‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D’: Elizabeth Henstridge on the ‘Impossible Situation’ FitzSimmons Will Face

Agents of SHIELD - Elizabeth Henstridge

Spoiler alert! Don’t read further if you haven’t watched Tuesday’s episode.

Jemma Simmons finally revealed just what happened to her during those six months away, quickly proving why Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. dedicated a whole episode to it.

The hour—which opens on Simmons being pulled into the Monolith’s portal—follows the young scientist’s attempts to adapt and survive on the mysterious blue planet. In the beginning, she still has hope that the team, specifically Fitz, will come to her rescue. But she soon meets another survivor: Will, a former astronaut sent through the Monolith on a NASA fact-finding mission. He reveals the rest of his team went insane, most likely caused by an alien creature “living” in the sands.

Eventually, with Will’s help, Simmons figures out that the portal is not only activated by the planet’s moons, but that it remains in one place while the planet moves. Armed with this knowledge, Simmons and Will attempt to send a glass bottle, along with their findings, across the portal to Fitz. Unfortunately, the portal closes at the last second, causing the bottle to fall and shatter. Demoralized and feeling hopeless, Simmons turns to Will for solace….

Later on, Simmons spots the flare that Fitz sent into the portal, and she and Will run towards it. But that’s exactly when the alien creature chooses to attack, causing a furious dust storm. In the process, Simmons comes face to face with it, only to see that it’s wearing a spacesuit. As she evades its clutches, she hears Fitz calling her name, and she heads over while Will takes on the alien—and gets left behind. But, as we soon see, Fitz is on board with helping Simmons go back to the planet and rescue Will.

Following Tuesday’s emotionally-intense episode, we talked to Elizabeth Henstridge about Simmons’ rescue mission for Will, and how it will impact her relationship with Fitz.

When did you find out that there would be a whole episode focusing on Simmons’ time on this other planet?
Fairly early on in the season, I knew there was a plan to do a whole episode based on what happened to Simmons. Then a couple of weeks before I got the script, they pitched the whole idea to me. I thought it was brilliant and I was so happy and couldn’t believe that they would trust me in doing that. I just didn’t believe that it would happen in the end. It was something so different, how would they? There were so many risks involved in doing it. I just sort of felt, “This is a dream and it wouldn’t come true.” There would be a million reasons why this was too risky to do. The fact that we did it and people seem to like it is just amazing.

With the Monolith effectively destroyed, what does the search for a portal back to the planet entail?
Well, we don’t know yet. That’s the trouble. She spent a lot of time researching how to get from the planet to Earth, [but] she never in a million years thought that she would have to go back the other way again. So they’re starting at zero again. And that brings in a lot of questions as to what the Monolith really represents because they thought it was destroyed like Coulson agreed, and now all of a sudden she’s asking a lot of Fitz to help. And she’s also asking a lot of the team and of Daisy because she did so much to open it the first time. So to ask the team to have this as a side project when there’s so many other things going on with the ATCU and the Inhumans. It’s a huge ask of her.

How will knowing about what happened with Will and her time on the planet affect her relationship with Fitz?
It pretty much should destroy it. I mean, that’s such a huge, painful thing for Simmons to have to tell and for Fitz to have to hear. But somehow it doesn’t destroy it and he is all about getting him back, and it just shows how much he loves Simmons and how much he’s a good guy and wants to do the right thing. She loves Fitz and just didn’t think that she would be able to get back to him. This other relationship blossomed, but she never stopped loving Fitz. It’s just such an impossible situation. It’s definitely going to be explored. There’s definitely a lot of conflict there right now.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC.