‘Agents of SHIELD’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 3, Episode 5: ‘4,722 Hours’
Welcome back to another Agents of S.O.M.E.T.H.I.N.G., where we’ll take you through all the thing we loved and the things we didn’t about this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. This week we discover what happened to Simmons on her summer holidays. '4,722 Hours' was directed by Jesse Bochco and written by Craig Titley.
Ziah: Chris, I’m going to say it. This was the first episode of AoS that I unabashedly enjoyed. It’s a bold move doing a self-contained story centering around one (and then another) character, and it really paid off. I like Simmons more, I understand her relationship with Fitz better, and it even made me excited to see the rest of the cast next week. What’d you think?
Chris: Yeah, very much the same sentiment. Not only did I really enjoy this episode on its own, but I definitely enjoyed it way more than any previous episode I’ve seen.
I think this episode benefited from having focus, and that's something the show could probably benefit from in general. This episode centered in on one character’s story, and just let you get wrapped up in the events as they were unfolding. This episode made me realize that this being an ensemble show isn’t necessarily the problem, but when your entire ensemble is off doing different things, it’s a lot harder to stay invested in all of the different threads.
Plus, the ensemble keeps expanding and adding new characters, and that just adds to the clutter. All of these characters are at best likeable and at worst fairly interesting, but when you’re trying to keep tabs on all of them every week and you’ve only got 40-something minutes to do it in, people start talking really fast and character shorthand starts getting used and I think that’s really what’s at the core of some of the problems we’ve had with the show previously.
So, yeah, this was a great episode, and unsurprisingly, it was easy to get emotionally invested in. In fact, I may have felt a little too emotionally invested in it, but maybe we’ll get into that later.
Ziah: So, how do you feel about Astronaut
Mike Dexter Will? For a few minutes, I thought Simmons was going to Agent Cooper her way through the entire episode, just taking notes through her phone, but he made for a good foil. Plus, after six months on that desert planet, I was really rooting for him and Simmons to hook up. Shippers, what do you think? Wimmons or Sill?
Chris: Apparently we will be getting into the emotional toll this episode took on me sooner than later! On the one hand, I totally get it, but on the other hand, this was kinda heartbreaking. Part of me hoped they were going to subvert the whole, “We’re stranded together and we’re so different, and we don’t get along at first, but then we’re totally gonna fall for each other” cliche, but I guess it was right there and you have to do something to keep Fitz and Simmons from having their happy ending or else there’s no drama, but.. I dunno… I just wish it hadn’t played out like that.
I was kind of tired of all the doomed romances on this show already, and now we’ve got to add a triangle and another new character to the mix. I’m not even necessarily a fan of Fitz, but they clearly already have this long-standing, established relationship built on respect and teamwork and being there for each other for years, and Fitz is going through all kinds of hell trying to find her and never giving up even as all her other friends are going, “Guhhh, she’s dead! Quit wasting time trying to save her!” and then here comes dumb ol’ Capt. Handsome McAstro. Why couldn’t the astronaut that survived have been not handsome? Sigh. Anyway.
Ziah: Also, why couldn’t he have been Man-Wolf? Just imagine John Jameson, intergalactic space hero/werewolf on this show for a few moments.
Speaking of wasted time, I spent literally an entire hour looking for this old Captain America comic where Sharon Carter’s in a wooden cage in the Savage Land, because I thought Simmons’ scene was a reference to it. As it turns out, first, if it was a reference, it was so off-hand and buried that it hardly counts, and second, my memory of comics I read when I was younger is usually better than the comics actually are. Beyond that, the actual comics references I caught were slim.
Ed Brubaker gets a shout out, which was cute, and the mysterious Death that’s stalking them has been hinted by people online to be the very same Death that Thanos is so obsessed with. If so, that would help make a bit of sense as to why it doesn’t actually hurt or kill anyone (you’ll remember the other scientists just went crazy), but I’ve never been all that partial to the idea that Death is an actual humanoid-ish entity in the Marvel U. What do you think?
Chris: I think the ol’ bamboo cage prison is pretty standard deserted island (or in this case, planet) fare. I kept waiting for her to just pick it up and run off like Milhouse did on that one episode of The Simpsons. Come to think of it, this episode also has a mysterious, scary monster that some of the characters doesn’t believe actually exists until they finally see it and then run away. Wow, this episode was such a ripoff!
Speaking of said scary creature, the very first thing that went through my mind when you see “it” for the first time was, “Is that “Actual Death™?!” If so, I guess it doesn’t hurt to keep tying your shows and movies together and establishing this larger universe you’re trying to create, but it doesn’t really make sense. “Death” has never really been goal oriented in the comics as far as I can remember, so why bother messing with some castaways on this one, weird planet? I’m guessing this is something else we’ll learn about in a future episode.
Ziah: I’ve also heard some talk online that this is meant to be Ego The Living Planet, but honestly, that seems like a stretch. It’s almost easier to see them reference Henry Flint and Al Ewing’s Zombo, rather than Ego, just for how subtle the “reference” is. Link us to cast interviews commenters! I’m calling bull on that rumor.
Chris: Yeah, I highly doubt it's either, but who knows!
Ziah: Also, as much as we give the show a hard time for skipping over moments or talking too much, there was a real sense of quiet desperation in the episode that I was really impressed with. The aftermath of the hail mary message in a bottle plan failing, Will alone in the few moments of the sunrise before it goes back to darkness; it demonstrates a much quieter, more mature visual sensibility, and even if we’re mostly done with that planet, I really hope that aesthetic stays.
Chris: I think I can guarantee that it will not, but it was certainly enjoyable for this week at least. Seeing/hearing that bottle break way off in the distance was such a nice touch. I think we’re kind of in a weird place with this episode, because while we both really enjoyed it, there’s really not that much to talk about. I think we’ve pretty much hit all the main points. What do you think?
Ziah: No, I would mostly agree. Final verdict is that if this demonstrated a bar that AoS can reach even once every few episodes, then I’ll definitely start talking more positively about the show.