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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - 4,722 Hours - Review

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “4,722 Hours,” was written by Craig Titley and was directed by Jesse Bochco. The hour belonged to Elizabeth Henstridge as we learn exactly what happened to her while she was on that planet. This was a terrific performance from her and really provides some insights. I’m intrigued by Will played by Dillon Casey. Will we see him again, and if we do, what does that mean for Simmons and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker)?

I loved how this episode was structured, taking us right back to that final scene from last season, just before the big date. We are then guided through by the number of hours that Simmons was gone – 0 to 4,722. The use of lighting in the episode, the perpetual twilight of the planet, simply underscored the feelings of desperation, despair, and even uneasiness. And then we’re back in the present as Simmons finishes her tale to Fitz. De Caestecker has just the one scene, but he manages to pack even a blank stare with emotion.

Initially, we see Simmons panicking and trying to dig back into the portal, then running trying to determine where she is and realizing that she’s not on Earth. But then, her own coping mechanism kicks in. She falls back on the scientific method. She updates her log, conducting experiments on gravity and logging her surroundings. Right from the beginning, however, she puts her trust in Fitz. She refers to his advice – if you can’t solve a problem, sleep on it. We see her use his picture as a touchstone throughout the episode, and she would appear to say goodnight to him every night.

Simmons discovers an inner strength that I think surprises even her. She leaves a trail for Fitz to follow if he comes for her, but she knows she has to find water by 100 hours. She finally does find a pool of scummy water after surviving a sandstorm. And in the water, she also finds a “thing” to eat. I loved her sense of accomplishment after killing the thing that wanted to kill her: “You’re dinner, Bee-atch!” I did have to wonder where the wood came from for the fire if the world is in almost perpetual darkness, however…

Simmons leaves a message for Fitz, asking that he really read her mind. She’s terribly alone and afraid. She tells him she knows he won’t give up so neither will she. While the making log entries is a bit of a familiar and awkward trope, it works here and is an important touchstone going forward when we try to understand Simmons’ actions.

She is captured by Will and is in his cage until she pretends to be poisoned at 851 hours. When she meets him, Will assumes she isn’t real – a figment of his imagination or “it’s.” I loved that Simmons was exercising in the cage and that she was able to both outsmart and overpower Will to escape. In the end, she tells him she won’t be his prisoner, but it’s clear that he doesn’t have any intentions of hurting Simmons.

They make it back to the shelter just before the sandstorm, and Simmons asks what he thinks is out there. He tells her death. Simmons again relies on science, insisting that it’s just the weather and that planets have rules. Will insists that this planet has moods.

The two slowly get to know each other. Simmons insists on stitching herself up, telling him that she has two PhDs. Will tells her that he’s not very “science-y.” We quickly learn that he is an astronaut, sent by NASA through the portal in 2001. I loved Simmons remarking on the old equipment that she didn’t think NASA was that badly off! Of course, it’s money that made them try the portal as a cheap way for space travel in the first place. For his own part, Will is amazed at the 120 GB memory on her phone.

They don’t have power, but the underground chambers are lit by a warm luminescent subsurface, which Will jokingly – or at least partly joking – refers to as the fires of Hell. Will tells her that he was a test pilot and that he was really there as protection for the others. They were only supposed to be there for a year, but they all went knowing it could be a one way trip. Will tells her that he was never able to resist the impossible. Will goes on to explain that the planet – or “it” has a way of getting in your head and that’s what caused the deaths of his companions: Austin jumped off a cliff, Brubaker set himself on fire, and Taylor used an ax to hack up all the equipment before turning it on Will.

Simmons asks how he avoided the same fate. He tells her avoided, outsmarted or just luck. She then suggests that the others may have gone mad and he suggest that maybe he did. It’s interesting to consider – why didn’t the sandstorm do anything to Simmons the first time she encountered it? It actually helped her by revealing the pond. It also doesn’t prevent her from getting to Fitz when he arrives – it just prevents Will from going with her.

Simmons calls for them to start over since they’ll be working together to get home. Will insists that it’s impossible that that survival is the only thing that matters. Simmons insists that there is always hope. She tells him that she’ll be the voice of hope and he can be the voice of doom, thus balancing each other. I loved her saying it was working already and him responding simply, “No, it’s not.”

Simmons shares some of her videos with Will. He easily identifies Fitz and tells Simmons that she talks about him a lot. It’s like your favorite word! He sees that they are clearly more than friends. That night, she still looks at Fitz’s picture and says good night to him, but she also adds a good night to Will. We are now at 1450 hours.

At 3010 hours, that’s 125 days, Simmons is getting frustrated that her research seems to be leading nowhere. She wants to go to the “no fly zone” but Will refuses as that’s where the others died. While out harvesting food, Simmons also goes into the zone and finds a graveyard. She digs up a sexton before the sandstorm blows up and she actually sees a shadowy figure. She makes it back and now has the tools to get them home.

At 3183, Simmons turns on the computer. She finds one locations for the portal – it’s 18 days ahead and a 40 hour hike across a huge canon. Will’s first response is no, but she reminds him that he can’t resist the impossible. We learn that Simmons had scoliosis as a child and that her dad taught her about the stars while she was bedridden. It’s a nice little touch that underscores how much she and her father must have been close. This gives added weight later in the episode when Simmons says her dad would have liked Will.

I loved when Simmons finds out that they are going to zipline across the canyon. Will asks her, “Did you think I’d build a helicopter?” and she answers, “Kinda…” Because, let’s face it, Fitz would have! As they travel to the portal, they discuss what they might do when they get back. Will tells her that the geologist who was with them thought the planet had once been a paradise. Simmons asks what happened, and Will (Mr Doom) replies, “It. Evil.” Simmons is worried “it” will show, but Will confides he has one bullet left. He’s been saving it as a way for him to commit suicide if he couldn’t take it anymore. In the end, of course, he uses it to help Simmons get home.

When they get to the canyon, it’s far too wide now for them to cross. They suspect “it.” But Simmons has a message in a bottle for Fitz. It’s heartbreaking when it hits the target just as the portal closes. Will comforts Simmons as she finally loses hope. She tells him there’s no hope, and he tells her that’s what he thought until she showed up.

Now, I know Fitz-Simmons shippers like myself were going a bit crazy when Will and Simmons kissed. But she needed comfort and had lost all hope. It’s horrible to be alone, to miss that comfort of another human being. People routinely go crazy over it. So I’m willing to cut her a little slack here.

At 4720 hours, that’s now 196 days, Simmons and Will head out to watch the sunrise – and sunset as it will only last a few minutes. Simmons gives Will a kiss as they get ready to go and we see that their cots have been moved together. Will has rescued the wine from the graveyard and they drink it to toast. It’s turned to vinegar, however. Will says it just needs to breath. Can we draw a parallel to Will himself? Had he turned to vinegar only to be helped to breath and find hope again with Simmons?

It’s a beautiful shot when we see the flare reflected in Simmons’s eyes. She only makes it to Fitz because of Will’s help and sacrifice. Simmons finishes her story by telling Fitz that she never would have survived if not for Will.

Fitz is silent but gets up and goes to the lab. It’s a lot for him to process. He tells her he understands everything. He knows that he could lose her – why can’t these two ever catch a break!!!??? But Fitz also knows he owes Will for getting her back to him. Fitz tells her that “We’re going to get him back.” Because Fitz is a hero….

I thought this was a really interesting and unique episode. I loved the use of lighting and landscape to create an alien, isolating world. This episode would not have worked as well without great acting and both Henstridge and Casey were terrific. It’s not easy to carry an entire episode with essentially two people – though Fitz was always there in one way or another.

What did you think of the episode? Will Fitz lose Simmons? Do you want more of Will? What was your favorite line or scene? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.
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