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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

It bothers me when things become all about a ship war. The reason for it is that people get blinded by their ship feelings and don’t realize when a legitimately good story is in front of them. I saw the internet explode after this episode, especially with the FitzSimmons ship screaming that they didn’t want a love triangle. I feel that. I don’t want a love triangle either. And I don’t think that’s what is going to happen. Simmons can want to save Will because he saved her and they shared something intense and leave no man behind. I thought this was a very strong episode and both actors did a great job on a set piece by themselves. The episode rested on Elizabeth and she threw herself full heartedly into it. More on that in a bit. Previously on Agents of SHIELD, Simmons was dragged into a portal from another world and they managed to get her back. But what happened to her on that side? That’s seriously all the previously needed because it is 100% about her journey this week. And honestly? It was kind of a nice change of pace!

Simmons arrives on this terrifying planet where there is no sun and everything looks blue and black and desolate. She tries to keep her hope alive and leaves messages on her electronic device to Fitz. She manages to fight a monster from the water and eat it, proving what a damn good survivor she is when her back is to the wall. For many, many hours she is completely alone and terrified. She meets another person named Will, although at first he traps her in a cage. He thinks she’s not real, or perhaps part of this monster wandering around being terrifying. The two of them become friends and learn how to survive together. Will was part of a NASA mission through the portal and has been there for FOURTEEN YEARS. Right away I had a lot of sympathy in Will and wanted good things for him. Considering he’s still somewhat sane after fourteen years, he’s a very strong person. He’s pessimistic (no wonder!) about their situation, but Simmons is determined to stay positive and to find them a way home. For a short time, he starts to believe her.

Open-AOS

Simmons learns there’s a dangerous area, where the unseen but very creepy monster exists, but it is full of skeletons. It just waits for people to come through and kills them. She does come up with an idea to find the portal and sciences the shit out of it. Now Will starts to help her and thinks they have a chance. Unfortunately their one shot at it seems to fail, and she gives up on ever being saved. It’s only then she gives in to her feelings for Will and they take some romantic solace in each other. It’s the act of two lonely and desolate people who need comfort and find it. I don’t necessarily think they’re in love with each other, perhaps him more than her, but their relationship is more born out of survival and connection. The only two people on the planet. Simmons does seem terribly happy with him for their short time together though, but it’s on a walk to see the only glimpse of the sun that we hear Fitz coming through. Jemma runs toward it, but the monster chooses to attack at that time. Will holds it off and Jemma is forced to leave him to go for Fitz instead.

So that’s why she wants to go back. It also gives some insight into her PTSD, because there is significant reason for her to have it. That was a very harrowing experience and she had to go into survival mode just to get by. It means we have a Simmons who is both tougher and more fragile all at once. But she kicked ass in that situation. While the fandom might have gotten dramatic about how FitzSimmons has a love triangle (we don’t even know that for sure, it’s not like she had a choice between them until now), Fitz has no such hesitations. He immediately runs off and says they have to save Will. THANK YOU FITZ. Will is a good person who saved the life of the woman he loves and deserves to be found. So now they have to find a way to get into the portal and find him, which is going to be hard, if he’s still alive at all. This was a really nice diversion from the main plot. It was tense, nervewracking, and an excellent glimpse at the strength of Simmons and the acting from Elizabeth. Special notice should be given to Dillon Casey who obviously played a very good supporting lead to her this episode. I knew him from Nikita and always liked him on that show, but his performance here was stronger than his whole arc there. I’m glad we got a break from the SHIELD nonsense, and I hope this isn’t the last time we see an episode that features strongly one of the leads. Maybe not every episode, but once and awhile, it’s a good reminder of why we love these people and why they’re heroes.

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