Agent Simmons' exile on the alien planet is recounted. Her time there, however, may have been more intense than anyone could have expected; an experience that could explain the dangers laying in wait on Earth.
4,722 Hours acted as a break from the typical episodes this season. We finally get to see what happened to Simmons during her arduous six and a half months on the alien world. We pick up where the end of season two left off following Jemma being consumed by the Monolith and materializing on a dreary desert landscape. At first, she relied on her logical mindset, deciding to stay put until someone came for her. After about a day, she realizes she may need to begin the survival process. With nothing on her person but the clothes on her back and her phone, she searches for food and water, with a time marker on the bottom of the screen appearing periodically to give us an update on the time lapse.
Over the next few weeks, she manages to survive on some scarce plant matter and a small spring, but things get much more complicated when she manages to fall through an apparent trap door and encounters the only other human life she's seen since her arrival. The man in question keeps her captive in a cage made of bamboo-esque structures, but only as a measure to make sure she's even real. After releasing her, he reveals himself to be an astronaut named Will who had been on the planet since 2001. As it turns out, NASA had been aware of the Monolith for a time and began exploratory studies with a small crew, of which Will had been a member. He explains how eventually the planet itself had a way of driving everyone mad, leaving Will no choice but to start putting everyone down. This was also his explanation as to the erratic sandstorms and weather patterns, claiming the planet itself is in fact alive.
The two spend the next few months getting to know each other, eventually building into a more intimate relationship. At one point, while Simmons is out on the landscape, she finds the belongings of what appears to be a Victorian era explorer who had made their way to the planet. Among the items is a sword and a sextant, which gives her a brilliant idea: the Monolith portal was thought to be random, but its possible its reacting to the rotation of the planet itself, much in the way of the moon affecting tides. Repairing the damaged NASA tech, she uses her findings from studying the constellations to calculate when and where the next portal event will happen. After a few weeks of waiting, they make it just in time to see Fitz's signal flare. Unfortunately, the planet has other plans and projects illusions to keep them put. Will, trying to protect Jemma from the mental trickery pushes her towards the portal, but at the price of being left behind himself. We then meet back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ where Simmons has just regaled Fitz with the entire odyssey. Fitz, willing to do anything for her, even after hearing about her relationship with Will, agrees to share his research on the Monolith and offer his help to save him.
4,722 Hours was a mind-blowing episode and was super entertaining! It did a brilliant job of answering the questions we had about Simmons' time on the alien world, and then some. Its possible the planet they were on does have some more significance than just some evil wasteland in space. They kept making the point of it being "alive" and "having a mind of its own", which could be associated to a being in the comics with a similar agenda, Ego the Living Planet, who does have connections to the Kree. Future set-ups aside, its interesting to see that there was more to the story than Simmons scraping alien moss and digging for water. We manage to get the answers to the important questions, mainly what was "hunting" Simmons and why would she want to go back so badly. There's sort of an explanation as to the Monolith's activity that may trump the inhuman theory, but the whole story behind it still remains to be seen. As long as this rapid pace remains constant, this could prove to be one of the best seasons yet.