SHIELD 3 castWith apologies to the song “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent:

Four thousand, seven hundred twenty-two hours
Six months in a blue harsh world
Four thousand, seven hundred twenty-two hours
How do you keep hope fully unfurled?

For the first time, the show lets one character take center stage: SHIELD scientist Jemma Simmons using her scientific skills to survive a harsh blue planet that the Kree monolith sent her to at the end of last season.

Elizabeth Henstridge took over this episode, with a wonderful performance recounting Simmons’ determination to survive in this strange world and belief SHIELD will somehow find her.

It starts where season two ended, with Simmons about to plan a dinner date with Fitz before the monolith swallowedSHIELD 4722 Hours B her and sent her to another world.

At first, she thinks that Fitz will discover what happened, and get her back. After 71 hours, she misses the sun, which this planet apparently does not have. It’s got sandstorms and very little vegetation, but it does have water and a life form that will eat her, if she doesn’t eat it first. As she puts it, “You’re dinner, bee-yotch.” She’s handling her new situation a bit better than Matt Damon being stranded on Mars.

She also makes notations on her smartphone, but is careful to preserve what power she has left.

Things change when she falls into a hole and finds herself in a cage. That’s a sign she’s not alone.

The other creature on the planet is a man named Will (Dillion Casey). He was sent through the monolith’s portal with three other astronauts by NASA in 2001. It was a basic exploration mission, but another creature drove three of them insane. Will claims the planet has moods, and may be evil. Being alone for 14 years has taught him that, especially when he has long ago given up hope.

Jemma hasn’t, however. Thanks to a sextant that was left by a previous visitor (maybe the guy from England who went through the monolith in the episode three weeks ago), she figures out where the portal could open up again. However, when it does happen, they’re too far away. Will fires a “message in a bottle” that will tell SHIELD where they are, but the portal closes before it can get through.
SHIELD 4722 Hours CThat’s when Jemma loses all hope, while Will says maybe this is their home how. “This isn’t a home,” she says, “this is Hell.” He doesn’t think so, because she’s there. Romance, of course, blooms.

For those who are upset it’s yet another roadblock to Fitz and Simmons being a couple, just remember she thought she’d never see Fitz ever again. Will was there. It’s perfectly understandable.

Just when Will and Jemma were settling down, preparing to see a sunrise that happens every 18 years, she sees a flare, which is a sign Fitz has found her. She and Will run towards the flare, but a sandstorm erupts, and the creature apparently shows up in the form of an astronaut. Will goes after it and disappears. That’s when Fitz is there to take her home….and we’re back to where we left off last week, with Jemma explaining to Fitz why they need to re-open the portal.

Fitz processes her story, realizing what she has experienced. Sure, he may have a future romantic rival, but what matters is bringing Will back. So, he has a plan.

Meanwhile, Will is seeing the sun set, and it’s a harsh blue land again. Does he have hope he can return to Earth, or SHIELD 4722 Hours Fdoes he wish he hadn’t? Also, if there is a creature, could it follow him to Earth?

Sooner or later, SHIELD will try to reopen the monolith’s portal, while dealing with HYDRA, the emergence of new Inhumans, Rosalind and her ACTU, and Lash…and whoever or whatever else is coming.

Speaking of which, the preview to next week’s episode revealed part of what happened  after HYDRA blew up a hardware store with Dr. Garner still inside. SHIELD will respond to what happened, but so will HYDRA.

By the way, E! Online has a great interview with Elizabeth Henstridge about this week’s episode, and how we could have a love triangle on our hands.

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