Agents of SHIELD Preview

S.H.I.E.L.D. EP Wants You to Just 'Show Up and Experience' Jemma's Story

It’s been promoted as an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode like no other (or some such words) — and having seen “4,722 Hours” (airing tonight at 9/8c), I can confirm that the tout is indeed true.

As suggested by promos and sneak peeks, the Season 3 outing picks up shortly after Jemma (played by Elizabeth Henstridge) confided in Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), “Something happened to me, on the other side” of the portal, during her six months on that strange planet. Speaking with S.H.I.E.L.D. EP Jeffrey Bell for November Sweeps preview — and before I had seen the episode — I asked if Simmons knows what happened to her and wants/needs to “undo” it, or is she angling to find out what happened to her by somehow traveling back to that other world?

In part because he himself is someone “who really likes to show up to something with an ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen?'” curiosity, Bell answered, “Here’s the thing: I’m very protective of this episode, and I just want people to show up and experience it with Simmons. Something happened, she wants to tell that story to Fitz, and we get to see that.”

Bell was similarly cryptic, in that Marvel creative kind of way, about whether Simmons’ hope is to somehow reconstitute the Kree stone that transported her to the planet the first time around, or find or create a new portal, ideally with Fitz’s help. “What we’re looking to do is go where that one took us,” Bell hedged. “Whether they’re able reconstitute the rock or not… Simmons seems to have a reason to want to do that.”

One thing the S.H.I.E.L.D. EP was crystal clear about was his satisfaction with the out-of-this-world final product, an episode that is alternately nightmarish (in what it puts Jemma through), thrilling (in how she often brilliantly endures it) and downright surprising (in… um, surprising ways).

“The planet has a cool look, the landscape is really beautiful, and we worked very hard on that,” he said. “Though we don’t have the time, budget and scope of [the Matt Damon sci-fi film] The Martian, this was something we knew we were going to do last year, so we’re really excited. And Elizabeth [Henstridge] is really great in it.”

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.