Agents of SHIELD: Jemma’s Will Kept Her Alive

Courtesy of ABC/Marvel
Courtesy of ABC/Marvel

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We begin tonight’s highly anticipated “Jemma” episode reliving the moment that Jemma gets pulled through the portal and onto a foreign planet. Once on the planet, Jemma shows signs of optimism. By hour 13, realism begins to set in. No sign of intelligent life as o yet. But neither are there signs of water or vegetation. By hour 71, Jemma begins to get a little crazy as she has not seen the sun yet. At hour 82, Jemma collects herself and begins outward to find food or at least water. Talking to herself along the way. Not in a going crazy sort of way but in a nervous woman before an important date sort of way.

At 99 hours the lack of water is beginning to affect her. That’s when she sees a dust storm coming over the horizon. After surviving said dust storm, Jemma finds a water source. She drinks from it then she swims in it. It’s not until she swims in it that she discovers it’s not a typical water hole or small pond. Something grabs her leg. It essentially resembles a very large tongue or tentacle. She swims frantically to the edge and severs it with a rock. At the 111 hour mark, she eats the tentacle.

Her only source of food, is the tentacle. So she goes in for seconds. Three weeks in and she still has the use of her phone. At least as far as recording goes. She talks to it as if Fitz can hear her. She needs him to read her mind and come and find her. She knows he won’t give up and neither will she. She stops short during one of her messages to Fitz when she hears something. What appear to be bamboo like stalks jetting out of the sand. She walks through them and the sound generates a smile. Until she falls through a hole in the sand landing feet below on her back, just in time to see the hole get covered.

761 Hours in Jemma wakes to find herself in a cell that seems to be constructed of those same bamboo stalks she admire moments earlier. Whatever put her there is at the very least humanoid. It’s first words to her are, “You’re still here?” as if she could just wish herself out of there. She tries to reason with him, but it appears whatever his plans, they are not as obvious as Jemma might think. She manages to trick him with a ‘you poisoned me’ ploy. She’s able to hit him with a food dish of sorts, grab his sword and run out of there.

The stranger doesn’t say much but he is clearly human. As she runs he chases after her. She manages to trip and cut herself. When he runs up on her she tells him he can kill her but she won’t accept being his prisoner. He’s more concerned with her slight bleeding.

Stranger: You’re bleeding.
Jemma: What do you care?
Stranger: It smells blood.
(He stands up and looks off into the distance)
Stranger: It’s coming. We have to go.

The “it” appears to be the dust storm Jemma has already experienced. This Stranger, or Will, seems to have been here long enough that events have clouded his judgment. He believes the storm is evil. The planet is evil. And the planet, which would be unlike anything Jemma’s ever considered before, has moods. Their social behavior towards each other starts to loosen. Will asks about Jemma being a doctor. Jemma asks how long he’s been here. He explains that keeping time is difficult without a sun. Then he asks what year is it. She replies with “2015”. There is a depressed look on Will’s face as he ventures to a different part of the underground cave. Will stands before what appears to be old NASA gear. Will arrived in 2001. Space Odyssey reference anyone?

NASA possessed the Monolith 15 years ago and they planned to use it as the ‘affordable’ new next step in space exploration. Will was only one of a team of people sent through the portal using the Monolith. A team of four were sent to map the terrain, take samples, study the stars. Will was the only one that wasn’t a scientist. Will’s job was to keep the other three alive until NASA returned to bring them home.

Will believes the planet has a way of getting inside your head. One threw himself off a cliff. Another set himself on fire. The last came after Will with a hatchet. Everything to this point has gone rather civil until Jemma revisits the notion that the planet is not evil and that there may be a psychological explanation. Will in generally pleasant and even polite until Jemma suggests by some extension that he may be crazy.

Looking over what evidence and resources Will had cultivated, Jemma found a map of the surrounding terrain. There is one area titled the “No Fly Zone”, which deems off-limits. We later discover that is where his team went, and the basis for his theory that they went mad and off’d themselves. Jemma has become stir crazy and disobeys him and ventures out to the no fly zone anyway.

She crosses a clearing and finds a messenger bag and a tool of sorts in the sand. Before she can really enjoy the spoils of her find, another dust storm comes. This time the storm is accompanied by a figure in the distance. Another humanoid figure but this one seems to have long hair and controls the dust. When she returns (fast) Will opens the hatch and they both descend. At first she’s indignant about Will keeping this information from her. Will and Jemma were not the first ones through. In the end all of that doesn’t matter, because the tool she found will help her to navigate the stars, and she thinks, help them get home.

Jemma says goodbye to Fitz and her ability to access videos on her phone as her next plan is to use the remaining battery power in her phone to power Will’s ancient computer tech. Jemma works feverishly. Before the phone finally dies, Jemma was able to find predict the next event. The Monolith creates a wormhole. Whose exit points seem to move, but its the planet that moves. Using the old computer Will brought in 2001, she was able to predict the next location. 18 days from now…in the no fly zone.

Jemma: Eat, sleep or shower. Which one are you doing first when we get back?
Will: Eat! Please. Who are you talking to? What are you gonna do?
Jemma: I’m going to eat in the shower, then fall asleep while doing it.

When they arrive at the canyon, the gap is three times larger than it was the last time Will was here. They arrive just in time to see the portal open. There is no time to get to it. But, as a backup, Jemma created a message in a bottle that would give Fitz all the information he would need to come and get them. They attach the bottle to rope connected to a gas-powered harpoon gun. They fire it off. It is on track to hit the mark when the portal closes a couple of seconds before the bottle arrives. The portal has closed. Despair immediately consumes them.

In the cave Jemma begins to accept that there is no going home. That this is in fact the embodiment of hell. Then Will shows that Jemma has turned around his own despair and hopelessness. Then we have the event that for the moment I will just refer to as ‘the event’. Jemma, not Will, instigates a kiss. They venture out like they are going on a date to watch the sunrise. A sunrise that occurs once every 18 years.

Before the sun, something bright appears. Fitz’ flare. During a moment when Will is hearing that Jemma thinks her father would have liked him, potentially embracing life on this horrid planet made brighter by Jemma’s presence. He is immediately reminded of Jemma’s desire to return home and the perceived concept that Fitz won’t stop trying to get her back. They run towards the flare. Will seems to tail off or Jemma’s just running too fast.

The evil doesn’t want them to leave. The evil appears amidst the dust in the form of an astronaut. Will runs back to tell her that is the evil and not anything to be trusted. The dust engulfs everything. Then she hears a single gunshot. The lone bullet Will saved to use on himself if it ever got to be too much. The assumption is that either he killed the evil, or he tried to and missed. Leaving us with the Schroedinger’s Cat like conclusion. Will is either alive or he’s not. And there is no way to know for sure until they open the figurative box.

At that moment, Jemma can hear Fitz’ voice. This brings us back to the moment Fitz brings Jemma back. She has been reluctant to see her rescue as completely great, and now we know why. This entire episode, it seems, was Jemma telling Fitz the story. When we are pulled back to present time and present planet, Jemma has become slightly emotional telling Fitz that story. That’s about the moment I realized that all of what we just saw was in the story. Including the ‘event’ and the assumed event that followed. Jemma begs Fitz to say something. Fitz just gets up without a word and leaves.
Jemma follows him to the lab, tears in falling down her face. She again, begs him to say something. A few keystrokes later, Fitz gestures to the computer screen. Jemma can see loads of research and even what appears to be another monolith sighting. Then once again, Fitz delivers a line that confirms my assertion that Fitz might just be the most deserving character (for whatever he desires) maybe in the history of fictional television.

(Jemma looks at the screen then up at Fitz with tears running down her face)
Fitz: We’re gonna get him back.

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