Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap: Who needs couples therapy when you share an alien mind-prison?
Now, this right here is my favorite kind of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode: All about FitzSimmons! I’m sure this has come up in past recaps but the dynamic between Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons is my favorite thing about this show, and I’m so glad that even in season 6 we’re still finding new depths to their relationship.
Everything starts out wonderfully. Despite being locked together in a Chronicom mind prison, Fitz and Simmons are just happy to be together again after their time apart. Fitz even goes through his marriage proposal again – because even though we and Simmons remember their season 5 wedding, he hasn’t lived through it yet. That’s where things start to get complicated. Despite enthusiastically accepting his proposal again, Simmons is terrified of telling Fitz the truth of what happened to him. So when he starts asking about time travel to see if they can solve the Chronicom problem, Simmons turns into her 7-year-old self and hides from him in her childhood bedroom. Yes, you read that sentence correctly; the Chronicom mind prison is a bit like the X-Men’s Danger Room. Thoughts and memories become manifest.
Once Fitz realizes that’s how their prison works, he figures out how to get Simmons back to normal. He says perhaps he’ll materialize AIDA to help them…and sure enough, Simmons is back to her normal self, jealously yelling about that evil robot. But her return makes the revelation of Fitz’s death inevitable. Their white mind-room is soon transformed and taken over by Simmons’ memory of seeing Fitz’s body in a bag after the battle against Graviton. It’s certainly surreal for Fitz as he enters the memory and unzips his own body-bag, and then he gets even more freaked out by the revelation that Coulson, too, has died. But we also get a glimpse of Simmons’ last conversation with Coulson, where he told her that if Fitz really is out there, then she should go find him.
From there, we go to one of FitzSimmons’ very first meetings, when they were still university students. It’s very cute and awkward, as Fitz recalls this memory as the day he went from being flustered in Simmons’ presence to being totally at ease. But things that aren’t cute or awkward are bubbling under the surface. Simmons tells Fitz that she knows the Doctor, his Framework personality, is still submerged in his brain – which means he’s now in the mind-prison with them! When the Doctor shows up with some armed HYDRA agents, FitzSimmons take shelter in her childhood bedroom.
Unfortunately, Fitz isn’t the only one with repressed traumas; Simmons also imprisoned a vampiric nightmare version of herself inside her music box. Soon they get separated, with Fitz tied upside down by The Ring version of Simmons while Simmons is trapped in a torture machine by the Doctor. But just as the Doctor was able to summon HYDRA soldiers, Fitz and Simmons realize they can manifest versions of their friends. So Mack saves Fitz, while Daisy saves Simmons. But the real struggle comes when Fitz and Simmons find themselves trapped in a containment pod while their shadow selves linger outside. Fighting over who to blame for their current situation, they end up rehashing their entire history together: Fitz sacrificing himself for Simmons when they were trapped underwater, the difficult recovery from that, Simmons being trapped on Hive’s planet and sleeping with the astronaut, Fitz creating AIDA and becoming ensorcelled by her, and everything else. I know that Simmons’ line “I never knew pain until I met you!” is said under stress, but it’s honestly one of the cutest things I’ve ever heard, a testament to the depth of their love for each other. Because that’s how the conversation ends: With both of them realizing that no matter how much pain they’ve caused each other, they’ll always be there to save each other as well.
Plus, when they emerge from the containment pod, they see their evil selves making love to each other! Which continues the Eros-or-Thanatos dynamic between May and Sarge that the show explored last week. Speaking of which, Altarah enters the mind prison. Upon hearing FitzSimmons’ refusal to further mess with time travel on her behalf, she threatens to separate them…and then falls to the ground, unconscious. Fitz and Simmons emerge from the Chronicom device to find every single one of the aliens on the floor, dead or unconscious (I’m hoping for the former)…every single one that is, but Enoch. “I have taken bold action,” he states, before opening a portal for him and FitzSimmons to leave the Chronicom ship. Like I said at the top, Fitz and Simmons are the best thing about this show, but man Enoch is also becoming one of my favorites.