So recently I have been saying that SHIELD has remained solid but has not made the journey into being good. Well, this episode was certainly anything but average. It was by far the best episode that SHIELD has ever come out with and is a truly impressive outing in general. I was utterly blown away by it and if this is the direction the show is headed towards, well that is so much the better.
The episode was very different in itself, as it focused on one character and her experiences on the Alien Planet. Therefore, it really required Elizabeth Henstridge to carry the episode as Simmons and she did exactly that. Seeing Simmons marooned on the planet and going from just waiting for the portal to re-materialise, to trying to find water, to trying to find a way home, and then to even giving up all hope, was thoroughly enjoyable. Henstridge acted very well and it was believable that this was truly Simmons. Nothing felt contrived or shoved in.
Additionally, I really liked how Will Daniels and Simmons bonded together. The time-skips worked well as we got to see them in different situations and it never felt like their relationship was unbelievable. Seeing the two people who were on this desolate planet together meet and then begin to bond was something very human; they did not hate and then love each other, or immediately fall into each other’s arms. At first you saw distrust, as neither knew what to make of the other, then acceptance, an understanding that it was just them two against the planet and that it was causing all of their problems. They were not immediately trusting, they had to talk to each other, live with each other, get to know each other first. You could see their different perspectives, Daniels who was resigned to surviving on this planet no matter what, and Simmons who wanted to get home and looked for any way to ensure that she got home, and how those went from clashing to supporting each other. Then, when their attempt to get home failed, them finding comfort in each other’s arms felt completely natural and uncontrived. The episode did a great job of showing us how much these two cared about each other and got us invested in saving the character of Will.
The best thing was that this episode took a risk. It genuinely tried to do something new and extraordinary and it succeeded. The best types of TV shows take risks and try different formats, rather than sticking to a set formula. I hope to see more episodes like this, where the show decides to do something new and tries a different tack for a change. They have so many characters it would be easy to do so and it would pay dividends since all the actors are very talented. If this becomes par for the course then series three, it is going to be some absolute quality television.