In this episode of Agents of SHIELD, we learn what happened to Simmons while she was missing and are forced to feel things that we don’t want to feel. “4,722 Hours” begins six months ago, just as Simmons is sucked into the portal and deposited into the Land of Blue Filter. At zero hours into her stay, Simmons is still very Simmons-y. Immediately, she begins documenting every science thing she can think of into her phone. She’s also quite calm and completely confident that Fitz will rescue her soon. “After all,” she says, “we’re going for dinner.” Unwanted Feeling number one.

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Hours 13-100

Simmons is unquestionably tough, but she’s also adorable. She copes with her sudden residence on an alien world by talking to a picture of Fitz on her phone. By hour 22, though, she’s starting to lose it and desperately misses the sun, as this world seems to have none. By hour 60, she gets desperate, realizing that she only has about 100 hours before dying of dehydration. Though she doesn’t want to leave the portal spot, she has to move to live.

As she searches, Simmons thinks about the date she and Fitz will have. Unwanted Feeling number two. But by the all-important hour 100, all she’s found is a sandstorm. Miraculously, she finds a pool of water at hour 101 and only has to deal with a tentacled pond monster for her troubles.

Hours 492-851

Simmons continues to bolster her spirits with the knowledge that Fitz won’t give up looking for her. How awesome is Fitz? He kept Simmons going from a completely different solar system and, in fact, did not give up despite all of Simmons’ other friends doing so. Also, he engineered Simmons’ phone so that it has a gargantuan battery life. We all need a Fitz in our lives.

Proving why she’s fantastic, Simmons goes back to the tentacle monster that tried to kill her, kills and eats it, and screams, “You’re dinner, bi-otch!” at its corpse. But things change at hour 752, when Simmons falls into a trap door in the ground. She wakes up a few hours later in a cage, with a human-like figure lurking in the shadows. She can’t get a good look at it, but it speaks English and feeds her from a bowl like a dog. She’s not having that. At hour 851, she fakes sickness in order to lure the figure (who turns out to be a human man) into the cage and then hits him over the head with her food bowl and makes her escape.

The problem is that there’s really nowhere to escape to. Simmons runs right into a sandstorm and a sharp rock. The man tries to stop her bleeding, telling her enigmatically, “It smells blood.” Great. When they get back to his underground hideout, he explains that he kept her in a cage because there is something evil on the planet and he wasn’t sure if she was a product of it or tainted by it. Simmons, in typical Simmons fashion, sciences this supernatural philosophy away. She also introduces herself to the man and learns that his name is Will.

Hour 853

Simmons learns that Will was an astronaut sent through the portal on a mission from NASA. His hideout is filled with outdated, solar-powered equipment. He’s got quite a lot of knowledge about the planet too because he’s been there for 14 years. The NASA mission was initially supposed to be just a year in length, with him and three scientists. All of the scientists went mad and killed themselves after going into what Will calls the No Fly Zone. This, he says, is where “It” infected them. 

Will is completely devoid of hope, having been on this planet for so long. Contrary to what Simmons said to Dr. Garner in the previous episode, she’s got plenty of hope. They agree to be the voices of hope and doom, checking each other as they survive.

Hours 1490-3022

After a few months, it’s clear that Will and Simmons have come to care about each other a lot. Defying Will’s wishes, Simmons sneaks into the No Fly Zone to try and science some stuff up. What she finds is a graveyard. There’s artifacts from the people who’ve come through the portal before, like star charters and a sword. There’s also their skeletons. It seems, Simmons thinks, that these people were sacrificed.

A sandstorm starts up. This time, Simmons sees a figure in the midst of it and realizes Will was right about something evil living on the planet. We get a repeat of the same clip we saw in the season 3 premiere, of her rubbing mud on a bleeding cut, and now we understand why.

Will is not pleased with Simmons nearly getting herself killed, but her spirits can’t be dampened. This is because she’s realized how the portal works. As SHIELD realized right before rescuing Simmons, it’s controlled by the environment on the planet, specifically by its moons. And the portal seems to open in different places because the planet is rotating. Simmons realizes that if they can track the rotation, they can figure out the time and place that the portal will open. I’ll give everyone a moment to be in awe of her brain.

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Hours 3022-3561

Simmons can use the old NASA equipment to track the planet’s rotation, but she’ll have to use her phone’s battery in order to do this. It’s a big sacrifice, as she’s still been looking at videos of her friends and pictures of Fitz every day. Unwanted Feeling number 84. She has hope that she’ll be able to see them again, though, so she gives them up.

For months, Simmons works to fix the NASA equipment and get the data she needs. She only manages to get one definite time and place before the battery give up; it’s in 18 days and it’s in the No Fly Zone. It will be difficult to get there and will involve crossing a canyon, but it’s doable. And if all else fails, she’s prepared a message in a bottle to send through instead. 

Hour 3575

Will and Simmons travel to the portal. Will reveals that he has a gun with one bullet left and that the people he went on his mission with theorized that the planet was once a paradise instead of a hell (or perhaps a Hel). They soon have no more time for theorizing, though, because when they get to the canyon, it has magically tripled in size. “It doesn’t want us to leave,” Will says, and they can’t. They see the portal open across the canyon but have no time to get there. Will attempts to shoot the bottle into the portal, but it closes before the message can get through. 

With the portal goes Simmons’ hope. Will, however, has found his in her. Knowing that they will never have anyone but each other, Simmons and Will kiss.

Hour 4720

A few months later, Will and Simmons are in a relationship, complete with a “wouldn’t be allowed on ’50s television” double bed. They seem to be enjoying life now; they’ve made peace with their circumstances and they take solace in each other. Plus, they’re about to see the only sunrise for the next 18 years. It’s practically Christmas.

As they’re waiting for the sun to rise, though, Simmons sees a flare and knows that it’s from Fitz. She runs towards it and a sandstorm starts. She sees an astronaut through the storm and thinks it’s someone coming to rescue Will. But Will knows better; it’s the evil thing, coming to stop them from leaving the planet. Will immediately sacrifices himself to give Simmons a chance to get home, disappearing into the storm as a gunshot sounds.

Simmons tries to make her way back to him but hears Fitz calling her. They reunite, as we saw before. A Simmons voice-over starts, and we remember that she’s been telling this entire story of her deep space romance to Fitz, the man who is desperately in love with her.

The Present

When we finally see Fitz, he looks devastated and walks out of the room without a word. Simmons follows him to the lab, trying to get him to understand. But he already does; he pulls up all the information they have about the Monolith, puts his friendship with Simmons before his own feelings and says, “Let’s get him back.” Fitz is the best human being ever. 

And it’s a good thing he makes this choice because Will is still alive on the planet. Now he has no bullet, no girlfriend and no more sun. Unwanted Feeling number whatever. I lost count.

Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Mary Kate Costigan

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV