Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Star Weighs In on Heartbreaking Twist, 'Darker' Season 2

Agents of SHIELD Fitz Insane

ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. closed its Season 2 premiere on Tuesday night with a bevy of twists — some fun (an invisible jet!), some ominous (the Kraken has been released!), some shocking (they killed so-and-so already?!) and one that was simply sad, as it was revealed that super-genius tech whiz Leo Fitz is so damaged by his season-ending flirtation with death that he is only imagining having gal pal Jemma Simmons at his side.

TVLine spoke with Scotsman Iain De Caestecker about his character’s shocking setback and the generally darker Season 2 to come.

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TVLINE | I’ve got to tell you, that final scene in the lab, realizing what Fitz has gone through…. That was a heartbreaker.
Yeah. It kind of marks a really cool beginning to the new [season]. The finale of Season 1 represented a big ending for everyone involved, for different reasons, so everyone’s kind of having problems with the after-effects of it. They handled it really well.

TVLINE | What did you know and when did you know it as far as what they were going to be doing with Fitz and his mental incapacitation?
We don’t know way too far ahead, but when we came back the producers called each of us in one by one and kind of told us the ideas they had, where they thought we were going to be going. We were all really happy with the way the storyline goes — yet it’s strange because in different ways we’re all a lot more split up this season. Everyone’s kind of going on their own different journeys.

TVLINE | What were the reactions of your castmates when they saw what poor Fitz would be going through?
Everyone gets very involved, I suppose, because we only have each other to discuss things with. [Laughs] For example, in the first season when we found out what was going to happen to Ward, that he was going to kind of go to the dark side, everyone got affected by it. It was almost as if we personally felt like he had betrayed us outside of the show. [Laughs] It does kind of spill out sometimes, even though subconsciously you try not to let it. So yeah, everyone kind of emotionally goes through everyone else’s journey I think. There’s a connectivity there.

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TVLINE | Just to make sure I’ve got it straight: Because of the brain damage Fitz suffered during the season finale’s underwater ordeal, his faculties have been compromised to the point that he’s hallucinating Simmons being there with him, talking to him. Correct?
I mean, I’m not totally sure what I can say. But yeah, he’s dealing with the after effects of what happened to him in Season 1. There are a lot of different things going on.

TVLINE | Do you think the fact that he so very much needs to feel Simmons there with him speaks to the strong feelings he has for her, as he expressed in the finale?
Yeah. Those two have got a kind of eternal bond, in whatever way that is. They’ve got something very special between the two of them. And that will always be there no matter what they’re both going through.

TVLINE | Have you found this to be an acting challenge, going from this brilliant motor-mouth, never at a loss for the right thing to say, to playing an addled soul?
I haven’t really stopped to think of it that way too much, I suppose. You just kind of take it as it comes. But they’ve given everyone on the cast a lot more to play with. Because of the final few episodes and the things that changed, everyone’s had a lot of stuff to play. So, yeah, it’s been something really interesting to do.

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TVLINE | What can you say about Fitz’s journey moving forward?
As always with these kind of things we are completely sworn to secrecy, but what I can say is there’s some really cool, cool stuff coming up for everyone with the show and with character-specific storylines. As always with this show, and what Marvel does so well, there are a lot of twists and turns. The show is essentially a lot darker this year. We’ve got a later time slot [Tuesdays at 9/8c] so it’s a lot darker, which makes the danger a lot more real, but it also keeps a lot of the charm that is synonymous with the Marvel world. There are a lot of exciting things that come up.

Want more scoop on S.H.I.E.L.D., or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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30 Comments
  1. Tran says:

    Simmons has always been my favorite character on SHIELD. Don’t know if Season Two is not going to be as awesome than Season One was and I’m still wondering about what the writers are planning to do with Ward and what are the chances he’ll redeem himself?

  2. Brigid says:

    Awesome first episode. Looks to be an amazing second season!!! Poor Fitz, I’m rooting for you.

  3. Drew says:

    How long do we think he will stay this way? He is useless to the team as it is, and brain damage never lasts very long on TV.
    If it were a more serious show, I would say that it might stick, but the show is too light for that. So three episodes? Five? The mid season finale?

    • Elf says:

      He’ll stay addled until simmons returns with the miracle cure she left to work on. (But in typical Whedon fashion, the cure will come at a cost to someone else.)

    • Brian Bauer says:

      ” brain damage never lasts very long on TV.”

      2 words – Walter Bishop

      • Drew says:

        Fringe was the exception to every rule. Which made it brilliant.
        Agents of SHIELD is nothing like Fringe. It is cheap, plastic-y, cookie cutter television… at best.

        Man, now I miss Fringe. Talk about a lesson in world building!

  4. Daniel says:

    The character arc for the near future is so obviously set. Simmons is going to figure out a way to fix Fitz since bio stuff is her expertise and she’ll likely do it with the aid of some magical relic. I’ll give the writers some credit if they don’t follow this arc for Fitz.

  5. wilogden says:

    The thing to note is that everytime Simmons fills in a word for him, that’s his own brain supplying the smarter-correct answer, so he still has all his facilities, they are just not working efficiently. It’s as if he is so dependent on Simmons being there as a sounding board, without her really there, he isn’t functional, so his subconscious is trying to make up for it.

  6. Dave says:

    This premiere was awesome!!!!
    I think they need to change the time slot, they cant win against ncis!

  7. Christina says:

    One interesting point I heard about Simmons leaving Fitz is that we have no idea whether or not he remembers what transpired between them in the pod. I would love to know if he even knows she’s gone, or if he genuinely thinks his hallucinated version of her is real.

    When he finds out she’s gone, I would love to know how he handles that too. He’s either going to remember what happened in the pod and think she left because she couldn’t handle his declaration, or he’s going to have no memory of what happened, but think he drove her away because of his injuries. It could go numerous other ways too, but I guess those the two dumbed down versions, assuming he blames himself.

  8. Christina says:

    Also, thank you for interviewing Iain!

  9. hazel says:

    Besides Coulson, the only reason my husband and I watched this show was for Fitz/Simmons. They were the most well-written, fleshed out characters in the bunch, so I hope they fix this situation.

  10. James D says:

    Awesome first episode, and awsome work by Ian. He played very innocently which made it all the more tragic at the end of the episode. As sad as this arc is i think it will turn out to be the most interesting to watch, and it certainly adds more layers to both fitz and simmons characters. can’t wait to watch this season unfold. Way to step up your game Marvel.

  11. Joey Padron says:

    Good interview with lain. Poor Fitz hope he gets better soon.

  12. Coming up with some way to get Fitz, well, maybe not ‘cured’ but closer to his normal self, definitely seems like it could be a plot of the week involving a 084.

  13. ANON R says:

    One of the better season premieres. That was such a good twist in the end and I love it.

  14. Enrique the Intelligent says:

    So we pretty much know nothing then. Maybe you guys can have an interview with people that can actually drop a few spoilers because i could have been interviewed in place of this guy and given all of ths same answers.

  15. Stacy says:

    Anyone else notice that in Fitz’ hallucinations, Jemma is wearing the same clothes she did in “FZZT”? Also of note, Jemma is slated to be back in the third episode when Donnie Gill is set to reappear, which puts her in the middle of some conflict. Expect some feels then…

  16. W.J. says:

    It was a great first episode (Fitz!), but the ratings were dismal. I hope the show sticks around for awhile longer. There’s so much potential in those characters…

  17. Ana says:

    Why can’t they run Fitz through the same thing that Coulson and Skye were? He’s pretty important, so why not do something awesome for him????

  18. Ana says:

    Simmons was in the box w/Fitz, so why ddn’t she have brain damage??? Why don’t they use the alien technology they used on Coulson and Skye to help Fitz?????