Did you ever imagine Jemma finding (and falling for) a lost astronaut "over there"?
Not only was this Simmons-centric hour compelling, but its got to be one of the most unique and memorable installments of the entire series. Did the Jemma/Will budding romance bother you? Should Will be saved or is he tied to the evil entity? Don't be shy guys, pull up a chair and share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Join TV Fanatics Jim Garner, Robin Harry, Caralynn Lippo, Kathleen Wiedel, and Hank Otero as we discuss the captivating Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 5 in our latest Round Table chat.
Were you satisfied with Jemma's "other side" story? Did you expect something more?
Jim: My only (minor) disappointment is that it didn't explain why she had a sharp-pointy stick under her pillow when she returned. She had been sleeping cozied up to Will, how did that translate to "need weapon under pillow"?
Robin: I was more than satisfied. This episode and this story were absolutely fantastic. From day one I figured she had company on the planet, and the fact that she had just one companion made the emotional stakes even higher. I also loved the idea of there being some unknown force/entity on the planet that brought the danger.
Caralynn: Totally satisfied. Jemma was such a badass, I loved it! It all clicked together when we saw what she'd been through. I especially liked the small detail of the terrible wine that she and Will shared – it put into perspective why she burst into tears at the exact moment earlier in the season when she and Fitz finally went to dinner and he poured her some wine.
Kathleen: I think everyone's pretty much covered my thoughts on this! I do definitely agree with Jim, though, in that we didn't really get a good explanation as to why she's acting in such a traumatized manner one she got back.
Hank: I loved the episode (hence my 5 star Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 5 review), but if you've been following our round table discussions, you know I had a bunch of wild theories that didn't pan out. I think keeping it simple was the right way to go; Jemma fell in love. Still, I have no doubt the 1839 Gloucestershire travelers will resurface at some point. There's a ton we don't know about that planet yet. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Is Will a good guy or somehow connected to the planet's evil entity? Sound off!
Jim: I think he's a good guy. That being said, I totally expect there be more to him than meets the eye, but I guess that is a given since there is always more to the people we meet.
Robin: I agree with Jim, I think he's a good guy, but there's probably more to him than we know. If he is connected to the evil-sand-death-entity on the planet, he's completely unaware of it.
Caralynn: I'm inclined to think that he's connected to the evil entity. There were just too many clues about him being a bad guy. "Maybe I went crazy," "maybe I killed them," etc. Granted, I'm a pretty cynical TV watcher and tend to be suspicious in circumstances like this, haha.
Kathleen: Given that writers just love to pull a bait and switch on people, I'm going to say that Will either is the evil entity or is being controlled/manipulated by it. Perhaps this planet was originally some sort of prison, and it's trying to find a way to free itself. It watches Simmons awhile, figures out that she's its most likely possibility for a ride outta here, and pulls out the hot astronaut to cozy up to her.
Makes me think of the shapeshifter Martia from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered County: when Kirk scornfully informs her that he'd been onto her evil plan the whole time and questions whether she is even a she, Martia snarkily replies, "I thought I would assume a pleasing shape." Of course, we'll find out soon enough if Will is genuine or not!
Hank: At first I thought Will was the real deal, but after rewatching the episode a couple of times I have my doubts. The writers really wanted us to like him, which naturally makes me a bit suspicious. Will did let Jemma go, though his plan might be to have her bring others back to the planet. I think this storyline can play out several different ways, but I'm hoping Will isn't evil and that Fitz-Simmons rescue him. Jemma deserves a break, don't you think? That said, there's not much drama in that perfect scenario.
Did Jemma and Will's connection (or kiss) bother you? Do you feel she somehow betrayed Fitz?
Jim: It did bother me (a little), but only from the aspect of it being such an over used trope. We really didn't need the "romance" aspect of the relationship to feel connected to Will and like Fitz want to help Jemma get him home.
Robin: Not even slightly on either count. She was stuck on that planet for months with only one companion, lost all hope of getting home, and the only source of happiness and solace they had was each other. Besides, she wasn't dating Fitz, and she was never as smitten with Fitz as he was with her. That's a whole other story, but she certainly didn't betray him.
Caralynn: As a Fitzsimmons 'shipper, it totally stung! But nah, she didn't betray Fitz. It only makes sense that she'd be drawn to the only other person she was with for six months. Of course the fact that he was a handsome astronaut with incredible forearms didn't hurt.
Kathleen: Robin and Caralynn make a good point in that Will was her only companion for months on end. That is a profoundly intimate connection, regardless of any feelings of romance. Humans crave contact, and however much Jemma cares for Fitz, as a friend or as a potential romantic partner, Fitz wasn't actually there. It's entirely possible that Jemma's relationship with Fitz will find its equilibrium once again after a time, but it won't necessarily be easy.
That said, I do agree with Jim in the sense that it comes across almost a little ridiculous that Jemma gets sucked through a portal to an unknown desolate world and somehow finds a love interest. Fans of Arrow on The CW may know what I'm talking about: Oliver Queen gets marooned on an island, yet still manages to find no fewer than three separate love interests there!
Hank: I've got to agree with the ladies here Jimbo, sorry pal. Jemma didn't know if she was ever getting off that rock, and here's this good lookin' dude with a couple of cots and his own man cave. Yes I've been rooting for Fitz, but Jemma's always been standoffish when it comes to a romance with him. Her connection to Will was primal and carnal; they were in survival mode. Not only did the kiss not bug me, but I thought this was a great way to introduce a potential love triangle. Mind you, I'm not a fan of those at all, but in this case it worked for me.
This episode was quite different for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Did you miss the rest of the team or are you glad the hour was devoted to Jemma?
Jim: I liked the difference in this episode. It's nice when they can change the pace now and then. Of course it was an odd place in the story plot to put it, between Dr. Gardner being attacked and us knowing if he really died. But, I'm sure it will all make sense in the end.
Robin: This episode was riveting and superb, and I had no problem whatsoever with missing out on the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team for that hour. It is a testament to the writing and the strength of the characters on a show when an entire episode can be carried by just one character. The only other show I can think of that did it this well was Avatar: The Last Airbender (Zuko Alone).
Caralynn: I think sometimes the show splits the focus too much between all the many storylines, so this was an excellent decision. I really think it was important for the show to tell us exactly what Jemma went through, to explain why she's so changed as a person. Also, I'm sure they considered the fact that the legion of fans who want Fitz and Simmons together wouldn't take too kindly to an interloper, so it was definitely useful for Will to be introduced extensively and with such empathy. Liz Henstridge absolutely carried the hour through, I was completely engrossed in her experience.
Kathleen: It was an excellent choice to change things up like this. Supernatural just did an episode set entirely in the boys' Impala, and it was great. In this case, agree with Caralynn that Jemma's story was too important to intersperse or dilute with action from the other overarching plots, and it gave Elizabeth Henstridge a chance to shine.
Hank: Actually, had the episode been cutting back and forth between Jemma's flashbacks and the present I think it would have pulled us out of her experience. The fact the producers went with a different opening title card was a sign we were in for a unique hour. S.H.I.E.L.D. has definitely found a formula that works, but servicing so many characters is tough. This was Jemma's story and we did not need to check in with the others. The writing was solid and Elizabeth Henstridge blew my mind. I liked the Fitz and Simmons characters from day one, but I never expected Iain and Elizabeth to prove themselves the strongest actors in the ensemble.
What did you think of Fitz's reaction to Jemma's story? Will the duo return to the alien world to save Will?
Jim: It was exactly what Fitz would do, she is his best friend and regardless of any romantic feelings, he will always step-up and help his best friend. I wasn't surprised at all, in fact I knew what he was doing the moment he stood up.
Robin: This is Fitz, and this is how he rolls. There was no doubt in my mind that when Fitz got out of that chair, he was going to get to work and he was going to help Simmons. There'll probably be a team of people heading back to that planet.
Caralynn: It was so perfectly Fitz, as both Jim and Robin said. He is a great, selfless person. His love for Jemma is so selfless that he just wants to see her happy, even if her happiness is with another man. I'm sure the team will manage to rescue Will.
Kathleen: Oh, Fitz. This exactly why we love you. Hopefully, their efforts to rescue Will won't end up releasing the Evil Entity (Let's call it "Even") onto the world.
Hank: Fitz is my hero! I wasn't sure how he would take the news, but his reaction was spot on. Jemma's happiness is what's important, how can you not love the guy? As far as returning to the planet, I think they will make it back but it's going to take time. Since I'm not big on the Hunter vengeance arc, I hope they don't drag out Will's rescue. I'll get frustrated if I have to wait until the season finale for Fitz-Simmons to get back there.
NOTE: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 6 is titled "Among Us Hide…" and airs on Tuesday, November 3.