Simmons Is In Danger When 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' Returns

Oh, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. You just had to (literally) snatch beloved genius Jemma Simmons away from us, mere seconds after watching her commit to a first date with Fitz. And after two (TWO!) whole seasons of will they/won't they to boot. But since the show is been on hiatus for the past few months, let's take a step back and revisit that heartbreaking moment. What happened to Simmons on Agents of S.H.I.EL.D.? Well, what looked like a cute, 'shippy moment on the show turned out to be the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers, because Simmons was swallowed whole by an alien rock in the closing seconds of the Season 2 finale.

Luckily for us, AoS is finally back, so some much-needed respite from all the cliff-dangling is finally here — but we still don't have any concrete answers when it comes to Simmons' fate. I mean, Elizabeth Henstridge is still included in all of the promotional images and listed as a series regular, so ostensibly, it would seem that she's returning full-time (unless it's all a major fake-out, of course). And regardless of casting, at this point, I refuse to believe Simmons is dead. I mean, this is a Whedon-produced show and we know the Whedon/Tancharoen clan is not averse to killing off beloved characters, but still, Jemma can't really be dead-dead, can she?

Things certainly didn't look good, and we probably should at least prepare ourselves for the possibility that she went the way of Isabel Hartley, Robert Gonzales, and countless more. After all, while we don't know exactly what the strange space rock that ate her is, we do know that it's of Kree origin... and if it's anything like the Diviners or the Terrigen crystals, it might not have the best outcome for a human. Though, it's worth pointing out that, unlike the Diviners and crystals (which are meant to spark Terrigenesis), this new Kree monolith was actually intended to destroy Inhumans — so really, it might have been worse if Skye was the one who got sucked into it, right?

That said, there's always the possibility that Simmons could be an Inhuman as well. If that's the case, the Kree monolith could potentially spark some sort of Terrigenesis, granting us a new, super-powered Agent Simmons. Plus, she might not even need to have Inhuman DNA to undergo a transformation — the Kree substance could actually imbue her with powers, radioactive spider-style. Not all super-powered individuals are born with abilities. Heck, what with the Kree origins of the stone, some fans over on Reddit are already joking that Simmons might be the new Ms. Marvel (unlikely, but we can dream, right?).

While it would admittedly be pretty awesome for our favorite scientist genius to gain some newfound abilities after her run-in with the rock (though not, it should be noted, one of the Dwayne Johnson variety), it's actually looking more likely that she was transported somewhere. AoS producer Jeffrey Bell implied as much in a Season 2 postmortem interview with IGN: After joking that Simmons was dead (ha-ha, very funny, Mr. Bell), he said that she might be "lost somewhere," and went on to say, "We love Elizabeth as an actress, and we look forward to seeing what happens to her and how she deals with it."

For her part, Henstridge also believes that the Kree stone was some sort of portal. After musing on the possibilities (including the aforementioned superpowers, as well as notions of time travel), she concluded to Entertainment Weekly, "I think I’m somewhere. I think it transports me somewhere." Nothing's set in stone yet, but Henstridge's theory sounds pretty solid. Luckily for us, the search for Simmons will commence in the season opener — according to the summary for the episode, the ever-faithful Fitz is already on the hunt. Her disappearance will no doubt be tough to deal with, but at least Henstridge gave us this little gem to get us through all the angst, as she told EW, "Well, I know Fitz is going to come and get me because he’s my boyfriend now."

As we approach Season 3, Henstridge has elaborated more on Simmons' encounter with the stone, but she hints that the transformation is emotional, rather than physical. She told TVLine, "She’s definitely changed by the experience, and what’s happened to her is going to impact the season." She also elaborated, "It will be interesting to see if her views on Inhumans have changed at all ... and how that alters her relationships with the other people."

No matter which way things end up going for Simmons, at least we can expect some speedy answers when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for Season 3 on Tuesday night at 9 p.m.

Images: ABC (2); Giphy