“4,722 Hours,” That’s How Long Simmons Was In Space On Agents Of SHIELD

Credit: Tyler Golden/ABC
Credit: Tyler Golden/ABC

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is chipping away at its own mysteries at such a clipped pace there’s hardly time to come up with outlandish theories before we’re presented with the facts. Or most of them, anyway. This week we find out what happened to Simmons on that other planet and what is driving her to get back. Along the way a few new mysteries are going to pop up including, perhaps, a new villain. We’ve got “4,722 Hours” to get through so settle in.

I’m a survivor: Jemma Simmons’ outer space adventure begins as soon as she is sucked through the portal. Initially she patiently waits in the spot she was dumped because she assumes it’ll open back up. Ever the scientist, to pass the time she records notes and takes photos of the terrain on her phone. After nearly a day has passed without any sign of rescue, she starts to panic. When still there’s no sun after 71 hours, she freaks out. She leaves her necklace behind as a marker and goes in search of water and food, barely surviving a sandstorm before finding a pond 101 hours after first arriving. Luxuriating in the pond she is attacked by a water plant and manages to hack off one of its tentacles. Now she’s got water and food.

And Death followed: After three weeks, conditions have not improved. Simmons goes back into the pond to bait and kill more of the plant, which she then cooks over a small fire. She continues recording messages to Fitz on her phone and talking to his photo there for comfort. “I know you won’t give up. So I won’t either.” When a month has passed she accidentally falls into a hole and is captured in a wooden cage. Her captor, we’ll later learn, is an astronaut named Will who has been on the unnamed planet since 2001. Though she’s able to escape, she badly injures herself on some rocks. He tows her back inside because “it can smell blood.” She stitches herself up with his med kit (he’s still got supplies from NASA) and learns Will believes “it” is Death.

Partners?: Since they don’t have a choice and Simmons is both a badass and an optimist, the two team up to find a way home. Will tells her his story: NASA sent a team through the portal as a means of “affordable exploration” and their year-long mission to collect data turned deadly when Death got to the other three and made them kill themselves. Cheerful tale. They set to work figuring out the planet and the portal but two months later, Simmons hasn’t discovered anything. She sneaks off to the apparently dangerous “no fly zone,” as Will dubbed it, and mostly finds a lot of corpses. Oh and also a hooded figure in the sandstorm. Now we see the scene from the season 3 premiere of her running and covering up her bloody scrape. But Simmons also found an answer to their problems: the stars.

Sending out an S.O.S.: Basically, the portal opens to a fixed location on the planet but because the planet moves, the portal seems to move too. If Simmons and Will can track the data from when they both arrived, they can determine the planet’s rotation and predict when/where the portal will appear next. Doing this requires repairing Will’s NASA equipment and sacrificing the remaining power on Simmons’ phone (so basically her only physical tie to Fitz) but she does both because getting home (read: getting back to Fitz) matters most. The plan works; they have the portal’s next location. Simmons writes a message in a bottle to send through just in case they can’t get through themselves and they make the trek towards the spot. However, the small canyon they planned to zip line across turns out to be much bigger than they thought. The portal opens on the other side so Will lashes the message in a bottle to the grappling hook he rigged up and fires it across. The bottle smashes into the ground as the portal closes.

Rescue and return: Utterly hopeless, Simmons accepts they are never going home and turns to Will for comfort. The two begin a tentative relationship and later journey outside to watch a rare sunrise. That’s when she sees Fitz’s flare. The two take off running but Death appears in a whirling sandstorm. Will urges Simmons on and uses his one bullet to give her time. She makes it to Fitz and now we’re back to present day. When her story concludes with her stating she needs to go back to find Will. Fitz quickly leaves her room. She follows and finds him in the lab. He shows her on the computer that he’s already figured out how to reopen the portal. “We’re going to get him back,” he promises. Good thing too, because the final scene shows us Will is still alive.

Field Notes

  • So where do I submit my Emmy Award nomination for Elizabeth Henstridge? She absolutely killed it in this episode!
  • Remember what the scroll that Fitz recovered said about the monolith: Death.
  • Simmons, to the alien plant that tried to kill her: “You’re dinner biatch!” She and Fitz were seriously made for each other.
  • Jemma’s favorite word, according to Will: Fitz.
  • Also in the no fly zone: a sword, probably from one of the 19th Century lords sent through the portal.
  • Before meeting Will, Simmons also passed the time by voicing her questions about her dinner date with Fitz and then answering them.
  • I’m not going to lie; space boyfriend had me pretty peeved. But I can’t be mad at Jemma Simmons for seeking comfort when she thought she’d never get home. Fitz’s heartbreak but oh so supportive face was almost too much though.
  • I appreciate that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. explained the incredibly long battery life of Simmons’ cell phone by saying Fitz designed it. Now where can I get one?
Stephanie Coats