'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' S3E5: 4,722 Hours

★ ★ ★ ★ ½

In the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, there is only one thing that sounds ridiculous: a cell phone whose battery can last several months.

Agents has spent a load of time redeveloping S.H.I.E.L.D.'s post-Terrigen release world, and while the material has had some exciting moments so far, the majority of the Inhuman storyline has been rather underwhelming. But in this episode, Agents stepped away from the Inhumans and Hydra to fixate on what's probably the season's most interesting storyline: Simmons' six-month-long survival on an alien planet.

The risk was huge, but it paid off. Not only did giving a standalone episode to Elizabeth Henstridge allow her to show off her acting range, it gave Agents the opportunity to develop Simmons in a great way. It makes you want to give an entire episode to everyone else just to see what the show can do with such a format.

Immediately after exiting the wormhole, Simmons does what Simmons does best: sciences the hell out of the situation. To deal with the stress of winding up on an alien planet, she records several notes about the planet's environmental characteristics, and voices her own concerns about food and water. There's a whirlwind of emotions as Simmons struggles to survive (which includes facing off with a carnivorous plant),with the psychological turmoil that comes with severe isolation and, more interestingly, a lack of sunlight.

SHIELD S3

The planet itself is a fascinating location. Whether it's its periodic sandstorms, internal heating system, or sole alien inhabitant, it's a great low-budget setting to push Simmons and Will to their limits. The blue filter was a little distracting at first, but it wasn't without meaning. Not only did it isolate Simmons and Will from the world they once knew, it was a good way to do the same to the audience as well. When the blue filter edged away, it was for significant events, like when Simmons created fire, was in the shelter, or, best of all, when the sunlight crossed the planet's surface.

Dillon Casey may be a little too young to play an astronaut stranded on an alien planet for 14 years (he's only 31, which is why I theorized they were in another dimension rather than on another planet) but his chemistry with Simmons is undeniable. Both of their personalities change quite drastically over the course of the episode. Will goes from being a rambling crazy person to a shoulder to cry on for Simmons, and Simmons warms up almost immediately after they kiss. Will staying behind on the planet serves as a perfect reason to return and figure out just what 'It' is, and if the planet is more than we think it is.

Along with the added danger of sandstorms, 'It' is a quite terrifying villain — even though we only get a couple of looks at it. The "ghost" twist 'It' uses to manipulate its victims into trusting it has a gold mine of possibilities if S.H.I.E.L.D. were to venture out into the wormhole.

"4,722" was a fantastic episode, and its focus on Simmons' much-anticipated storyline not only served as a break from the Inhuman drama, but developed Simmons' character immensely. A return to the planet is inevitable, but with 'It' roaming the land, and Will still out there, the psychological tricks Agents could play on characters and the audience while they're there is too good an opportunity to resist.

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