Fan speculation isn’t anything new when it comes to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The show has become known for leaving viewers scratching their heads as they try to work out what will happen next, and the Season 2 finale was no different as the post-show tag left us witnessing Agent Jemma Simmons, played by the talented Elizabeth Henstridge, being sucked into the mysterious alien monolith, seemingly disappearing from sight.
Naturally, putting the fan-favorite character in possible peril instantly caused viewers to begin theorizing as to what happened to Simmons, why it happened, and what exactly that Kree stone did with her. The theories are endless and seem to be growing in momentum as we near the show’s September 29th stateside premiere date.
With Marvel, there’s really no telling as to what might be in store where Jemma Simmons is concerned, but three theories in particular make me that much more eager to discover what the hell actually happened to her.
A Galaxy Far, Far, Away
The most common theory that has been pitched since the Season 2 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ominously faded to black is that the alien artifact hidden in the vaults of Coulson’s Playground has transported Simmons to another time, place, or dimension.
Playing with time, as we’ve seen on numerous occasions, is a tricky thing to handle when the potential ramifications are so enormous. Being sent to the past would have too great an impact on the present and future timelines of the show, and would likely completely shift the plotlines of the other characters. It wouldn’t be the wisest of choices on the writers’ part because a time-shift of that caliber would have an enormous ripple effect on everything that’s already been established within the world of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Though certainly a possibility, the likelihood of Jemma being sent to the past or future seems to be far slimmer than her being sent to another place or dimension.
S.H.I.E.L.D. has had ample experience with the weird and unordinary, which would make a Fringe-esque dimension jump fit right in with some of the other bizarre things that have happened in the show. Simmons could very well be in a dimension where Ward was never Hydra, Fitz was never dropped to the bottom of the ocean, and Skye never left the Rising Tide to join S.H.I.E.L.D. and transform into Quake.
Again, based on the few details revealed about Season 3, namely the Daisy Johnson plotline, it seems unlikely that the show would focus on showing viewers two parallel dimensions, with two completely different storylines that may have zero relevance to one another other than the inevitable, “Person A, stuck in Dimension B, trying to get home to Dimension A.”
Though unlikely that she’s doing something as non-life-threatening as sharing drinks with Thor in Asgard, the theory that makes the most sense from a storytelling standpoint is that the rock actually transported Jemma to another place. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the MCU have both explored various alien worlds, meaning that Simmons could very feasibly have been sent to another planet for some unknown purpose.
It wouldn’t be the first time Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. dealt with a portal to another world. Season 1’s, “Repairs,” already showed viewers and the agents onscreen that teleportation devices and portals to other planets are very much real. Jemma’s disappearance could be a slightly more personal take on the idea of unknown artifacts serving as a means of transporting certain individuals from one place to another.
Personally, I’d choose Heimdall and the Bifrost as transportation over being sucked up by alien goo any day of the week.
Getting slightly more specific with the, “alien artifact as a portal,” theory, it’s also very possible that the stone serves as a portal to an otherworldly prison that is meant to contain the Inhumans, similar to that of Smallville’s Phantom Zone.
Jiaying mentioned in Season 2 the fact that the stone could be lethal to the population of Inhumans on Earth, which would make its banishment of said race to some unknown purgatory more than possible. The stone could essentially be a one-way ticket to something akin to a prison for Inhumans in some unknown part of the universe.
Which leads us to…
Inhuman All Along
While there are obviously many possibilities as to why the Kree stone decided to yank Agent Simmons away from the Playground, none seem quite as likely as that which paints the S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist as a yet-to-be-revealed Inhuman.
The possibility of Simmons being an Inhuman is one that fans have debated at length since the Season 2 finale. As mentioned above, we already know that the rock is a potential danger to the Inhuman race, and its pseudo-kidnapping of Simmons indicates that she might be the first to experience said dangers.
The fact that it was Jemma who was taken is significant and, while very few facts are actually known, it seems odd that the writers would place such an emphasis on the stone’s connection to Inhumans only to then have it, “activate,” around a human instead.
In a video posted on the Emergency Awesome YouTube channel, the possibility of an Inhuman Simmons is broken down through analysis of the changing state of the alien rock. The key point that is brought up is the fact that the liquid state has, thus far, only been seen onscreen whilst in the presence of Inhumans alone.
So far, viewers have only seen the mysterious rock go from solid to liquid while in the vicinity of Gordon, Raina, and Simmons. The fact that two out of the three are confirmed Inhumans strongly hints at the possibility of Jemma herself being not quite as human as we’ve been led to believe. The rock was completely solid when Mack, Agent Weaver, and other known humans were nearby, making no indication that there was another form at all. Similarly, it wasn’t until after Fitz, a definite human as far as we know, left the room in the Season 2 finale that the rock changed states and went after Simmons.
Though still possible that there’s some other reason for the rock’s shift from solid to liquid, so far the only key piece of evidence is its connection to Inhumans.
As mentioned, the rock has been described as an artifact that might be detrimental to the race. While this ominous statement hasn’t yet been expanded upon onscreen, there is certainly more than one way in which the word, “detriment,” can be applied. On one hand, the stone could be physically lethal to Inhumans, but considering what happened to Simmons, the slightly more believable route is the aforementioned idea that it is a portal meant to rid the Earth of Inhumans.
Which leads us to…
As previously mentioned, it’s already been emphasized onscreen that the rock has the potential to be more than a little dangerous to Inhumans.
Though… it’s never actually been stated that the object itself is what poses a threat. It’s just as possible that the rock merely serves as a catalyst for whatever destructive thing will be coming for the Inhumans in Season 3.
Again, it being Simmons who was taken seems like a fairly sinister omen considering how much she’s already changed from the originally optimistic scientist that we were introduced to in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’s pilot.
The conflict between Simmons and the Inhumans in the back half of last season could easily be expanded and further explored in the upcoming season by having the rock turn Jemma into the threat to Inhumans that was so ominously and vaguely mentioned earlier.
While she seemed to at least slightly come around to the idea of Inhumans once Skye was revealed as being one, the often pragmatic Simmons still had a wariness towards powered people that made it seem as though she could lean either way should S.H.I.E.L.D. be forced to pick sides in the Civil War brewing between Captain America and Iron Man.
The scientist, often seeing things in black and white, seemed more than ready to destroy some Inhumans while actively trying to protect others. This divided approach already caused a decent amount of conflict last season, namely with long-time partner Leo Fitz who seems to be firmly on Captain America’s side of things, and could be the reason that Jemma was taken by the artifact.
Perhaps the stone actually took Simmons due to said previous clashing with the Inhumans. There’s a possibility that the rock could sense the small bit of darkness in Jemma, the same darkness that made her go after Ward and kill Bakshi, and saw it as something to be groomed. With just the right amount of encouragement and bad influences, Simmons could very likely become a genuine threat to the Inhumans.
Perhaps Jemma Simmons was the perfect candidate for whatever sinister plans the artifact might have for the Inhuman population, which is set to grow now that there’s a new brand of Terrigen Fish Oil.
Perhaps Jemma might even be getting a new partner this year.
Her divided approach to Inhumans is one that is incredibly similar to that taken by the character Lash in the Marvel comics. We already know that Lash is set to make an appearance on the show, thanks to this year’s San Diego Comic Con panel, and it’s more than likely that his role will be to stir up as much trouble for Coulson and his agents as possible.
Considering the only major teases we have about Season 3 involve the Secret Warriors project, an initiative focusing entirely on the discovery and retrieval of Inhumans, it seems incredibly plausible that the largest conflict of the season, or at the very least 3A, will involve those who wish to help the Inhumans, and those who wish to hurt them.
Lash, a self-appointed judge of who is and is not worthy of being Inhuman, seems to be a very real threat to the powered population. Simmons having some connection to Lash isn’t completely out of the question and, considering the fact that she herself had at one point deemed herself responsible for protecting the team from Inhumans, there’s a definite possibility that Lash may have some sort of sway over her.
Going back to the assumption that the rock serves as some sort of portal, it’s more than possible that Simmons and Lash will have had some sort of interaction in the few months prior to where Season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will pick up. For all we know, the stone took Jemma to Lash and triggered something in the both of them that might set them on the path to destroying the Inhumans.
The disappearance of Simmons and the presence of Lash come Season 3 can’t be a mere coincidence; however, we won’t know what their possible connection is until the show returns in September.
It seems less than likely that Simmons will return to the team without having undergone some sort of transformation; whether said transformation will be physical or mental remains to be seen.
At this point, all we know for sure is that Simmons was essentially kidnapped by an alien rock and it wouldn’t be Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. if there weren’t some repercussions.
What do you think happened to Agent Simmons? Is she happily sipping alien cocktails on Asgard, or could Elizabeth Henstridge be going to the dark side? Will S.H.I.E.L.D.’s greatest threat be Simmons herself? Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below and be sure to find out what happened to Simmons when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns this fall!