Sunday, 14 February 2016

TV Review No. 9 Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4722 Hours (S3, Ep5)

Strong Points:
New and welcome style
Great acting, especially by Henstridge
Nice looking set pieces

Weak Points:
Fitz just can't get a break
Left us hanging with storylines from the week before
If NASA knew about all of this, then why didn't S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Not 'AoSy'

Spoilers ahead:
In-depth Review:

Back to Fitz and Simmons for this week's episode and a different style for AoS as a whole. Just like the 'Sleep No More' episode of Doctor Who, 4722 Hours opened up with a new title sequence and confined the action to one area (although quite a big area). It tells the story of Simmons' 6 1/2 month strandation (technical term) on an alien planet because of the Monolith and how she survived. For the first part of the episode, the only character on screen is Simmons, played by Elizabeth Henstridge, and she really out did herself this week, portraying an originally one-noted and oblivious character as one of intelligence, hope and perseverance.

From the get go, Simmons was focused on surviving and keeping hope, with her discussing her date plans with Fitz while searching for water and food and using her 'definitely not an iPhone' phone to record video messages to Fitz and rewatch videos of the team. After getting to a pool of water, we start to see the first signs of life in the form of a plant monster that... Jemma promptly kills and eats. We'll let her off on this one as she hadn't eaten for 3 weeks but surely scientists are meant to study these sort of things. And how weak is this monster if it can be beaten by someone with no fighting training and no food for 3 weeks?

Anyway, she soon gets captured and put in a cage, where she is fed and watered by a strange new creature. Another human in fact, who just happens to have been on the planet for 14 years and was sent by NASA to study what happened after you stepped through the Monolith. One thing that struck me as odd was how NASA knew about how the Monolith was a portal but S.H.E.I.L.D. never found out. And how did this man survive for 14 years on his own without going insane? I'm digressing here, so back onto the main story and the rest of the episode focuses on Simmons and new guy Will trying to get back to Earth, while also trying to keep their hopes alive.

It all boils down to Simmons figuring out where the Monolith will open next and them trying to send a message to Fitz. Even though we know everything will be all right for Simmons in the end, it was a really tense moment watching the literal message in a bottle fly through the air, only to hit the floor as the Monolith disappears. Then to watch the predictable romantic relationship bloom between Simmons and Will only to realise what this will impact Fitz in probably quite a bad way. Finally, we watch both Simmons and Will running to the flare that Fitz sends out, only for the Sandstorm of Death to catch them up and separate the two, with Will telling Simmons to run while he protects her. We then have one of the more shocking moments where we hear Will's last bullet being fired and Jemma reaches Fitz. Not knowing quite what has happened to Will, we carry on into the new frontier.

The story then catches up to the previous episode and finishes with the prominent message that Fitz is awesome as he is prepared to help Simmons rescue Will in any way he can. The last shot is of Will standing in the sun (the sun is only on the planet for under half an hour), throwing his now useless gun away and walking back to the base.

Conclusion: overall it was great to see a more focused and refined story in the AoS universe and if every character got a story this thorough I would be happy. We'll just have to wait and watch with anticipation for what Marvel has next up their sleeve but this episode is definitely a turning point.

Rating: 81%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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