The ninth episode of Agents of SHIELD's final season is airing tonight, and it's going to be extra special. Not only is "As I Have Always Been" taking the team through a dangerous time loop adventure, but the episode also marks the directorial debut of Elizabeth Henstridge, who plays Jemma Simmons on the series. This week, ComicBook.com had the chance to chat with Henstridge about directing her first episode, and she explained how she prepared for the job.
"I shadowed a bunch. I shadowed Clark [Gregg], who really was, for him to be an actor that directed, I think it opened a lot of doors for the rest of us to even think about it as a possibility. And he could not have been more supportive, so generous in sharing what he's learned over the years and different tips and tricks and things. And then just being, he put my name forward constantly and would be very vocal and supporting and wanting to direct. So I think out of everybody, he's been the most influential director that I shadowed," Henstridge explained.
When it came to working with time loops, Henstridge prepared with some classics.
"I watched them all," Henstridge revealed. "I watched Groundhog Day a bunch, I watched Russian Doll on Netflix, Run Lola Run, Day After Tomorrow, just to kind of understand the structure of it and how they worked in the rhythm and the energy and all that stuff. Yeah. I watched everything I could get my hands on."
We also asked Henstridge how "As I Have Always Been" became her episode, and if she worked closely with its writer, Drew Z. Greenberg.
"I mean, I love Drew and we've worked closely, just in that he's written some incredible episodes that I got to be in, but no, I mean, the bosses picked this episode for me," Henstridge explained. "I didn't really have any input into which one they would give me. And I'm so glad I got this one. I've got an episode that has Daisy and Coulson kind of at the center of it, and for it to be a time loop episode which ... just so fun."
Not only can you watch Henstridge's episode tonight, but she'll also be doing one of her delightful live streams on YouTube. Here's what she had to say when asked if tonight's will be special:
"I mean, not really other than I'm so nervous," she shared. "I don't know what I'm going to say. Just so silly, isn't it, but yeah, there'll be a bunch of us on there and we'll just be having a really good time. I'm so excited for the writer, Drew Greenberg, to be on there because he's just such a talent and so incredible." Since Henstridge normally chats with the director, she's not sure yet how tonight's live stream will differ from the norm. "I'm fascinated about what they're going to say. So I mean, I have to come up with something I guess."
Agents of SHIELD airs Wednesday nights on ABC at 10 PM EST.