Message in a Bottle.

A bottle episode. A message in a bottle. A bottle of wine. SO MUCH BOTTLE IMAGERY. I was very pleased once this episode progressed and I saw that it was, in fact, a self-contained story, rather than bouncing back and forth between Simmons’ experience and some B-story back on Earth. It was a much needed change of pace for the episode and resulted in a thoroughly entertaining hour of television.

This episode gave us many answers while raising many more questions. It felt almost like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Lost had a baby. We now know just how long Simmons was gone, what she was doing, and why she wants to go back. We know that the mystery planet is not devoid of life and we know it takes place far outside of our own solar system.

We also know that night lasts a long time on that planet, in case you were worried about that.

I am relieved, however, that the show didn’t show all its cards right away. We still don’t know exactly where this planet is or, more importantly, why the Monolith sends people to it in the first place. It’s clearly intentional, as explorers of sea and space have been sent to through the portal time and time again.

Perhaps the biggest question raised, however, by the episode is that of the mysterious cloaked shapeshifter. He moves with the sandstorm (or maybe creates a sandstorm?) and kills those who come to the planet. Why? That’s probably the most engaging question raised this episode.

I don’t know where the trajectory of the show is headed, but I hope it delves into this sort of topic matter into the future. I do have a lingering fear that this show will fall back on the “S.H.I.E.L.D. vs Hydra” dynamic a bit too much for my taste, or at least a “S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. Other Organization” one, where Hydra can be substituted for the Inhumans, the ATCU, or other branches of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This is a new topic for S.H.I.E.L.D…exploration; traversing the unknown. True, shields are usually more of a defensive tool than an exploratory one, but when you live in a supernatural world, nothing is really off the table, right?

The point is this: this show has proved it has the capabilities to shift its style. From freak of the week cleanup to spy vs. spy thriller, the next transition could incorporate a bit of old-school Star Trek and I’d be on board. This is, of course, MAJOR speculation for a far down-the-road plotline, but I stand by it. S.H.I.E.L.D. has added some interesting new elements the show in this episode…let’s hope they stick around.

Odds and Ends

  • Man, Fitz really worked some magic with the battery of that phone.
  • The first few minutes with Simmons was documenting the atmosphere and gravity were super fun. It’s interesting to see a science-minded fish-out-of-water situation.
  • I’d be willing to try space squid meat. Just needs a bit of garlic is all.
  • This episode had some of the best humor of the show to date. Simmons’ reaction to the notion that Hell was the source of the underground light was particularly funny.

    Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.

Alex Russo

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