ago through the portal, courtesy of NASA, with the sole job of protecting three astronauts while they conducted their research. This expedition obviously took a dark turn when an evil force on the planet interferes, resulting in their deaths despite Will's best efforts. It soon becomes clear that a bond is developing between these two wannabe Mark Watneys, and when they fail in an attempt to get home it seems that both are resigned to a life on the alien hell hole forever.

But just as the pair resign themselves to the potential of a life as romantic castaways, Simmons sees the flare Fitz sent through the portal. As they head toward it, the mysterious evil being shows up to create chaos. In the confusion, Will keeps it at bay using his last bullet as Simmons runs towards Fitz's voice. As we know, Will doesn't make it to the portal in time and is left alone in the alien world.
 
Throughout the first half of the episode, Simmons kept up morale by thinking fondly of Fitz searching for her, but as soon as we met Will it was clear the two would develop a romantic bond. As much as I dislike most love triangles, this one feels different and it's nice to see the show taking risks by upsetting the status quo.

If we're not put off by the potential of a love triangle, Fitz certainly isn't. After hearing her story, Fitz is as determined as ever to continue helping his best friend. By the end of the episode he's vowed to help Simmons bring Will back from the alien world, a move that is sure to secure him a few bonus points in the battle for Simmons's heart. No matter where this new romantic subplot goes, I have faith that the dynamic between Fitz and Simmons will never cease to be the adorable, endearing, and heartwarming relationship that it is.
 
Within moments of meeting Will, it was clear that he was the reason Simmons had to get back through the portal and the sole cause for her inability to adjust back to life at S.H.I.E.L.D. Despite the predictability of Will and Simmons' romantic bonding, and knowing that Simmons would be rescued in the end, this was still one of the most best episodes the show has ever put out.

This episode didn't just add more depth to two of the show's best characters, it also left us with a whole new set of questions about the alien planet. For starters, it would be nice if "the alien planet" had a name, even if it's just a  S.H.I.E.L.D. codename. Regardless, it would be much more interesting to know where exactly this planet is and why the portal leads to it. More importantly- how did NASA end up with an alien portal to another planet in the first place? And who or what is the mysterious "Evil" being that caused the deaths of the astronauts?

Interestingly, Will has referred to the mysterious presence as "Death", which was the same word that appeared on the ancient monolith scroll a few episodes back.  Fans of the comics might speculate that this planet may have something to do with the Kree and the Inhumans, although exactly how it might be connected is all conjecture at this point. It's questions like this that have the potential to elevate the whole show, but we can't forget that it's key focus is in the day-to-day operations of S.H.I.E.L.D., and if they can't get that right, it runs the risk of just treading water.
 
This season there has been an abundance of new plotlines including the beginnings of the Secret Warriors, the introduction of the ATCU, and the hunt for Ward.  For this viewer though, the most perplexing and emotionally charged scenes were those that focused on Simmons and the monolith portal. This episode was one of the most gripping episodes of the season- even without the full SHIELD crew and the fantastic action sequences we've come to expect from the show, "4,722 Hours" kept me on the edge of my seat until the last moment.  
 
Next week it looks like it looks like we'll be back to our regular action-packed moments and team bonding sessions as they cope with the sudden fiery death of Dr. Garner. In the aftermath of such a profound tragedy, I'm hoping that the episode won't focus solely on the S.H.I.E.L.D. vs Hydra aspect of the show. This could be a great opportunity to delve deeper into the extreme emotional turmoil Ward caused after betraying the team, while giving us a chance to see how May comes to terms with her loss. 
 
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