Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “4,722 Hours” prompted me to write the geekiest article I’ve ever written. Sure, sure. I know. I write about geeky things, from Daredevil reviews, to my thoughts on the latest Batman comics. Sometimes I even talk about why Elvis was the greatest living being in the history of civilization. So this isn’t going to come to a surprise to anyone that I’m geeky.
But consider this the geek version of a friend who drunkenly admits that he’s into light bondage, and then three years later is arrested for killing a mousy co-worker in his sex dungeon. In my case, you would go into my attic and figure out that I had spent thousands of dollars on comic books over the last twenty years and have nothing to show for it but some useless knowledge that I’m about to flex on [virtual] paper, outing myself forever as someone who knows way too much about this kind of thing.
The latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “4,722 Hours,” was, for me, easily their best episode. It was written by someone named Craig Titley. Let’s all keep our eyes open for him! Good job, Craig! “4,722 Hours” involved the untold story of Jemma Simmons, stranded in an unknown region of space on a planet that had water, food, and oxygen– so, she didn’t die. On the show, Jemma had already been rescued from the planet, but now we got an entire flashback episode to finally see what happened on the planet. And it was a doozy of a story.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “4,722 Hours” really found it’s legs and finally told an interesting, compelling story that recalled the best of the Star Trek and Marvel universes (Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra). I really didn’t think ol’ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had it in her. And how about that Elizabeth Henstridge who plays Jemma? She was really, really good, at times becoming a completely different person than her previous moments on AOS would have led me to believe. I know she won’t get an Emmy, but it was that good.
So, Jemma was on the planet and she met the handsome NASA astronaut Will Daniels, played by Dillon Casey, who was the best guest star that AOS has ever had, and was probably a better and more dynamic actor than anyone currently actually on the show, recalling a young Jeremy Sisto (Jeremy’s not that old!). Jemma and Will tried to get off the planet, eventually succumbing to a love-the-one-you’re-with-on-the-planet-forever-with-no-hope-of-getting-home, and going to smooch-up city. On the planet was a shadowy figure, recalling death at one point, and a scary Twilight Zone astronaut at another moment, who stalked their every move outside of the love hatch. Will kept saying that the figure was death. Also, scary death guy kicked up a sand storm whenever he was on the way. Eventually, Jemma was rescued by the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Will was left behind, firing his last few bullets at death guy.
So who in the hell was that other thing on the planet?
Let’s start with, how did Jemma get to the planet? There was an obelisk that was created by the Kree (one of Marvel’s alien races who figure heavily into Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Kree are blue.) that would become a portal to another world in its liquid state and then turn back into a monolith. I don’t remember all the things they said, but the Inhumans were afraid of it.
So who are the Inhumans? They are a weapon that the Kree created by goofing around with the genetics of the nascent life on Earth. It’s too crazy to look up every little detail, but in prehistory, the Kree were experimenting with life on Earth to weaponize it, hence the Inhuman’s powers. The Inhumans are supposed to be an army for the Kree. Several regular characters on AOS are Inhumans, including Skye, who is now called Daisy Johnson, and sometimes “Quake.” That’s not at all confusing, AOS! Change the main character’s name in season three! Why not?
Okay, that was all pretty geeky for off the top of my head. It’s about to get a thousand times worse. Another of these weapons created by the Kree are the Dire Wraiths, but they’re from another planet. In other words, the Kree went to hundreds of worlds and tried to weaponize the indigenous population through genetic meddling. Dire Wraiths are another Marvel alien race, except these ones are shape shifters, meaning that they can assume just about any shape they can think of, as long as it is roughly the same size as them. And they’re witches. And lately, they have been displaying some psychic ability.
A long time ago in useless Marvel history, there was another planet, Galador, that was about to be overrun by the Dire Wraiths. They took their best and brightest and encased them in permanent suits of armor as a successful, last ditch effort to thwart the Dire Wraiths. These were the Galadorian Space Knights, of which ROM was the finest and had his own super weird comic book for many years. For licensing purposes, I doubt we’ll see ROM show up anywhere in the Marvel universe, although that would be awesome. Oddly, Hasbro owns him.
But the reason I bring ROM up is that, like I said, the Dire Wraiths are shape shifters. So they were trying to infiltrate and take over Earth and ROM showed up on Earth to stop them. But since Dire Wraiths looked like humans, it seemed to the humans that this giant robot (encased in armor, remember) showed up to randomly kill people with a ray gun that reduced their bodies to ash. It turned out that ROM wasn’t killing the Dire Wraiths; he was banishing them to Limbo. Limbo is not the Catholic Limbo, but a dark dimension where not much grows, but it is survivable in a horrible way. ROM used this other dimension as an intergalactic Gulag for Dire Wraiths.
Beginning to see where I’m going with this?
Instead of ROM’s ray gun, we have the obelisk. And who knows who banished people with the obelisk originally? But I’m betting it was some Kree thing that doesn’t really matter. Maybe it’s what they did with Inhumans who were jerks? So I think that was a Dire Wraith on the planet, menacing any visitors. And I think Jemma and the astronaut, Will, were in Limbo.
Okay, probably the simplest explanation is that the death apparition on the planet is some jerk Inhuman with weird powers who got banished there by the Kree. Hell, it also smacked a little bit of Marvel character Nightmare, who lives in another dimension and can go into people’s nightmares and drive them crazy. But I’m going to go to crazy town and say that it was a Dire Wraith, who was banished to Limbo, and that Jemma was in Limbo. Remember how she and the Duke of Handsome kept saying it was “hell?”
(I really liked Will!)
By the by, I realize that the death apparition (I really wish the episode would have offered us a name) didn’t really change forms, rather just threw on a space suit and picked up a sword. Is that how he got “into people’s heads,” playing dress-up? If so that’s kind of lame.
Why the Obelisk?
So why did NASA send anyone through the obelisk? I’m guessing that’s just a “Hydra-infiltrated NASA” or “because it was there” thing. It doesn’t really matter, although I’m hoping we will get some kind of explanation.
One thing that wasn’t really covered on the show yet is that it really seemed like that obelisk grabbed Jemma, like on purpose. Like the obelisk splashed into water with the express purpose of gathering Jemma up and taking her to the planet. But maybe it was a coincidence that she got grabbed up.
I’ve read a few online theories that Jemma was on Ego the Living Planet, which is exactly what it sounds like, a jerk planet that is a bad guy in a lot of comics. Will did say that the planet had “moods.” And Ego would explain why the canyon got larger, which my Dire Wraith explanation doesn’t explain. But I would be really surprised if super scientist Jemma was on a living planet and didn’t figure it out. Also, Ego is always babbling about how he is Ego the Living Planet, in what I assume must be an extremely loud voice.
Another weird thing from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “4,722 Hours” is that every time– except for once– that we see a sandstorm kick up, the mysterious figure appears to menace Jemma. In the exceptional sand storm, Jemma is actually caught in the sandstorm and wakes up unscathed. Could it be that everything that happened after that was one of the “tricks” that Will described? By the end of her time with Will, Jemma was pretty devastated. On the other hand, that would involve the Star Trek logic of believing the things that Will told her, and applying them to her situation, where it would be much more likely that if Will was some sort of will-o-wisp, he wouldn’t be honest with her. But why in the hell did she live through her first sandstorm?
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that it could be Ego. One of the things that makes Marvel shows and movies so great is that they embrace their comic book origins and don’t try to duck the costumes and funny names. It took Arrow FOUR seasons to be called Green Arrow! But Marvel, hell, I can see the same people who threw Howard the Duck into the end of the Guardians of the Galaxy have a Dire Wraith show up here. And the cosmic Marvel is having its day in the sun. Thanos and the Guardians of the Galaxy are all cosmic Marvel. Ronin the Accuser is Kree! And the Collector from Guardians has a brother named the Gardener, who easily could have been on the planet that Jemma was on, then left and everything died out. So Marvel don’t mind taking it to the crazy hoop. And that’s why I’m comfortable telling you my ludicrous theory that probably won’t be correct.
Sometimes AOS can be lame, so the alternate explanation is that the other guy on the planet is the British guy who got sent back in the second episode, “Purpose in the Machine,” and will be some dude we’ve never heard of who just likes to kill people.
But I’m going on record with a crazy theory that can’t possibly be true: Dire Wraith, Limbo, Jemma. Let’s see what happens.