When Does 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Come Back? There's An Inhumanly Long Wait Ahead

You know the great thing about midseason hiatuses? They mean we get long strings of original episodes unbroken by pesky reruns or other programming. You know the terrible thing about midseason hiatuses? They mean our favorite shows go MIA for months at a time just when things were getting good. Season 3 of Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been firing on all cylinders, and this Tuesday's winter finale, "Maveth," looks like it will leave us all gasping — so of course we'll have to wait AGES for more. When does Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. come back?

Are you sure you really want to know? It's gonna hurt: S.H.I.E.L.D. won't return until Tuesday, Mar. 8, 2016. That's over three months from now; a whopping 13 weeks; a staggering 91 days. That's enough time to re-watch all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's TV shows — all 54 episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D., all 13 episodes of Daredevil, all 13 episodes of Jessica Jones, and all eight episodes of Agent Carter — one episode per day, and STILL have three days left over to rest and relax before the S.H.I.E.L.D. midseason premiere.

What gives? Why such the long wait for more S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC? After all, Shonda Rhimes fans get their precious T.G.I.T. back a whole month earlier, on Feb. 11. Heck, some shows — like Modern Family and black-ish are coming back as early as the first week of January! Well, there's actually a very good reason: ABC has a whole season of Agent Carter to air before S.H.I.E.L.D. can come back!

Just like last year, the adventures of Peggy Carter will air during S.H.I.E.L.D.'s hiatus, as a way to whet fans' appetites during the long wait. But as exciting as more Agent Carter is, there's one concern: its premiere was pushed back by two weeks to accommodate President Obama's State Of The Union address on Jan. 12, 2016. Will that delay push back S.H.I.E.L.D.'s midseason premiere as well? Or will ABC allow the two shows to run concurrently for a few weeks?

That's just one of many questions S.H.I.E.L.D. fans will need answered between now and March, alongside other mysteries like...

Will FitzSimmons Ever Catch A Break?

They started the season literally worlds apart as Simmons was stranded on an alien planet. Now, after finally sharing one all-too-brief kiss, their positions are reversed: Fitz is the one on the alien planet while Simmons can only wait and hope he'll make it back... without an evil alien in tow.

Is This New "Dark And Twisty" Coulson A Permanent Thing?

His new lover is gunned down in front of him and suddenly Coulson is wearing all black and scowling and resigning his Directorship and going on off-the-book missions and robbing banks and skydiving through interdimensional portals. Is this just Phil from now on? Or will he revert back to his regular self once he finds whatever vengeance he's looking for?

Is There A Way To Bring Rosalind Back?

Oh man, the writers pulled a doozy with this character. We hated her, then we slowly started to like her, then we loved her, then we almost hated her again for like one episode when we thought she was working for Hydra, then we loved her again when it turned out she didn't know she was working for Hydra... then she was killed in the opening scene of last week's episode. Constance Zimmer has been such a joy to watch in this role; is there any way to bring her back?

What Exactly Is The Inhuman On Maveth?

And, more importantly, can it be stopped? Does "It" have any basis in existing Marvel lore? Or is it an original creation for the TV show? Will it make it back to Earth by possessing one of our heroes? Or one of our villains? Isn't "It" basically just the Inhuman version of Apocalypse?

Will Somebody Just Kill Ward Already?

I've gotta commend the writers for not going the obvious route and slowly redeeming Ward over the course of the past couple of years following his Season 1 betrayal. The character has actually subverted expectations by staying as odious and despicable as ever. Is there much more that Ward can do for the show at this point other than die a satisfyingly grim death?

Is That S.H.I.E.L.D. Spinoff Actually Happening?

Yes? No? Maybe so? Does anyone know? Bueller?

The Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. midseason finale, "Maveth," airs this Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Images: Nicole Wilder, Kelsey McNeal, Eric McCandless (2), Greg Gayne (2), Tyler Golden, John Fleenor/ABC