Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Are [Spoilers] Dead?
Last night's episode Agents of S.H.I.E.D., "Ragtag" – the penultimate episode of the season – has gotten a lot of fans debating with each other. One of those debates is about Grant Ward and whether he is pure evil or the victim of circumstance and the teachings of his mentor, John Garrett. That's not the debate we're going to be talking about here, although it does tie in. Instead, we're going to discuss the fate of two other members of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast. Fitz and Simmons were captured by Ward and taken on board the Bus. Garrett orders Ward to kill them. Fitz and Simmons try to make an escape and seal themselves off in the medical bay. Fitz tries to appeal to Ward. Ward finally admits that he does care about them, but says that makes them a weakness. He drops the medical bay out of the plane and into the ocean. So the debate now is, "Are Fitz and Simmons dead?" Real world physics aside, we have no real way to know. The last we saw was their sealed chamber being dumped into the ocean, but no bodies on screen. Obviously this is a bad position to be in. Either their chamber isn't completely sealed and will fill up with water until they drown, or it is completely sealed and the pair will slowly suffocate to death. Most likely the latter. I don't expect that the two are dead, at least not yet. I'm not ruling anything out on a show with Joss Whedon's name attached in any way, shape or form, but if they are going to kill off a couple of main characters then they probably aren't going to leave much room for debate about it. The scene where they were ejected simply occurred all too fast. If Fitz and Simmons are to die, then I expect it to be with a bit more drama and that it will occur in the season finale. Of course, that means there's time for Fitz and Simmons to be rescued. Perhaps they have a tracker with them that will alert Coulson and the rest of the team to their whereabouts, or maybe Ward does still have some goodness left in him and placed one himself, or maybe even supplied them with a means of survival that we just don't know about yet.
Besides all of that, I just don't know if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a show that's ready to start killing off main characters. Yes, the Whedon name is involved, but it's also a Marvel Studios televisions series on the ABC Network. There's hasn't been a single notable death in a Marvel Studios film yet (besides Coulson's, and we've all seen how that turned out) so it would be a quite a tonal shift. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has certainly gained a needed sense of danger since the Clairvoyant reveal, but killing off Fitzsimmons seems like a bit much. I also think it could be a poor narrative choice on the show's part, or at least a risky tradeoff. The showrunners have consistently used the excuse that they wanted us to become invested in these characters before getting into the big picture stuff in order to justify the show's slow start. While doing so would certainly make the death of one of those characters much more meaningful, it would also cheapen the time invested into getting to know them. Of course, anyone who's seen Angel probably remembers Doyle and how quickly his story came to an end. It would also be questionable in that it leaves such an imbalance in the remaining cast members. Fitz and Simmons are needed to balance out the combat heavy team members with some tech support. Sure, Skye fills in a tech role herself, but she doesn't bring nearly as much levity to the otherwise dour grouping of May, Ward and, at least half of the time, Coulson. Of course, we all still remember Whedon's reputation. It's possible that one of the pair will survive while the other does not. It's hard to argue that Fitz somehow heroically sacrificing himself to save Simmons wouldn't be a dramatic and powerful scene – if handled well – that brings Fitz' season long arc, particularly the shame he felt for freezing up when Simmons jumped out of the bus, to a satisfying conclusion, not to mention set up quite a bit of dramatic tension for a second season. In my mind, this sacrifice scenario, with one character surviving - be it Fitz or Simmons - seems much more likely than both characters perishing in the ocean depths. Having one character die while saving another would be much more meaningful than simply killing them both off to rack up Ward's body count and prove just how evil he is, and I'd like to think that the show's writers realize that. Are Fitz and Simmons dead? Not yet, probably. Will they die? I'd give them each about a 50/50 chance. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 8 PM on ABC.0comments